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Old December 18th 04, 05:12 PM
 
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Default Critical kayak gear for safety

I'm a recent convert to the occassionally wet world of kayaking. I have
practised wet exits and self rescues, wear a PDF and always carry a
paddle float and bail pump. While most of my rough water experience has
been coastal and always accompanied by at least one other more
experienced paddler I would like to equip myself with additional
protection for the days I might venture solo. In the Spring I intend to
continue to work on my non existent (as yet) roll and other braces.
Here is my thought: a reliable VHF radio, an inexpensive GPS and
finally a usable dry suit. I like to paddle mostly the North shore of
MA where the water temperature even in summer never gets better than
60. (I think) I own a farmer john 3mm wet suit but not sure if this is
enough. Currently I'm looking at a ICOM IC-MIV VHF radio and a Palm dry
suit. Anyone out there want to weigh in on my choices or suggest other
alternatives. Are the built in neoprene socks advisable? I do insist on
a pee zipper being of the prostate challenged generation.

Thanks,
Gene


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Old December 19th 04, 02:43 AM
Gary S.
 
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On 18 Dec 2004 08:12:41 -0800, wrote:

I'm a recent convert to the occassionally wet world of kayaking. I have
practised wet exits and self rescues, wear a PDF and always carry a
paddle float and bail pump. While most of my rough water experience has
been coastal and always accompanied by at least one other more
experienced paddler I would like to equip myself with additional
protection for the days I might venture solo. In the Spring I intend to
continue to work on my non existent (as yet) roll and other braces.
Here is my thought: a reliable VHF radio, an inexpensive GPS and
finally a usable dry suit. I like to paddle mostly the North shore of
MA where the water temperature even in summer never gets better than
60. (I think) I own a farmer john 3mm wet suit but not sure if this is
enough. Currently I'm looking at a ICOM IC-MIV VHF radio and a Palm dry
suit. Anyone out there want to weigh in on my choices or suggest other
alternatives. Are the built in neoprene socks advisable? I do insist on
a pee zipper being of the prostate challenged generation.

Some active sea kayaking clubs in the Eastern Ma area may be of
interest to you. I think all of them do instructional programs, and
meeting up with more experienced paddlers from the area will help with
your other questions.

North Shore Paddlers Network
http://www.nspn.org

Boston Sea Kayak Club (BSKC)
http://www.bskc.org/

Also the Appalachian Mountain Club
http://www.outdoors.org/
specifically the Boston Chapter Sea Kayak group:
http://home.comcast.net/~ghaff/kayaking/

There are also many commercial instructional opportunities.

Happy trails,
Gary (net.yogi.bear)
------------------------------------------------
at the 51st percentile of ursine intelligence

Gary D. Schwartz, Needham, MA, USA
Please reply to: garyDOTschwartzATpoboxDOTcom
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Old December 19th 04, 02:03 PM
Brian Nystrom
 
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I would suggest rearranging the order of your list.

Get the dry suit first, as it will be the piece you use the most and
it's the most critical to your safety. A Farmer John is nowhere near
adequate protection for North Shore paddling except in mid summer.
Spring is actually the most dangerous time of the year to paddle, IMO,
since the warm air lures people into under-dressing, but the water temps
are only in the 40's and can incapacitate and kill quickly. I find that
I wear a dry suit 7-8 months of the year and it's probably the single
best investment I've made in paddling gear. Get a waterproof/breathable
suit, as the cheaper coated nylon suits are sweat boxes. Definitely
insist on a relief zipper and I suggest that you also get latex or
Gore-Tex socks, as they significantly increase comfort. I haven't tried
a Palm dry suit (I've owned Kokatat and Stohlquist), but they appear to
be well made and I've heard good things about them. Ravenspring
(www.ravenspring.com) is another alternative that's very popular around
here.

Get the VHF next. It's your emergency lifeline to rescue services should
you find yourself (or someone else) in a life threatening situation that
you can't extricate yourself from. They come in handy for on water
communication with other paddlers and larger vessels. It's also great
for getting weather information, much better than the cheap weather
radios. The M1V is an excellent radio, but I like the M88 better (I own
both and have tried several others). There are frequently $50 rebates on
the M88, so you can get one for ~$200 if you catch a rebate and a sale.
Defender (www.defender.com) has the M1V on sale currently for ~$175.

A GPS is strictly optional. I have one, but never use it. A chart and a
deck mounted compass is simpler and more reliable. I would NEVER rely on
a GPS (or any other battery powered device) as my only means of
navigation. I would put this on the bottom of my gear list, after spare
clothing, dry bags, spare paddle, tow rig, bivy jacket or sack,
hydration pack, first aid kit, emergency hatch covers, etc.

You can work on your skills over the winter. The NSPN runs pool sessions
at several locations, where you can work on rolling and rescues. We also
run workshops on navigation, boat outfitting and other subjects. In the
spring, we have a trip leader training program where you can learn about
navigation, rescues and group management on the water in real
conditions, rather than just in a pool or on a pond. It's a great club.
http://www.nspn.org
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Old December 19th 04, 02:12 PM
John Fereira
 
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wrote in news:1103386361.019212.32480
@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:

Some people have already added a few addtional items to add to your gear but
I have some addtional comments.

I'm a recent convert to the occassionally wet world of kayaking. I have
practised wet exits and self rescues, wear a PDF and always carry a
paddle float and bail pump.


It's not enough to just own a paddlefloat. How often do you practice using
it? It may not be much fun practicing in colder water but the time to
perfect a reentry with a paddlefloat is not when you actually need it.
Practice in calm then progressively rougher conditions so that if you do
capsize unexpectantly you won't discover then how difficult it can be to
reenter you kayak with a paddle float when the wind has kicked up some waves
(which is when you're more likely going to capsize).

While most of my rough water experience has
been coastal and always accompanied by at least one other more
experienced paddler I would like to equip myself with additional
protection for the days I might venture solo. In the Spring I intend to
continue to work on my non existent (as yet) roll and other braces.


Look at the most recent issue of Seakayaker magazine for a good article on
learning/relearning a roll. The technique describe is very close to what I
have used quite successfully to teach others. For bracing, look for the
February issue of Seakayaker for an article called "Bracing Drills". How do
I know about the article if it hasn't come out yet? I wrote it.

Here is my thought: a reliable VHF radio, an inexpensive GPS and
finally a usable dry suit. I like to paddle mostly the North shore of
MA where the water temperature even in summer never gets better than
60. (I think) I own a farmer john 3mm wet suit but not sure if this is
enough. Currently I'm looking at a ICOM IC-MIV VHF radio and a Palm dry
suit. Anyone out there want to weigh in on my choices or suggest other
alternatives. Are the built in neoprene socks advisable? I do insist on
a pee zipper being of the prostate challenged generation.


A few things not mentioned yet. You may want some signaling devices.
Flares are the most obvious item. A good loud whistle will also come in
handy, especially if you paddle in an area with a lot of boat traffic. A
bivy bag may also be useful. It's a large coast guard orange bag that you
can climb into if you become separated from your kayak. It can be partially
inflated and used for floatation, and used as a signaling device. It can be
folded up and put into a pocket on your PFD.


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Old December 19th 04, 11:31 PM
Richard Ferguson
 
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Expand a little on this bivy bag. The bivy bags that I am familar with
are usually made of goretex, and go over one's sleeping bag, or body if
you do not have a sleeping bag with you. What you describes sounds very
different. Is it just a large orange plastic bag?

richard



John Fereira wrote:
snip A
bivy bag may also be useful. It's a large coast guard orange bag that you
can climb into if you become separated from your kayak. It can be partially
inflated and used for floatation, and used as a signaling device. It can be
folded up and put into a pocket on your PFD.




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Old December 20th 04, 01:34 AM
Bib
 
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Kind of beyond what you were asking about but my half dollar
suggestions.

Consider the "Safety Blaster Horn". Lung powered, 120dbs, 1 mile
range, $10. Do not try it out in enclosed space. I did. Could not
hear for 10 mins. Wife and I both carry one on PFD. All plastic, no
rust. URL below takes you Fogdog which sells them. Immersion in salt
water does not effect it at all - drain for 2 seconds and blow. Used
by us any number of times both on land and sea. Great for hiking if
separated by terrain.
http://www.fogdog.com/product/index....oductId=841305

Also the common garden variety cell phone in waterproof container.
Highly recommend AquaPac containers. Bought the ones we have in
London years ago but I believe that REI here in states sells them now.
Can personally attest to waterproofness in very gnarly Hawaiian
waters. We only paddle out if we have them on board. Have one for
each of the following; digital camera, cell phone, GPS, VHF and paper
nautical charts. May sound like overkill to many but our paddling in
Hawaii and other places tends to the extreme side and length. URL for
AquaPack below.
http://www.aquapac.net/

Last but not least is signaling mirror. Anything that helps the SAR
folks pinpoint your location, especially something that requires no
batteries, is worth having if it could save your life. Cheap, light,
and simple to use. There are endless tirades about which is better,
metal or plastic, which will last the longest etal. Just get one and
stick in the PFD. If you get caught up in "what type will last the
longest," buy a new one every year, they are that cheap. Is your life
worth $15 or so?
--
Big Island Bob
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Old December 20th 04, 03:06 AM
Gary S.
 
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On Sun, 19 Dec 2004 22:31:35 GMT, Richard Ferguson
wrote:

Expand a little on this bivy bag. The bivy bags that I am familar with
are usually made of goretex, and go over one's sleeping bag, or body if
you do not have a sleeping bag with you. What you describes sounds very
different. Is it just a large orange plastic bag?

richard

John Fereira wrote:
snip A
bivy bag may also be useful. It's a large coast guard orange bag that you
can climb into if you become separated from your kayak. It can be partially
inflated and used for floatation, and used as a signaling device. It can be
folded up and put into a pocket on your PFD.

You are describing a bivy bag as used in mountaineering.

I believe John is referring to some type designed for paddlers.

A link to a pic would be useful.

Happy trails,
Gary (net.yogi.bear)
------------------------------------------------
at the 51st percentile of ursine intelligence

Gary D. Schwartz, Needham, MA, USA
Please reply to: garyDOTschwartzATpoboxDOTcom
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Old December 20th 04, 03:57 AM
Mike B
 
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Having a roll is very, very important, especially in cold water. Lot's of
paddling clubs use indoor pools during the winter for instruction. For the
warm weather flat water paddler just something fun to learn. For
recreational boaters, most of that type of craft won't take a skirt anyway
and if they do, they're nylon, 4 feet long and implode upon going over.
wrote in message
ups.com...
I'm a recent convert to the occassionally wet world of kayaking. I have
practised wet exits and self rescues, wear a PDF and always carry a
paddle float and bail pump. While most of my rough water experience has
been coastal and always accompanied by at least one other more
experienced paddler I would like to equip myself with additional
protection for the days I might venture solo. In the Spring I intend to
continue to work on my non existent (as yet) roll and other braces.
Here is my thought: a reliable VHF radio, an inexpensive GPS and
finally a usable dry suit. I like to paddle mostly the North shore of
MA where the water temperature even in summer never gets better than
60. (I think) I own a farmer john 3mm wet suit but not sure if this is
enough. Currently I'm looking at a ICOM IC-MIV VHF radio and a Palm dry
suit. Anyone out there want to weigh in on my choices or suggest other
alternatives. Are the built in neoprene socks advisable? I do insist on
a pee zipper being of the prostate challenged generation.

Thanks,
Gene



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Old December 20th 04, 07:26 PM
Patrick, Whit
 
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On 12/19/04 1857, in article , "Mike B"
wrote:

Having a roll is very, very important, especially in cold water. Lot's of
paddling clubs use indoor pools during the winter for instruction. For the
warm weather flat water paddler just something fun to learn. For
recreational boaters, most of that type of craft won't take a skirt anyway
and if they do, they're nylon, 4 feet long and implode upon going over.
wrote in message
ups.com...
I'm a recent convert to the occassionally wet world of kayaking. I have
practised wet exits and self rescues, wear a PDF and always carry a
paddle float and bail pump. While most of my rough water experience has
been coastal and always accompanied by at least one other more
experienced paddler I would like to equip myself with additional
protection for the days I might venture solo. In the Spring I intend to
continue to work on my non existent (as yet) roll and other braces.
Here is my thought: a reliable VHF radio, an inexpensive GPS and
finally a usable dry suit. I like to paddle mostly the North shore of
MA where the water temperature even in summer never gets better than
60. (I think) I own a farmer john 3mm wet suit but not sure if this is
enough. Currently I'm looking at a ICOM IC-MIV VHF radio and a Palm dry
suit. Anyone out there want to weigh in on my choices or suggest other
alternatives. Are the built in neoprene socks advisable? I do insist on
a pee zipper being of the prostate challenged generation.

Thanks,
Gene




Signal Mirror = AOL CDs... They work really well and are very free!

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Old December 20th 04, 07:54 PM
Michael Daly
 
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On 20-Dec-2004, "Patrick, Whit" wrote:

Signal Mirror = AOL CDs... They work really well and are very free!


The myth is that CDs work well. They are not that reflective.
Better to get a real signal mirror.

http://www.seakayakermag.com/2001/01Oct/mirror2.htm

Mike


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