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Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
kayaking on 05/24/2011 00:29:28 MDT Print View

hey all
So, part of my trip this summer in Alaska, is going to be 5 days of kayaking off the coast. I have done a fair amount of day trips on kayaks, but never anything major like this. I had a few questions I was hoping to get answered, and maybe just get an open discussion going about the topic just to see what people have to say. I am planning on packing all my gear in dry bags and stowing it in the hatches of the kayak.

1. what kind of clothing should I be wearing while paddling? I am going to have a dry suit on, but do I wear a wet suit under that, or just regular clothes like what I would hike in? gloves?

2. Any specific way to pack a kayak? Like lighter things in the front or back?

3. Any other tips, suggestions or ideas for me to consider? Any advise or open discussion would be awesome!

THANKS!
Dan

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: kayaking on 05/24/2011 05:04:46 MDT Print View

Dan, sounds like a great trip!

1. what kind of clothing should I be wearing while paddling? I am going to have a dry suit on, but do I wear a wet suit under that, or just regular clothes like what I would hike in? gloves?

With a dry suit, you wear next to nothing...light silk long johns, mostly. You will get hot and sweaty. You can add insulation and remove it. But, it is a pain to do on the boat. I would seriously reconsider that and use a wet suit. Any clothing will get wet and stinky from perspiration. Wether you are cold or not. Under a cockpit cover and not sitting on the deck you will be "warm" down to about 40F.Only your upper body is exposed. Often rain gear can be used over your vest and cockpit cover. This will add 15-20F of warmth. A pair of paddling gloves is almost necessary to prevent blisters on wet hands.


2. Any specific way to pack a kayak? Like lighter things in the front or back?

No. Nothing specific beyond packing heavier gear on the bottom and maintaining trim. A sea kayak usually tracks very well, so let it do its thing. Just keep it level.
You mught want to shift to a light-bow configuration for rivers.

3. Any other tips, suggestions or ideas for me to consider? Any advise or open discussion would be awesome!

Everything will get damp or wet from water and/or humidity. SealLine drybags, though heavy, do a good job. Food, dehydrated stuff, can be difficult. Mountain house is good but pack at least two days of no cook meals. If you are with a party, Not as important. Still, pack your food in baggies. Pack your days food in a gallon heavy duty (freezer) baggies. Pack the daily baggies in the drybag.

Water can be a problem. A good pump filter will help.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
kayaking on 05/24/2011 12:50:00 MDT Print View

James....thanks for the tips
I was considering just a wetsuit, but what if the something happened in those coooold Alaska waters? Do you still think a wetsuit would be suitable?

As far as everything getting wet....will things in dry bags even get wet?? I was gonna have dry bags for food, clothes, sleeping bag, tent, all that good stuff...will it still all get wet? I have a small dry bag formy digital camera I was planning on bringing...should I be worried that my camera will get wet?

For water I have a Katadyn hiker pro....i am hoping to pump all our water from fresh water streams on the islands....can you even pump salt water?

Any good/ affordable paddling gloves you can recommend?

THANKS!
Dan

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: kayaking on 05/24/2011 14:18:41 MDT Print View

1)I was considering just a wetsuit, but what if the something happened in those coooold Alaska waters? Do you still think a wetsuit would be suitable?

Yeah, I believe that is what they used for artic diving, too.

2) As far as everything getting wet....will things in dry bags even get wet?? I was gonna have dry bags for food, clothes, sleeping bag, tent, all that good stuff...will it still all get wet? I have a small dry bag formy digital camera I was planning on bringing...should I be worried that my camera will get wet?

Sealline bags are good. But the trouble comes in when things get damp. Then in the holds, they get cold and condense. A wet tent will stay wet. Wet cloths will stay wet. Sleeping bags, ditto. One of the few times I can say a synthetic may work better. Tripple bagged, your food should be OK. But, do not open a bag unless you need to. Rain & drizzle, weak sunlight, cold weather makes for poor drying conditions. A good cotton cloth is fairly easy to dry out over some heat...like from your cooking stove. I set it over the top. It makes a good cleaning cloth for the camera. Get a good water resistant camera too. http://cascadedesigns.com/sealline/dry-sacks/nimbus-sack/product is a fair compromise between weight and extreme waterproofness.

3) Generally, no, you cannot pump salt water. While it is true that military grade filters can, this is NOT true for light duty hand helds. Insure you pump enough for at least your intended paddle time, and maybe a liter or two more.

4) I like the NRS brand, but it really doesn't matter. I tried a couple different types and pretty much gave up on special duty super dry stuff. My hands get wet. Skin gets soft. Blisters are the result after paddling 8-10 hours... Any paddling glove will help reduce pressure on your hands.

Clifford Ritt
(OBXH2O) - F
Kayaking Alaska on 05/24/2011 20:16:02 MDT Print View

Dan -- Suggest you talk to somebody familiar with Alaskan kayaking. I suspect there is a reason that they use dry-suits and not wet-suits up there. Perhaps its the water temperature.

I do know that, in a dry-suit, you dress underneath for the water temp, not the air temp. If the water is 33 degrees, dress for that, even if the air temp is 60 degrees. A dry-suit by itself has absolutely no insulation value if you spend any time in the drink. And yes, a dry-suit can get mighty uncomfortable in conditions like that ... unless you end up swimming.

As far as packing a sea kayak, try to get your heaviest items on the bottom directly behind you, especially if you are carrying something like spare water. It will help with stability.