Yellowstone National Park Kayaking and Canoeing Packing List


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Kayaking or canoeing in Yellowstone gives you a unique vantage point for exploring America’s first national park. Heading out for a day trip or a multiday paddling adventure gets you out of your car and away from the crowds as you explore the park’s abundant wildlife and geothermal features, as well as its numerous lakes, rivers and waterfalls. For more information about planning your trip, see our Yellowstone National Park Visitor Guide.

Know before you go: Be sure you’re properly trained and have the appropriate clothing for the conditions, or hire a qualified guide. Even in the middle of summer, the water temperature of Yellowstone’s lakes is cold (typically around 40°F–50°F) and sudden winds can create 4–5 ft. waves, which can make paddling dangerous.

The following list is designed for a non-guided, non-winter trip in Yellowstone. If you’re part of a guided group, check with the guide company to see what items they provide.

Included in this list are the Ten Essential Systems you should have on every backcountry trip: navigation; sun protection; insulation; illumination; first-aid supplies; fire starter; repair kit and tools; nutrition; hydration; emergency shelter. To learn more, see our Ten Essentials article.

Yellowstone Kayaking and Canoeing Gear List: Printer-friendly version (PDF)

Kayaking and Canoeing Equipment

Kayaking and Canoeing Clothing and Footwear

Note: There may be overlap with clothing for kayaking/canoeing and clothing for camping. Keep this in mind when choosing quantities.

Camping Equipment

Additional Clothing and Footwear for Camping

Personal Items


Many of the following items are optional; tailor the list to suit your personal needs.


Quantity varies depending on activity and length of trip.

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