True boat lovers relish every moment out on the water. Especially if you live in a Northern climate, there are a limited number of hours in a season that you can spend with your boat. If you could, you’d live on your boat during the season. While it would be great to have a houseboat or yacht, most folks don’t have that kind of option. Your day sailer, canoe, kayak or speed boat really isn’t ideal for spending days at a time, not to mention that having a boat with living quarters is going to cost you a heck of a lot more on your boat insurance bill.
Don’t let a small boat stop you from spending as much time as you can on your boat. No matter what kind of a boat you have, you can spend a whole weekend with the boat. You just need to start boat camping.
What exactly is boat camping?
It’s exactly like it sounds. It’s camping with your boat. Here’s what you need to do to give this interesting new hobby a try:
- Get some supplies. A featherweight tent, a propane stove, a cooler and a sleeping bag are the barebones supplies you’ll need. Of course, if you have more space in your boat, you can add a number of other camping accessories, but these should be enough to get you started. (Flashlights, some pots and pans, eating utensils and other gear can be helpful.
- Choose somewhere to boat. There are national and state parks, as well as scenic waterways, that may offer you campsites that can only be reached by boat. Most of the time, boat campers try to get off the beaten path, however.
- File a float plan. If you’re going to be boat camping in a remote area, make sure that you file a float plan with authorities. At the very least, you should make sure that there is a friend or family member who has a general idea of where you’re going to be and when, and when you’ll return.
- Pick a good camping spot. You can pull up to the shore along a river, or on a small island. If you have a light boat, you can use it as part of your shelter, although this probably isn’t necessary. You want a good spot that’s at least a little bit elevated above water level. Watch out for “no trespassing” signs, because the last thing you want is to violate someone’s property rights.
Boat camping isn’t for everyone, but with a good amount of preparation you might find that you truly enjoy this exhilarating hobby.
Photo via andrew.napier