Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Helping the Economy

I’m doing my fair share to help the economy. I’m getting ready for a WaterTribe Everglades Challenge, I leave a week from tomorrow.

This will be my 6th Challenge so my packing list had already been pretty culled down after the first couple and now unchanged over the past few years into what works for me. Being such an active paddler (at least weekly) and camper (usually monthly) my gear gets well used. So as the EC rolls around, I have to assess what needs replacing, and get shopping. That alone is a good reason to do an EC for any gear junkie.

This year I find my list pretty unchanged, even though I’ve done the last 3 in my Kruger Dreamcatcher. The primary difference is in how I have to pack it. I have had to replace a bunch of old older bigger dry bags to suit the kayak. My favorites for sea kayaking are the lighter Outdoor Research and Sea to Summit dry bags.

There are always a few things I don’t use, but that list is different every year, as it’s always about the weather. My first-aid and emergency repair/replacement kit is a bit bigger than most, but I’m more comfortable and confident knowing I have these things, just in case. And I’ve helped many a challenger out with my cache.

I’ve seen hot, cold, rainy, foggy, calm, windy, thunderstorms, and was even out in a tornado watch during UFC 06. In perfect conditions, the Gulf can be pretty tame, but seems every year during the week at least one front moves in and there are usually 2 days with small craft warning or advisories. When the weather comes in, the going gets tough. So paddling clothes, and camping clothes is all about layering.

I confess my big splurge and new item this year is a Storm Cag. It’s a jacket with hood that fits over everything (pfd and all), and fits around your cockpit over your spray skirt. They aren’t cheap. I ordered just about every model (I could only find 3) and then decided which fit my needs the best. In the end, I went with the Kokatat model. It’s a lighter weight then the Reed Chillcheater, so likely a better layering option for me. I liked the color, seems about right for the conditions I'd be using it in. But the biggest bonus was its size and deck bungee is big enough, and so adjustable, that it fits the Kruger as well. Bonus!


Michael said...

I love my Kokatat cag and am sure you will as well. It's even seen use as a mini tent during shore rain storms. I tried to get another colour (Freya has a gray one. I wanted yellow), but Kokatat wouldn't budge even when I claimed it made me look like a highway safety cone... LOL

Anonymous said...

have you tried the kodiak window dry bags by seal line? they are a thin material, which is a little slick, so they slide easily into the far reaches of your boat. they have a three inch wide transparent strip running the length of the bag, so you can see what's in them, but there is a bit of privacy as well. this strip used to be opaque which i really like, alas, now it is transparent.

but the really cool thing, a one way purge valve on the bottom, so when you seal it, you can force al the excess air out.


SandyBottom said...

Yes I have, and the purge valves start to let air in after a short time. I've had quality issues with SealLine bags. The Sea to Summit bags, when you release the air, look like those bags advertised where you release the air with your vacuum cleaner. I think they are the best.

greg knipe said...

sandybottom, this is the first of the plumbs of the WT season. thanks for listing your discoveries in the gear world. this is my spring purchace for the DC. your gear wisdom puts me years ahead of my own discovery pace. best of wishes in florida, via your back up , dances with sandy bottom.