Monday, September 3, 2012

The answer is in the bag

There is a piece of gear that very few people think of, and it really makes all the difference in the world, for both day trips, and on multi day trips - and it is really so simple.

It is an oversized mesh duffel bag, I use one similar (but bigger!) to this. Unfortunately REI no longer makes the exact one I use.

It makes going on day trips super easy, I grab my bag, and paddle (which is in its own bag), load the boat on the car and I am good to go. I know that everything I need is in the bag. PFD, spray skirt, bilge pump, paddle float, paddling shoes, my little deck bag with sun screen, a water additive, some power food like clif mojo bars, a throw bag, a water bladder, rain shell and rain hat. Not all of this will go on all my day trips, but if I want it, it's there. I can then put the bag back in my car, or in one of my storage compartments. In the winter I add my dry suit along with other paddle clothing options - dry suit isn't always the right option - Pogies, wool hat.

On one end of a bag I have a medium size quick dry pack towel, and on the other side a carabiner to hold my shoes so they can dry. Because the bags are mesh my wet gear is much more likely to dry out.

With all that gear, I don't have to make multiple trips to and from the car to the boat, and I know that everything I need is there. As convenient as this is, it is an actual life saver on multiday trips and expeditions, where I use two of them. All of the gear I carry - From tents to cook sets, to food to radios - fits inside two of these extra large duffels. One for the bow hatch, and one for the stern. When I load the boat in the morning one bag is situated at each hatch and it makes the packing process much faster. The last thing into the hatch is the bag - water resistant bottom, facing up, which tends to catch water that has gotten through the hatch covering. When I arrive at the beach The first thing out of the hatch is the bag. Shake any water off of it, start filling it from the hatch. I make two trips from the boat to where my tent will be pitched, and then a trip with the kayak itself.

This seems like common sense, but I have done so many trips where people make multiple trips from the beach to the tent site with arms full of gear

This is a video from a test pack for the inside passage - just to make sure everything fit. - the only things that aren't in the duffels are a black pelican case that held a camera (that case didn't end up going on the trip), the largest food bag and my paddle - yes, my paddle lives in a fleece 'cows, chickens and sheep' bag.

Packing from Paddling Otaku on Vimeo.

There is one last piece of this puzzle that really makes it work. I bought a dry suit primarily because no matter what solution I tried, my feet and my bottom where always wet. I go to great lengths to protect the socks attached to my dry suit. When I am paddling I am wearing NRS desperado socks over them, but when I am putting on or taking off my drysuit I use this. I can stand on it, so I am not standing on rocks or sticks or in mud, and I can ball the drysuit - or anything I am wearing that is wet - into the pad. It has a draw string that pulls it closed like a big dumpling.

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