Lightening your load is just one step toward more paddling, more often. A lighter load means you’ll be more organized, load up faster, be able to make quicker getaways and squeeze in more into your weekend trips. Once you’ve got your gear dialed, follow these 10 time-management tips to streamline your prep time for quick paddling trips.

How to paddle and trip more often

1 Make a where-to-go list

Spend less time dithering about where to go. Once you’ve made a list of what to bring, make a list of accessible places to go.

2 Keep it local

Don’t only focus on the epic, once-a-year two-week journey. Have a list of local camping spots you can paddle to for a one- or two-night weekend.

TGIF. | Photo: Brendan Kowtecky
Planning and organization are the keys to help you paddle and trip more often. | Feature photo: Brendan Kowtecky

3 Plan Wednesday

Wednesday’s the day to lay plans and arm twist your friends, so you can…

4 Pack Thursday

Thursday night after work is packing time, so you can…

5 Paddle Friday

Take advantage of long summer nights to paddle for your first camp. Leave from work, hit the water, and treat yourself to a sunset paddle. Your weekend trip will feel twice as long if you spend this extra night out.

6 Organize the garage

Easier said than done, but spending as little time as possible finding and sorting your gear will enable you to get on the water faster and more often. Get a system.

7 Keep the pantry full

Food planning and shopping is the thing that will slow you down the most, especially if you’re rushing to the grocery store on your way out of town. Keep a stash of pre-packed non-perishables (pasta, oatmeal, coffee, tea, etc.) with your camping gear. If you dehydrate your own food, dry and bag extra for future trips. Just add the fresh ingredients and you’re on your way.

8 Take less stuff

Remember, go light! Camp chairs, charcoal, and three sets of clothes will just slow you down. Pack like a backpacker. Only take only what you really need, plus the bottle of whisky and a good book. Then there’s less stuff to futz with in camp and more time to admire the view.

man paddling a kayak on a lake in cloudy weather
Pack light and only take only what you really need to make trip planning a breeze. | Photo: Kelly L/Pexels

9 Go solo

Got flakey or busy friends? Paddling solo can free you from the search for the perfectly coordinated schedule. It takes self-reliance, but the rewards are many.

10 Butter up your boss

Haven’t you been working late a lot? Hey, don’t you have a meeting with someone out of the office Friday afternoon?

Paddling Magazine Issue 65 | Fall 2021

This article originally appeared in Paddling Magazine Issue 65. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions here, or download the Paddling Magazine app and browse the digital archives here.


Planning and organization are the keys to help you paddle and trip more often. | Feature photo: Brendan Kowtecky



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