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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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Old 07-26-2007, 07:43 AM
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Hikemore Hikemore is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Sparta, Tennessee
Posts: 38
New to Kayaking

I just started kayaking. I love hiking and camping and I would like to go kayak camping. I would like to know what gear I need and don't need to get or take with me. Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:42 AM
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WildlifeNate WildlifeNate is offline
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Backpack: Osprey Atmos 50
Sleeping Gear: DIY down quilt
Shelter: ENO Doublenest Hammock, WB Bugnet, GG Tarp
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Nacogdoches, TX
Posts: 1,610
I guess you primarily need to make sure your camping gear stays dry, so you'll need an assortment of dry bags and possibly pelican/otter boxes depending on what you're carrying. With kayak camping, the gear you carry will probably be more oriented towards the backpacking end, though you probably won't have to pack UL.

More important, however, is the outfitting you have for your kayak and the clothing/gear that you are wearing in the boat. See the discussion about preparing for immersion. You should always dress for the water conditions, so your clothing should reflect that. This will vary from location to location. For example, if I paddle the Yough river, I need to be prepared for COLD water, even in summer (water level controlled by a bottom-release dam). If I paddle the local lake in summer, the water is going to be pretty warm, so my gear selection will be different.

I guess the first question should be what boat you're using. Determining bulkhead size, hatch size, boat capacity is going to be important. I would recommend a deck compass if you're going to be dealing with a large lake or ocean environment. It's not as important if you're river tripping. A handheld compass would be fine for river tripping. You're going to need a bilge pump and a paddle float, too, in case you end up swimming. A sponge or a pack towl will suffice for soaking up minor sprayskirt leakage or paddle drippage. A sprayskirt isn't necessary for all trips, but if you'll be on some fast moving water with rapids, or if the lake/ocean is going to have big waves, you really ought to have one. If you're in a sea kayak or a whitewater kayak, you should probably have one no matter what, since those boats are typically much easier to roll.

This should get you started, at least. I'm sure other folks have additional ideas.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:00 AM
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Mike_in_FHAZ Mike_in_FHAZ is offline
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Backpack: jam2
Sleeping Gear: 3 season TQ
Shelter: 10x11 hex tarp
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Fountain Hills AZ
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my kayak has internal bays in the bulkheads that come with neoprene covers and a hard plastic housing that holds about 7000 cubic inches of gear. Even so, I still use dry bags (not very effective ones, unfortunately) to protect my down bags, clothing or other fabric items. On a weekend backpack trip, I can fit all my gear into about 3000 cubic inches, so the kayak definately spells luxury. Make sure to learn and understand one rule... get the lightest paddle you can afford- over hundreds and maybe thousands of paddle strokes you will surely feel the difference between a 36 ounce and a 32 ounce paddle. AquaBound makes an affordable carbon handle/fiberglass paddle called the Eagle Ray.
a proper fitting PFD is a must- and required to hit the water. you dont always have to wear it, but make a habit of keeping it on. PFD and paddle will most likely be the biggest expense. (besides the boat)
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Old 03-07-2009, 02:58 PM
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ConnieD ConnieD is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 30
Take the "10 essentials" and know how to use them. I do.

I like to purchase "river maps" or "fishing access" maps for my river trips: these maps show put in and haul-out access points, and often show private property and public access.

My preference, otherwise, are the topographic maps, for reading the terrain. However, I have purchased navigation charts, for example, for Point Reyes National Seashore's Tomales Bay and Drake's Estauro.

Have "dry-bags" ...otherwise, take what you would take for backpacking and for camping, only have "soft-sided" or well-padded items where possible. There are soft "dry-bag" camera cases available.

I find that "volume" is more important than "weight" as long as the kayak sits on it's waterline fore and aft.

This allows me to have a luxurious Black Diamond Beta-Mid shelter.

I also "pack" items in a deck-mounted flat insulated "cooler" made for "fish" for optional delicious meals, I would never backpack.

It is important to have a lightweight paddle: I managed to purchase a carbon-fiber paddle at a big store that had a "kayak school".

Do consider "used" equipment.

However, I do not purchase "used" neoprene clothing. If you do, Mira-Zyme should make it fresh.

I opted for the 4-way stretch fuzzy-lined zip front jacket, as a first or second layer, and I like Kokatat "dry-pants".

Have a "paddle leash" and I recommend a "safety line" so you are not separated from your kayak. Do purchase a good fit helmet. I have a lightweight neoprene stretchy cap for wearing inside the helmet, if conditions turn cold.

There are other "threads" about gloves and "pogies" are mentioned there. I recommend having both gloves and "pogies" for every trip, because you can't do much if your hands are cold.

I have Warmers neoprene gloves and Warmers booties. If the water is warm, I use Speedo swim shoes. If a rocky river float, I have sturdy over the ankle river shoes, because river rocks can be sharp. If not sharp, I still like my ankles protected from "hard knocks".

One never knows, if they will get chilled by a sudden shift in the weather or even by an unexpected "dunk" in the water, maybe you may want to walk a shallow section or portage.

Dressing for in-the-water and paddling eventualities is quite an achievement. I hope you find a way to manage comfort for both.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:23 AM
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George George is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: 45 South
Posts: 93
Most of my kayaking is to access hiking or camping areas by sea, so my kayak is a sea kayak. Some good advice been given already, just like to add a couple of things to consider.
For bailing I carry a plastic 2 litre milk carton (kind that has a small handle built into it) that has the bottom sliced off. It can be attached to the kayak by a line (important in capsize) from the handle. This'll move water quickly and is cheap and foolproof! I also carry a small piece of foam for 'mopping up' jobs.
I have a spare emergency paddle attached under bungy chord to the top of the rear deck. This is actually a single blade cut down wooden dinghy paddle. You may need that if you capsize and lose your kayak paddle - it'll get you to shore or to your drifted paddle.
Carry a decent length of line - you can often use this to tether your kayak either with the kayak floating or grounded. Nothing worse than returning to find the tide or wind has launched your transport, or find yourself only able to get ashore in a spot where it is difficult to drag your kayak up after you.
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:33 PM
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Bradleystj Bradleystj is offline
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Backpack: Gregory Triconi 60
Sleeping Gear: Clark Z-Liner;DIY pocket pads;Marmot Trestles -3°F/-19°C Bag; old down bag; Outbound -5C synth bag
Shelter: ClarkJH's NX150;TX150;Tropical2; Vertex Rain Fly & Vertex Camo Rain Fly
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: West Kootenay, BC
Posts: 72
What to take ???

The Three most important Items necessary, haven't been mentioned yet:

1. Fire starter - a fire piston is my choice - even wet it will start a fire.

2. Water purifier - my choice, Katadyn Exstream XR Purifier Bottle or Katadyn Vario.

3. Large Sharp Knife - For obvious reasons.
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