Camping on Pontoon Boats USA UK 2023

Camping on Pontoon Boats USA UK 2023

Camping on pontoon boats is fun! Where else do you get serene outdoor excursions on open waters with family and friends?

If you have a pontoon boat but have never been on a camping trip, it is highly advisable that you do so! Take your loved ones out for a fun camping expedition amidst a lake with the relaxing sound of overlapping waves. After all, camping is akin to a mini family vacation!

The good thing with pontoon boats is that you can customize your vessel to make it extra luxurious or spacious as and when you need it to be! 

So whether you are going to have bouts of booze with friends or have a relaxing day out with the family, pontoon boats really pack a punch when it comes to camping adventures. 

But before you go out sailing for that perfect camping gig, there are a few things you should keep in mind regarding the location and your pontoon boat. 

Preparing for a toon camping adventure 

Preparing for a pontoon camping adventure calls you to review a few things before you start packing! You should know the location well, prepare for it accordingly while also getting your vessel ready for the adventure.

  • Selecting the right location

When you are about to go camping, knowing the location where you would park your boat is essential. You need to check with the park and state to find out if you need certain permits or licenses to park your boat overnight! Some places do not allow camping at all, so it would be wise to check beforehand. 

While parking the boat, finding the right cover for anchoring is also necessary. Try to find a cove or channel that protects you from waves or wind. You can also use two anchors and use GPS apps, just to be on the safe side. 

Keep an eye out for the weather as well. Though it cannot be predicted with accuracy, if you are a regular toon camper you should know how to steer your boat through rough weather! Carrying extra coats and ponchos is also wise in areas where the rainy season persists. 

  • Preparing for the adventure

As mentioned above, you would also need to prepare your pontoon boat as per your camping trip. Camping calls for overhead protection, and so if you do not have a full canvas enclosure, traditional tents can do the trick here. You can put up your tent on the front deck between the seats. 

Mostly, whenever you are out camping, you need a few essentials like bedding, water, food, lights, etc. 

Sleeping bags can suffice for your bedding needs on the boat. For water, you could carry a camper or a cooler with ice, or you can purchase a 5-gallon water tank with a purifier which should be enough to last your trip. 

Although most pontoons come with cooking counters, it is advisable to prepare food at home and only prepare light meals like sandwiches on the boat. You could of course catch a few fish and get them served for the feel. If you are camping on a shore, you could bring cooking utensils and have added to the experience.

Always keep your white running lights on so that you are visible to other marine traffic. For an illuminated aura after sunset on the boat, you could use LED lanterns or rechargeable solar lights. 

If you anticipate the weather to be cold on your camping night, you can get a cabin heater installed indoors. However, ensure that you do not plug into the battery for a power source. Also, it is highly advisable to install carbon monoxide detector alarms when using cabin heaters indoors. 

Lastly, for your shower and toilet needs, you could get solar showers and portable toilets. 

  • Getting the vessel ready

You also need to make preparations or tune your boat as per the camping plan. The first thing you may want to check here is that the battery and all the connections are in proper function. After all, you do not want to lose your primary power source, not during a camping session!

Get your front white running lights checked and you can also install LED lights on the side of your boat. 

If your plan is a savvy camping party with lots of electronic usages, a second battery that caters specifically to your electronics is a good option to reduce the load on a single power source. 

If you are planning on fishing, a fish finder device will help you save all the time and hassle. Along with that, a GPS is a necessity that will help you navigate. 

Camping essentials

All in all, you need the following camping essentials if you are planning a night out on your pontoon boats:


  • Tents
  • Sleeping bags, pillows
  • Food items and cutlery
  • Five gallons of water tank/pump/purifier
  • LED lanterns, flashlights, headlamps
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Bug repellants

Above all essentials, you must have a pontoon boat with a bar and grill.

Happy camping…

So there you go. By keeping the above pointers in mind, you can now go camping happily with the gang on your boats and enjoy the toon life to the fullest.


Pontoon boats come in various configurations. If you are planning on outdoor camping activities, purchase a pontoon boat with indoor space and beds.
Pontoon boats were never meant for speed, which makes them ideal for fishing, anchoring and trolling.
If you want to put a cover on your boat, it is best to go for canopy enclosures which act as tents. You can get a full or half canopy enclosure as per your requirements.
Unless you are getting a custom one built for yourself, the answer is no! Most luxury pontoon boats do not add the luxury of bathrooms. However, you can always carry portable toilets during camping.

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