The beautiful thing about doing expedition every couple of years is that you don't have as much mandatory gear to buy. Things like Kayaks and tents don't need to be replaced, so the expense of doing a big trip is a little easier to bear. The other beautiful thing is that you really get to see the gear that works for you and the gear that doesn't work for you. You develop systems for just about everything you do. Because Sarah and I (Sarah was my co-paddler on the Inside Passage/Paddle North trip) both came from a background at The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) our systems for the way we did things very quickly aligned. It made for an almost seamless expedition.
There were only a few pieces of gear that I wasn't happy with the way they worked. One was my trusted Suunto Orca deck compass. My kayak has a recess for a permanently mounted deck compass which I chose to ignore, I have always used the suunto Orca which connects with bungies. It has always been fine as I would have strapped close to my cockpit. On the Inside trip I had a deck bag there, and so it wouldn't sit flat. I put it in the compass recess and it wouldn't sit flat which made it very hard to read. I will replace it with a permanently mounted Brunton deck compass.
I love my Astral 300r. But it is very thick across the midsection. Frankly, it makes me look like a barrel. I think I am going to go with a new Astral Green jacket all the features - sans the hand warmer pocket, which is a ver nice feature! - and the Hydration system, which is too small in the 300r and a pain to fill.
A couple of items that will be joining us on the next expedition will be a Sat phone - rented, not purchased. A flare gun, and this handy little item. We will be going someplace a little different this time..
I am really torn with my stove. I will probably not change anything, my MSR Whisperlite is a die hard, and worked flawlessly this past summer in Alaska - as it always does. But I am really tempted by the Whisperlite Universal . Having the ability to use canister fuels from time to time would be really nice. Last time I used my Jetboil while driving to Alaska - because I ate freeze dried food on the road - But then I left it in my car. there were a couple of times when it would have been really nice to have it on the trip to make coffee. The jet boil is the only stove I have ever seen that you can hold in your hand in the cockpit of our kayak and make hot coffee or water. I don't think it is a recommended method but I have done it on a few occasions. It will be going in the boat this next time.
I like my Kelty Noahs tarp, but hate the diamond shape. I wish there was a Noahs Tarp made in the shape of a NOLS Thelma Fly. Particularly since I am hoping there are more people on this next expedition.
Unfortunately my throw rope was a victim of the encounter with the bear. It held the boats tied to a tree a few feet back into the forest where the bear retreated too. I decided not to go after it and just cut the rope, and then retreated off the beach into the water. So I need a new throw bag. I am thinking about this Salamander, but feel kind of non-plussed about it. Does anyone have a recommendation for a throw bag they love?