What else can’t I take?

Posted by Ken Campbell March 7, 2009 0 Comment 610 views

I first started exploring the idea of ultralight backcountry travel last summer, with a hiking/climbing trip to the high point of the Dosewallips watershed. It was a new experience for me, and the lighter load allowed me a great deal more freedom. There were sacrifices in comfort – the ultralight sleeping pad, ¾ length, presented a decidedly less restful sleep than I might have liked – but overall, the lighter weight made for a much more personal and meaningful experience. Which is hard to explain, a kind of fuzzy psychobabble really, but true, nevertheless.

Now what I’m trying to do, with all this touring SUP stuff, is to take the best of the ultralight idea and float it on a paddleboard. The next section of the Puget Sound Challenge that I’ll be doing is a 5-day chunk that will hopefully cover about 75 miles. (I’ll outline more route information some other time.)

It’s a little easier to go ultralight in the summer; fully half the gear I’m taking is related directly to the cold temperatures. My set-up is strapped to the board, near the front end, with four loops that I’ve glued in place. First item loaded is the Crazy Creek chair. Above this is the main waterproof zip gear bag, and topping it off is a smaller bag, the auxiliary bag. Contents are as follows:

Main Bag
Sleeping bag
Clothing
Stove/Fuel
Cook pot
Shell jacket/pants
Down sweater
Down Booties
Food
Incidentals/toiletries

Aux Bag
2 Sleeping pads
Ground cover
Tarp

I’m toying with the idea of adding a smaller bag near the aft end of the others, for a water bottle, snacks, maps and other quick-access items. It sounds like a good idea and it would be nice to have a storage option that I could get into without loosening the entire load, but…

But I don’t want a hulking mound of baggage, and what little bit of touring SUP photos that I have seen to this point, while cruising the internet, have featured way too much bulk on the front of the boards. Grapes of Wrath-like, even. It’s unwieldy, uncool and borderline non-functional. I will make it work for this trip but I’m hoping to move past these design issues in very short order.

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