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Jet Ski Camping 101 [Video]

Jet Ski Camping 101 [Video]

Jet ski camping? This phrase sounds like a contradiction, like a cheap jet ski! But contrary to popular belief, the latest jet skis can carry all your camping gear even with a passenger onboard.

If you want to find out more about jet ski camping, this post is for you.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know under one roof!

Can You Go Camping with a Jet Ski?

Unlike vintage models, which were designed as solo water toys, today’s jet skis can even function like small boats.

Therefore, they can be used for a variety of activities like touring, PWC fishing, or even to reach camping spots.

This is no surprise since the largest models can accommodate three riders along with plenty of gear.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about these skis in detail!

The Best Jet Skis for Camping

There’s no question that the best jet skis for camping are full-size models classed in the Luxury/Touring lines. To be more specific, these breeds include Yamaha’s FX series, Kawasaki’s Ultra family, and ST3-hulled Sea-Doos like the GTX, and RXP-X 325.

As a rule of thumb, each of these skis is built on large, stable touring hulls and powered by high-performance 170-325hp engines.

You can expect the weight capacity of these skis to be 550-600 pounds, which may include 18-22 gallons of fuel and 25-45 gallons of gear depending on the model. Sure, the storage capacity can be stretched in many ways, as we’ll discuss later in this article.

You can also find some special purpose-built PWCs in the marketplace like the Sea-Doo Fish Pro, the Sea-Doo Explorer Pro, and the Kawasaki Ultra 160 LX-S Angler.

These are specifically built for activities like exploring or fishing, but they can also be used for other purposes. They come with extended rear platforms, which are equipped with a storage rack or an accessory system depending on the model.

If you already own a ski, don’t worry as there are many ways to modify it for a camping trip.

Let’s move on and take a closer look at your options.

How to Gear Up a Jet Ski for Camping

Many great accessories can be used to gear up your machine for a jet ski camping adventure, but the most important ones are as follows:
  • Rear rack and cooler
  • Cargo trailer or rescue board
  • Storage bags
  • Fuel cans
  • Mooring Accessories
  • Navigation system
  • Clothes and protectors
  • Safety gear
Rear rack

There’s no question that one of the best additions for a touring / camping jet ski is a rear storage rack.

These cargo racks are designed with PWC fishing in mind, so they can accommodate a large cooler or a storage box.

Dedicated fishing PWCs come standard with a rack, but you can also find plenty of aftermarket alternatives.

What’s more, certain models like Yamaha FXs are available with a detachable rear deck extension, which can significantly increase deck space.

Cargo trailer

Jet ski cargo trailers are often referred to as jet ski camping trailers and with good reason. These purpose-built towable storage units do the same job as regular trailers on roadways.

They can accommodate a ton of food, beer, or gear, and jet ski camping accessories are no exception.

Rescue boards can also be cheap and versatile alternatives to these bulky floating trailers.

Storage bags

When it comes to jet ski camping, some dry storage bags are among the must-have accessories. After all, who wants to wear wet clothes?

Even though jet skis’ bow storage compartments are often advertised as “watertight,” it is not uncommon for water to leak into them, not to mention the rear platform, which is completely open leaving your gear exposed to the elements.

Therefore, best practice is to store your clothes and valuables in high-quality dry bags and boxes.

There are special PWC saddlebags that can be attached to both sides of the machine, just like on a motorcycle.

Fuel cans

If you plan to reach a distant camping destination, you will probably need to carry spare fuel with you.

There are many ways to carry fuel cans on your jet ski. If you regularly use it for long tours you can’t go wrong with an auxiliary fuel tank.

Keeping safety in mind, never carry a fuel can in enclosed storage compartments!

Mooring Accessories

Since you’re planning to spend the night in a remote destination, you will need some mooring accessories to secure your jet ski.

Depending on the characteristics of the coastline, you will need an anchor, a bungee tie, or some regular ropes.

Safety equipment

You should always pack some safety accessories. They can not only save your life but some of them are required by law as well.

A USCG-approved life jacket is barely the minimum, but if you want to dig deeper you can find our recommendations for the most common PWC safety accessories here.Navigation

If you plan to go to an unknown place, proper navigation equipment is a must.

Besides a GPS, it’s always wise to have a paper map and a small compass onboard, you never know when you will need them.

Last but not least, always let someone know when and where you plan to go, especially if you are going alone.


Today’s jet skis can be used for a variety of activities, and touring and reaching camping spots are no exception.

The best jet skis for these purposes are arguably full-sized touring PWCs, which are built on the largest hulls and come with the most bells and whistles.

However, smaller Recreation models can also do the job with some limitations.

To load the camping gear on the ski you will need some dry storage bags, which can be completed with a rear rack, a rescue board, or even a purpose-built jet ski camping trailer.

Additionally, it’s also wise to carry some spare fuel with you, as well as navigation and safety gear.

If you want to dig deeper, you may find our list useful with the most common PWC accessories.