Canoeing / Boating Gear

Cheap Comfy Hiking Pillow

I was after a couple of cheap light weight pillows for another project (more about that later), so I sourced two of these on eBay for less than A$20 delivered (the pair). These pillows are approximately 18” x 12’ x 4” (45 x 30 x 10 cm) and weigh 100 grams.They have a delightful soft, …

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Pack Raft Saves The Day

Della and I had a foreshortened trip on the Wonnangatta River upstream of the Moroka confluence when she developed a bad chest infection on the second night out which turned out to be pneumonia. Fortunately I had brought along the Alpacka ‘Fiord Explorer’ raft, their ‘moose boat’ as they termed it (now the ‘Mule’), so …

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Willow Kayak

This is a really neat boat: a kayak made from willow and poly tarp: I am thinking one might be able to make this or a coracle with withes (other than willow) a tarp and some cable ties which I could leave in a drum at one of my hunting camps upriver so that I …

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Advanced Elements Ultralight Paddle

A 567 gram pack rafting paddle: Check this out on Massdrop this morning for US$29.99 each (08/2018). You would be foolish not to buy a couple. I bought two. It will go very well with the Klymit packraft you should have bought from them some time back for US$99 (I bought two as well):  Here’s …

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Dusky Track: Canoeing the Seaforth

Some folks are just downright suicidal, and sometimes I am one of them! In 2009 I had conceived a plan to be the first person (I think) to canoe the mighty remote Seaforth River in Fiordland NZ. I had a brand-new Alpacka ‘Fjord Explorer’ packraft ( courtesy of Kevin Rudd’s bushfire compensation scheme following the …

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More about DIY PFDs: 114 grams

You can make a lighter non compliant PFD which you fill with other inflatable items, eg Platypus bottles (I carry a 1 and 2 litre bottle, pillows (I carry the Exped Ultralight), wine bladders (who doesn’t have a few of them lying around?) and etc. Here is the link to Mountain Laurel Designs ‘Thing’ or …

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Ultralight Pack Rafting Life Vest:

PFDs are often pretty heavy. Alpacka have this one at 554 grams which is (I imagine) about as light as they get. I discovered that inflatable PFDs you buy from boating supplies shops have an airline PFD inside them. When I stripped one down it weighed 282 grams as shown and should be adequate …

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Foam Kayak:

An enchanting DIY tale, a work of pure genius:

Hornet-Lite Pack Raft:

I see there is a new alternative pack raft on the market: ‘The Hornet-Lite is the lightest packraft in Kokopelli’s fleet weighing in at 4.9 pounds (2223 grams) including the seat. Kokopelli has designed the Hornet-lite packraft to be functional while reducing weight and maximizing compactness. This packraft is ideal for crossing rivers, high alpine …

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Linelok Pack Tie Downs: 7 grams

For those who don’t sew – or who don’t need to sew: You can use these wonderful little Clam Cleat Lineloks and some eg 2mm Spectra/Dyneema to lash your excess gear to your pack. I always use these lineloks on my tents and tarps: Here is my Klymit pack raft ( attached to my …

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The Best Laid Schemes

(As Robbie Burns opined) “o’ Mice an’ Men. Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain” (‘To a Mouse’: The photo of Spot and I testing out the new Klymit packraft ( on the farm dam give no hint of this. I need to inflate it some more I think. I …

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Klymit Packraft

Now under $169.95 yet currently on Massdrop for $99 – snap one up! I did and I already have an Alpacka, which this is not, but it is much lighter and will get you across that difficult river which lies in your path – or many other uses: ‘The LiteWater Dinghy is a game changer. …

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Laybag, Koze, Kaisr Treeless hammock:

Not exactly ultralight, but an inflatable hammock/raft @ 1200 grams. What a neat idea: & US$79! PS: I see these are going for A$46 on eBay at the moment! Now available Aliexpress from US$30: Update: Those ‘Laybags’ are getting ridiculously cheap. US6.79! (Sept 2018) See also: Other hammock related posts: …

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Canoeing the Thomson River, Gippsland, Victoria:

I have canoed this wonderful river so many times over more than thirty years, from the Thomson Dam to Cowwarr Weir. Much of the water in the section from the dam to the Walhalla Rd Bridge was stolen by Melbourne Water nearly twenty years ago, so it is rare nowadays to be able to canoe …

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More Emergency Boats: The Tarp Boat:

This demonstration leads me more and more to the inescapable conclusion that it would be possible to make a canoe using a poncho as the skin. More about that later:

Mokai Jet:

You are going to want one of these modular jet-powered canoes with a draft of 100mm (4”) powered by a Subaru engine. 8-10 hours cruising at 15-20 knots. US$5,400. That would have to get you effortlessly to some interesting places, up or downriver (over 100 km round trip; some great places await!): &

Securing Hearing Aids:

  Having nearly lost one of my Siemens Aquaris Waterproof Hearing Aids during my recent walk ( I have had some feedback from a reader who has managed over time to lose three of them, all covered by insurance at the time, but he has now been refused insurance, as the bastards do! Given that …

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DIY/Emergency watercraft:

I have been thinking about this for a long time, but have got only as far as whilst others have ACTED: This girl is seriously clever (and patient): here is another variation: and and a coracle: or This is probably the next step up: or this:

Lightweight Packrafts:

Some new packrafts and paddles will make it easier to cross rivers and lakes. These two (suitable for flat water/Grade 1 rapids) weigh less than a kilo: Alpacka ‘ghost’: @ 1.5 lb & $595 and Klymit LiteWater Dinghy: now 35 oz & $199. Note also this ultralight paddle: @ 365 grams! Many …

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The Ultimate Survival Gun:

My first one of these was my Armalite AR-7 .22 calibre. What a beautiful little gun it is: the way it folded up into its own stock with its 8 shot magazine is just excellent. At 1100 grams (2.5 pounds) and 400 mm (16”) long it is ideal for backpacking. Unfortunately as it is a …

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