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Boat Camping Checklist

Transporting gear into the Ten Thousand Islands
Transporting gear into the Ten Thousand Islands. (Photo by Bob Rountree)

We always seem to take too much gear when boat camping in our 19-foot Cobia Center Console.

Approaching a low bridge while navigating a shallow channel recently, I scrambled around gear on the deck to release the strap clips so I could lower my Bimini top.

I also made the mistake of stacking camping gear above a hatch where I stored dock lines.  How dumb is that?

As it was, I had already cut back on cooking gear.

Still, one must take into account the unique needs of camping from a boat, especially wind, water and rapidly changing weather.

Taking a few queues from kayaker Warren Richey, who packs far more useful gear in dramatically smaller space, I’m revising my checklist. While requirements for a motorboat are less restrictive, there are lessons to be learned from Warren’s frugal approach.

Read: Kayak Camping: Sharkchow’s checklist

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  • Dry-seal duffle bag to contain and protect clothing from water.
  • Broad-brimmed sun hat or baseball cap
  • Lightweight, breathable rain jacket
  • Quick-dry shorts
  • Quick-dry shirt
  • Quick-dry underwear
  • T-shirts (short and long-sleeve)
  • Water shoes
  • Sweatpants and sweatshirt (in winter)


Our campsite on the beach at Panther Key
Our campsite on the beach at Panther Key. (Photo by Bob Rountree)


  • Backpacker’s stove
  • Cooking pot
  • Coffee pot
  • Lighter and waterproof matches
  • Forks and spoons
  • Plates and/or bowls (paper is disposable in campfire)
  • Multi-tool with can opener and corkscrew


  • Marine cooler
  • Gallon jugs of frozen drinking water
  • One-pot meals, pre-cooked and frozen ** 
  • Cold cuts, cheese and fresh bread
  • Fruits, vegetables
  • Yogurt
  • Granola bars

Related article: Beach Camping in the Ten Thousand Islands

Notes from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning visits.

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This article is property of, protected by U.S. Copyright Law. Re-publication without written permission is against the law.

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