running to (and from) Rum

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by kayakwriter, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. kayakwriter

    kayakwriter Paddler

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    So last Friday, I wheeled aboard the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry with three friends. Despite the insanely heavy wind and rain the night before, we had a good window of sun and light airs for our paddle out to Rum Island. The weather kindly waited 'til we'd got our tents and tarp rigged before it blew in again. We feasted, warmed by good shelter, good food, good company and a fine port.

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    I was experimenting with a new shelter, the MSR Twin Brothers (kind of a smaller cousin to Dan's MSR Pavilion we've all sheltered in at WCP get-togethers). My plan is to use it for winter and shoulder season paddling, when you're under cover from late afternoon/early evening on. It's big enough to stand up in - nice when you're spending so much of the day/night cycle in it. And you can change into/out of drysuits inside. I'd also spoiled myself with a folding chair, table, and a cot to go under my Downmat sleeping pad (I rationalized the latter as a second line of defense in case of leakage from the floor - which buttons in rather than being sewn it.) As I expected with a single wall shelter there was a bit of condensation on the inside when it rained, but it wasn't much of a problem since it was easy to avoid touching the walls. I was also really pleased at how well it stood up to wind, especially considering I couldn't peg it properly on the thinly moss covered rock, and had to anchor it instead with driftwood logs.

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    Saturday became really blustery by the time we'd finished our huge breakfast, with fully developed seas battering the rocks. No paddling, just exploring the island, general sloth and a huge supper. We also encountered three other paddlers from Victoria who were as astonished as we were that another group was crazy enough to be out in these conditions -they'd made it to the island just before it got unpaddleable.


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    The forecast called for unrelenting 20-30 knot winds, so we imagined there was a good chance we'd be stormbound. Fortunately, we had spare food and water, plus cellphone signals to let the folks back home know we were OK.

    In the event, we had a brief weather window on Sunday morning, so we packed up post haste, with only a quick bagel for breakfast, and bolted for Swartz Bay. We had to breast the current, but not the wind. As we left on the ferry a few hours later, the water was streaked with white, so we had got while the getting was good.

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  2. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Hey, Kayakwriter, thanks for the gear review of the MSR shelter. I've always liked the idea of using an old-school wall-type tent (a la Bill Mason's baker's tent), and it's cool to see one in modern materials that can stand up to our weather. I guess one disadvantage is the amount of open space you need to pitch it, but I like the idea of getting changed standing up.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  3. kayakwriter

    kayakwriter Paddler

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    Hey Andy,

    Glad it was of interest to you. Yeah, Bill Mason was an inspiration to me too. If the alcohol boat heater I have doesn't turn out to generate enough heat for winter camping in it, Plan B is a woodstove.

    Yes, it does have a huge footprint, but I don't see myself doing deep northern wilderness in winter with it. I'm thinking Gulf Islands and similar places that have developed sites big enough for it, but that won't be crowded in the off seasons.
     
  4. Reef

    Reef Paddler

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    Trip report AND gear review!
    Its like a two for one deal! Thanks for sharing.
     
  5. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Philip,

    Is that single wall shelter to be your only shelter, or is it an add-on for hanging out during wet periods and for use in cooking, etc. With your smaller sleeping tent pitched elsewhere?

    Whichever, like the design for its ability to get an overhead cover with a small footprint. Pitches easier than a 10 x10 tarp, I bet, also.
     
  6. kayakwriter

    kayakwriter Paddler

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    Hi Dave,

    (Let me say again what a pleasure it is to be having you contribute here once more.)

    The idea is to bring a tarp as well and use it over a picnic table where the precip stays more or less vertical. In really blustery conditions on solo trips, the plan is to sleep, cook, eat and live inside the Twin Brothers once night falls. (I'm not too concerned about food odours on the shelter, since I won't be in real bear country with it. Just weekends in the Gulfs in winter.) The floor folds back so I can run a Trangia, my boat heater and a multi-candle lantern in there. I doubt I'll create a shirt-sleeves environment in there, but it should be warm enough to wear just a fleece or so, with no need to sport a soggy shell garment. So I should be able to recommence paddling in the rain next day prewarmed rather than prechilled.
     
  7. natgeo

    natgeo Paddler

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    Loved the trip report. Made me pine for those stormbound days spent at camp, with nothing better to do than poke around the islands, read a good book, or cook some good food. Your pics, even though they weren't of the best weather for the most part, also had me pining for the West Coast in general. :D

    Glad to see you have a Trangia now. Did you pick it up after our Bowron trip in 2007?
     
  8. kayakwriter

    kayakwriter Paddler

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    Yup. Right after we got back. You were the one who Showed Me The Light on that. Search "Church Of Trangia" on this site and you'll see there are many of us. For my solo trips, the Trangia and a folding woodstove are my favourite combo.

    I've been spreading The Good Word myself, as through this blog posting:
    http://blog.mec.ca/2012/01/09/perfectly-simple-trangia-cookset-and-firesteel/
     
  9. natgeo

    natgeo Paddler

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    Haha. That's great. My Danish friend Nils gave it to us as a wedding present in 2006 (at the time you couldn't buy them in Canada), and I think I've converted about half a dozen of my friends to Trangias. There's no way I'd go back to a whisperlite. :)