This is a laundry list of what I took along on this trip. I was mercilessly ribbed for being a walking advertisement for Land's End or REI, and for taking anal retention to a new level. However, there is nothing like being dry when it is wet, or warm when it is cold, or digging into a bag and finding some long forgotten snack when you are hungry and at a low ebb, and though I was eventually drubbed out of the Boy Scouts, Baden-Powell did have a point. And maybe this list could help you to be prepared.
The items in red are those which I feel are essential and passed muster.
Seal Line Pro Pack
Without a doubt the most
fundamental thing to take on this trip. This rubberized bag is exactly
what it says it is, a DRY BAG. A brilliant product!
Small Dry Bag (Clear
Seal Line SEE5
Ditto. Kept all essential
items in this small bag (SEE BELOW FOR CONTENTS)
Essential for keeping your feet warm in thecold water, and the rubber bottom allows you to walk on
sharp stones without lacerating your feet. NOTE I SAID WARM ,NOT DRY.
It is impossible to keep your feet dry on the river.
Lent them to Randy, so can't comment, but not essential
Too heavy, and not essential for this time of year.
Mattress Pad( half size)
Fantastic. One of those self inflating jobs (they dont really inflate, but only expand). Light, tough, the right size (you don't need a full one as you lower back and
butt are the most important parts).
Goretex Top and Bot
One of the best products I have EVER bought, and I use it constantly now (especially since I live in England)
3 (1Trek Trousers is enough)
1 Chinos (GAP) 1 Jeans(GAP)
1 Trek Nylon (American Eagle)
FORGET the chinos and jeans. A waste of time. The Trek trousers, with zip pockets up and down the leg and a nylon mesh webbing interior, were BRILLIANT!. They were cool when it was hot, warm when it was cold, and more to the point, dried off after a few hours in camp near the fire, or more quickly in the sun.
Long Sleeve Shirt
Yeah okay, but I would have probably done better with something which was not cotton.
Again, see if you can get ones which are NOT cotton.
Oh yes. Especially at night.Superfluous during the day since you are in neoprene boots all the time.
Briefs (Marks & Spender)
To be burned at the end of the trip, so buy cheap ones.
1 Cotton 2 Supplex
Skip the cotton ones.
Waterproof Kayak Blouson with rubber gaskets
COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME. EXPENSIVE, DIDN'T WORK. MELTED WHEN I GOT NEAR THE FIRE TO WARM UP AFTER MY DUNKING. A MASSIVE DISAPPOINTMENT AND ANY RIBBING AT MY EXPENSE WAS WELL AND TRULY DESERVED. AND IF YOU BELIEVE THAT ANYTHING IS WATERPROOF, GO DOWN TO THE NEAREST HARDWARE STORE, BUY YOURSELF A 22 OUNCE FRAMING
HAMMER, LOCK YOURSELF IN A CLOSET, AND BEAT YOURSELF SENSELESS UNTIL YOU
HAVE FINALLY DISABUSED YOURSELF OF THAT RIDICULOUS NOTION.
Essential for the sun, especially if you have had skin cancer (like me). BUT GET NYLON ONES
Waterproof Gloves (neoprene)
See above. Better off with some Polartec ones which might actually keep your hands warm.
Yep, but lost mine in the hydraulic.
Plastic Heavy Duty Garbage
What an ESSENTIAL item. These allow you to segregated wet smelly stuff in your dry bag, collect samples, keep yourself dry in a rainstorm. AN ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL ITEM, but I repeat myself.
Not quite as essential, but useful nevertheless. DON'T COUNT ON THEM TO KEEP THINGS DRY! The dry bag
is for that.
Government Map Centre
ESSENTIAL.You would be surprised if I told you that this was almost an afterthought. They are necessary-- not really for navigation (since you are going down a river and rowing up the river is not an option) but mostly because they are essential for planning and more importantly, for morale. Nothing is worse than not having any idea where you are, even if you are 100miles from the nearest anything and no one is going to hear you anyway.
CONTENTS OF SEETHROUGH BAG
Small Clear Plastic Dry Bag kept in larger Dry Bag
Shades (Sunglasses and holder)
Get the wraparound ones with the rubber ear grabbers which will stick on your head when you have just
been munched in a hydraulic...so don't buy too expensive ones unless you
don't mind leaving them as fish food
Never used it, but could have been really important in a driving rainstorm.
DEET Plus Insect Repellent
None of these insect repellents worked worth a damn, but that is not really their fault. There were just too many of the little suckers, who somehow knew we were coming and had planned accordingly. The AFTERBITE stick, which has an ammonia base, stinks like hell but relieved the itching and was a lifesaver in the middle of the night in a tent with literally HUNDREDS of itching, suppurating black fly bites all up my legs. I also brought some Benadryl.
After Bite Stick
Seemed to be waterproof notwithstanding my above comments, but did not go deep sea diving with it.
GREAT TO HAVE, ESPECIALLY IN COORDINATION WITH THE MAP. WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO FIND OUT WHERE YOU ARE
ON A BENDY RIVER, IF HELPS TO HAVE A COMPASS.
AN AFTERTHOUGHT, BUT BRILLIANT WHEN YOU WANT TO ALERT THE OTHERS AND THEY ARE A HALF A MILE AHEAD.
50ft Nylon Cord
USEFUL. Remember to get nylon as it is stringer.
Coppertone Factor 30
ESSENTIAL. Forget vanity.
Get the highest protection factor you can unless you like having parts of your body lopped off from time to time.
Didn't use them until after the trip. Since I don't think that boots were necessary, probably a luxury , but I have included them anyway.
First Aid Kit
All sorts of useful items
(such as the antihistamene for the bites)
ESSENTIAL. You would not be reading this were it not for the Journal, and the DRY BAG!!
Needle & Thread
Barnes and Noble
Mosquito Net and Mosquito Hat
A great idea, but the net
around the face wasn't really practical when you were on the water, and
once in camp, it was too late anyway.
PRE-TRIP BEDTIME READING AND OR VIEWING
NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership Schools) WILDERNESS GUIDE
by Mark Harvey
Indeed a classic handbook.Makes the Boy Scouts seem obsolete. Well organized and written. Many of the things above were a direct result of this.
Shackleton by Roland Huntford
This tale of the world's most intrepid Antarctic explorer will place whatever WILDERNESS trip you do in its proper perspective.
Into the Wild Jon Krakauer
This book is about what happens when things go wrong. Basically, you die. It is the story of an young American hiker who took on Alaska...and lost. A cautionary tale, but full of good advice.
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
The history of the Lewis andClark expedition. Like Shackleton, you will read how REAL men did it
The Edge Anthony Hopkins-Alec Baldwin
This is an entertaining if ridiculous film that tells the story of how to use your brain to survive. A billionaire (Anthony Hopkins) transfers his predatory life
knowledge to the outdoors when his plane is forced down in Alaska and he
has to walk out of the wilderness with his wife's lover and a massive
grizzly as his companions/rivals The perfect film to calm your pre-trip
nerves and reassure your loved ones......YEAH RIGHT.
Jon Voight et al (also read the book by James Dickey)
Squeal like a pig, boy. The
MOTHER of all canoe trips.
If you are reading Your Old Man Says for the first time, start at the beginning, and go back and read Five Stages. Chew that over for a while, and then you will have a better idea (or perhaps interest) in that fundamental question: Why? Click on the graphic above THANKS, ERIC
THE MIDLIFE CANOE CLUB
Click on the picture to read about a journey up to the Hudson Bay