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Thread: Kit

  1. #1
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    Default Kit

    Kit

    Below is listed some of the kit you may want to have in your canoe. The items near the top of the list are the ones you are likely to need sooner than the ones at the bottom.

    PFD or lifejacket (see THIS forum thread)
    PFD (personal floatation device), Buoyancy Aid or Life Jacket is an essential. It is no accident that I have listed this before even a paddle. Going out in a canoe without some sort of personal floatation is asking for trouble. The choice of the style is wide and will be largely down to the type of water you are out on as well as the season. From the above thread on the forum you will see that there are a number of views on the various options but the one thing that is agreed by all is that you should be wearing one of some sort or another.



    Paddle
    Goes without saying that you will need a paddle. The choice of paddle is almost as difficult as the choice of canoe. Plastic or wooden. Beavertail, Ottertail, bent shaft etc. As with the canoe the secret is to try as many styles as possible and go for the one that suits you best. Be warned, it may not be the one you like the look of best. My favourite paddle to look at is a lovely wooden Beavertail one but I find a gaudy plastic and aluminium paddle the best to use.

    Spare Paddle
    Without a spare paddle eventually you WILL be up the creek without a paddle. Paddling a canoe with your hands can be hard work. Some people even carry a take apart double bladed paddle for use as a spare and in heavy weather.

    Whistle
    An essential piece of safety equipment. Have it with you always. The sound of a good whistle will carry far further than the loudest of shouts.

    First Aid Kit
    If you don't know why you should have one of these then you really should not be going out anywhere. A first aid kit should be checked and restocked regularly. The size of the kit should reflect the length of the journey. A few hours out on the canoe may only require a few plasters, pain killers and bandages but a more comprehensive kit would be required for a multi day trip.



    Bail & Sponge
    You will get some water in your canoe. Hopefully it will just be a small amount which you can take care of with the sponge, however, likely as not you are going to one day need to bail out a larger amount. If you do not have a bail with you getting a fair amount of water out of the canoe can be quite difficult. Trying to use the canoe when it is half full of water is pretty difficult and in heavy weather damn near impossible.

    Rope / Cord
    At the very least you will want enough cordage to tie your stuff to the canoe so that if you suffer a capsize it does not all drift away. Dog leads from the £1 shop are handy for this. You will also want some rope at the ends of your canoe to tie it up if you land at a jetty.

    Knife
    Knifes have suffered a bad press lately but it is essential that you have a knife with you in an open canoe. With cord and rope about it is essential that you have the means to cut yourself free if you become entangled. The knife must be easily accessible. A fixed blade is strongly recommended over a folding one. Serrated blades will handle rope better that smooth. There are a number of knifes designed as rescue knifes that have serrated blades and a blunted point.

    Dry Bag
    Obvious really. From keeping your lunch dry to your phone and car keys. These come in every size you could need and are reasonably priced. You can also get ridged boxes that will keep kit dry, most notable are Peli cases but in my experience these offer few advantages over the traditional dry bag. Where they may be worth the extra money is for expensive cameras etc.

    Dry Clothes
    For a short trip back in the car or more usually in the Dry Bag. You know it makes sense.

    Throwline
    This is a length of rope in a bag, which as the name suggests you can throw. It can be thrown to another canoe needing rescue, streaming the rope behind it. Or it can be thrown to help on the land. If you suffer a capsize you can also grab it and swim for shore, hopefully reaching shore before the rope runs out. Thus enabling you to pull the canoe ashore rather than having to swim it ashore.



    Air Bags / Buoyancy
    These large air filled bags can be tied into the front, rear and middle of the canoe. These keep the canoe afloat and high in the water even if swamped. A similar effect can be obtained by having all your stuff in dry bags securely lashed in to the canoe.

    Hat
    There is no shade on the water so a wide brimmed hat is an essential in the summer and handy for keeping the rain of in the winter. You do not have to buy a Tilley Hat but you will eventually A warm wool hat is also a good idea as when it is cold there is no shelter from the wind. A wool hat will retain a lot of its insulation even when wet.

    Polarised Sunglasses
    Any sunglasses will be handy but polarised ones will really cut down the glare from the water.

    Footware
    I have not specified what type of footware as there are various opinions on this and it will depend on the season but essentially your foot is going to go into the water at some point and you need to be prepared for that. Also you want it to be something that will not hamper you too much if you have to swim. The subject of footware was discussed in THIS thread on the forum. I will let you make your own choices.

    Knee Pad
    A soft mat to kneel on when you are paddling. Of course you may choose to sit but kneeling generally gives you more control. Without a mat your knees will suffer.
    Food and Water
    Always a good idea to have some food to top up your energy levels and water to stop you getting dehydrated. I know you will be paddling on water but it is rare for it to be drinkable without any treatment.

    Pole
    You do not always paddle. A pole can be used for making progress against the current and in shallow water in heavy weather. They are also useful when lashing canoes together or for pitching a tarp.

    Plastic Barrels
    Usually used for storing kit. fairly waterproof but best to have a dry bag inside. Will protect gear from bashing etc.

    Sail
    Yes you do not need to paddle all the time. There are a range of sails available for open canoes. From the simple to the sophisticated.



    Trolly / Wheels
    For transporting your laden canoe over relatively short distances. Could be from your car to the put in point or between one part of your paddle across a short piece of land to another put in point.

    Drogue / Sea Anchor
    Like a mini parachute this can be used to stop you drifting in the open water.

    This is not an exhaustive list of kit and will probably be extended over time.
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 13th-January-2010 at 08:29 AM.

  2. #2

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    What's that red sort-of puffy thing in the bow of your boat? Do I need to add one to my 'essentials' Kit???

  3. #3
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    You know you want to

    This is actually an article from the old site's front page. It is easier to post it as a thread and promote it to an article than go in straight as an article. It could do with discussion but it has this thread to do that now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8r View Post
    What's that red sort-of puffy thing in the bow of your boat? Do I need to add one to my 'essentials' Kit???
    i think it's a pillow for when he gets tired and falls asleep in the canoe

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    A good list, John. Very useful.

    I think it's worth emphasising that you don't need all this kit from day 1 to enjoy paddling, just the first few and you can build up over time.

    A few comments (just the opinions of an enthusiastic amateur):

    PFD
    Not everyone wears a PFD all the time, but you definitely need to have one, and probably will use it most of the time.

    Paddles
    Some people even use double paddles by choice with particular boats.
    (Despite some unaccountable prejudice against them. )

    Whistle

    Definitely. Must get mine attached to my PFD ASAP.

    Bailer & Sponge
    I usually have one (just an old plastic milk bottle with the top cut off) but I don't use it very often. I usually find it easier just to bring the boat ashore and tip it over to get rid of water. Sponge is an intersting idea. I've seen people with them, but do they actually remove a useful amount of water?

    Dry bag
    I'd recommend getting the thicker, sturdier sort. I had a large thinnish one but it soon wore holes in it, on an extended camping trip, rendering it pretty useless. I'd also suggest several smaller ones rather than one large one, easier to sort your kit and to carry.

    I've seen people using waterproof tool boxes as well, which is useful for protecting gear and gives you something to sit on when campong, if logs are thin on the ground.

    Rope, Cord
    I use climbing slings with karabiners for attaching gear to the boat.

    Airbags
    A controversial topic. I've got some (they came with my boat) but I don't use them very often. Plastic/royalex hulls have inherent buoyancy and don't sink. Airbags take up gear space, but they might help if you're getting swamped a lot. e.g. whitewater (on which I'm no expert!!)

    Hats
    Tilleys are good, but other brands are available. Furry ear flap things are useful this time of year.

    Footwear
    Your feet will be in the water! I've used Teva sandals, old trainers and Muck Boots depending on the time of year / weather.

    Food & Drink
    I'd put these higher in the list. Always have some energy bars etc and drink with you. You might end up out there longer than you think (I usually do.)

    Trolley
    Really handy, especially if you're on your own with no-one to help you lug the boat and gear.


    Just some thoughts.

    G

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    A Sideways look....

    Boat - vital, the sine qua non

    Paddle(s) - second place.

    PFD owning one is nearly necessary - wearing one usually a good idea - but if you are perfectly happy swimming back from wherever you are feel free to leave it in the car.

    Whistle an occasionally useful flatwater toy - utterly without merit on white water.

    Bailer handy thing on any trip with gear or that takes over half an hour - easily made - rumoured to make an effective emergency loo.

    Duct Tape & Sponge - these, combined with the swiss army knife - are the emergence repair kit and the first aid kit - There is a world of difference between "expedition medicine" and "first aid".

    Dry bag Handy stash if you have to carry stuff that needs to stay dry - doubles as kneeling saddle

    Rope, Cord keep almost all of this in the dry bag - you can play with it later.

    Knife - see fork.

    Airbags - A recent affectation - see also hats, drysuits, and (you're not going to believe this) - gloves.

    Footwear - WIMPS ONLY - actually that's unfair - choose to suit the conditions crocs are good while others swear by "Muck Boots"

    Food & Drink - that's what pubs are for.

    Trolley - you've got to be off it in the first place.



    The most reliable parts of any system are:
    Those that aren't there
    Last edited by DougR; 13th-January-2010 at 10:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DougR View Post
    Whistle an occasionally useful flatwater toy - utterly without merit on white water.
    Sorry Doug, i don't get that one .
    Cheers, Pieface.

    "What's so special about the cheesemakers?"

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    i would say take two knives since they are so important.one wityh a serated edge and then a more sturdy fixed blade on your belt. The serated blade should be attached somewhere around your upper body so that it can be reached if your pinned (legs are submerged).





    Yes Crow, bad weather can force you to stay out longer than you had hoped so food is essential. I have been "trapped" on a Loch 10 Miles from anywhere by wind before, for 2 days. Take an emergency supply of food and always take abotu 24 hours worth more than you think you need.

    Water purifcation tablets + Milbank Bag (filter bag). That takes care of your water needs.

    I use a Billy can as a bailer and then my cooking pot when i camp. I try to ensure that allof my kit has more than one use, that way i can carry less.

    A saw. A folding saw such as the Laplander to cut you or somebody else free frpom a pinned boat or other obstacle. Use it for cutting firewood in the evenbt of an upset.



    It is important, probably the most important thing to be able to start a fire quickly int he wilderness. If you have an upset in the wilderness in cold weather (any time of the year in Scotland) your best hope to avoiding catastrophe isto start a fire, quickly. A fire can prevent hypothermia, cook, prurify water, signal help, boost moral, etc....

    In light of the above a fireflash and some tinder (Pine sticks, wax card, hexy block, anything that is water proof).







    You must have the means to make fire on your person at all time. Not in your bag, on your person, that means tied to your shirt of BA.

    Again, you dont *need* any of this stuff to just jump in a boat and have fun, but if you head up to the wilderness for a multiday trip then these are precautions you should take and they make things like tipping your boat over less of an ordeal.

    If you paddling white water then you do need the knife and i would say you should take a saw (having witnessed a life being saved by one)

  9. #9

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    That's all good advice. But, STAY AWAY from folding knives if they're intended to be your rescue-knife. Keep a good (i.e. sadly, expensive...) fixed-blade on your belt ALL the time. There's NO time for fumbling around opening a blade in a rescue (self, or otherwise), and when the water is cold, your fingers just don't work very well...

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    Agree with your opinion on folding knives, i find them to be quite dangerous and often have very uncomfortable handles which renders unusable snce they cause injury to your hand

    The Toollogic SL3 Fire is the exception to this rule though. I would not use it for manufacturing Meat as Lloyd would put it but it is an excellent bit of kit. A near perfect addition to a good fixed blade knife.


    • 3" 50/50 Serrated Blade
    • One-Hand Operation
    • Liner-type Lock
    • Water Tight Cavity


    • Emergency Whistle
    • Stainless Pocket/Belt Clip
    • Lanyard Hole
    • Magnesium Firestarter

    Oh i'm going to add a multi tool to thelist as well, for the pliers and screw driver if nothing else. It is true that you wont use thesemuch but when your boat breaks you'll be gratefull for it.

    I like Gerbers, everyone else seems to prefer leathermans. Dont get a cheapy one.

    Stick with gerbers and leathermans



    oh and a head torch, this one is (in my opinion) the best on the market and i keep it in my first aid kit

    Last edited by nakedfiremaker; 13th-January-2010 at 11:52 AM.

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    What's the purpose of a serrated blade and how would you sharpen it?

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    A serrated or "saw form" blade is the tool of choice for cutting:
    Bread
    Tomato
    Rope.

    Sharpen - most folks simply bin the thing when blunt and buy a fresh one - most wannabes in boats lose more than they blunt.

    If you really want to sharpen one the choice of tool depends on the tooth form - Either a conical diamond hone - or a VERY hard feather edge file and a few years practice - same as a japanese pull-saw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8r View Post
    What's that red sort-of puffy thing in the bow of your boat? Do I need to add one to my 'essentials' Kit???
    It's the dead body, of the only person to meet up with MK, knowing there was a portage on their route. It's not carried as balast, more to show the rotting corpse to others, that might suggest doing the P word.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barefoot View Post
    What's the purpose of a serrated blade and how would you sharpen it?
    Yeah as Doug said, rope, my main fixedblade knife is razor sharp, you can shave with it if you...actually bothered to shave...who does these day's anyway?

    But a serrated blade will goes through any rope much, much faster that a smooth blade.

    To sharpen, as long as it's not too bad and has not kinks in it just shapen as you would a normal blade but on one side only, these have a one sided bevel so 8 -12 strokes on a stone and 25-50 on a strop (both sides to remove the burr).

    I dont use this very often as it's supposed to be for emergencies so i have not had to sharpen it more than 3 or 4 times in the two years i have owned it.

    If in doubt, get one and try it for yourself.

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    Spyderco Rescue locked in open position in Kydex sheath on PFD.

    Handy as can have it closed on climbing harness

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    Quote Originally Posted by barefoot View Post
    What's the purpose of a serrated blade and how would you sharpen it?
    Sharpening can take a bit longer with a small curved/round file/stone. As to purpose, I gather you've not had to actually cut someone's boat from around their person. A laminate and or wood can be tough & time consuming to cut through without a serration. If you had to cut through poly, it would go a lot quicker with the serration.

    There's lots of 'for' or 'against' 'serrated' and or 'pointed' bladed rescue blades. My view_ if I were trapped in a pinned boat. The quicker I got out/was released, the better. And if I could help get someone to safety a bit quicker, I'd not be worrying about how long it might take to resharpen a blade.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  17. #17

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    You've put some nice information together here John - good sound advice which people can taylor to their own needs as their experience develops.
    Very best regards,
    Kim
    www.kimbull.co.uk - 'Excellence in Canoe and Kayak Coaching'

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by TGB View Post
    It's the dead body, of the only person to meet up with MK, knowing there was a portage on their route. It's not carried as balast, more to show the rotting corpse to others, that might suggest doing the P word.

    TGB
    Ah yes - as Napoleon said: "Pour encourager les autres.."

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    Default paddlewear

    How about clothing?

    The list covers hats and boots, but nothing in between.

    It's normally advisable to wear something there (though not obligatory), but what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    How about clothing?

    The list covers hats and boots, but nothing in between.

    It's normally advisable to wear something there (though not obligatory), but what?
    Fig leaves have covered a number of modest bits in days gone by. Or so some painters would have us believe.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

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    This kit list, give or take a few items, is pretty much the same for us canoeists no matter which side of

    the ocean we're on-- but it bears little resemblance to what might be brought on a Canadian Redneck

    wilderness excursion.... outboard motor(s), chainsaw (fuel doubles as firestarting kit), generator,

    firearms with enough ammo to start a war, more beer cases than you could fit into 2 canoes, and

    the list goes on...

    Last summer we were camped on a lake near home next to 6 good 'ol local yokels. Nice lads, they

    caught a mess of rainbows and brought some over to us... but one day they had a generator

    going 8 hours nonstop. Turns out it was one guy's turn to make supper so he plugged a slow

    -cooker into the generator for a whole day!

  22. #22

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    I'm trying to pair down the amount of stuff I take out. To get back to basics and enjoy the time on the water for what it is. Peaceful simple and uncluttered. Obviously where and how long your out for will dictate what you need to take.

  23. #23

    Default Off my trolley

    Ta muchly for the excellent list John. Having only begged or borrowed for years, and now the proud owner of an Apache 16' (British racing green and now bearing SOTP stickers), I'm still kitting her out. Got most of the essentials but can anyone recommend a good trolley?
    Amanda
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    sack barrow and angle grinder are you friends there. Or get the crew trained up.

  25. #25

    Post What? In the canoe!

    I don't think I could get them in the canoe Ed.

    Think that by the time I managed to beg borrow or steal an angle-grinder, find a sack barrow, then try to attack the one with the other, given my abilities/available fettling time etc., something ready-made might end up cheaper (and without me ending up in A&E) ?

    Remember, I've still got to get down to some serious paddle-whittling yet.
    Amanda
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    Best and cheapest trolley you can get

    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...hlight=trolley

    and yes it is a sack trolley cut down with an angle grinder but it takes two minutes and even if you had to buy the grinder it would still be cheaper than a bought one.

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    Eckla trolleys are good. But not cheap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amanda View Post
    I don't think I could get them in the canoe Ed.

    Think that by the time I managed to beg borrow or steal an angle-grinder, find a sack barrow,

    Remember, I've still got to get down to some serious paddle-whittling yet.

    Easily sorted, B&Q sac barrow and someone local with and angle grinder Make the young 'un earn his keep

  29. #29

    Default I should be so lucky!

    Our lad - work? Chance would be a fine thing! Much as on principle I approve of the homemade, in this instance I followed another SoTP link and have bought a trolley from H2o Kayaks. Spoke to a really nice guy called Neil. Got what looks like a decent RuK trolley for a LOT less than the Eckla or Trek, plus some other bits and pieces all at really good prices. Looking forward to official launch of Miriam as soon as we can combine the physical presence of at least two of us, and a bit of sunshine!
    Amanda
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougR View Post
    Whistle an occasionally useful flatwater toy - utterly without merit on white water.
    Sorry, I dissagree. In fact I was tempted to go as far as using a flat "you're wrong" when i first saw that...

    In a loud environment such as whitewater or even a windy day, you need a method of quickly getting the attention of people who are looking elsewhere... Thanks to my trusty tornado 3000 I've been saved the trouble of getting swept out to sea when my canoe swamped on the menai straits, but I could never have shouted to my friends over that distance.

    The international signals for whistles are; 1 blast for attention, 2 for upstream, 3 for downstream, & 6 short blasts repeated once a minute for distress.
    Joshua Kelly - cboats.net

  31. #31

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    Dunno about ww whistle signals, but, if any of you are tripping in the bush over here, you should know that 3-of-anything-noisy - whistle, gunshots, flares, whatever - means you need help.

    just fyi - it might be handy to know.

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    Yeah, that was the old distress signal for the UK too; but it's been changed to come in line with the Alpine & High Mountain signals; Either one would have me investigating where the repeated signal is coming from.
    Joshua Kelly - cboats.net

  33. #33

    Default Distress signals

    There seems to be a LOT of confusion as to what constitutes a whistle distress signal. Several "authoritative" water safety websites refer to the use of whistles and the need to know the "International distress signal" - but none of them say what this is! One US site says that the whistle should be audible at a mile distant, but not what the signal is. Another mountain sport site says the "International" distress signal is 6 blasts - but this appears to be the UK one only. Other sites say it is 3 blasts everywhere else. Does this mean that carrying a whistle is a fat lot of use in an emergency? Are people just going to think that you've lost your dog?

    Confused!!!!!
    Amanda
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    I rather think that's made my point.

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amanda View Post
    There seems to be a LOT of confusion as to what constitutes a whistle distress signal. Several "authoritative" water safety websites refer to the use of whistles and the need to know the "International distress signal" - but none of them say what this is! One US site says that the whistle should be audible at a mile distant, but not what the signal is. Another mountain sport site says the "International" distress signal is 6 blasts - but this appears to be the UK one only. Other sites say it is 3 blasts everywhere else. Does this mean that carrying a whistle is a fat lot of use in an emergency? Are people just going to think that you've lost your dog?

    Confused!!!!!
    Should be taught in school. Along with first aid, personal finace and some form of universal hand signal language.

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    I just use the international signal for distress...

    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by DougR View Post
    I rather think that's made my point.
    Thought it might!
    Quite agree that safety in the outdoors should be taught. Not everyone needs to make a signal, but everyone should be able to recognise one when made - but in this case no organisation seems to agree on what constitutes a distress signal. So should we all carry flares?

    And on the sharp cutting subject, anyone got a view about the Gerber Gator machete Jr? - fine edge one side, saw the other. Mark at Lakeland Bushcraft has them and it just caught my eye after the comments above, as a modestly priced but potentially useful bit of kit.
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 27th-January-2010 at 08:04 PM. Reason: fix link
    Amanda
    Chocolate Fish Merino
    Mae'r defaid wedi bwyta fy brechdanau!

  38. #38
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    In practice - just about anything that could make someone think - "W.T.F.?" - might serve as a distress signal, and by the same token, if you are in a sparsely peopled place and your curiosity is aroused - check it out anyway.


    The range of official maritime distress signals is huge and includes flares, or indeed any trousers, flown from a mast and the gem - "showing flames on the vessel (as from a burning tar barrel, oil barrel, etc)".

    In over forty years of messing about in boats I have never had the excuse to use a burning tar barrel - but we live in hope.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distress_signal

  39. #39
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    I don't think the machete would be a particularly useful bit of canoe kit. Perhaps as a camp tool but not much use in a rescue situation.

  40. #40
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    i got one of those h2o trolleys loaded my boat got 20 feet before the wheel buckled ,so just be careful as to how much kit you put ontop of this trolley......

    Quote Originally Posted by Amanda View Post
    Our lad - work? Chance would be a fine thing! Much as on principle I approve of the homemade, in this instance I followed another SoTP link and have bought a trolley from H2o Kayaks. Spoke to a really nice guy called Neil. Got what looks like a decent RuK trolley for a LOT less than the Eckla or Trek, plus some other bits and pieces all at really good prices. Looking forward to official launch of Miriam as soon as we can combine the physical presence of at least two of us, and a bit of sunshine!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    I don't think the machete would be a particularly useful bit of canoe kit. Perhaps as a camp tool but not much use in a rescue situation.
    +1

    Billhook - for camp chores
    Folding saw for camp if needed to free boat or swimmer etc. Knife and folding saw are standard kit items for Swiftwater Rescue Technicans

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougR View Post
    In practice - just about anything that could make someone think - "W.T.F.?" - might serve as a distress signal, and by the same token, if you are in a sparsely peopled place and your curiosity is aroused - check it out anyway.


    The range of official maritime distress signals is huge and includes flares, or indeed any trousers, flown from a mast and the gem - "showing flames on the vessel (as from a burning tar barrel, oil barrel, etc)".

    In over forty years of messing about in boats I have never had the excuse to use a burning tar barrel - but we live in hope.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distress_signal
    I wouldn't set foot in my canoe without my tar barrel.

    I'm shocked MK left it off the kit list
    Cheers, Pieface.

    "What's so special about the cheesemakers?"

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