What should be included in your paddling tour? Tips for a well-planned packing list

Vad ska finnas med på din turpaddling? Tips för en välplanerad packlista

What you take with you on, for example, a week trip varies from paddler to paddler, from environment to environment and from season to season. There is, as so often, no absolute right or wrong. I have my way of paddling, and I can tell you roughly how I do it, although I know that others have completely different priorities. Even when it comes to security, there is not complete consensus. And even less about which food tastes best on the cut.

However, there is quite a lot of agreement on some things. Try to pack smart. That doesn't necessarily mean easy – you're not hiking, just lugging a few things from the kayak to the campsite. But preferably compact, and with heavy items as central as possible, near the cockpit. Better many small waterproof bags than few large ones. Squeeze the air out of them and they will be easier to stow. You take the tent out of the storage bag (which you leave at home) and tuck it into the front tent, but with a flap accessible from the tailgate, so you can easily pull it out.

The wine producer whose bag-in-box starts to leak during transport to the store will not last long in the industry. This means that the bags, both the plastic itself and the tap, usually maintain excellent quality. In other words: perfect to use as water bags in the kayak. A bit tricky to fill, but you don't have to buy expensive water bags in the sports store. I myself have a camelback made for skiing which I have hardly used for that. I usually fill it with water, freeze it and then have it as a cooler for the fresh produce for the first three or four days and then as a fresh and cool drinking water reserve.

Because that's how it is. Things can often serve more than one purpose. And as someone said: if every gadget can be used for two things, you only need half as much packing. So you have to be a little innovative. Someone in the group probably has a tow line. It can be of great help when erecting a tent or tarp. Or simply as a washing line to dry wet clothes. An inflatable float can, somewhat depending on the design, double as a head pillow. Is it hard on the rock? Put on the life jacket. Or put the life jacket on the rock under the kayak when you pull it up on land (worried about the life jacket? Take a seaweed brush instead!). If you think that any form of alcohol (of course only in the evening when you have pitched a night camp) belongs to life's absolute necessities, then whiskey is more space-efficient than wine or beer. And warm beer tastes like that... Hard-boil the eggs at home and you'll save fuel. And so on.

A dome tent does not need pegs in the ground. You secure it to the rock with rocks in the corners. Ticks don't thrive on the rock face and the modern air-filled sleeping mats are fantastic (says someone who was there in the seventies!). Many recommend a moderately warm synthetic sleeping bag that can withstand moisture. I'm frozen and choose down - I snuggle down if it's cold and have it as a loose cover if it's warm.

I have fair, sensitive skin, so a high protection factor, long sleeves and a hat are a matter of course for me. The hat (second hand – better and prettier than a cap!) has a large brim and of course a tie to tie under the chin. Wool on the upper body – warms even when wet, and doesn't smell like python after two days. A piece of sleeping mat or similar under the feet in the kayak protects the heels while paddling.

Safety equipment? Important of course. The problem is that the list can be made as long as desired. An American blogger was asked what kind of safety gear he had in his life jacket. When he listed them, my spontaneous question was: does your life jacket float?

I myself use security gadgets sparingly. Yes, I know - this is controversial. But rather than slowing down the kayak with the latest technical aids, I think you should have mental preparedness, as well as the habit of using the equipment that is available . There is no shortage of new technology – GPS, for example, has worked wonders – but it has to be super easy to use: when you're lying in the water, it's hard to flip through the instruction manual.

In a group of say six, seven paddlers there should be at least one tow line, one pump, one float and one or a couple of extra paddles. Personally, in addition to the life jacket, I have a mobile phone in a waterproof case, a compass of the simplest kind, knife, lighter, bicycle lights in plastic bags, some plasters and a roll of silver tape. Anyone who wants to can continue: flashlight, paddle leash, emergency transmitter, whistle, walkie-talkie, emergency flare, emergency flares and vhf radio.

We all paddle in different ways. Some eat protein powder for breakfast and paddle the longest possible distance in the shortest possible time and combine the training with being on the lake. Others, like my friend Johan, believe that the highest point in life is a three-course dinner on a seal in the sea band. He often takes the grill out with him (well, his kayak is bigger than mine!). It is difficult to give advice that applies to everyone. Where you will paddle is also crucial. A couple of friends of mine were going to paddle along the coast of Norway and filled the kayaks with food until they discovered that the towns - and thus the grocery stores - in Norway are located in the ocean and not far into the bays like in Sweden. It was never far between the bunkering sites.

And who said kayakers have to be fanatical purists? Bring that little extra if you think it brightens up life: a cake, an espresso machine or the small bottle of "non-sports drink". Or why not Tomas Tranströmer's collected poems in paperback?