Discovery kayaking Progressive Coaching and Guiding


During the late spring of 2018 I was Sea kayaking off the west Coast of Scotland using a 4-season sleeping bag. This was warm but bulky and extremely frustrating every morning trying to get the bag repacked into the kayak. There was plenty of space within the bulkhead but getting the dry bag and the sleeping back which was compressed within, through the hatch was problematic.  This culminated in a torn dry bag and yes, a subsequent damp sleeping bag for several days.

Clearly for the rest of the season and expedition Sea kayaking I need a change of kit.  Remembering a conversation with Roger Chandler who was on his way around the Top of Britain at the same time, I set out to adapt my kit.  Now Scotland during April still produces below Zero temperatures and its important to have a good nights rest whilst on expedition.  The solution was rather simple but had not previously occurred to me in all my years of wild camping which is why I share it here.  All I needed to do was use my 3-season bag but also take a light weight bag with me and combine the two if it got really cold, simple but effective.

Sleeping bag options

Still my preferred sleeping practice whilst on sea kayaking expeditions is to carry.

  • the Alp kit Dumo sleeping mat, very comfortable, long enough for me at 6’ 2” tall and nice and deep, if a bit noisy and slightly heavy 850g but an easy to carry luxury item in a sea kayak.
  • Then next I use a Silk liner from the Scottish Silk Worm ( 140g) which is ideal as a bag liner for extra warmth and hygiene and on those balmy evenings enough with the light bag by themselves.
Silk liner
  • The lightweight bag I use is the Alpkit Cloud Cover blanket ( 520g) perfect when warm for use by its self or ideal combined over the main bag when the temperature is dropping.
  • For my main bag I use the Mountain Hardwear Lamina -6c (1100g) which I believe has now been replaced by the -9c really warm, light and packable.
  • For a pillow I use a normal cotton pillow case and then just stuff with my down jacket and spare thermals. This works for me and saves space and weight.
Sleeping bag options

When packed all the above goes in, two dry bags and easily goes in through the hatch and pushes up nicely into the bow.

Packed sleeping bags

Total pack weight is approximately 2.6 kg but this provides lots of sleeping options from snug and comfy as the thermometer plunges to comfortable on a warm summers evening.  Whatever you decide to carry try to give yourself lots of options as the weather always varies and break down the dry bags to enable easy packing.

Never stop exploring.