Re: sleep in your backpac

Posted by FrankP on Jun 11, 2004

As is probably obvious, much of the advice in that post was geared more toward backpacking, but a lot of it crosses over well. Like all other advice, some is good for everyone, some will only be good for a few people (the "hardcore").

I personally don't do the coal toothpaste thing too often because I generally don't have campfires. There are no health effects unless you swallow the stuff, but if you do it right the only thing you're swallowing is some carbon. Can't be that harmful, unless you've used treated wood for your fire, but even then, all of the bad stuff should be burned away. But, it's certainly not for everyone. I've never tried a stick...I figure my finger works well enough. I don't generally carry toothpaste though...bears like that stuff.

To answer the question about sleeping in your pack. It's not generally a comfort thing...more of an emergency thing. Basically you just empty the pack of any bulky stuff and stick as much of your body in as possible. I don't think a small pack will work so well except for maybe warming your feet as Terry suggested. It works pretty well, however, with the larger top-loaders (which probably wouldn't fit in a kayak anyway unless you don't have bulkheads) that have the extension cuffs. I have only done it once during a training exercise for a search and rescue group. I wouldn't recommend it for normal use, but I know people who do it semi-regularly.

Terry is completely right about the first aid kit thing. There is no point in redundant gear, but I don't carry splints or anything like that in my personal first aid kit. (There are always alternatives...such as sticks, parts of gear, etc.) I carry bandages of various sizes, some tape, matches, a needle and thread, medical scissors, and something like bacetracin (sp?). Everything else can be improvised. (I don't take medication of any kind, over-the-counter or otherwise.) Medicines should definitely be carried as appropriate, and everyone in the group should know about your special medical needs.

Communication gear is a very personal thing it seems. I agree that a group in kayaks should never be separated, and thus wouldn't need more than one piece of comms gear. Again, that advice was based more on largish hiking groups that hike at different paces (large age and ability range). For groups like that, having different paces is a good thing and not hard to accomodate with a couple decent radios. It isn't necessary or good practice to do this in a kayak group though, which would probably be only 3 or 4 people. I don't agree about the walkie talkies having bad reception in mountains unless you're talking large ranges. I am used to professional (license required) quality VHF radios though, so my opinion is probably somewhat biased. Then again, I don't know too many mountains on the water either. ;)

Also Terry's advice about used gear is excellent. Outdoor gear almost never gets used to the point of exhaustion. It's just too much of a trend right now...gear can be found for 70% off regular price, if you're willing to look for it.

I've never had a problem using tarps, so I think that is also a personal thing. I've never been prone to bug bites (they don't like me it sems) and if there are mice around, I haven't bear-bagged my food properly. I like to sleep in the open as much as possible though. YMMV


In Response to: Re: sleep in your backpac by Terry Mcadams on Jun 11, 2004


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