Monday, January 24, 2011

Packing adjustments

As planning for the Alaska trip continues, I am making some adjustments to the way I normally pack. In part because we are going to need every square inch of space in the kayaks, and in part because we will be carrying some gear that I don't normally carry.

I have mentioned before the 262 pounds of food. That food will be broken down into 3 ten day rations. What isn't eaten from the first ration will work into the second, and so one. That means each ration weighs 87 pounds. Divide that number by five - there will be five kayakers on the trip - and that means 17 pounds per ration. So each kayak will have 3, 17 pound rations on board. Which is 52 pounds. I think we are going to store them in these bags. Which means on top of everything else we have to pack, we need to have room for 3 17 pound, 13 liter dry bags with food.

In addition to that there will be bear spray - still deciding on other bear related items - At least one video camera, with many extra batteries, and mounting gear. Still cameras, VHF, Cell phones, water filters, the list goes on and on.

With that in mind, I have decided I will be getting a new water proof compression stuff sack for my sleeping bag. I am also thinking about a compression stuff sack for my tent, and one for my cooking tarp. It is a tough question, because when you compress things they get much smaller, but they also get much harder. When they are uncompressed, they are bigger, but softer, so it is easier to fill gaps with them. I will have to play with packing my kayak. The other bit of guess work is will the rations fit inside those dry bags?

On the Navigation front, I think all the campsites have been plotted on the big charts, and on the digital topo maps which create waypoints on the GPS. I am starting to create little topo maps that will be printed on this special paper. This is very cool stuff as you use it in your regular ink jet printer, but once you do they are completely water proof. A good friend of mine demonstrated this by thrusting an entire map under water, and then pulling it back up and putting on his deck. The ink didn't run, and the paper didn't tear. So I am going to create the route on 8.5 x 11 double sided pages. The nautical charts will be cut down to a more manageable size.

If money were no obstacle - which it is! - I would also print the route using these NOAA bookletcharts. Which are charts made specifically for people who don't have a massive chart table to look at your maps. Like us kayakers. The Planning continues.


  1. Why would you compress a tent or a tarp? Those can be rolled plenty tight and also separated so that they fit into narrow spaces created by gaps between dry sacks.

  2. Your right that they are very compressable and that is my dilemma. For instance my tarp is a kelty noah's tarp which for its size comes in a very big stuff sack. My question is would it be more efficient to compress it or let it bend to the shapes around it? Your probably right and I will leave it in it's original bag, but I will probably try it just to be sure. The tent is already split into three pieces for ease of packing, tent poles go onto a bow very nicely.


  3. That should be into , not onto.... Autocorrect:-/