Kayak Camping Logistics

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by Jurfie, May 28, 2008.

  1. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    Okay, okay...as you've probably been able to tell from previous posts, I'm a complete kayak-camping noob and know very little. So I need someone with much patience to walk me through the logistics of what gear is needed, how you fit all that gear into a kayak, transportation and storage of food (including perishables, and how long they last), how much water one needs to take per day, enviro-friendly cleanup (dishes and self), etc, etc.

    I'm planning on a trip to the Brokens in August, for 3 nights (I know it isn't enough time to see, well, anything, but it's all I've got this time), and I'm at a loss for how much to bring.

    Help! 8)
     
  2. rider

    rider Paddler

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    My 3 rules :
    #1 Long and relatively light items go in the bow.(foamie sleeping pads, tent poles)
    #2,take what you actually NEED,keep redundancy to minimum.
    #3 Chunky soup is king.

    Water-i go by about 4 liters per person per day,which includes some for washing your face before sleep and washing hands before eating.
    Dishes-use metal dishes, scrub them with wet beach sand and rinse out with fresh water. Works like a charm.
     
  3. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

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    first of all, and above all else, you must have a Trangia kit. :wink:

    i get by easily on less than 2 liters per day of water.

    perishable foods can be dehydrated at home and carried for weeks without fear of spoiling. beef, fish, and chiken/turkey can be made into jerky. fruits and veggies can be dried and reconstituted in camp. heck, entire meals can be done in the dehydrater, bagged in serving sizes, and 'just add boiling water'.

    Daren.........
     
  4. RichardH

    RichardH Paddler

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    And nothing's better than a travel size container of purell.. I normally hate the stuff: the smell, the feel, the everything :p, but for camping it means you can save all the water for kayaking and soup. One teeny tiny container will do for a 10 person camp for a week.

    -Rich
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Paddler

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    I've put together a minimalist overnighter kit that fits in my PFD pocket. I figure if I get dumped, I have to ditch, or I get caught out overnight I'd like a few basics...


    $7 - Magnesium block with striker for fire starting.
    $2 - Survival blanket for instant tarp shelter and emergency signal.
    $2 - plastic whistle.
    $3 - keychain mini-compass.
    ? - 50 feet of heavy test fishing line. Doubles as tarp line.
    ? - Three single hooks, with short leaders.
    ? - Swiss army knife, not sure of model but it's a smallish one.
    $20 bill for dinner, bus fare, whatever.
    2x Quarters for phone calls.
    Ziplock freezer bag for collecting water.
    ? - Heavy thread, and three needles.
    This all fits in a 2nd ziplock freezer bag and makes quite a slim package.

    I'm sure this will change as I find other things I need and don't need, but I figure this will get me through a night or two stranded on a beach.

    daniel
     
  6. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Woof. That's a tall order, Jurfie! I'll start with packing.

    Test your hatches. If they are waterproof, things that are only inconvenient when wet can go inside compartments undrybagged. Avoid drybagging stuff, because most drybags do not slide in well, and they inhibit efficient use of space. Conversely, stuff that is made useless if wet must go inside a drybag: sleeping bag; camp clothes; paper towels; matches if you use them; food like flour and other dry goods.

    Where to stow gear: the key to jamming all of it in there is to make good use of space, which begins by packing skinny things and conformable stuff in the ends, like ryder said. Some people like tapered dry bags for their camp clothes, which efficiently fill the bow or stern; I have soft gear (tarp, squishy food bags, camp rain gear, and the like) that I send home to the ends of my boat with elan. Getting it out can be harder. :lol: Once the ends are occupied, the remaining space is more rectangulodial, and it is easier to imagine how things might fit. My boat has a huge, oval stern, so I jam my sleeping bag and camp clothes into a huge dry bag, shaped into an oval, squash the bejesus out of it by lying on it on a flat surface while rolling and sealing it, and quickly transfer it to the rear compartment. While it is sitting there, I jam my sleeping pad and tent gear (separate the fly from the tent and poles) around it, filling the odd spaces to the sides). This leaves slender, long gaps, which I fill with collapsed Sven saw, small hatchet, and other stuff like that.

    The rest of the stern compartment holds E-clothes in a dry bag, stove and fuel, pots and pans (nested), maybe perishables in a collapsible cooler, and maybe water in an MSR bladder, concentrating dense items towards the center of the boat. Last to go in are a couple large mesh duffles, useful for yarding gear from the yak to the campsite, wind pants, and other light squshable stuff.

    The bow compartment mainly holds food, packed towards the center of the boat, cans first 'cause they are dense, plus my camp chair, camp boots, etc. I am a strong believe in separating food from fuel, so fuel never goes forward. Avoid deck loads if you can; if you have to, stow your sleeping pad in a dry bag, strapped to the stern, to get heavy stuff low.

    Water is dense, so I put an MSR bladder (10 L) behind my seat in the cockpit, and one forward of my feet, also. I can do a week in cool weather on 20 L, no sweat, usually having 3-4 L left over, but I bring along juices and soy milk (I have an allergy to cows milk) in wet form, so I cheat a little.

    A critical concept to making this work is to recognize that it is volume, not weight that limits what you can take, so work on getting your camp gear compact.

    And, test-pack it a couple days ahead of time so you can decide if something needs to be left behind. Really, though, if you have done any backpacking, you will be amazed at how much room you have for gear and food in a kayak. It is luxury living, by comparison.

    Bug me later about food choices. And tent choice And tarp choice. And sleeping bag choice.
     
  7. sushiy

    sushiy Paddler

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  8. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Jurfie, I'm back.

    Some hits on fresh food storage and lifetime: durable veggies like potatoes, carrots, onions, apples, oranges, cabbage (yes! surprisingly good and very popular several days out), ginger, garlic, etc., can be kept for a week no problem, and two weeks in good conditions provided: 1. the air temps are cool (<70F); 2. you consistently store these guys against the lower hull surface while paddling so the cold sea water keeps them cold; 3. they do not get bruised; 4. in camp (and in the hold) they are kept in mesh bags for good air circulation. Couple long trips in the Charlottes I was veggie man, carting 50 lbs of veggies for larger groups.

    Fresh whole cuts of meat, if packed frozen in a collapsible cooler, will last for a couple days, depending on air temp. Avoid ground meats; overnight keep the cooler inside a hatch in bear-free areas (e.g., Brokens), hanging high in bearzones. A package of frozen berries (in syrup) serves as edible cooler ice to extend this a bit. Yogurt lasts quite a while also. Some folks freeze things like casseroles, chili, stews, and so forth at home and pack them frozen; depending on conditions, these are safe two days later.

    If you have access to dry ice, you can even have ice cream the second night out if it is surrounded with a layer of it.

    Kayak camping is luxury. Take wine, beer, maybe a small flask of apricot brandy for anointing pudding or instant cheesecake (very popular trhee days out). Cook hard sausage with eggs (good for a week) for breakfast on slow mornings, or pancakes any time -- use the Jiffy corn muffin mix for yummy ones.

    This i making me hungry, man!
     
  9. Kasey

    Kasey Paddler

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    Very entertaining read AstoriaDave! :D

    I started out with a generic gear list, personalized it, and add and delete things each time I use it and it is becoming more efficient.

    I also drew a sketch of my kayak from above and drew in where I put the larger things, added any adjustments that I found effective and keep that in my boat during the trip where I can refer to it if needed. That way I know that what fit in today will also fit in tomorrow! :wink:
    Kathy
     
  10. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Kathy,

    Your "packing map" is a really good idea. I should do that, because I often forget how it all works, and then have to relearn it. I should also resurrect my gear list, so I don't forget things. I forgot my coffee filter holder at Beaumont! :cry: Aaaaagh!!! Talk about caffeine withdrawal.

    I thought of another food issue: BREAD.

    Basically, Becky and I have given up on everything except bagels and tortillas. Ordinary loaves are just not durable enough to survive. And, bagels are hearty, durable, and tasty. We got some really yummy ones one time from an "organic" bakery, though, and regretted our choice: they had no preservatives in them, and molded to a total science project in two days. Yuk! :cry: Otherwise, they last for a week.

    On tortillas: we like the larger ones made from corn, which are so yummy and hang together better than the smaller ones made from corn. Tortillas are good for lunch, and super good for making burritos. Plus quesadillas. The latter are a real hit as people straggle back to camp after a hard day's paddle, as pick me ups prior to the "real" dinner meal.

    Oh, yeah, reminds me about a vital cooking item: a large (12 inch in diameter), heavy weight aluminum fry pan. Camp stoves heat so unevenly that thin pans give hot spots. And, you need a large surface area for good browning of tortillas and for making decent pancakes. Not to mention stir frying. We used to take a medium size wok, but it was really only very good for stir frying, and not so good for other cooking chores. And, be sure to drill out the rivets attaching the handle to the pan, replacing them with brass bolts and wing nuts. A frying pan with handle attached is hell to pack. Here's a photo of how it looks after the rivets are gone, with nuts and bolts:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    ARRG! I had a loooong response typed out for this, but when I hit "submit" I had timed out and lost it all. Bummer! :evil:

    Thanks to everyone for all the replies thus far! I love this site!! 8)

    I think I have the tent and sleeping bags picked; I just haven't bought them yet.

    As for stoves, I'd like to see the Trangia in action! Perhaps I could drop in on DarenN for a demo one day? (I'd like to see the Broil King too!) My concern about campstoves are the ability to control heat, and even cooking. I'll also look for a frying pan to modify, as suggested by Astoriadave.

    I'm leaning towards more water than less (at least until I can gauge personal usage over time). The MSR dromedary bags seem nice and durable, but I am concerned about the way they supposedly affect taste. Has anyone tried the Platypus products? They seem less durable, but promise no aftertaste. Would more smaller waterbags be better than one or two larger ones?

    Most of my kayak "expeditions" would be limited to 1-3 nights, so I don't think I need to start dehydrating food at home (though I'd like to get a dehydrator eventually). What about vacuum-sealing? I'm thinking of getting one for home anyways (thanks to buying super-family packs of meat at Costco!); has anyone tried making home-made boil-in-the-bags this way? I'd assume packing food this way would increase "shelf life" while camping.

    I'm glad Astoriadave mentioned the problem with drybags not sliding; I'd have thought the opposite! Has anyone tried those light-weight poly-coated nylon drybags from MEC? Are they slippery-er than the standard bags? I know they are less durable, but perhaps they would do for campclothes, etc.

    Again, thanks for all the tips; lots of helpful information!! What I'd REALLY like to know is how SheilaP gets all that gear in her boat!!! :wink:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Jurfie,

    I should have expanded that "dry bags do not slide easily" comment some:

    the ones with a smooth vinyl exterior stick; the ones with a woven nylon exterior slide pretty well. IIRC, some of the tapered dry bags designed to fit into bow cavities are of the latter type, and work well for fitting that area.

    Platypus water containers seem to work well for many people, and do not impart that MSR dromedary bag taste. BTW, if you filter your water into the MSR bags (thereby removing chlorine), they do not produce the flavor.
     
  13. inpayne

    inpayne Paddler

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    I now swear by those.

    For a short summer trip you are fine. You won't have heavy clothing and you won't have to be concerned about packing 30+ days worth of food.

    A few have touched upon the basic rules of long and thin to the bow and stern.

    Do not skimp on packing without dry bags:
    • Newer material can slide perfectly well to the far reaches of your boat.
    • Avoid large dry bags (anything over 20L), and go for many smaller bags of different colours to distinguish what is packed in what.
    • For extended trips I usually have a 20L drybag for daily food, a couple of 10L bags for clothing (never keep your dry clothes in one 'basket'), a sleeping bag in either a 10L or 20L dry bag (depending on the season), a 10L bag to stuff my tent into, and a couple more 5 or 10L, dry bags for odds and ends.
    The smaller bags you use the easier it will be to pack. For colder weather or extended trips I'll use up to 4 elongated 21L bags to pack dry food and clothing. Pairing each up and stuffing them to each end of the boat. With the rather slippery bags that I use, I have no issues in getting around the skeg box.

    Due to being relatively strong and slippery, these MEC Weigh Lite Dry bags are what I currently recommend:

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_deta ... 4302700593

    Go with
    • 3-4 small 10L
    • 2 medium 20l
    • and optionally (if you still need more storage) 2-4 X-Long tapered 21L
    All of that will do you for year round camping and should be relatively easy (with room to spare) to fit into the dry compartments of a ~17' kayak. I tend to keep nothing in the cockpit with me.

    Get, a thin and x-large duffle bag to easily unpack and repack the gear from your boat.

    Plus 1 or 2 6-10L dromedaries. A water bag is easy to pack and compact down to suit the needs of your trip. I store mine in toward the centre and bottom of the boat, in my day hatch with some gear on top to keep them from moving about too much -- less cumbersome for rolling and they add cheating ballast..;)

    For drinking water while paddling I also have a cheap hydration pack. Easy and again not cumbersome. If you don't have a back pocket on a vest or PFD, then use a incredibly cheap and small backpack that's just enough to pack a ~10 hydration pack into.

    With packing as that in a Legend, I've done month+, self-contained solo trips, with all of my food, plus hammock, tarp, 4 lengths of 12m 4mm line, and even a foldable chair that gets shoved into my stern.

    Just remember when rolling the drybags down to get at least 3 rolls before tying off and compress out any extra air to save even more space. It's scary seeing some people attempt to stuff in drybag balloons.

    Suitable dry-bags are key. Once you have those then packing for any trip will be a cinch.
     
  14. cruzin

    cruzin Paddler

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    I totally agree with you! I've used a bunch of the tips in this book. Definitely a book worth buying.
     
  15. inpayne

    inpayne Paddler

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    Oh, and I forgot that with all of that packed I still have room to pack my collapsible Wheeleez under the bow hatch....

    So, in no particular order, an extended solo trip gear list for gear packed inside (only myself in the cockpit) and with all of those drybags typically looks like:

    • kayak cart
    • 2 white fuel/unleaded gas stoves..in the past Whisperlites but now Coleman Featherlite 420s
    • 4 ~1L canisters of white gas shoved to each end of the boat
    • pump water filter
    • Pristine binary water purification as a third backup
    • frying pan
    • 1 1.5 L pot
    • 1L kettle
    • 2 10L dromedaries
    • 4 flint/magnesium fire starters -- 1 tied to each stove, food bag, etc.
    • 4-5 lengths of at least 12m 4mm line
    • 2 man tent with a ground sheet
    • 2.9 x 3.9m silicone impregnated nylon tarp
    • peak hammock
    • an MEC Oassis sleeping bag for the summer or an old (overkill) -20 MEC primaloft bag for the winter
    • Big Agnes Primaloft Insulated Air Core...used to stick with an old thermarest style but cobble beaches get sore..a much thicker but still compact air mattress is nice
    • ...no more bulky fleece for me, with a now disco'd MEC Primaloft top for chills
    • expedition weight (Malden MillsĀ® Power Dry) long johns
    • poncho
    • two pairs of tops and bottom mareno wool long underwear
    • rubber boots
    • short neoprene booties
    • cheap rubber thongs for easy footwear
    • cheap rain pants
    • two thermoguard type paddling tops to always have one to dry
    • a shorty paddling spray top for those warmer but windier days
    • spare adjustable spray deck
    • farmer john wet suit for those in between temperature days
    • dry suit for below 13-14 degrees, rainy, or very windy, or exposed coast
    • foldable chair (wimping out now...and found that I have the space)
    Yeah.....I think that's my main list of the typical kit that I now fully pack inside.
     
  16. rider

    rider Paddler

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    My camping cooking consists of boiling some water for soup/noodles/tea, for one or two people. so my choice of stove is the MSR Pocket Rocket. probably the ultimate in functional compact simplicity on a budget.
    Before packing anything without dry bags i'd definetely make sure your hatches are bone dry-and keep in mind you can still drip some water inside when packing/unpacking.
    I had to re-think my packing when i got the Chatham 17 since the biggest bag it'll fit is a 10 liter, and only 2 of those. So i ended up using two 10s, one for clothes,the other for sleeping bag, and the rest went into a mix of 5 liter bags and plastic screw-top containers. Works well enough, but the key is no redundancy and no luxuries. For this weekend it'll have to fit camping gear for 2 nights, a cart and basic diving gear. I think i got that figured out .
    My water container of choice is generic 2L/1.5L bottles. plenty tough and squishable when empty.
     
  17. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

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    Hhhhmmmmmm;;;;;;;;;
    i just did a four day trip in the same kayak.
    i had lots of luxuries, and stuff i never used. left-over food and water.
    Daren.......
     
  18. rider

    rider Paddler

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    go figure. I don't know how you crammed it all in. But i also get annoyed by crap that i don't end up using yet i HAVE to pack back in into a very limited space,so that may be half the reason i lately try to minimize. Mind you i always end up with leftover food and water but that's just my preffered margin.
    Daren what kind of dry bags do you use?
     
  19. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

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    Outdoor Research, for the small bags, 6-10 liters. and one 20liter Seal-line taperred bag for the bow.
     
  20. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    Wow, lots of great information here! :shock:

    I appreciate all the tips and tricks; hopefully we will continue to build on this thread over time to help other camping newbies who have been scratching theirs heads (like I have been) trying to figure out what to bring and how to pack it all in!

    Thanks to inpayne for the indepth list, too; I've been wondering how many drybags to start off with, and your suggestion (quoted below) is a big help!

    I may tweak it to DarenN's suggestion of more 10L + one tapered bag rather than the 20L, as rider's point about hatch size is a good one. I'll probably be renting for a while, so that would give me the best flexibility, methinks.