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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Two things

Two items that will be on this trip that I don't normally carry are a deck bag, and a ditch bag. When I do Alaska kayaking trips I use a deck bag, and this time will be no different. I don't use one on shorter trips because I generally wont spend as much time in the cockpit of the kayak. But with the potential for 8, 10 or even 12 hours in the cockpit on this trip a deck back will be an essential piece of gear. It will have some things in it that require easy access, and I will be using this seal line deck bag.

Inside it will be the pelican case for my water proof point and shoot camera, as well as a pelican case with all my GoPro accessories - if they all fit. A small pair of binoculars for both wildlife and scouting beaches for landings, and sea state for launches. Power food/Snack food. A GPS - again in a pelican case, and a regular compass.

the ditch bag is something that I haven't carried before. Ditch bag may be the wrong term, more like the everything emergency bag. It will have my general repair kit which includes a multi tool. As well as some emergency fire starting supplies, some power bars, a light source, an extra wool hat. If we decide to bring a spot, it will be either in the ditch bag or the deck bag.

My large first aid kit will be at my feet in the cockpit, but a smaller - band aids, Ibuprofen, etc - will also be in the deck bag.

In general I don't like the idea of having gear on the deck of my kayak, they make the boat more susceptible to wind, as well as more difficult to roll. But these are items I will need to get too in during a paddle, and it will also free up some space inside the kayaks.

One other piece of gear that over the years I have toyed with purchasing, but haven't until recently is a tapered dry bag. I tried this one out the other day, filling one with all my paddle clothing - including my dry suit - and then stuffing it in the stern of my kayak. My thought process is this. For my clothing I use two 20 liter dry bags and always have. It has been a good system, one filled with 'weather' clothes and one filled with everything else. Slowly the two bags merge into one, as just about everything gets a bit damp on a month long trip in Alaska. The two twenty liter bags are generally full en route to the put in, but once I put on paddle clothes one of the is only half full. This system has worked well for me for years.

Recently though I had been thinking that I wasn't maximizing the space in my stern. I have gotten good at packing things in my bow, but because the stern dry storage is so much longer it is hard to get things deep into the area directly in front of the rudder. It occurred to me that I could get this tapered dry bag, and fill that area completely. It doesn't go all the way back, I think there is just enough room for a liter fuel bottle. I am excited as I think this will also free up space inside my kayak. It will certainly shift the order of things, as my clothes have been in two twenty liter dry bags directly behind my cockpit. Clothes will be slightly more 'buried' in the boat so I will need to be a bit more thoughtful in my planning for each day.

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