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Paddling The Paddling forum is for discussion that relates directly to wilderness paddling (canoeing, kayaking, rafting). Topics focus on trip planning and gear.


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  #1  
Old 06-24-2007, 09:51 AM
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WildlifeNate WildlifeNate is offline
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Preparing for immersion

After a day trip I took yesterday on the Middle Youghiogheny River between Confluence, PA and Ohiopyle, PA, I got to thinking about immersion preparedness. The waters in question on this trip were mostly pretty mild, but with a few sections of rapids peaking at about II-II+ (can be higher during dam releases). My wife and I were in a canoe that was outfitted with bow and stern flotation, and we were wearing PFD's of course. All our gear was lashed or bungeed into the canoe, and we had a spare single bladed paddle and a spare double bladed paddle (for other members of our group). The water was a chilly 55deg F. It was partly cloudy with temps in the upper 70's.

What gear do you own or use to prepare for immersion in different conditions?
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2007, 12:25 PM
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Quoddy Quoddy is offline
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Immersion and Other Emergency Preparedness

For 9 consecutive years my wife and I ventured into the wilds, mainly in Canada, on wilderness canoe trips of from 10 to 14 days. I spent several weeks during the late winter planning the trips which normally took place in late May after all ice breakup. One of my favorite trips was the Dumoine River in Western Quebec. Normally we hired a float plane to drop us off at the head of a river one or two hundred miles inland. Needless to say, we had to be able to survive and endure on our own since we were no where near any civilization.

To be on the safe side, I drilled holes in both rails of the Kevlar Mad River canoe approximately 6” apart and had thin rope laced from side to further hold the large waterproof rubberized vinyl pack bags, already lashed, tightly in place. We had bow and stern inflation bags which were augmented by two very large bags filling all the space that we and the gear didn’t take up. On several occasions this setup proved invaluable when paddling through major “haystacks” in some really crazy sections where waves were pouring in.

Personal gear included top of the line PFDs, a good throw bag, two extra paddles, and full Gore-Tex suits for both of us. During one trip the rain did not let up for 8 consecutive days. Due to the temperatures I always made sure that we had a full set of dry heavy fleece available in case of a dunking. Our first aid kit was quite extensive and included dental emergency items. One item might be considered a little over the top was Pro-Tec helmets for use while in the rapids. Many years before, during a two week advanced kayak and canoe course at the Madawaska Kanu Centre in northern Ontario, I’d flipped a fully outfitted canoe and hit my helmeted head on a submerged rock so hard that I had a concussion. I certainly couldn’t consider anything less during an isolated trip while encountering rapids.
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  #3  
Old 06-24-2007, 07:22 PM
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WildlifeNate WildlifeNate is offline
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Oh yeah, I forgot about the 2 throw bags we had (one bow and one stern).

Some folks in the group wore helmets, but most did not. The guys in whitewater yaks who planned on playing in the rapids wore theirs, but everybody else did not.
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:11 PM
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Chaos Chaos is offline
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Your clothing choice should always be based on water temperature regardless of air temperature.

Unprepared, 55deg F. is cool enough that your ability to hold your breath underwater will be significantly reduced, and a long swim at that temp can make simple tasks much more difficult.

When kayaking in Puget Sound (50 – 55deg F) I usually wear a ‘farmer-john’ wetsuit and a long sleeve rash guard. When whitewater kayaking / rafting, clothing can vary from a wetsuit + splashtop combo to full drysuit depending on the season and the difficulty.

In big water, I supplement my PFD with a “Anti-Gravity” top from NRS (adds buoyancy and warmth).
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  #5  
Old 06-27-2007, 07:30 PM
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Squints Squints is offline
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I just noticed this part of practical backpacking...I too do both backpacking and kayaking.

I agree just like backpacking, it all depends on season and what boat i use.

For my 14' Necky touring yak that i use mostly on lakes i keep everything in the two hatches. Both are totally water tight but i still put things in a dry sack. i don't use a skirt and don't wear a helmet. More often then not i just have the pfd in front of me in the bungees. Its useually summer and warm so its shorts no shirt and my hat. Never took a swimm in it but like i said its just on the lakes for the most part.

Now, when i'm running rivers in my Wavesport Diesel i use a skirt, helmet,pfd, and sometimes some wetsuits and gloves depending on air and water temps.
If its a longer day will store some stuff in the hull with me in a dry sack.

I love backpacking but there is nothing like running the rivers here in Idaho.
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  #6  
Old 07-01-2007, 03:22 PM
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Mataharihiker Mataharihiker is offline
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You could swamp my Folbot Yukon kayak but it's tough to flip it. Everything inside is attached to the metal frame, just in case...I have completely waterproof flotation bags fore and aft that hold things like sleeping bags and clothing and dry bags that hold things that can stand partial immersion. I dress for the water temperature rather than the air temps...I carry a VHF radio, always wear a life preserver and am a general coward...motto: when in doubt, chicken out....
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2008, 08:20 AM
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jshannon jshannon is offline
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A potential hypothermia kit for paddling:

Hypothermia Kit

On Person:
1. Heat sheet
2. Candle (candle lantern size)
3. REI matches
4. Firesteel/tinder
5. Lighter
6. Chemical heat packs (3)
7. Whistle
8. Warm hat

In Drybag:
1. Towel
2. Another set of fire making tools
3. Remainder of essential items
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  #8  
Old 08-29-2008, 04:55 PM
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Laurie Laurie is offline
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I'm a flatwater paddler so I don't usually lash gear into the canoe as I feel there is some danger in that but with whitewater it is necessary sometimes to lash gear. That said, I do have a bow bag that gets strapped to the bow's carry thwart. It contains a firesteel, knife, tinder (vaseline soaked cotton in a waterproof container), candle, heat sheet and compass (with a mirror for signalling). I always wear a whistle as does everyone else in the canoe.

Essentials such as clothing and sleeping bag are in dry bags.

This weekend past, we, or should I say my friend Michael, spent some time teaching the boys (they are 6 and 7) what to do if the canoe capsizes. It was great and the kids took it quite seriously.
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  #9  
Old 10-30-2008, 02:45 PM
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brooklynkayak brooklynkayak is offline
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I usually wear a drysuit 8 months of the year in the NY area.

1) They are comfortable and you can vary what you wear inside to match the water temp.

2) You stay dry inside so are usually more comfortable.

3) I always make sure I do some bracing, rolling and sometimes surfing practice on each trip and the water temp around here is uncomfortable except in July, Aug, Sept, Oct.

4) You don't get the initial cold water rush like you get in a wetsuit. You are always isolated from the cold. In a wetsuit you get the initial cold water seeping under it that makes you gasp at first. But like sliding into a cold sleeping bag, it eventually warms up.

Cold Water?
If the air seems too warm, but the water too cold to not wear cold water gear, get wet and it will kool you down. If you get hot again get wet again.

Wetsuits are much cheaper and more durable than drysuits, but you always feel soggy in one. Wetsuits are still prefered over paddle jackets and such when the water is cold.

If you don't want to spend the money for a drysuit, but paddle in cold water, get a cheap 3mm farmer john wetsuit. Wetsuits with arms can really wear you down on a long paddle.
But keep in mind that a farmer john wetsuit does not give the cold water protection of a drysuit and shouldn't be relied on when water temps go below 55 degr f.

That is why you always see white water paddlers wearing drysuits/drytops in the midle of summer. Mountain river water can be cold
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  #10  
Old 08-17-2011, 04:35 AM
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Bushwalker Bushwalker is offline
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With the cold water temp's mentioned here, I would be wearing a wetsuit.

IF the water were much colder, or if it was of suspect quality ~ e.g. after floods or storms, or in known pollution areas ~ I also would be looking to a drysuit.

Plus, closed-in neoprene booties and gloves could be useful as well..

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