Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I did a trip last month around the San Juan Islands. I took 4 days and circled the islands, camping at a few spots along the way, mostly as an exercise to see what I'd be taking with me to Vancouver Island. To determine what gear would make the cut and what would not.

The kayak I'll be using is the venerable Dagger Sitka. This composite boat is almost 10 years old but it has been lightly used, until now. I paddled a different Sitka on my Newfoundland trip and was very pleased with the way it handled the conditions. Its integral rudder worked flawlessly and, with a 22" beam, it had great speed, even in rough conditions. I looked at a couple other candidates for this expedition, but kept coming back to this one. They don't make it any more, but they should.

Paddles come from Werner. Best blades anywhere. I'll be using a bent shaft Kalliste 220. PFD, drysuit, paddling gear comes mostly from Kokatat, one of the most dependable companies in the paddle sports industry.

The tent is a Mountain Hardware Muir Trail. I'll be wearing outerwear and technical clothing from Smartwool, Mountain Hardware and Arc'teryx. Drybags are from Ortlieb, and shoes are from Teva.

Most of the gear I'll be using belongs to me. I owned it already, before this expedition became a reality. I have it because it's what I use, it's what I trust. On the big trips, it's the details that count. Having a knowledge of what I am taking with me, and a familiarity with what works: this is a valuable detail for me.