Hints, Tips & Wrinkles

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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sub5rider
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Hints, Tips & Wrinkles

Post by sub5rider » Mon Mar 24, 2003 11:19 am

OK, I'm a newby to this sea-boating/wild camping lark.

What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you started ?

I used to wild camp a lot >25 years ago and, for instance, would regularly drink unfiltered/treated water from becks - is this still safe, given the exploitation of "wilderness" areas for leisure pursuits?

Oh, Sue, if you keep falling out of your Orion, try carrying a full 65ltr drybag between your knees - concentrates the mind wonderfully!

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Jim
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Re: Hints, Tips & Wrinkles

Post by Jim » Mon Mar 24, 2003 2:09 pm

I'm relatively new to doing it in a sea kayak for a week, I still find I take too much gear!

On the islands water supplies shouldn't be too bad, especially early in the year when few others have been before, I would be more suspicious around the mainland. It is probably easier than you'd expect to blag tap water as not much of Scotland is really remote, but I carry puritabs as a backup and make a point of saving tap water for drinking and using stream water for cooking where possible (cooking stuff that uses boiling water, technically you need a 20 minute rolling boil to kill stuff but I don't have that much patience). I wash up in sea water, although it makes a mess of non-stick pans :-(

As for kit, you need to take a minimum, but take the warmest stuff you own! You won't be sleeping in your boating kit, and you'll want to take it off before entering the tent (bivi in my case), so you need a set of "land" clothes - thermals mostly! You'll also want waterproofs for being ashore, because in Scotland at least it is raining for most of your dry time....

Packing wise, seriously consider what needs to be kept dry and what can survive being awash in sea water all day (beer cans for example). Don't try and shove one large drybag into the hatch and fill it - it doesn't work that well, mostly because it is the wrong shape and always folds itself in such a way you can hardly squeeze anything into it! Lots of smaller drybags do work well. Sleeping bags are a nightmare, if you have one warm enough that fits into your hatch in its compression sack, well done - if like me you have small round hatches you will have to push a dry bag into the compartment, and then feed the sleeping bag into it, punching it to compress it and eventually be able to roll the drybag up and seal it - It usually takes me 10-15 mins to pack my sleeping bag, and about the same to pack everything else! Obviously if it's chucking it down, my sleeping bag is mostly out in the rain whilst I'm trying to pack it - grrr! I can sort of get round this by stuffing it loosely in a dry bag and feeding it out of that into the one in the tank, it's a bit fiddly though! I find putting small items that don't need to be dry in a nonwaterproof bag which I can shove right into the pointy ends first to be a good option (My thermarest and bivi also take this slot), leaving the dry bags for the wider regions of the tanks. Finally packing other loose items (pans, beer, water bottles, bags of crisps (don't pop them)) into all the little gaps between bags. I have quite a bit of space behind my seat, my camera, stove and pans tend to go there - my dads spare stove went there last year but was a real faff as it kept snagging the pump hoses!

I strongly recommend you try a few methods of packing at home so you at least have an idea when you get to the beach - throughout the trip you will stumble accross the optimum method, and fortunately as you drink the beer and crush the cans you will find more space every day :-)

And sods law dictates that the way everything fits best, is the way that leaves the bits you want first, or most often furthest from the hatch.....

JIM

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adrian j pullin
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Re: Hints, Tips & Wrinkles

Post by adrian j pullin » Mon Mar 24, 2003 2:38 pm

I found it easier to pack my sleeping bag behind the seat. If your back strap releases easily as mine does, then access is really quick but you obviously need to keep it dry. Mine lived in a heavy duty bin bag (from garden centres) inside heavy duty dry bag.

Tents. In a group, a number of small tents is better than a big group tent as flat ground may be at a premium.

Clothes: Layers, themals and waterproofs are the order of the day.

Water: I filled my water bottles each morning from local streams and put a puritab in. By the time I drank it, it was fine. Having said that, white water is very heavily airated and effectively self cleaning, so you should be ok drinking most of it (in UK, in USA watch out for nasty parasites).

Packing: I use big BDHs for anythnig squashable, dry bags for the rest. A number of smaller bags is better. Easier to pack, easier to load into boat, easier to find stuff if your packing is organised. Label everything. Pack water boiling kit last, so you can get off and get a brew going whilst you unpack.

There are loads of (mainly USA) web sites with advice. Try searching on sea kayak and camping.

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Mark R
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Re: Hints, Tips & Wrinkles

Post by Mark R » Mon Mar 24, 2003 6:08 pm

Buy a huge dry sack with rucksack straps. Several uses...

- If you have a big storage area behind the seat, shove it there and fil lit with bulky sleeping bag, tent etc - easily accessible
- Getting all the gear from your boat up to the camp spot takes rather less trips.

BTW...my own packing philosophy. Carry sleeping bag, mat, tent, crate of Lucozade, credit card.


-----------Mark Rainsley

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adrian j pullin
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Re: Hints, Tips & Wrinkles

Post by adrian j pullin » Mon Mar 24, 2003 6:33 pm

As I said above, loads of kits list sites.

Try:

www.seakayakermag.com/01Oct/Gearlist.pdf

Maybe a bit OTT (including instructions on how to use a kit list!) but how many of us have never discovered that we've left our off water trousers at home?


Mike B
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Hints

Post by Mike B » Mon Mar 24, 2003 7:03 pm

Good stuff there - I've been drinking Scottish water from various burns, streams and lochs for more years than I care to admit - still alive! The liver has been destroyed of course, but thats probably from too much whisk(e)y rather than the water.

That said, I usually go out with 10 liters of "good" water and that means I've at least got a reserve supply for when I can't get acceptable water in the wild. The odd judicious visit to pubs and coffee houses also means a water restock is possible in most places.

As to packing kit, I'd suggest thinking about weight distribution as well - personally I pack light stuff in the bow and stern with heavy kit as close the centre as possible. I find that the boat is best trimmed that way. The water container usually starts the trip under my knees, in the cockpit, and migrates to the stern hatch after a few days eating and drinking!

I did place it in the forward hatch once - too heavy! Things like stoves, pans, lunch, "on-shore" water proofs etc are all accessible easily without unpacking the entire boat. Likewise the tent.

Worth keeping steel things (some cans, containers) away from a deck mounted compass btw :b

I use tapered bags (one bought, another standard bag modified with gaffer tape to make it tapered) to utilise bow and stern space. Anything that will get stuck behind the skeg box, will, so I tape/tie cord to it for easier extraction. I hear tell of a Nordkapp with a can of beer wedged in the stern - been there for years! What a waste.

Its worth getting different colored bags (I use 10/15 liter ones) and getting into the habit of putting certain things into the red/blue/black one - saves hunting for things. Also have a few transparant ones, which are helpful.

There is much to be said for the larger hatches now being fitted to modern boats - the Valley oval hatch is nice but the P&H one is Really Nice!

Mike.

Richard Seaby
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Re: Hints

Post by Richard Seaby » Tue Mar 25, 2003 10:48 am

Tips I wish I knew when I started.

Paddling steadily all day gets you further than fast for a while.

Lots of small dry bags are better than a few big ones.

Learn to pack your boat in the garden - pack and unpack a few times and space magically appears in your boat!

Carry plenty of water that you can get your hands on during the paddle.

Clean the sand off your seat before you start a long session.

Its meant to be fun - so if it looks nasty at sea open a beer and look at it form the shore.

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sub5rider
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Re: Hints

Post by sub5rider » Tue Mar 25, 2003 3:02 pm

Couple of good ones there....but, with regard to the latter, how to deal with the peer pressure ?

I have no qualms whatever doing a grade 6 portage to avoid white water I don't like the look of. Just walk around and meet the rest of the group at the bottom. Bit different when you're stuck on an island....and everyone but you wants to get off it !!

Nigel (ace self-rescuer, coz I get the practice) Crompton

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Jim
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Peer Pressure

Post by Jim » Tue Mar 25, 2003 10:02 pm

Generally speaking, I don't know because I haven't really come accross it.

Specifically, the core of the group should be the same as the guys I paddled with last year, and I guarantee that peer pressure will not be an issue. At one point last year, the most experienced paddler in the group was all set to take the weakest paddler on a more sheltered route and miss the excitement of the big crossing. Once we sat down and made a realistic assessment of the weather we all decided to go for the sheltered route. Whilst stormbound later in the week we discussed various strategies in case the weather didn't clear, but there was never any question of pushing anyone beyond their abilities, or abandoning them on their own (yes there were options to split up and have one group go for a car or cars and bring them to somewhere the others could realistically manage to get to). I know the group has swelled since the last trip, but I have a feeling the driving character will be exactly the same :-)

I would imagine in the general case that if conditions really were horrendous, the only way people would try and force you to leave would be if your chances of survival are less if you stay put. I suppose it's something to consider, but not to get hung up about, unless you are planning to go to St Kilda or something.

JIM

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