I started out building my camping kit from scratch and kinda winged it, recalling my experiences as a kid, so if you want professional advice it would be good to check the links in the next section or take a camping course.
There are basic things every camper needs and then the list expands based on additional circumstances and preferences.
Traveling by kayak the first consideration has to be minimalism. There is only so much that can fit!
Secondly weight matters. The kayak has to float properly and if a portage is needed that complicates further.
I created lists like those below and weighed every component–literally. I laid everything out beside the kayak figuring out how to best pack it for weight distribution, water protection and personal comfort. I knew I would start out with a car for storage of extra gear nearby and as I tightened up the gear selection I started leaving that behind. (The car proved to be a handy place to protect my food as well.)
I pack the tent and set up kit separately to conserve space so the tent is is wrapped in a tarp to protect it from water and damage during transportation in the kayak bow.
The site should be as level as possible. Sleeping on a grade is uncomfortable so make sure you are not going to slowly roll down hill at night and plan where your head will go. Sweep away sticks, twigs and pebbles to protect your tent floor and knees. Spread out the tarp, the tent unrolled on top of it. A rag is used to clean off moisture and debris.
Locate the front of the tent to protect from sun, wind, rain and offer a view for security or serenity. Don’t laugh, I’ve had to move the tent after staking it a few times because I didn’t think through the site details and my own comfort. I find using a sun path tool handy. Add the supports, fly and enjoy. An additional tarp can be suspended over the tent to protect from extreme sun or rain. Rope and possibly extra support poles will be needed.
Food and Toilet checklist
Back Country Additions checklist