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Boat Camping Checklist

Transporting gear into the Ten Thousand Islands
Bob transports his gear for a weekend camping trip in 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 cues 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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Our campsite on the beach at Panther Key
Our campsite on the beach at Panther Key. (Photo by Bob Rountree)



  • Marine cooler (white exterior deflects sun and heat)
  • 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

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