With spring around the corner im getting the paddling bug! Ill be on the water in my canoe as soon as the ice clears. Im not equipped for cold water paddling and am going to get the necessary gear with my tax return in the next month or 2.
Ive been reading all the cold water immersion threads all winter and have a pretty good idea of what I should have ideally. However, Im probably not going to spend the big bucks for a dry suit, and doubt Ill wear a wet suit. Im aware that I should have one of those, but like I said, I doubt it will happen.
To mitigate some of the risk, I would stay in "relatively" low risk waters (local lakes, near shore, less than 6 feet of water or small rivers not more than 40 feet wide, but staying near shore. In both situations there are lots of houses nearby if stuff really went south). I know there is no such thing as low risk paddling in cold water though. I understand the risks well and will go out expecting to flip unexpectedly...thus, I ask: What should I put in my cold water dry bag
Ill be wearing:
Water resistant jacket
water resistant pants
possibly neoprene shoes/boots
Good PFD worn at all times
In the (big) dry bag:
light wind breaker style jacket
lighter and wax fire starter
small wool/fleece blanket or mylar thermal blanket
In the boat and or car:
Thermos with hot tea or water?
I remember others chiming in with their cold water dry bag list in the past but I cant find the thread Im thinking of. Did I forget anything?
I wouldnt be going out in any questionable conditions. So assume calm wind, warm (for spring) days.
(also, Im not trying to start the usual flame war associated with cold water threads. We all know its dangerous and a good way to die if you're unprepared. Im just wondering if I covered (most) of my bases).
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I like your precautions|
Posted by: clarion on Jan-23-13 10:51 AM (EST)
I'd add a couple more lighters and methods to make fire. And some method to cut wood. When I was in your boat I also packed a small "pocket rocket" type stove. I'd keep the thermos with warm fluids in the boat. I also had a good space blanket. Also watch your time of day. Leave plenty of margin for mishpap. And bring a good flashlight just in case.
pretty good list|
Posted by: sloopsailor on Jan-23-13 11:05 AM (EST)
make sure you carry plenty of water to drink in the boat. People underestimate the amount of liquids you lose in cold weather. Keep snack bars handy, you are burning calories fast. Chemical heaters work great if its really cold.
I like your list|
Posted by: gingernc on Jan-23-13 11:14 AM (EST)
I think you're carrying the right stuff. Maybe throw a small pack towel in your bag. Thermos with hot liquid is important.
Posted by: mcimes on Jan-23-13 11:21 AM (EST)
Ah, I usually bring my phone even in warm weather but Ill be sure to bring it while its cool.
Posted by: suiram on Jan-23-13 11:40 AM (EST)
I would add gloves and socks.
Good list - to add|
Posted by: Celia on Jan-23-13 11:43 AM (EST)
Extra batteries for anything electronic, the spare battery back for anything like a VHF radio. Colder temps do a job on battery life.
More food, More Thermos|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Jan-23-13 11:44 AM (EST)
Another fire starter?|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Jan-23-13 12:32 PM (EST)
I think you are thinking about the right stuff, and I think many of the ideas that came up are good additions to your list. One thing that occurs to me is that manual dexterity can go away in a hurry, AND fire-starting material may not be too good (picking and breaking little twigs would be no fun when cold and in a hurry either). In that situation, a big road flare, one that lasts 15 or 20 minutes, might be the perfect fire-starting aid.
I would add:|
Posted by: WaterMark on Jan-23-13 2:34 PM (EST)
high calorie food (bars of some sort)
nrs mystery hood|
Posted by: nickjc on Jan-23-13 3:11 PM (EST)
These things are awesome. windproof warm when wet. I mostly use if for winter rolling and surfing but I carry that an a pair of neoprene glacier gloves all the time kayaking.
Posted by: dougd on Jan-23-13 3:43 PM (EST)
Good list and since I can spring for a drysuit and lost my wetsuit on some godforsaken river in ME a few years back I resort to packing like you have listed. I opt for fleece over wool though for weight reasons. I typically carry at least two lighters with me and in the recent past I my GF brought home some road side flares which I ended up using for firestarters, they are absolutely bomb proof and will get a pile of wet wood going when you need it most. I try to pack one for most trips mow. Just food for thought. BTW we try to go out as much as possible even in snow and ice, nothing like dodging ice floes or even riding them for a while!
Butane lighters often fail|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Jan-23-13 5:02 PM (EST)
Keep it together!|
Posted by: Jeffrey_Lee on Jan-23-13 5:45 PM (EST)
Good list for starters, and others have already given you some more good ideas.
Keeping the bag with him - no problem|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Jan-23-13 5:59 PM (EST)
Not too worried|
Posted by: mcimes on Jan-23-13 8:47 PM (EST)
perhaps a pocket knife|
Posted by: tdaniel on Jan-23-13 8:42 PM (EST)
or some other kind of folding knife would be useful. Ibuprofen is the total extent of my first aid kit.
I'd stick |
Posted by: rpg51 on Jan-23-13 9:55 PM (EST)
with wool and skip the fleece. Also, I'd carry a PLB. Stick very close to shore. Leave the solo cold water stuff for a time when your paddling and survival skills both are well honed from actual experience - not just from reading.
Looks good for moderate temps|
Posted by: rival51 on Jan-23-13 9:53 PM (EST)
in the 30s & 40s. I would want more core insulation in the 20s & colder. A couple of things that I would add to what the others have suggested: wooden matches in a waterproof container - Lighters don't always work well starting a fire. They are sometimes more useful getting the match lit. Also, you are likely going to put those nice dry socks you just put on into wet boots. A trick that I learned from someone else is to carry bread bags with you. Dump the crumbs out when you finish a loaf and save the bag in your paddling gear. I'll usually have 6 or more along just in case. I need to remember to save a few as my stash is getting low. I've handed a few out lately.
Posted by: VK1NF on Jan-23-13 11:17 PM (EST)
I carry a folded sheet of Tyvek (about 6x8') house wrap in the bottom of the bag, and several pieces of thin line - being able to rig a windbreak or rain shelter when wet and in the wind is a Very Good Thing...
pretty good suggestions|
Posted by: vic on Jan-24-13 12:28 AM (EST)
My cold weather "unhappy bag" is similar to what has been suggested here. The one thing I would add is at least two sets of long underwear. They are great a keeping you warm under the other layers and don't take up much space or weight. I prefer Capeline but other synthetics also work well.