What to Pack for Your Paddling Michigan Trip

Paddling along the Pictured Rocks National Shoreline is an experience like no other. When you are kayaking on Lake Superior, you feel the majesty of the lake and can appreciate the natural beauty around you. For the best kayaking experience, there are a few things to bring that might make your experience even better. Here is a list of things to ensure you have an optimal trip.

Dry Bags

Kayaking is a wet experience, but there are likely some things you want to keep with you during the excursion that you’d like to keep dry. Your phone, camera, or other electronics should be kept safe, and a dry bag is a perfect way to ensure they stay moisture-free. Paddling Michigan provides them for free with their excursions, but you might want to bring your own for the rest of your vacation. There’s a spectrum of prices for dry bags, but Cabela’s has them for a reasonable cost. Other uses for dry bags might include:

  • Extra clothes
  • Medications
  • Packaged foods


There’s a common joke among people in the Upper Peninsula – if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute. Temperatures can change fast. If you start a trip in the morning, a 10-15-degree temperature change by the afternoon isn’t uncommon, especially when the wind shifts on the water. In addition, your paddling clothes may get wet, and having a spare set of clothes can ensure you are comfortable for your entire trip. Paddling Michigan recommends skipping cotton or denim, opting for synthetic materials that will dry quickly instead.


Even if you don’t burn easily, be sure to slather yourself before you hit the water. Also, take plenty with you – at its best, sunscreen only lasts two hours. When you get wet, that timeline changes. In fact, the FDA says there’s no such thing as “water-proof” sunscreen. If you take a dip during your trip or get wet from paddling, reapply the lotion. Also, be sure to check your old bottles before relying on them for your trip. Sunscreens have an expiration date just like food and medication.

Healthy Snacks

Keep your energy up by packing healthy snacks to take along with you, and consider our Leave No Trace philosophy with your packaging and trash items. It asks that we take with us all the things we brought. That way, our water and our shoreline stay beautiful.

Plenty of Water

Though it’s tempting to bring caffeinated drinks with you, don’t neglect packing water. It will ensure you are hydrated when you are away from the shore. When your body is fully hydrated, you have more energy and less brain-fog when you are tired.

Water Shoes

Most shoes aren’t made to get wet. Be sure to wear a pair that are comfortable and can withstand moisture.

Most importantly, when you are packing for your Paddling Michigan trip, be sure to bring a spirit of adventure and readiness for fun!