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Podcast: Journey on the Wild Coast - Packrafting Gear and Clothing

Erin and Hig talk about the why's and how's of packraft use on their nine month journey along the Pacific coast.

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by Carol Crooker | 2007-08-01 21:00:00-06

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Podcast: Journey on the Wild Coast - Packrafting Gear and Clothing

Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman are about five weeks into their nine month journey. Thus far, they've used their Alpacka packrafts about a third of the time and explain that their route would be impossible without packrafts. In this podcast, we discuss their packrafts, prototype drysuits, pack quick release system and sleeping mat PFDs. Erin tells about capsizing and Hig laughs about being pulled over by the Coast Guard.

Bonus: Erin and Hig share one of their secrets to enjoying each other's company 24/7 for months. Hint: it has to do with leadership roles.


"Podcast: Journey on the Wild Coast - Packrafting Gear and Clothing," by Carol Crooker. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2007-08-01 21:00:00-06.


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EXPEDITION: Journey on the Wild Coast (Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman)
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
EXPEDITION: Journey on the Wild Coast (Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman) on 06/05/2007 22:15:01 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to articles:

EXPEDITION: Journey on the Wild Coast (Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman)

Journey on the Wild Coast, Part 1

Podcast: Journey on the Wild Coast, Part 1

Journey on the Wild Coast, Part 2 - the Gear

Podcast: Journey on the Wild Coast - Packrafting Gear and Clothing

Journey on the Wild Coast - Survival of the Fittest?

Podcast: Journey on the Wild Coast - Should a Non-Coastal Curmudgeon Care About Shrinking Old Growth Forests?

Podcast: Journey on the Wild Coast - Food Choices and Preparation

Edited by kenknight on 04/03/2008 12:36:41 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Good Luck :-) on 06/06/2007 08:52:08 MDT Print View

I will be following this :-)

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Brave souls! on 06/06/2007 10:27:15 MDT Print View

You're two brave souls!

Excellent pre-trip ad. I am gladly hooked.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Thanks on 06/06/2007 14:06:17 MDT Print View

Thank-you for sharing your trip with us. I look forward to getting regular updates during your trip. I really appreciate the sense of place you've conveyed and the environmental mission.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
EXPEDITION: Journey on the Wild Coast (Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman) on 06/07/2007 19:38:33 MDT Print View

> Are you walking back?

Ha! I love it! Best of luck day after tomorrow as you head off on a great and important journey, Erin and Hig.

Mike Maurer
(maurer) - F - M

Locale: Oregon
Wild Coast Gear List on 06/10/2007 09:10:31 MDT Print View

Is there a gear list posted anywhere? Couldn't see one in the text, and there wasn't any sort of link to a dedicated website.


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Thanks on 06/10/2007 09:53:29 MDT Print View

Kevin I keep looking at your photo. Was that taken in the Mammoth area.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: Wild Coast Gear List on 06/10/2007 18:35:01 MDT Print View

Mike -

We will have a full gear and techniques article in a week or two (maybe this week). Erin and Hig have a lot of interesting homemade gear, and their journey will definitely push the limits of lots of their gear. They also have a lot of gear challenges associated with the large amount of packrafting they plan to do.

Stay tuned!


Edited by don on 06/10/2007 20:25:11 MDT.

Robert A Cornah
(rcornah) - F
Rolling packrafts on 06/27/2007 21:33:16 MDT Print View

Hey, can you eskimo roll one of those packrafts??, if not how do you get back in?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: EXPEDITION: Journey on the Wild Coast (Erin McKittrick and Bretwood Higman) on 06/27/2007 23:29:58 MDT Print View

I a Seattlite and a kayaker. I've looked at the charts for the Inside Passage many times, wanting to make that trip. The overland/water combination is a great idea. There is so much wild country on the way--- all the inlets and bays, streams and rivers and the wildlife.

There is nothing like paddling along and having eagles soar overhead, or floating down the mouth of a river into a bay with the tide and having a seal poke it's head out of the water a few feet away, floating along with you. Then there are the Orcas, the Gray whales, Great Blue herons, puffins, otters, sea lions--- it's awesome, in the true meaning of the word. I wanna go too!

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
Re: Rolling packrafts on 06/28/2007 01:04:16 MDT Print View

Erin here

Infrequently on the internet on this expedition, but I stopped by on my Vancouver B.C. rest day, and thought I'd reply...

Packrafts are quite stable. Nearly impossible (I've heard rumors someone has done it) to eskimo roll, for the same reason they're hard to flip in the first place. Getting in is really easy, though. We set up a clip system to quickly release the pack from the front (the weight makes the raft harder to flip upright) doable while in the water. Then I just flip it back over and climb in - I've ended up back in the boat almost before I noticed I was out of it. No water stays in the boat after flipping, and I can pull the pack back with an attached string.

Looking forward to heading into the mountains tomorrow, and then up the B.C. coast...

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Journey on the Wild Coast on 07/02/2007 01:58:16 MDT Print View

I'm loving this series. Hig & Erin are WAY more adventurous than I will ever be. I particularly liked the bear deterrent flare! Unfortunately, if I were to deploy said flare (spitting mess of acrid smoke and fire) in Idaho this year, I would have a bear deterrent forest fire on my hands!!

I'm also getting more and more interested in packrafts. And BPL should look into those new drysuits for us - maybe a review in the future?

Keep it coming!

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
Flares on 07/15/2007 13:04:12 MDT Print View

Hi guys

I just read the article again after grazing through it a couple of weeks ago, and I'm amazed I've never heard of the no brainer bear flare idea. I don't live in a bear rich environment, but when you put your mind to it, them old cavemen didn't use pepper spray, it was the acrid smoke and fire that took us off largely off the food chain. I bet the cavemen sure wish for an MLD spinn pyramid.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Flares on 07/15/2007 18:08:18 MDT Print View

Does that mean a Roman Candle would work too ;)

Kenneth Knight
(kenknight) - MLife

Locale: SE Michigan
A handful of new photos and podcasts on 08/03/2007 09:19:26 MDT Print View

I have just posted a handful of new photos to the portal page. Many of them have appeared on Erin and Hig's blog already, but not this large.

Also the page now is completely current as far as podcasts go so if your preferred method of listening to Erin and Hig is through the website you have plenty more to listen too.

Kenneth Knight
(kenknight) - MLife

Locale: SE Michigan
Re: A handful of new photos and podcasts on 08/27/2007 14:54:06 MDT Print View

Another handful of photos has been posted.

Yes, I realize the blog has more. We hope to add a large number of photos and videos within the next couople of weeks.

Kenneth Knight
(kenknight) - MLife

Locale: SE Michigan
Unresponsive script messages on 09/05/2007 05:08:49 MDT Print View

From time to time, and especially as the data track lengthens, you may get a message from your browser about the script being unresponsive along with a "Continue" and "Cancel" button. This is because the map now supports narly 700 data points including the pink line route which is some 630 points long. We are coming to a point where we may decide to make the track of their route somewhat less precise (though we have all the data) so this happens less often.

Do click Continue to get the complete map.

I've had to reduce the map resolution somewhat. As you can now see the pink line plots every 30 points with a wider minimum separation. You'll still have a great feel for their travels.

Edited by kenknight on 09/11/2007 12:35:59 MDT.

Kenneth Knight
(kenknight) - MLife

Locale: SE Michigan
70 new photos on 09/21/2007 17:02:41 MDT Print View

It's taken a while but I think you'll enjoy the 70 new photos that have just been uploaded. Some you may have seen on Erin and Hig's blog already, but most you haven't.


Gary Thorne
(dogman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Customs on 10/12/2007 09:01:45 MDT Print View

What a great trip report. I was wondering how easy is it to get through Customs with some of the safety gear, one needs? Like a good knife, some meds and cooking gear. I would not want to take a trip like this, with just a 1/2 inch knife or have my titanium tent pegs confiscated, because they might be used to destroy an oil tanker!

Kenneth Knight
(kenknight) - MLife

Locale: SE Michigan
90 more photos on 10/29/2007 02:06:46 MDT Print View

It's been a while but I think you'll find the wait was worth it. 90 more photos have just gone up covering Erin and Hig's travels pretty much from Ketchikan to Juneau.

** Ken **