Manufacturers have been trying for years to come up with a chart case that’s both waterproof and functional, and by golly Sea-to-Summit has done it. Their chart cases are designed kind of like a dry bag, with a roll down top. While other chart cases are notorious for falling a part just as soon as you start getting some use out of them, these guys kept our charts dry the entire trip, and with that kept us on track and from getting lost. We were impressed.
After spending a lot of time on the water, you start to realize how important it is to care of your eyes. Long periods of exposure to high levels of light, especially when being reflected off the water, can be very damaging. After spending a lot of time on the water, you also start to realize how bloody easy it is to loose your sunglasses (even with those handy dandy retainers). Atmosphere has seem to come up with the perfect solution to solve both these problems. Their sunglasses are inexpensive, so not hard on the wallet to pick up a pair (or a replacement pair), and they’re polarized. Atmosphere was kind enough to donate a pair for each of us, but we liked them so much we all went and picked up a back up second pair too.
Delicious. A lot of meal supplement drinks can be kind of gross, but we had Vega almost every day for two months and we’re hooked. And this stuff is 100% plant based, so as a team of three vegetarians we were thrilled to have Vega on board. An added benefit to Vega, one that is super important for expedition paddling and your health in general, it keeps you regular. Our morning breakfast routines consisted of Vega and oatmeal, a solid combo that kept us going for hours on the water.
Chlorophylle makes a lot of great clothing for outdoor adventures, but they also make tarps! These tarps are bomber, made from a solid waterproof nylon and with some heavy-duty attachment rings along the sides, you could set up these tarps is some pretty wild conditions and it would hold its own. Definitely handy for some of the wild weather you can run into on the North Coast, and in particular it would be a great investment for kayak guides and the like.
A rain coat designed for the wet coast of BC. After over two months of hard use (daily?) the material only just began to wet out a little around the cuffs (wetting out just means it stopped beading, but did not get wet inside). The design is fantastic; I really appreciated the comfortable cut, especially the hood, which is large enough to fit all my hair in and still have the brim come over my forehead and keep me dry! The two-way zipper was a little difficult to get started the first few tries but I just had to figure it out. And excellent jacket!
First of all, I have to say I never got wet in this tent, not once, not damp, not even my feet! It is very clear that this tent was designed by someone who actually uses tents. Firstly, the tent is very simple to set up and take down. The size and shape are optimal for utility of space while keeping the weight down. Despite having a mesh canopy for ventilation, with the fly, I was never cold. The two side doors of the fly pull out far enough to put your all your stuff and keep it dry but not so far as that you have to lay on your belly to reach the zipper to get out - well calculated!
Although down sleeping bags are wonderful, they do not keep you warm when wet and are tough to dry out. A kayak trip on the ‘Wet Coast’ calls for a synthetic bag. I searched high and low for a synthetic bag that packed down small (with enough insulation of course), and Mountain Hardware seems to have the best selection of quality synthetic sleeping bags. I really like the UltraLamina 15. There is a zipper on either side, which only go down to about the waist, but their double zippers and the coolest part is that you can stick your arms out either side and read a book without getting cold! And also bravo on managing to design a system for tightening the hood that opens just in place for the nose and eyes, keeping one nice and toasty.
It wouldn’t have been as easy to kayak 900km without a carbon-fiber, foam-core paddle, that’s for sure! I have yet to come across paddles that move so well through the water, and are so nicely balanced. I initially had trouble deciding between the Athena and a larger blade, low-angle paddle, but I am really glad I chose the Athena. The smaller paddle surface made it so I ended up using the Athena much more frequently than my larger bladed, high-angle paddle (although I prefer a high-angle stroke). Since I have a shoulder injury, the smaller blade aided immensely in reducing the stress on my shoulder. Carbon is still pretty tough stuff; not overly careful but not overly careless either, the paddle barely looks worse for the wear.
When you choose a small boat that actually fits you properly for a 2-month expedition, if you don’t fill every centimetre of space, you’ll never manage to pack everything into your boat! This is where tapered drybags that fit right into the bow or stern of you kayak become a must. The base of the Big River tapered dry by Sea-to-summit is made from a fabric which expels air, making it much easier to pack into a tight space. Probably because I stored my tent poles in it, the fabric did tear in a few spots after 2-months of daily packing. Nevertheless, my tent never did get wet (well, except in rain!).
Probably one of the best PFD accessories ever; the trip would have taken at least twice as long if every time one of us had wanted a sip of water we had to stop, grab a water bottle, unscrew the lid, drink, screw the lid back on, and put the water bottle away.