AbstractBiodegradable chitosan can be applied as a coating on the surface of kraft paper in order to improve its barrier properties against water vapor and air. The food packaging industry can benefit from the addition of chitosan to its current packaging, and in turn reduce pollution from plastic packaging plants. This paper discusses the film formation of chitosan, the permeability of paper coated with a chitosan layer, and the influence on the paper’s surface and barrier properties under different process conditions. SEM (scanning electron microscope), AFM (atomic force microscope), ATR-FTIR (Fourier transmission infrared spectroscope with attenuated total reflection), and PDA (penetration dynamics analysis) were used to analyze the properties of chitosan’s film formation and permeability. A controlled experiment showed that the chitosan layer was smoother than the surface of the uncoated kraft paper, had better film formation, and that there was no chitosan penetration through the kraft paper. The barrier properties against water vapor were strongest when there was a higher concentration of chitosan solution at the optimum pH, stirring speed, and those with a thicker coating on the kraft paper.