Monday, May 3, 2010

So Whats In Your Kayak?

I have noticed over the years that people seem to head out kayaking for the day with little to no spare gear. Being a guide for so many years around the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest I have developed a system of always having gear in my kayak. Depending on where you live, this may seem a bit over kill.

Here is a list of things in my kayak by hatch:

Day Hatch
  • First Aid Kit: I always have a basic first aid kit that I can access while on the water.
  • Emergency Signal Devices: I have a few different types I like to have on board. I have signaling smoke, signaling flares, strobe, chem lights and a spare whistle.
  • Warm Items: Spare gloves and beanie
  • Documentation Materials: I like to keep a paper and pen/pencil along with tide data in a water proof case.
  • Water Bottle and Snacks: I like to keep a water bottle for drinking and a extra for emergencies. For snacks I like to have Swedish Fish, Snickers, fruit and trail mix or granola bars. I know some of you think having Snickers is not good, but they really hit the spot when I am about to crash.

Forward Hatch
  • Dry Bag with Spare Clothes: I generally have spare socks, gloves, beanies, fleece top and bottoms. I will admit I have a few extra clothes than what you might need if you are just looking after yourself. But even so I try to take in mind my paddle partners in case of emergencies.
  • First Aid Kit: I keep a larger kit in the forward hatch than I do in my day hatch. This may be unnecessary for those not leading kayak tours.
  • Emergency Blanket: Super light weight, but hold in a lot of heat.

Stern Hatch
  • Shelter: I keep a tarp structure in the rear hatch for emergencies or for simple comfort when the rain is heavy.
  • Food: Besides the snacks I have in the day hatch I pack my lunch in the stern in a dry bag.

Roaming Gear

I have some gear that lives in the day hatch sometimes, on the front deck sometimes and on me sometimes. It depends on the condition and situation of the moment.
  • VHF Radio: I generally keep my VHF (ICom M72) in my day hatch. When I am in need of updated weather info or other info I attach the VHF to the lines forward of my cockpit. In rare occasions I will have the VHF attached to my PFD.
  • Signaling Devices: The signaling devices I have in my day hatch will on occasion be attached to me on my PFD.

  • Knife: I carry my knife in a pocket of my PFD. I have it attached to a lanyard that is equipped with a quick clip release.
  • Hand Held Compass: I keep my hand held compass in my PFD.
  • Sun Care: Sun block and lip protection live in my PFD.
  • Whistle: I have a whistle attached to my PFD all the time.
I wear a tow belt that is separate of my PFD and not attached to the kayak. I prefer the North Water Sea Tec.

Nautical Chart: Generally I have my chart in a water proof case attached to the deck lines just forward of the cockpit.

It is important to be familiar with all of your gear and where it is located. Practice sitting in your kayak on land and retrieving and replacing gear to your Day Hatch. When you are out for a paddle with friends and the water is a bit choppy, practice the exercise again. Be careful to attach gear removed from the hatch to deck lines so waves don't claim them.

If I notice any items I have missed I will update promptly. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you.



paddlingOTAKU said...

What tarp are you using?

And as a fellow cold water paddler, have you gone the drysuit route?


Jason said...

Depending on the season I have two different Tarps/Shelter I like to have along. During the fall and winter I use a Dome Style Tarp by Valley Canoe Products. NRS now has a product that is kind of like the Valley tarp, but smaller.

As for the drysuit, yes. I moved in that direction several years ago. Even in the summer for personal trips or work trips I am in my drysuit. Sometimes I wear a shorty drytop and dry pants.

Thanks for commenting.