trips are the highlight of the sport. There is
something incredibly beautiful about paddling up to a pristine
campsite, pulling everything you need out of the back of your boat and
enjoying a night under the stars. What follows is a list of
recommendations based off of extensive personal experience.
Above and beyond normal paddling
Breakdown Paddle, throw rope and Pin Kit: These never leave my boat
anyways, but are not always standard for most people.
Extra items in pin kit that are key on overnights: Multi-tool with
pliers and screwdriver. Needle +
fishing line to patch skirts. A bottle of Ibuprofen and "sleep aid" a
light, non prescription sleep aid like Tylenol pm.
Always a toss up between weight and durability.
Watershed’s are really nice, durable and significantly heavy but
the only truly dry choice. If you have the money, just
getting two Watershed Futa bags is a good way to go. If not buy them at
because most dry bags fall apart like nobodys business. Personally I
use one Watershed Futa and one Watershed Chatooga and they can hold all
Bag: I like down for light weight and compression and long lifetime.
I use Feathered
Friends 20 degree bag.
about their ratings. If I had an REI or North Face bag it would have to
be a 10 degree bag, they rate theirs for survival not sleeping. Of
course if you use down you need good shelter to keep it dry. I've been
considering switching to drydown, but have yet to find anything as
light and warm as Feathered Friends.
If weather is good I use an Outdoor Research Bug Bivy or if there is a
chance of rain, a Sierra Designs Flashlight 1 FL
Personally I skip on a water filter other than using a water filter bottle
during the day. I’d bring either iodine, or my personal
choice, just a small bottle of bleach. 2 drops per liter treats me well
and it tastes like the water in Davis.
In California I just plan on using a fire to cook on. If it's stateside
and wet, propane/butane canister stoves work well. Internationally I
haul around an old Svea
123. It's always a little work to start, but does start every time.
Requires much less maintenance than a Whisperlight, but it is loud. It
will run on regular unleaded gas which is great while traveling in
third world countries. I use a cheap aluminum
cooking pot with a lid that holds at least 4 cups, plus a spoon or
Later in the California season I don’t bring any extra cloths and
plan to dry
mine by a campfire, but earlier that’s not a guarantee.
I bring flip-flops for around camp, shorts, a
layer for my legs and a light
down coat. I also like to throw in a beanie for cold nights.
Headlamp with fresh batteries, mp3 player, camera.
Food is up to the user, but I learned it’s way
better to pack too much rather than almost enough. Not having enough
food can ruin any trip, no matter how great the river, it’s not
fun if you are starving. I’ll plan this as a four night, five day
trip. A lot of people are into the freeze dried, which saves weight,
but is terribly expensive for how good it tastes, and can be hard on
the digestive system when eaten back to back. My suggestions might just
sound a little redneck, but hey that's my roots :)
Steak, throw it in some marinade and freeze it. Keep it in a ice chest
until it goes in your dry bag. Everyone will be jealous at camp and
it’s cheaper than a freeze dried meal! Goes well with instant
A package of bratwurst of choice. I plan to eat two and night and they
come in a six pack. Goes well with mac-n-cheese.
Two leftover brats and Instant mashed potatoes
The last two brats and either a noodle variety of choice like Lipton
Sides or a different flavor of instant potatoes.
I have a sweet tooth and try to bring something chocolate for after
Lunch: This is a tough one because nothing is dehydrated. It’s
also less organized because a lot of stuff I bring gets split up.
family size boxes of Triscuits. Substitute with cracker of choice.
of cheddar cheese, split into two zip-locs: two lunches with crackers
– two lunches with crackers.
big packet of good Tuna. Good to eat with the last of the crackers.
Breakfast: I just bring 2 packets of instant oats per day. It’s
mediocre food but easy.
Snacks: I like to bring a big bag of trail mix and another treat per
day, like two small peanut butter cups per day.
Drinks: Tang or similar. It’s nice to have, especially if
it’s cold and dry weather. People never bring it but always beg
it off me, it’s liquid gold. I also bring 2 Emergen-C packets per
day to keep the electrolytes up on big days.
I move my seat about 1″ forward to help balance
out the extra right in the stern. I take any float bags out of my boat,
because the dry bags take up all that space and serve the same purpose.
I always clip my dry bags in with a carabiner.
A great suggestion by Nick Gottlieb: One other thing to include in cold
/ rainy weather is wax paper — very cheap, very light and small,
and great fire starter.