What advice would you give II

G

Guest

Guest
One doesn't have to spend a fortune to get into canoe tripping

What advice would you give to someone just starting out on the tripper road about acquiring kit?

Advice that comes to mind:

Buy a used canoe. A used general purpose canoe, not an expedition hauler or a solo speedster or a boat capable (in the right hands) of running Class III’s loaded. You’ll buy another boat or two along the way, first figure out what you enjoy doing most and then look for a canoe that fills that 90 percentile of your actual use.

Buy decent paddles. Not $300 carbon fiber blades, but not big box cheapies either. Buy them from a reputable paddlesport shop that can steer you in the right direction.

While at that paddlesport shop try on PFD’s until you find the one that fits most comfortably. Buy it. Wear it.

If you are fortunate enough to have a good and knowledgeable paddlesport shop available develop a rapport with them. Don’t be a dick and shop brick and mortar for try-on & feel and then buy it cheaper on-line. If a shop takes the time to provide sound advice you are paying them for more than just material.

Go on some group trips with folks who have been there and done that, and keep an eye on what they bring and how they use it. You can learn from their corrections of prior mistakes and maybe not have to make them yourself.

I’m not sure what comes next in a top ten. Buy a couple of good dry bags, ‘cause wet clothes and sleeping bags suck? Decently weatherproof/waterproof tent (see wet = sucks)? Good raingear? (I see a trend)
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Next steps after boat and paddle and PFD:

Buy a decent sleeping bag that if it does get wet doesn't freeze you. I personally have down and compression dry bags but that might be a later step. Don't buy flannel bags designed for sleepovers in the cabin. Too bulky.

Decent tent that has a decent length fly.

Pack that can fit it all in. Dry bags are later. Contractors garbage bags doubled do work OK.

Something soft that insulates you from the ground that you can pack and carry relatively easily.. (BTW I still have two full size Base Camp Thermarests I would love to unload though they are too bulky to mail). Not a Coleman Air bed.

Don't depend on spruce boughs..
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
Somewhere in all the good advices above; I'd really try to get older stuff. Older as in tried and proven. The recreational camper is constantly exposed to adds full of beautiful people who are modeling the latest newly developed thing. I've bought the latest thing and it didn't make me one speck prettier and much of it didn't work as well as what I was using for the last ten years.
The usual warning to look out for quality control problems especially from China.
I must confess, I really get to caring for my camping kit. It's screwy but I look at it, fiddle with it, and get a very pleasant feeling remembering the fun we've had together. So, when I get something I try to get something that will last.

Best Wishes,

Rob
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
That older stuff to you is probably new to me. I remember my first camping sleeping bag and I don't wish it on anyone. It was a double bag filled with kapok. It stank literally. Back when I started canoe camping there wasn't an avalanche of gear that made you choose and fume over which was best.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
596
Location
Aberdeen, MD
I must confess, I really get to caring for my camping kit. It's screwy but I look at it, fiddle with it, and get a very pleasant feeling remembering the fun we've had together. So, when I get something I try to get something that will last.

I like how it gets to smelling after a trip or two... permeated with smoke and that "outdoor" smell... no longer reeks of formaldehyde or whatever smell it had coming out of the box... the stove smells a little gassy, the PFD smells like water, the bucksaw, axe, and paddles smell like linseed oil, etc...

As far as buying advice to new guys, I'd get on a forum like this and ask questions. Look for gear deals at garage sales, Salvation Army, and on eBay. After going through an "ultralight phase" a few years back (lasted about 2-3 years), I have moved back to slightly heavier, cheaper, more durable items, and am very happy, as my 'base weight' is about 1/2 what it used to be. The principles of the UL philosophy turned out to be more important than the titanium and Cuban fiber gear...
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
989
Since lately I've been finding myself pretty much surrounded by new young employees at work (for some of them, the first job that pays well, and still getting on their feet), I have actually been giving this advice pretty often...

Buy used. So many people who have a little disposable income are "impulse buyers". They get the idea that they want to try an outdoor activity. They "get the gear" and use it once or twice, but don't follow through. The gear (not just boats) sits around for a few years, until they have to move, run out of room, get divorced, or (as is often the case currently) are desperate for cash. As a gainfully employed person, it is your obligation to help these folks out by buying these things and using them (that gets you past the "vulture complex" ;) ).

It takes a little patience, but you can get fully outfitted for the outdoors without buying much (if anything) new. A few specialty items of fitted gear can be hard or impossible to find, but most stuff is fairly common - especially now.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Although I've purchased a good raincoat, I still have army issue rain gear I bought eons ago. The cheap elasticized baggy rain pants are my favourite piece of gear. When I upgraded to a fancy (and stupidly expensive) Goretex jacket, I loaned it to our eldest son for a buddy camping trip. It came home full of holes. He said he'd sat too close to the fire. Years later, I found out from one of his buddies, some goof ball had thrown a can of beans into the fire, and before anyone could rescue it...No problem, no regrets. I still upgrade gear when I can, or when I choose to, but old and faithful stuff can prove to be, well, old and faithful. We have 2-season and 3-season bags, but my wife's favourite sleeping arrangement is flea market find old 100% wool blankets for autumn trips. I'm only guessing, but I'd say most people might have a collection of both old and new stuff, gathered through trial and error. It's helpful to learn through someone else's trial and error, but sometimes you find something that works for you. Conformity shouldn't be a pressure.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,819
Location
Schenectady, NY
Since I'm on a roll...

Figure out what type of paddling/camping/tripping that you enjoy and:

1. Build your own canoe.
2. Build your own paddles.
3. Buy everything that you can used.
4. Don't base any purchase on cost, decide only based on usefulness and value.
 
Top