Pitt lake overnight

CPS

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Oct 27, 2020
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BC
I set out on a little overnight trip to Pitt lake. When I set out the tide was super low. The launch area is a bit of a mud pit, so I opted to load up the kayak and slide it into the water fully loaded.

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I headed out to Raven Creek. It's normally very popular with powerboaters, but given the time of year, and the weather, I figured I would have plenty of space.
I have camped at most of the sites on Pitt lake, but hadn't checked this one out yet.

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The paddle out was fairly uneventful. I did have a bit of trouble when I stopped to put on pogies and was blown into the shallow area, but nothing too major. A decent collection of wildlife, some seals, a bald eagle, harlequin ducks, and a large number of swans.

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The camp area is fairly typical for Pitt lake. A string of loosely connected sites with a trail of sorts that leads through them to the pit toilet.
Several were under a sheet of water, and a small Creek flowed down from the pit toilet, which had definitely flooded. I opted for a site quite far from it.

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I have been pondering my sleeping arrangements for a while. For the last year I've been using a tarp, and leaving the tent at home. Sometimes I'll bring the pole and just the fly, which is essentially just another, much heavier, tarp. It's from a 3 person tent, so fairly roomy, and quite nicely waterproof. However sometimes slugs crawl all over me in my sleep and leave slime trails all over. So there's some downsides.

So I've been considering something to keep the critters out, but still using a tarp and ground sheet. Initially I thought about a bivy bag, but condensation is an obvious concern in this climate. Then I thought about a hooped bivy, but again, I would likely face condensation issues. Then I saw the Aquaquest West Coast bivy. Lots of room, lots of mesh. Maybe that's the ticket…

Then I remembered I have an old Kelty 2 person tent that I stopped using because it had a very small fly. Why not just ditch the fly and use what I have?
It set up nicely under the tarp. The poles are sufficiently proud of the body of the tent that I could use the tent as a part of the structure of the tent. Overall I am fairly pleased with how it turned out, but continue to be faced with the existential question of tarp/tent. What I have created is essentially a freestanding tent without a freestanding fly. In losing the spaciousness of the tarp I'm essentially left with a giant vestibule.

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I really am left wondering if I'm losing my mind with this setup.

Oh well.

This was also a good opportunity to find holes in my gear.

My sleeping bag isn't the greatest when it's this cold, but I think it would be decent with a liner. I also have a really warm down bag, but it sucks once it's damp.

My paddling booties are cold. Options abound for warmer feet when paddling, but I think there's not enough foot room in the kayak for anything much thicker. (Solution: new kayak)

I don't have good camp shoes either. Thinking of some Level Six Shoreline boots as a good packable option.

My rain gear sucks. It's all "breathable" but it soaks up rain and breathes no longer. Thinking of ditching it for some rubbers. Would be awful for anything strenuous, but when I'm in camp I basically just "putter around" and "putter slower" so it should be fine.

My Ikea drybags I bought back a while back are holding up good. They've never seen anything more than sitting in a small pool of water in the compartments, though, so who knows how dry they really are.

I brought some mittens because I couldn't find my fingerless gloves (a recurring theme) but they're so hard to put on when my hands are cold and damp that I basically didn't use them. So I'll need to find my hobo gloves.

And I made the revolutionary discovery that my Primus kettle sits perfectly inside my old Coghlan's steel pot. What a world.

Anyways, that's about all the rambling I have in me for today. Return paddle was a tailwind. Which was nice, other than a few moments where the bow plunged into the wave in front. Was a little alarming seeing water coming over the compass.

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It was interesting paddling this again after a few months in the Rapier. Now it feels rock steady (was always stable) but a little cramped below the foredeck. Now I just need something fast AND stable AND capable of hauling gear...
 

AM

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Jan 30, 2006
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Vancouver
Brrr! But a great trip report! That stream flowing from the outhouse is the stuff of nightmares…

Thanks for sharing your thoughts process re: gear. I’m sure we’ve all mulled over exactly those questions. Two thoughts for you:

1) Rubber rain gear: yes! Helly Hansen Moss jacket is awesome.
2) Level 6 Shoreline boots: no! They don’t last. I have a pair, as does a buddy, and we both got holes in the boots on the creases where we folded them for storage. So yes, they fold, but at a cost of durability.

Cheers,
Andrew
 
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cougarmeat

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Sep 17, 2012
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Bend OR USA
Thank you for the report - gives a whole new meaning to the idea of "Chill'n".
I was wondering about the water flowing from the pit toilet too - but it looked clear. Maybe it was flowing near to around rather than from. :)

The addition of a hammock to your camping setup gives you some flexibility if the ground is ... wet. But you still have to manage the walking around issues.

You are a brave person to go out when there are ice crystals on your boat.
 
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kayakwriter

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Feb 27, 2006
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Great report. And I love the mash-up of tent body and tarp.

If your sleeping bag is marginal for shoulder season/winter camping, I think you might get the most blast for your buck by upgrading your sleeping mat: the ground beneath you is a serious warmth sucker at this time of year. My go-to pad for late fall/winter/early spring camping is my Exped Downmat 9. I've never found a warmer pad.
 
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CPS

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Oct 27, 2020
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BC
Good insight all.
AM, how long did the boots last for you?

I was wondering about the water flowing from the pit toilet too - but it looked clear. Maybe it was flowing near to around rather than from. :)
Definitely flowing through. The slab the toilet is perched on had about a half inch of water on it, and lifting the lid revealed that water level was matched inside the pit. But no discernable smell. "Dilution is the solution to your... contribution"

Hammocks are another thing I've looked into. Given that my setups are increasingly reliant on good sturdy trees, it's likely inevitable that I get one at point, if only for lounging in.

@kayakwriter, I've been considering a new sleeping pad for a while. Some very interesting options available. I am cheap, so am trying to find something that works for backpacking and kayaking, because then I can justify buying something more expensive.
The technology has progressed quite a bit since I got my current mat, so even the ones which pack much smaller are warmer than what I'm using.
 

jefffski

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Jan 2, 2014
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121
In this season, I leave my mesh-lined 3-season tent at home and take my expedition tent with its solid walls and burly poles. It's much warmer than my 3-season tent and can handle wind, rain and snow. Setting it up takes longer. A mat with an R-value of at least 4 is a requisite. A down bag will compress better if space is an issue, but it has to be stored in a 100% dry bag. Your breathable gear might be absorbing water because the DWR has worn off. You can try to re coat it, but old gear doesn't always absorb it. You'll find new gear ($$$$) works very well at repelling water and breathing (if it's kept clean).

There's a nice campsite with views on the south facing side of the Raven Creek peninsula (Shhh)
 
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AM

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Jan 30, 2006
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Vancouver
AM, how long did the boots last for you?
I think they lasted for 3 seasons of light use before developing cracks in the uppers.

In contrast, my old MEC Swellies are still going strong. For shoulder season/winter paddling and camping, I do everything possible not to get my feet wet. That means getting into my boat in shallow water: I don’t want the socks on my “dry” suit to be wet in the boots, as water will wick through the fabric.

For camp, I take a beefy pair of Baffin rubber boots or a pair of gore-tex hikers, depending on space, weather etc.

Cheers,
Andrew
 
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Joined
May 30, 2021
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Sammamish, WA
Great trip report, thanks for sharing. Beautiful winter scenery with snow capped mountains. Bold adventure with such cold conditions. We too need some gear upgrades before attempting a trip like this :cool:
 
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