I am not going to provide you with a long list of specific items you should pack for a kayak fishing trip to a warm weather destination like Baja. Rather, let discuss my approach to packing light by packing just right!
As someone who works in the travel industry, I struggle with the meaning of what a carry-on suitcase is suppose to look like, now with airlines charging for checked bags. It can’t be the size of the suitcase itself as I have seen passenger board the aircraft with a full size roller bag, topped with a overnight bag and a briefcase to boot. Which brings to mind the question, how much gear is enough gear? More specifically, how does a person determine when you have pack enough gear for a kayak fishing trip to Baja?
For International travel, airlines allow two checked bags and one carry-on plus a purse or briefcase. The maximum weight for each suitcase needs to be 50 pounds or less. Otherwise, you will incur a small fortune in overweight baggage charges. With this in mind, start by getting your bathroom scale in your packing area. O.K. Here we go!
The best kayak fishing in Baja happens during the hottest months of the year; May, June, July and August. The Baja sun is intense and it isn’t unusual for the temps to run 100-105. You must think in terms of protecting your body from the harmful effects of the sun.
For the purposes of this article, let’s plan for a 7 day trip and you can adjust accordingly for longer or shorter trips.
PACK (2) Footwear: Working from the bottom up, without feet and ankles can be seriously sunburn in a very short period of time (45-60 minutes). I like to wear something on my feet which can get wet but are comfortable. Teva type sandals or Crocs help to block the sun, but I would suggest applying sun screen 45 SPF as well. In terms of packing, I take one pair of “water shoes” and one pair of sandals for the street and travel. That’s it!
PACK (2) Pants: Fast drying nylon pants should be worn to cover your thighs and lower leg ares. I especially like the style of pants which allow you to zip off the legs to make shorts. Very handy and you again have one pair of pants which provides you with functional shorts as well. Pack two pairs of this type of pant.
PACK (3) Shirts: Even though it will be over 100F while fishing, you want to wear long sleeve shirts. Until you have tried it, you might conclude that your going to be compounding the heat problem for your body, however just the opposite if the case. Long sleeve (sometimes called flats shirts) the material has a built-in solar block are usually advertised as such. (Most likely you already know that light colors will reflect more heat than dark colors, which only absorb and collect heat.) But the real beauty of a quality flats fishing shirt is it’s ability to not absorb the gallons of water which your body will perspire in order to keep your core body temperature at 98.6F. The material will remain dry and you will remain cool and protected from the sun.
PACK (1) Buff: I like to wear something called a Buff. This is a short tube of silk or nylon material which is pulled over your head and worn around your neck. It protects your vulnerable neck area especially on the back of your head. You can also pull the Buff up to cover your nose and cheeks. You’ll look like a bank robber, but it works amazingly well. Pack one Buff for the trip.
(A Word About Cotton Clothing): When your body is pumping out gallons of sweat and urine per day, wearing a cotton tee shirt is like wearing a sponge. In a couple of hours, your shirt will be completed drenched in sweat and you’ll no uncomfortable… no miserable as the day wears on.
PACK: Underwear- (3) pairs for 7 days. Most men’s underwear is cotton. Whether you prefer briefs or boxer style, I’m going to suggest you invest in a type of men’s underwear which most likely you don’t own yet. At $25 a pair, it seems like a waste of hard earned cash, but hear me out. They wick moisture away from your body (this means comfort); can be washed out by hand and will dry very quickly (reducing the number of pairs to pack). Men’s briefs from Patagonia are the best of the best. Expensive, but will last you ten years!
PACK: (2) Undershirts – Same logic as described in the above paragraph on cotton and underwear. I recommend a Capilene, long sleeve shirt by Patagonia. This shirt will block the sun (15 UPF), wick moisture and keep you cool and dry. Perfect! ($40)
PACK (2) Hats: Pack one baseball style hat and one sun protection hat. Under no circumstances go out for a day on the water without covering your head.
PACK (2) pair of POLARIZED sunglasses. They say your eyes are the window to your soul. With the sun’s rays being reflected off the water all day, intense eye strain will sap your energy, cause severe headaches and you’ll probably quit fishing several hour early and miss some great fishing. Don’t mess with your eyes. Protect them!
Follow these clothing recommendations and your bags will be well under the 50 pound limit; you’ll be cool when the heat is on; and you’ll have a smirk on your face, knowing you packed just the right clothing for Baja’s summer heat!