Notes on gear

Portages: if you must make two trips, take the first trip only half way. Drop your stuff and then go back for the second. Take the second trip all the way through. Then go back for your first batch of stuff. I don't think it's any less walking, but breaking it up good for your back muscles and you avoid the psychological hit of having to go "all the way back" twice.

Camp saws: tension is a good thing. Give it more.

Axes: we never used them at Ponacka because they really are pretty much useless.

Bear Barrels: are good things. But use cardboard dividers in them to organize them and keep food from getting crushed.

Pita bread: doesn't crush easily. Use wherever possible. Tortillas too.

Kitchen tarp: probably the single best way to 'keep going' in the rain. Worth the weight.

Beer cans: good for fixing mufflers. Sort of.

Cotton anything: useless. I can't believe I used to swear by it. Takes forever to dry, sucks warmth out of your body. Gets stinky much faster than anything.

MEC Rad pants: stupid concept for men anyway. Stay-wet cuffs, no zipper, hard to put on. Either that or you have to buy them mega baggy.

Zippable pants: are brilliant. The kind where you can zip off the leg and have instant shorts. Especially if they are quick-dry nylon. Would be great if the pants had the pockets to fit the legs when worn as shorts.

Poly-cotton work shirts: Irving Rivers $18. Should have brought two or three of these.

Cotton-wool hiking socks. Comfy evening socks but can't get them wet.

MEC cycling shell works well as a paddling shell too. Most days I lived in it.

Polyester triathalon socks: stay warm when wet. Dry quickly. Made a huge difference on Obabika lake when I had to keep my feed warm in wet shoes. Any pair of socks that can make a miserable situation happy has got to be worth the money.

Tripping sandals: do not appear to have been invented yet. If they existed this is what they would be like:

  • tefa soles and nylon uppers but...
  • ankle support
  • covered toe.

Compression bags: allow you to systematically squish stuff. Doesn't make anything weigh less, but it will take up less space.

Dry bags: great concept. Didn't really get tested this trip. Or maybe they did but because they worked I didn't notice?

Dry compression bags: don't exist but they should.

Headlights: are cool. Karin will be happy to hear me say this.

Bear barrels: are no lighter than wannigans but they have shoulder straps, waist straps and they seem to actually work better.

Filter pumps: brita filter in a hurry. Particularly useful when screwed into the top of a properly-sized Nalgene bottle. Beats bleach and eliminates the need for drink crystals to hide chemical-purified water taste.

Fold-up dish sinks: amazing. How did people live without these?

Waterproof canoe packs: wonder if it would work? Some day on the last day of a canoe trip it would be interesting to try.


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