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Group shelter size

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:05 pm
by Jay Oram
Hey everyone!

What is the consensus on the size of the group shelter to carry as a leader/within the group?

Based on the BC whitewater leader the max group size is yourself plus 4 so maximum of 5 people.

So would you carry a group shelter for all 5, working on the theory that in a rescue situation if you all had to wait, then you would need one big enough for the whole group? Maybe just for more remote rivers with a longer walkout?

Psychologically when I have had incidents on a mountain, being able to all get in and have the space to deal with incidents inside the shelter or on a really bad day all jump in to get out of the weather for lunch. But then I have a large rucksack, or can share the load within the group.

But when kayaking, space is a bit more of a premium and a higher possibility of the shelter getting lost etc. if someone you are coaching swims. So alternatively, would you think that a shelter for 2-3 would be sufficient, especially if 1-2 people would be going for help or walk back to the shuttle etc?

Lastly a case for both and a choice to be made per trip, conditions, group etc?

What do you carry in your boat for this situation?

Group shelter size

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:11 am
by John K
Mine is allegedly for 4-6 people. It would be very snug with 6 people in and I wouldn’t bother with anything smaller. It’s not heavy, and it’s no problem getting it into my boat with the rest of my kit.

It doesn’t get used very often, mostly for keeping the kids entertained while I’m running the shuttle!

Re: Group shelter size

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:24 am
by Adrian Cooper
Got one for 4-6, had it for over 20 years, never used

Re: Group shelter size

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:55 am
by twopigs
Go for one for the whole group .... 4 - 6. If you have 2 people walking out to meet or summon assistance just pull the shelter in!

Don't forget to pack the roll mat / Thermorest type mat to insulate the casualty from the cold ground!

So long as the group has all the kit you can share the load - if you have a paddler you think is going to loose their share of the kit maybe you should look for a less challenging piece of water.

Re: Group shelter size

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:58 pm
by seawolf856
I was recently on an assessment for a BC leaders award and our kit was scrutinised. I had a 4 man group shelter with me but our coach put 4 people inside with full kit on and it was definitely too small, especially if you have a casualty who has to lie down.
I would recommend the biggest group shelter you can find. Even the largest shelters actually pack down really small so don’t get too concerned about space or weight.

Re: Group shelter size

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:49 pm
by Jay Oram
Thanks for all the replies!

Re: Group shelter size

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:56 pm
by Jim
8 min.
Who realistically sticks to BC group sizes? Most of us paddle with a group of mates we like, and group size depends who can make it.
I have used group shelters more for waiting for shuttles in crappy weather than for paddling incidents.
I have also used mine when sea kayaking to sleep between rocks where there wasn't space to pitch my tent.
I have probably used MarkR's more than my own, we had people get changed inside it after some swims on a Spey trip (multiday canoe trip).
Go big or don't bother. An orange plastic bag will fit 2, you may as well just carry one of them rather than spend on a 1-2 man shelter (which may be a lighter).

Re: Group shelter size

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:02 pm
by Jay Oram
Jim I know what you mean - I use a larger 8-10 man one that I use when out walking with a group, but I volunteer a lot with Scouts and young people, so when thinking about those kinds of trips I would only have the recommended group size.

I wanted to know what the thinking was behind what others carried, and the consensus seems to be carry the biggest one you have/can fit as 1) In an emergency you'll need the space and 2) most of the time it will be used for lunch/shelter/shuttle runs!!

I have a 2-3 man I take out now - it just sits in my drybag with first aid kit etc. and access to a 8-10 man one - think I'll buy a 6-8 man one (probably the OEX or summit gear one) and then use either of the biggest two on trips.

Will be asking a lot of questions about gear choice as a leader in the next few months as I gather/test/use a range of kit and need as many opinions as possible.

Re: Group shelter size

Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:17 am
by MikeVeal
I've never had to use it, but I carry a large 8-10 man one, even when paddling with a much smaller group.
You can always gather up the excess material to make it smaller, but you can never add extra space.
I know we should all be self sufficient, but the only times I've ever needed to use rescue / safety kit (hill walking & caving, never kayaking) it's never been for my group. So even when paddling with a small group, a larger shelter still makes sense.
When it's in a boat and you don't have to carry it, I don't understand the incentive to buy a small one.

Re: Group shelter size

Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:27 am
by Chalky723
3 or 4 of use have 2-4 man shelters.

That way we're not scuppered if a particular boat is lost, & it gives more flexibility - i.e. anyone that goes for help can take one too in case they need it on the way etc....