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Thread: Rowing and Camping

  1. #1
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    Default Rowing and Camping

    Hello,

    Long time listener, first time caller.

    Not sure if this question belongs here....

    I am planning a coastal rowing/camping trip, though I know what to bring I'm not sure how to pack the boat.
    I'll be going solo, 15' gunning dory. Camping gear, food, water, etc.

    Option #1: one large dry bag with one smaller bag containing immediate needs.
    Option #2: 3 or more bags with gear evenly divided.

    Option #1 keeps gear together, easier to haul out at once, but will just be forward of center of boat so possible trim issues. Could counter with sand bags.
    Option #2 more bags to unload (and to buy!) but could be moved about for trimming.

    All advice appreciated.

    Squish

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    I like having several smaller containers. Since I have a cuddy cabin, I have a large dry bag for clothes (with a smaller dry bag for toiletries and an empty bag to hold dirty clothes)), a small plastic container (like a Sterlite box with a lid -- about 12" x 18" ) for food and a couple of cups, pots, and eating utensils, and another small plastic container for boat "stuff" and other things (spare shackles, flashlight, FM radio, flares, extra line, knife, sail repair tape, etc). I also have a small, floating, waterproof "go" bag where I keep my wallet, car keys, phone, a whistle, flashlight, a flare, and my marine radio and handheld gps (when I am not using them). I also have a cooler with ice; for extended trips I keep another, smaller cooler with things I'll want for that day's sail. I don't want to have to go searching through everything in the boat to find a sweatshirt or a flashlight. I think you will need to divide up your gear in order to get the boat balanced. Also, I'd rather have three lightweight things to move than one large, heavy, and cumbersome thing.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Sounds like you'll be camping ashore?

    What works for me in my sail-and-oar cruising is: two large duffel-style dry bags lashed in, easy to carry one in each hand going ashore to camp. I tend to carry high-volume non-crushables (sleeping bag, mats, tent, etc) in the starboard side bag, since I have to kneel here to hoist/lower my sail. Stove, books, food, clothes, etc. goes in the other bag.

    Water I carry in plastic jugs with handles so I can tie them (loosely) in the boat. I often move water jugs to adjust trim for rowing--I also have 50 lb of steel shot ballast in 2 small bags I can move. But water will be the heaviest stuff you have, I'm guessing, so should easily be able to compensate for the weight of your other gear by shifting it around. You'll definitely want to trim bow-down for upwind rowing, and stern-down for downwind rowing. That makes a huge difference--you may know that already, but I had to learn it through sometimes-frustrating experience!on

    I count on NOT opening those large bags during the day, so carry a smaller dry bag for daily needs--snacks, a book, rain gear, a warm shirt, etc. My compass lives on a bench, tied in by its lanyard. Chart I keep in a large Ziploc bag tucked under a couple of straps on the thwart.

    How long will your trip be? Miles? Days? Weeks? Where to?

    Tom

    I wouldn't want to carry many small bags--I wouldn't trust myself to remember what bag I needed, and it would be a pain to carry them all ashore.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    rowing sailing motor cycling back packing...

    IMHO items of like kind/purpose should be kept together in separate vessels/bags/containers

    shelter cooking sleep system food FAK

    different colors shapes materials of vessels

    ideally already having lash points on them

    easily identified at a glance as needed

    will require more lashing points in the boat butt in turn will allow more trim options

    the concept of adding unnecessary weight(sand bags) for trim when rowing or sailing goes against my grain

    if your boat needs more ballast i'd consider water containers/bladders that could be filled as stores are depleted or emptied as souvenirs are gathered

    i got this idea from pictures found on the interweb

    glued 3 strips of 3/8" ply(1-4.5"w & 2-1.5"w using available lengths)

    IMG_3096.jpg

    then chop'd to 1.5" lengths and faired(they need more fairing)

    ready for epoxifying and gluing to surfaces as lashing points

    IMG_3098.jpg

    hope this makes sense and helps

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    The planned trip is from Ogunquit Maine to Eastport Maine, camping along the Maine Island Trail. The mental math comes in at 10 to 12 days with more give than take.
    I see the point of one large bag being more cumbersome especially after a long row, and a smaller bag in each hand providing better balance.
    DavidC: your list reminded me of the essentials I really haven't taken into account. Even if I had one larger bag, I would need smaller bags anyway to keep things organized and on the ready.
    Tom: the idea of trying to remember where things are if bringing multiple bags is a good point. I guess I know myself best; do I mind dighing through one bag looking for something, or would I prefer having dedicated bags based on contents?
    I suppose the trim issue can be solved with shot/sand bags.

    Allvery good points and I appreciate the sharing of your experiences.

    Squish

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Steve...

    Your reply came in as I was in the midst of replying....

    I too am reluctant to carry sand bags around but it seems a simple way to move the weight about as needed. I'll be carrying two 5 gallon water containers from the start but that weight will obviously decrease so I will have to move them eventually. Different colors are good visual reminders. I guess if I go the multiple bag route I will need to sit down and group things together to see what sizes I would need.

    Thank you for taking the time.

    Squish

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Sounds like a great trip!

    On the shifting ballast issue, you could maybe refill each water jug with seawater as you use it? Especially if you use disposable jugs anyway. You could rinse and refill with fresh as needed, maybe.

    For me, the two medium-large bags really only work because I never have to get into them during the day. Within each drybag, gear is sorted into separate bags so unpacking stays pretty organized once I'm ashore.

    Ortlieb and few others make bombproof duffel-style dry bags with zipper closures--if you had those, you could get into the bags during the day if you needed to. But I much prefer leaving the large bags sealed up until I'm ashore, or at anchor for the night.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    I like plastic buckets with sealed lids. I can take or leave the metal bails (but if you keep them, replace the handles with 1/2 Sch40 pvc pipe...), but I like the capacity, availability, and that you can sit on them like chairs.

    In our canoe, in the dumb wee sailboats, in my rowboats. The bonus is that they float, generally, if not overstuffed with rocks or lead.
    Or beans.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    One of my dry bags is a fairly small one, bright yellow, clearly labeled SHORE BAG on the outside. In it go car keys, wallet, cellphone, and anything else that I'm sure I won't need until I'm back at the car. It is also labeled with my name and home phone number. I stow it in a compartment where I won't inadvertently pull it out while rooting for something else.

    A second small dry bag carries my food for the day and stuff that I might need and that can tolerate getting soaked in seawater. That one stays within easy reach.

    My handheld GPS is tethered or strapped down where I can see it, and my VHF radio lives in a pocket on my life jacket.

    Spare clothes and bedding go in a couple medium sized dry bags. I prefer to divide stuff up and label the dry bags so I don't have to go searching.

    That's how I approach the problem.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    No matter what you do make sure the sleeping gear stays dry! nothing is more miserable than wet sleeping gear.

    you might also consider making a snap or easily tied on cover for the boat with just enough room for you and rowing
    Denise, Bristol PA, retired from HVAC business, & boat restoration and building

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    I would suggest watching a few Roger Barnes videos on YouTube. He seems to have it well sorted as well.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Tom,
    The Ortleib bags come to mind first because I prefer TiZips to rolltops (Sagebrush even better but limited sizes) and I think the same way; dedicated bags will stay closed until I'm off the boat.
    Refilling empty water containers with seawater is compelling.

    Rob, you bring up another point that I've yet to figure out regarding gps and vhf. Where to put each when on the move. I have a Mustang PFD with no pockets for anything. What are you using for a PFD that doesn't get in the way?

    Amish Rob, at the moment I do keep my anchor and rode in a bucket and thought too that another with lid could be useful.

    Denise, must be a side effect of too much time to think because I have considered a canvas cover of sorts to keep parts of the boat covered when on the move. Probably not necessary but certainly fun to think about!

    I really appreciate you all taking the time to reply. All very helpful with valid points to consider.


    Squish

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    I would suggest watching a few Roger Barnes videos on YouTube. He seems to have it well sorted as well.
    I'll have a look. Thanks!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    I have dry bags in different styles and colors collected over the years, blue duffle is clothing, white compression is sleeping bag, bright yellow stuff bag is the grab bag, etc. My boat has a lot of built in compartments so most things go in dedicated spots. Food gets re-packed in clear freezer weight zips and labeled if contents are ambiguous. The GPS goes on a RAM mount, VHF clips to PFD and I have to admit not always worn in calm conditions but on if rough. I run 2 lengths of shock cord along each side of the cockpit, bags can be clipped to or tucked in the cords. Do you need to consider bodily functions? I have a 3 gal bucket with toilet lid and WAG bags. Water goes in various small containers, I had a big container leak once which soaked things and I ran out of water. I'm in fairly dry CA but the boat has a tent that snaps on and it kept me dry in a few showers (also keeps bugs and raccoons out).

    -Rick

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Squish,
    My PFD is a Kokatat Guide-fit, which has a pocket on the front that fits my VHF perfectly, probably by design. If I somehow get separated from the boat out there, I want the radio to stay with me.
    Where the GPS goes depends on which boat I'm in. In my sea kayak I hitch it to the grab loop on my spray skirt. In my little sailboat I have a cradle with a bungee on the bulkhead ahead of where I sit while I'm sailing, so it's right in front of me.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    If you're on the Maine Island Trail, proper human waste disposal is a must. I've been looking into this:

    https://duckworks.com/small-boat-head-system/

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    If you're on the Maine Island Trail, proper human waste disposal is a must. I've been looking into this:

    https://duckworks.com/small-boat-head-system/

    Tom
    A non plastic bag that would compost would be ideal.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Are you thinking on-island burial of waste in compostable bags?

    More and more, I'm thinking the responsible approach to just about every location except deep undeveloped wilderness where you can get far away from water is to pack it out. The systems like Wag Bags, where you can dispose of them in the regular trash, seem best to me. But clearly, for that, odor control is a key consideration for a month-long cruise where you might go weeks between offload points.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    The soil on the islands along the Maine coast is very thin and fragile, and the islands near Portland, Rockland, Stonington, and Mt Desert Is. get a huge amount of traffic every summer. On-site disposal of human waste is out of the question. Pack it out!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Hazard View Post
    The soil on the islands along the Maine coast is very thin and fragile, and the islands near Portland, Rockland, Stonington, and Mt Desert Is. get a huge amount of traffic every summer. On-site disposal of human waste is out of the question. Pack it out!
    Yep. And not just Maine, but pretty much everywhere that sees regular traffic and camping. Which is, pretty much, almost everywhere.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    In an open boat, a couple mid sized dry bags with smaller bags inside. Avoid the giant bags. As you work through your gear and drink all your water you'll probably have to rebalance the weight in the boat. It just happens.

    I generally organize as follows:
    - You'll want your outer layers within reach, along with hats, gloves, sunscreen. And a snack bag. Water. Safety gear.
    - Stuff you only use once a day (camp gear, dinner kit, dry shoes, tent) go further away from the helm. No need to have them in reach until you're at anchor or on the beach.
    - Bring along a few empty dry bags too so you can re-arrange as you figure out what assumptions worked and what did not.
    - Take one small bag and put everything you need in it to make coffee. For instance .. beans, grinder, aeropress, stove, cup. Coffee is important.

    You'll know by the end of the trip how to pack for the next trip.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.
    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    I basically copied what McMullen, Yeadon and Hvalsoe use because it worked so well.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Are you thinking on-island burial of waste in compostable bags?

    More and more, I'm thinking the responsible approach to just about every location except deep undeveloped wilderness where you can get far away from water is to pack it out. The systems like Wag Bags, where you can dispose of them in the regular trash, seem best to me. But clearly, for that, odor control is a key consideration for a month-long cruise where you might go weeks between offload points.

    Tom
    odor control can be a real issue if your fluid waste gets in the bag/mix w/ the solid stuff

    Roy Schreyer showed me that the solids could be virtually odor neutraized w/ a 50/50 mixture of peat moss and saw dust when he showed Dianne's Rose @ the Port Aransas WoodenBoat Festival after camping all the way down from the far north country

    https://www.roydesignedthat.com/composting-toilet.html

    fluid waste for the male of the species is easy to manage w/ a laundry detergent bottle once the pour spout gets removed

    the wide bottom and the imbedded fragrances combined with the wide opening/snug fitting lid and a nice handle make life quite bearable

    i used Roy's method on the Texas 200 in Wendy with good results

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    If you're faced with the task of ferrying a lot of small bags and items up the beach from your boat to your campsite, a handy item is a pair of those large lightweight blue tote bags that IKEA sells. Kayakers use them, one tucked into each of the main compartments on top of all the stuff. It saves a lot of time and trips.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Hazard View Post
    If you're faced with the task of ferrying a lot of small bags and items up the beach from your boat to your campsite, a handy item is a pair of those large lightweight blue tote bags that IKEA sells. Kayakers use them, one tucked into each of the main compartments on top of all the stuff. It saves a lot of time and trips.
    The Ikea bags are nice but if you have a few bucks look at the big mesh divers bags. On my row sail boat I have one for all the small waterproof containers and bags, electronics, flares, lunch etc. It is one with a side zipper so I can lash it across the stern sheets, have access to everything, able to carry it all ashore at once if I want, and everything stays with the boat if I do something stupid.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    The question of what kind, how big and how many dry bags to stow your gear in will depend to some degree on the size of your boat and the arrangement of the interior – thwarts, compartments, etc. At the risk of belabouring the obvious, you have less choice for distributing large bags to adjust trim if you have a small boat – fewer places to put large bags.

    If you haven’t already acquired a bunch of dry bags, there are translucent and clear dry bags out there. I have a couple. It’s easy to see into them. Also, I have done the labelling thing as well but have just numbered them so that was in number 2 bag this trip doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as the next trip. I keep a list which I may have to consult at the beginning of the trip but I usually have it memorized by the end of the trip.

    I also have what I have called a “ditch bag” – a dry-bag-type waist pack, that is always on my person. I am always mindful of what might happen if I get separated from the boat. I want my keys, wallet, passport, a space blanket, fire-starting device and a small multi-tool with me if I get ashore in a hard chance but the boat doesn’t.

    You asked about life-jackets with enough pockets and attachments to hold VHF & GPS and so on. Have a look at life-jackets meant for kayaking. I have one such and it holds all that stuff and is comfortable to row in.

    E.T.A.: What Yeadon said above, especially coffee
    Last edited by AJZimm; 03-08-2021 at 02:39 PM. Reason: additional comment
    Alex

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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    I took a small skiff on the Salish 100, a six night journey on Puget sound.
    You can see how I packed here -


    48246250821_b952ac6152_o.jpg

    I packed most of my gear in two smallish dry bags, one of which had backpack straps for easy carrying on shore to somewhat distant camp sites.

    The small red dry bag in the stern contained my food and most of my water. It's rather heavy, I took rather more than I needed for only a six night camping trip. It also contains a large bottle of fuel for my stove. It is strapped into the boat. Next to it is my life jacket.

    I'm sitting on a rowing seat / storage box -

    It's made from a old tool chest cut down to just the right height and fitted with a new gasketed lid.
    It contained my chart, compass, lunch for the day, a quart of water, binoculars, camera, sun block, journal, toilet paper, spare thole pins and lines, extra knife, etc...

    This box is the most handy bit of gear I own, and I can't imagine doing without one. Prior to this I used a day pack to hold odds and ends, and it wasn't very convenient.

    SAM_8864.jpg

    The much lighter Black dry bag is stashed in front of the rowing box. It could be strapped to the mast partner in bad conditions, but I only did that once on that gentle trip.

    It contained my stove/mess kit combo with small fuel bottle, ( a modified trangia 25-3), and my "daily food bag" which contains breakfast, dinner and a hot lunch if wanted. This is replenished and the fuel bottle topped off every day, usually before setting sail for the day, which is when I also restock the cold lunch stuff in the rowing seat.

    Also in the black bag is a small tarp tent, down sleeping bag, half of a thin foam sleeping pad, warm jacket, small first aid kit, one spare shirt, dopp kit, some underwear and socks, and my rain suit, which is of the light backpacking variety. Also a candle lantern, a spare mag for the Glock 17 on my belt, and whatever book I was reading at the time. I think it was The Hobbit.


    In the photo you can see that I've pulled out the yellow stuff sack that normally holds my rain suit, and for some reason I see it also had spare water bottles in it - I must have filled them before jumping into the boat that morning and didn't bother to properly stow them, this shot was taken on the last day.

    Anyway, the idea was that at the end of the day I need only grab the black drybag and maybe some extra water bottles (if where I was camping didn't have a water supply), hit the beach and camp.

    In the morning after breakfast and back in the boat, I'd square everything away, and would not have to get into the red bulk food bag again until the next morning. I'd not have to get into the black bag unless I needed a warm jacket or rain gear.

    Not seen in the photo is my bailing scoop which is tied to the mast partner. Also there is a bucket hidden under the sail, that's stashed under the partner too. It holds a smaller plastic pail with lid ( an old food container of some sort that I scrounged up)and is full of sawdust and plastic bags. That's my emergency loo, which was never used. Of course I did urinate into the bailing scoop and toss it overboard throughout the journey, but I managed to do "everything else" on land....

    I didn't stop to cook a hot lunch once on that trip, and rather missed my afternoon tea!

    Otherwise, my advice it to travel as light as you can - Don't overload the boat with "what if" gear, and keep the boat as uncluttered as possible.
    Set things up so only once a day do you need to get into the bulk storage bags, don't go digging into the bulk food bag for every meal.

    Set up your kit so you need only grab a single bag to carry ashore to make camp.

    I don't have GPS or a radio, and don't usually carry a cell phone. I sure don't see the need for them in Pudget sound.

    Let me ask, do you have experience backpacking or at least camping?

    I have a very great deal of experience backpacking. I'm not quite with the 10-pounds-or-less-basic-load ultralight crowd, but I'm only a few pounds ahead of that.
    This surely influences the way I travel.

    If you don't have a fair amount of at least camping experience do try out gear well in advance of the journey and make sure you are comfortable with what you select.

    You should NOT be carrying so much gear that you need ballast to trim the boat! I can't imagine carrying more than 15 pounds of camping gear for a trip like this in nice conditions, but I'm sure many folks here would not leave the ramp without 20 pounds of electronics...
    Many folk carry tents that weigh that much...
    Just try to go light and easy.

    For me, the only difference between a weekend trip and a two week trip is the amount of food and stove fuel needed. Everything else is already there.
    Last edited by Etdbob; 03-08-2021 at 04:50 PM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Hah! found a photo of my rowing seat that I took on the Salish. It's pretty packed.
    Looking over the photo I'd say add "sunglasses" to the list.



    Attachment 81510

    Your dory has a built in rowing thwart I'm sure, so this probably doesn't help you much.

    Well, in any event, have lots of fun on your journey and tell us all about it when you get back!!

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    A non plastic bag that would compost would be ideal.
    I wasn't sure if there was such a thing but there is. 100% biodegradable non plastic and worm friendly.
    I use a bucket toilet on Redwing and bring the bucket home to tip into a compost bin. A compostable bucket liner would make the process easier. I had planned to use a Porta Poti in the TS16 but I think I will stick with the bucket.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    I have to say that I'm really enjoying reading this thread. Lots of great ideas; things I never thought of or considered, and simple ways to to keep loads of gear organized.
    The best part is the glimps into everyone's perspective and personal experiences. All valuable and worthy of reading through again and again.

    Thank you all for taking the time to reply. It really says a lot about this community, and it means a lot to me.

    My best,
    Squish

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Rowing and Camping

    A tip I got from a friend I hadn't considered for packing a kayak tight was to use only nylon dry bags. You can squeeze more air out of them before sealing, and they slide in and out of tight compartments much more easily than the stiff, rubberized bags. It makes a considerable difference.
    -Dave

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