The stuff I carry, my gear list
March 16, North Beach campground
Yesterday, when I arrived at the campground from the intracoastal side, I was faced with a wall of rocks and a super inclined ramp that I may as well call a concrete wall. My boat is really heavy when it’s fully assembled and with all the gear you can forget about moving it on solid ground. If I was to install the little wheel and try to haul the fully loaded kayak, I would no doubt destroy the hull as the wheel kit would bend and tare the plastic around it. The wheel assembly looks really clever when you see it in the store but it’s quite dangerous to use because any problem will puncture the plastic hull and putting too much weight on it will deform the kayak. Keep in mind that plastic kayaks are very resilient to abuse but they cannot be repaired. You cannot melt it and put it back together and you cannot patch it.
The wall meant that I had to disassemble the kayak and carry the gear in many trips and I have a lot of gear…
Someone was asking me what I was lugging around in my kayak. I’ll break it down in categories. I have kayak gear, dry bags, electronics, camping gear, clothing, food, water, diving equipment, reading material.
The kayak gear includes: the pedal drive system, the outriggers, the outrigger arms, the trampolines that go between the arms, the paddle, the seat, the compass, the centerboard, the mast, the sail, the rudder, the center plug for when I don’t have the drive system in (I put it in to increase my speed with a back wind). I also have tools and spares for the different parts that break. For tools: I have a Leatherman multi-tool, a Swiss knife, knife, vice grip, wrench and screwdriver. The spare parts are numerous: two eight foot spare battens, rudder pins, two sail repair kits, an assortment of ropes and threads, Goop glue, tent repair glue, Crazy glue, all sorts of space plugs and replacement plastic stuff.
The dry bags are of all sizes. I have a main large capacity 90 liters dry backpack in wich I put the camping gear and the electronics dry bags. I have a 30 liter dry bag for food, a 20 liter bag for clothing, a 15 liter bag for the cooking equipment, a 10 liter bag for tools and spare parts and a clear pouch for the map books.
The electronics I have may seem to be a lot but I could not spare any of it if I want to feed this blog and document this trip adequately. I have three cameras: a Canon G10 with underwater case, an Olympus UFL1 underwater strobe and arm kit, a Olympus E-520 slr with 40-150 mm zoom lens and a full HD Gopro. The proprietary battery recharging equipment for all of these is as cumbersome as the cameras. I have my Acer 11 inch computer. It has an AMD Athlon II Neo processor K125 (1.7 Ghz) with 2 Go DDR3 ram and 250 Go of disk space. Unlike other netbooks with their 10 inch screens and tiny Atom processors and only 1 Go of ram, it can run Lightroom 3.0 my photo editing software. Again the power adaptor is almost as big as the computer. For communications, I carry a Virgin Mobile Cell phone and a VHF radio. The radio is used only for weather information. I’ve talked on the radio only once on the Everglades trip. For navigation I have the GPS that was given to me by my friends, a Garmin 60cx. I bought the Garmin Marine Charts for the entire United States coasts. I also have a mp3 player and voice recorder.
The camping gear is the bulkiest part of my gear. I have a two person tent from Kelty, a Kelty minus 7 Celsius sleeping bag, a blue foam mat, a 6 by 8 foot tarp, an Hennessy expedition Hammock that I use for reading but it can also replace my tent since it has a mosquito screen and its own cover. My cooking equipment consists of a MSR international burner capable of burning everything from Kerosene to Diesel, a 30 ounce bottle of fuel, many lighters, a pot, a mug and a broken spoon. I should mention the assortment of lighting equipment: two head lamps, one hand lamp and one green and red signal lamp. The lighting equipment is necessary for night navigation. Otherwise I would not have such an assortment.
The clothing is minimal. For non kayaking time, I have one pair of shorts, two pair of wool socks, very little underwear, three t-shirts, three fleece shirts and sandals. For the kayak, I have a nylon long sleeve shirt, a pair of nylon training pants, neoprene booties, 3mm neoprene socks, dry pants and a kayaking dry top. For sun protection I use a baseball cap, a sun veil and sunglasses.
The diving equipment is minimal but I haven’t had many opportunities to use it. I have a Technisub Mini Mask, a Cressi America snorkel and my fiberglass fins that JJ made for me a while back. I carry a 3 mm Dessault X-tend wetsuit and a Marseillaise weightbelt. I have a 90 cm speargun that I made a while back and reel. You can check out www.renepotvin.com to learn more about my equipment. This gear is what I’d be using for spearfishing competitions.
I carry four books at a time. Right now I have Bill Bryson’s The lost continent. Bryson is quite an inspiration for me as I’m blogging. I highly recommend A walk in the woods. The other books include Latitude Zero from Mike Horn, A widow for a year from John Irving and two novels that have marked social sciences: Starship troopers and The moon is a hard place. I picked up the last two rare books from a used bookstore in St-Augustine. I’ll go back to try to find a Kurt Vonnegut novel.