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Just Starting Out

windancer

Paddler
Joined
Nov 19, 2012
Messages
194
Location
Regina, SK.
Thanks to both people that took the time to answer my question in another thread. I thought maybe it would be more advantageous to start a new thread rather than hijack someone elses's thread.

I hope all of you forgive me for my newbie questions and hope some of you can help me out, but I desperately want to kayak more and become more self sufficient doing it.

I have paddled for nearly 20 years so that part is fine, but they have always been day trips or around here. As anybody who lives here knows, trust me southern Saskatchewan is not a kayaking haven. The two times I have been out to BC on extended trips I was with a tour company which basically took care of everything. To say the least I was for lack of a better word "coddled". They took care of everything, all I had to do basically was set up my tent at night which they provided and paddle during the day. They provided us with meals etc. and basically did everything for us. I know I really enjoyed what they had to offer and very appreciative, but I know now I would like to take advantage of trips such as the Broughton Archipelago and the West Coast Paddler spring campout to name a couple, I must admit I am a little lost.

I have taken the time and effort to equip both my boats with everything that I have read is necessary. I have life jackets, spare paddles, bilge pumps, spray skirts, knives, compasses etc. for each boat. Both boats are fully equiped (I think) with all the necessities.

I have camped in the past so I am not new to it but I was able to carry everything in the car. I have a new one person tent, a down filled sleeping bag, a sleeping mat but I know much of my camping gear is too large, too heavy and maybe too cumbersome to use on a kayak trip. I know my meal preparation sucks, so do you have any thoughts for me, recommended reading etc.

Sushiy mentioned a gear list on the other thread, if any one has something that they are willing to share, I would be very much appreciative.

Terry
 
windancer said:
I have camped in the past so I am not new to it but I was able to carry everything in the car. I have a new one person tent, a down filled sleeping bag, a sleeping mat but I know much of my camping gear is too large, too heavy and maybe too cumbersome to use on a kayak trip. I know my meal preparation sucks, so do you have any thoughts for me, recommended reading etc.

Terry-
I've done a lot of backpacking/trekking/mountaineering 'back in the day', so I've come to kayaking with that 'mindset'.
When I questioned Leon Somme (BodyBoatBlade & NDK dealer) about the gear capacity of a 'smaller' kayak like the Romany, he commented that it had the capacity of 'two pretty big backpacks', so that set my mind at ease!

So, taking a 'backpacking approach' will get your gear load smaller and lighter than many kayakers, I think.
Compression stuffsacks are good for clothing and sleeping bags.. I like the OutdoorResearch gear, and I have one of these:
http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/HikingCam ... p-sack.jsp

for the sleeping bag. It works.

About food- again, I lean toward the backpacking approach - not freeze-dried, but home-mixed and prepped food.
The NOLS Cookery book and other backpacking cookery books would be a start . Most of the kayak cookery books I have seen focus a lot on 'semi-gourmet', multi-course meals, and tips on preparing your freshly-caught salmon, oysters, prawns, etc etc...not really my thing, though if you get involved preparing meals for a group or pot-luck you may need something fancy.
If you are just cooking for yourself, if it is palatable and good 'fuel', it doesn't matter much if it 'sucks', IMO!

Figure out the largest dry bag (5L, 10L?) that will go through your hatches, and divide your gear up accordingly.

Also, get some of those giant blue IKEA shopping/carry bags- they are great for ferrying gear to/from the boat and they pack down small. (One for each compartment/hatch?)

Cheers
John
 
A friend and I wrote a little book in 2009 about a trip around Vancouver Island. It is available in its entirety online at:

http://www.blurb.com/books/910206-an-ev ... ver-island

Pages 67-73 are about specific bits of kit, and packing. Pages 74-76 are a kit list.

Nothing specific about cooking, though. I am really crap in the camp kitchen and tend to rely on rehydrated meals (For those who go that route, get "Mountain House" - better than the other makes, by far, in my opinion).
 
I'm not sure what kind of boat you have, but it's pretty cool how much stuff you can cram into kayaks.

My first trip I actually packed the boat at home just to make sure I could get the huge pile of gear inside and the last two summers I walked on the ferry with my boat on a cart so had to pre-pack, practice pays off.

You'll end up with a system for your gear/bag/boat combination. For example, my sleeping bag and mat go into a tapered dry bag (A must have in my book) which fills the bow. under it, down in the bilge a long slot is formed that always swallows up a 3-4 cans (food or beer) or bottles, then behind that against the front bulkhead goes my cook kit (keep steel clear of a deck mounted compass) with various other kit in between. In the back long things like tent poles go alongside the skeg box and my two biggest drybags go against the back bulkhead. I try to keep heavy items closer to the middle of the boat (that's a holdover from sailboat racing, where the rule is keep the weight out of the ends for speed) so my big water bag is in the day hatch along with lunch. It's a good idea to use more smaller bags as they are easier to fit into irregular shaped spaces. Also I say avoid vinyl drybags like the plgue, they are kinda sticky and the friction makes them a pain to pack into the boat.

Pay attention to weight distribution, uneven side to side distribution can make your boat track funny and front to back can increase weather cocking (the tendency for your boat to turn into a wind).

It takes a bit of fiddling around to pack the first day on a trip but then each day you're eating (and drinking!) a bit and so it gets easier. Although it seems on every trip, the second or third day I get cocky and ignore my established system and end up with a mess!

I may be weird, but one of the things I really dig about kayaking is being able to carry so much stuff with you and the feeling that you're packed up and ready to go anywhere.
 
Very small print stuff, but important if you have a deck board compass - do not pack any ferrous metal near to it in the front hatch.
 
Comoxpaddler said:
Very small print stuff, but important if you have a deck board compass - do not pack any ferrous metal near to it in the front hatch.
Thanks everyone so far that has offered up some advice. Just so everyone knows, my two boats are a 17' Fiberglass Seaward "Tyee" and a 17' rotomolded Current Designs storm. Both boats have a deck compass on them. During my second trip to BC, we used double seakayaks, Seaward Southwinds and I was totally amazed at what they each carried.

As numerous people have mentioned, you learn from experience so I guees I have to take the "plunge" and go for it. I hope to make the Annual West Coast Paddler spring campout as well as other trips this years and get my feet wet, so to speak.

Terry
 
JohnAbercrombie said:
If you are just cooking for yourself, if it is palatable and good 'fuel', it doesn't matter much if it 'sucks', IMO!
Thanks John, very true words indeed!
 
Some interesting discussions on this subject here which I found useful :

http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/forum

There is a wealth of knowledge on the internet but as already mentioned and also in my case, a matter of 'learn as you go'.

I was lucky in the fact that I have been paddling in the company of more experienced which has forced me to refine most of my kit trip after trip. Its worth it in the end though!
 
Here is my list. So far, I am fine with this list. Depends on the length and difficulty of the trip, I leave some items home. If I do solo in remote area, I may need to add more.
Dry bags- smaller bags are easier to pack in the boat.
Water container/bags - a few of those instead of one big one. I am afraid of leak someday.
Storm cag - this one of the best money spent for my gears.
Food- I try one-pot-meal as much as possible. Less work is better for me. I wish I like those 10 minutes meals. Nuts, and M&Ms stays in a small wide mouth water bottles- I can eat it on the water shaking them off the bottle without getting those wet. I bring some crunchy vege and fruit.Fresh crunch in my mouth is something I crave.

Kayak Gear
• Kayak
• Paddle/spare paddle
• Personal flotation device (PFD)
• Spray skirt
• Bilge pump
• Paddle float
• Towline
• Knife
• Deck bag
• Paddle leash
• Dry bags
• Water bottles/hydration pack
• Sponge
• Whistle
helmet
cart
Safety
• VHF radio in waterproof case
• Cell phone in waterproof case
• Mirror
• Strobe light
• Flares
• Smoke canister
• Air horn
• Chart case
• Navigation charts
• Compass (hand-held and deck)
• GPS
• Tide and current table
• Binoculars
• Head light
First Aid
• Waterproof Bandages
• Neosporen
• Lip balm
• Sunscreen
• Insect repellent
• Tweezer
• Mutitool
• Safety pins
• Aspirin/ibuprofen
• Pepto b.
• Seasick pills
• Salt tablets (or electrolyte replacement pills)
• Cold/flu medication
• Sleeping aid
• Duct tape
Repair
• Duct tape
• Multi-tool
• Epoxy
• Seam sealer
• Aqua seal
• Lighter
• Zip ties
• batteries


Camp
• Hammock
• Tarp, ropes
• Tent
• Sleeping bag
• Sleeping pad
• Trowel
• Fleece jacket
• Rain Pants
• Storm cag
• Change clothes
Personal Items
• Toilet paper and that and that
• Toothbrush/paste/dental floss
• Sunglasses with floatation strap
• Earplugs
• Soap
• Washcloth
• Hiking shoes/boots
• Pens and note books
Cook
• Stove/fuel/matches/lighter/fire starter
• Pot and pan,cup
• Utensils
• Food,tea, coffe, snaks, water, seasonings, ziploc bags,
• Plastic bags
• Cutting board
• Thermo bottle
• Water filter
 
Ronan said:
also in my case, a matter of 'learn as you go'. I was lucky in the fact that I have been paddling in the company of more experienced which has forced me to refine most of my kit trip after trip.
That is very good advice......hopefully I can follow suit.

Terry
 
I have camped in the past so I am not new to it but I was able to carry everything in the car. I have a new one person tent, a down filled sleeping bag, a sleeping mat but I know much of my camping gear is too large, too heavy and maybe too cumbersome to use on a kayak trip. I know my meal preparation sucks, so do you have any thoughts for me, recommended reading etc.
My suggestion about the food would be to keep it as simple as possible at first and then add in complexity. Do backpacker freeze dried meals for dinner and porridge for breakfast until you add in more complex cookery (ingredients and gear). Cliff bars, fruit and trail mix are Ok for snacks and lunch, or PB and bagels. I need the morning caffeine and the new Starbucks instants are good enough. Sure it costs more but the time to figure out more detailed options is too much to begin with. Get in a few 2-3 night trips until you sort out what works for you.

Also keep in mind some inland trips (Bowron Lakes, Murtle Lake in Wells Gray), which are closer to you than the coast, and also remove some issues around tides and currents.
 
Just thought I'd slip a note in here... I'm not familiar with the Tyee, but the hatches in the Storm should fit just about anything you waqnt to stuff in there, including a kitchen sink, more than likely :lol: I inherited a Storm from a student who traded it to me in exchange for tuteledge in building his SOF, and am amazed at how much space there is in there.
 
Stumpy said:
I'm not familiar with the Tyee, but the hatches in the Storm should fit just about anything you waqnt to stuff in there, including a kitchen sink, more than likely :lol:
I think the Tyee has more room than the Storm. I was totally amazed at what the Seaward kayaks would carry. Would I need a kitchen sink? :D

Terry
 
Windancer,

This may be obvious, but despite the enormity of space a sea kayak has for cargo compared to what a backpack can hold, it is very important to test pack your boat with everything. Probably take a couple of goes before you have a system worked out. The ends are particularly tricky to pack fully. I usually put something soft and indestructible in a nylon stuff sack and goose it all the way in, and use a paddle end to make sure it is seated all the way in. My tarp goes aft, as an example, unless the weather is horribly rainy, in which case it goes into the hatch last so I can set the tarp first thing to provide a drier spot for all the other stuff as it comes out of the hatches. The clothes you wear nearest your skin in camp can go all the way forward, best in one of the wedge-shaped dry bags that will really fit nicely up there.

Sea kayaks have ovoid cross sections, so it is easy to cram stuff in and leave voids of air.

Something else: the usual dry bag skin, vinyl I think, tends not to slide well past its fellow dry bags, so that nylon bags are easier to get tightly packed. A lot of the gear used in camping is OK to get wet, so ordinary nylon stuff sacks are sufficient, assuming normal small leakage at the hatches. Your tent is one of those items.

Further, you may find it a lot more efficient to split bulky items like the tent into 2 or more smaller sacks.

Deck-loading of ginormous dry bags is common, but can be dangerous. If you must deck load, keep the volume and weight down, and bull-strap the load to the deck. The usual deck bungies are not sufficient to keep a dry bag firmly in place.

Last thought: place dense stuff like fuel, food and water towards the cockpit, and lighter gear like clothing and some foods such as chips and marshmallows towards the ends. This will make it easier to turn the boat, and it will move over chop and seas better.
 
Welcome Terry,

When I joined the sport I bought a lot of gear. Soon after, I began replacing the gear with more suitable stuff. I started off as a fair weather paddler then a few years later ended up working as one of those guides that coddles people. It was a great job and a great way to share the sport.

All that to say, my recommendation is, go for the minimum safety and comfort wise. Beg, borrow and share for your first trip or two. Come to the WCP campout and take a look around! Ask people about their gear, their packing arrangements, and their style (Don't ask Kayakwriter - you will be amazed and overwhelmed all at once. :shock: :wink: :lol: ) Some people pack like the queen and some like an extremely extreme minimalist.

Somewhere along the way I found my own rhythm and groove with gear. Now I have two (or three, or four) of everything - depends on the kind of trip I am doing and who is coming with me.

As far as your gear being too big, for a weekend, it may work just fine. Its the long trips where space becomes imperative.

Hopefully you'll make a few friends that will help you join the fray. I am sure many will be more than happy to share some knowledge with you; some of us may even share, or sell, some gear.

Sheila P

P.S. I am always happy to make new friends. :mrgreen:
 
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