Equipment Review

Equipment Notes

Here are a few notes that we made the first night in Bethel about advantages and disadvantages of our gear.

Coleman Propane Stove. A piece of community property that Norm contributed. Its simplicity is a real plus.  Attach it to the tank and you're ready.  But it was like a blowtorch.  I needed less heat a few times which my Peak 1 has.  But if you just want to boil water, this is the perfect stove.  The propane cylinders were available in Bethel for $8.00.

Pur Voyageur Water Filter. Norm also brought this and, as I mentioned, it plugged up on the last day.  Part of the problem was that Norm did not check it until almost midnight the night before we left and found that the filter he had wanted to take was not working.  So he has resolved to keep an extra filter on hand at all times and to take it on extended trips.  I had a Pur that they don't make anymore.  I had a couple of paper filters for it but my BWCA experience of not taking anything unnecessary made me leave it at home.  It turned out that weight and space were not a problem on the raft.

Eureka Timberline 2 Tent.  This tent was too small.  If I do another trip like this, I will get a tent rated for twice the number of people who will sleep in it.  But this design is bulletproof and, most importantly, waterproof.  I have been through many storms in this tent and have stayed dry.  We added an inner liner of clear plastic.

Tarp. I think ours was 10 x 12 and it is really an essential piece of equipment.  It allows you to cook and stay dry away from your tent and also functions to keep campfire smoke around to drive off bugs.  We learned that tent pegs are useless.  Bags of rock worked and bushes and large driftwood logs are even better.

Backpacker's Cache (Bear Resistant Food Container).  Thankfully, these were never tested by a Grizz.  But I think the design is good.  They also were good seats.  See the Resource page for details on where to rent one.

Clothing. This is what I wore almost everyday: Cabela's light weight long underwear, Smart wool socks, Columbia nylon shirt, Cabela's polar Tec jacket with wind-stopper, knit hat, Cabela's Twin Forks hip waders (insulated feet) and nylon pants.  Sometimes I added wool gloves (waterproof gloves would have been good) and a polar Tec vest.  Clothing that I took but didn't wear very much if at all: synthetic wool shirt with shallow pockets (stuff fell out), Tingley boots, leather walking shoe, sneakers, Mountain Hardware light rain pants (essential), Mountain Hardware light raincoat (essential), heavy mid-thigh PVC raincoatCabela's Alaska (essential), polar Tec pants (too hard to get on and off, needed zippers), thermax long underwear.  It's very important to check clothing before leaving.  Norm brought an old PVC rain suit, but the waterproof lining was peeling off and he got a little wet.

Sleeping Bag.  I used a down bag rated for 10 degrees.  Norm's was not that heavy and he was cool a couple of nights.  See Expedition Canoeing by Cliff Jacobson on how to pack a sleeping bag.  I did it his way.  I used the original Thermarest pad, which I found comfortable and warm.

Odds and Ends.  A GPS unit proved essential.  You must do work on your maps so that you can plot your position.  See resources section.  Binoculars must be waterproof.  I took 7 power Pentax which is light enough to have around your neck all day.  We recorded more information about the trip by using a small tape recorder than writing in a journal.  Gerber multi-tool was used almost everyday.  A belly bag kept essentials (including emergency compass and matches) on my body.  I didn't bring a daypack, which I needed to carry layers I peeled off on hikes.