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Old 02-13-2009   #1
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1
grand canyon: 6 questions on kayaking gear

Hi folks--headed to the grand in late July, and have some old gear to replace before then. with that in mind, I would like to get input on the following:

1) boat: Prijon Kaituna vs WaveSports EZ for a strong class IV boater. Kaituna info:8' 1", 55 gallons. Kaituna specs.
2) PFD: have a Stohlquist safety vest with UV damage, what to replace with?
3) footwear? What is the optimal system for side hikes + paddling?
4) dry top: Gore Tex vs not, short vs long sleeves (assume long for sun protxn). best model?
5) 1 or 2 break down paddles for the 2 kayakers?
6) recommendations on hydration systems vs the old water-bottle-on-the-raft?

Cheers--B Hicke

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Old 02-14-2009   #2
Gunnison, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 73
Congrats on the trip.
1. There's been big discussions about river runner vs. playboat. Comes down to which one you spend the most time in. I took playboat and didn't have too many problems with big water.
2. and 6. I've seen a life vest that has a hydration system in it, like a camelbak. I forget who makes it though. I've never tried it, but you might check it out.
3. I went with Chaco's, but they were too wide for my I wore booties and kept the sandals on a beaner on the side of the raft. It was a pretty quick switch. Not too bad.
4. I went in Oct so I had long sleaves cause it was chilly without. It'll be blazin hot in July though. Someone else can probably give better advice on that.
5. We had 2 yakers as well. We took 2 spares, but didn't use them. We just figured better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Unless you're okay with the slight possiblility of sitting on a raft for a portion of the trip, then just take one.

Hope you have a blast!

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Old 02-14-2009   #3
Spits Hot Fire
N. Cascades, Washington
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 978
1. The Kaituna was the first boat I ever owned, the EZ was the second. I paddled the super sleeEZy down there. Like the riverrat said, take whatevers more comfortable for you. The EZ will get stern squirted a lot but if your comfortable in that then you'll have a blast.
2. PFD-doesn't matter. It does matter to the Park Service though. They wont let you on if your vest is torn or in overall shitty condition. If your thinking of a high flotation pfd...they just aint suitable for kayaking.
3.Ditto RiverRat. Dont even mention concrete boots unless your a girl
4. Whatever your comfortable with. It will be hot as hell outside, cold water.
5. Your required to have one spare paddle for every 4 yakkers. Doesn't have to be "breakdown" specifically.
6. Personally I had a water bottle in my yak and one on the raft.

Number 6 just reminded me of something. I have a friend, we'll call him "DanRauer"....we had just had one of our rafts flip at crystal and the raft pinned on the island below. We spent a couple hours trying to get it with no luck.

When we retreated back to the rafts in an eddy downstream, Dan hollered at one of the ladies on the boat to toss him a water bottle. She threw him the only bottle she could find. He was so thirsty he went to pound it....took him a couple swigs to realize it was tequila.

...Guess ya had to be there.
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Old 02-16-2009   #4
southeast, South Carolina
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6
I'd go with the prijon assuming it is more comfortable without the center pillar. I went barefoot in the kayak - I took a pirjon athlete, but I glued in 1/4" foam all around the floor so my feet wouldn't chafe on the plastic. Booties on the gc in the summer will result in foot rot. You'll need footwear to put on as soon as you set out of the boat though. Keens or chacos. For drytop I recomend a cheaper semi dry top with neoprene neck for comfort, longsleeve. Shortsleeve drytop would be a bad idea due to sunburn. I tried to paddle without the drytop, the water was too cold for me. Like other said, you can and will need to have some more water on the raft as well. Bring extra paddles on the raft, and replace the pfd.
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Old 02-16-2009   #5
Buena Vista/Summit, N/A
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 144
I only have opinions on these,
2. as long as you can read the writing on the inside of the pfd it's good, no rips.
3. barefoot in the boat, chacos outta the boat
6. keep a water bottle in the raft you are mooching outta, more importantly keep beer readily available.
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Old 02-17-2009   #6
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 200
I have been fortunate enough to paddle the Grand each of the last 6 years working for an outfitter. First, I have paddled my EZ the last few years and have really enjoyed it and it is certainly not a 'squirty' as my Centrafuge was! The main thing is that you want to be comfortable because you will be spending a lot of time in the ol' pig. Booties are OK to wear in the boat, but as someone mentioned you will get foot rot or 'Tolio' as it is called in the ditch. I personally think Chaco’s have better traction down there than others. As far as a drytop goes I would personally recommend using a shorty drytop with a rash guard. If you are like me that heat is intense and although the water is cold that should be all you need in that heat. I have on occasion used a drytop to paddle the gorge but you would probably be fine without it also. A hydration system would be nice but I have also seen pieces of them disappear in rapids and then they are useless for the rest of the trip. Keeping at least a quart in your boat and refilling from the rafts should be you going! Unless you are prone to loosing paddles I would think that 1 extra between 2 of you would be OK. Have a great trip!
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Old 02-17-2009   #7
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Take the EZ. Also run the meat of everything except the couple of gaping ledge holes (ie lava). Fun!

Personally I'd take a long sleeved breathable top. If you get too hot, just roll, the water is cool. You want to keep the sun off of you, as you will get burned to living shit without keeping covered.

As for the sun, I'd also consider something to keep the sun off your hands. Saw a few folks down there with sun paws. My hands got a sun rash from constant sun, water etc. It sucked. Knowing what I know now, I'd have some sun protection for my hands.

A visor for your helmet to keep the sun off your nose/face is good too. Might sound like overkill, but getting burned to shit is easy to do, and can ruin your trip. I ended up rigging a visor out of duct tape part way through the trip. Wished I would have had a better set up.

For hiking, chacos would be fine. I kept mine in the back of my boat. Unless you are hardcore, you likely won't be doing many big hikes in July. Its just too damn hot. For little hikes up deer creek, elves chasm, or havasu etc, chaco's or similar will be fine.

Probably don't need more than 1 breakdown for two kayakers.

For water, I used a standard water bottle with the squirt top in my boat. There is plenty of flat water to pop the skirt and grab the water on the river. If you won't be close to the rafts, put a nalgene in the back of the boat too.

Also, bring lotion for dry skin, and take good care of your feet.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 02-17-2009   #8
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 200
Sorry, when I mentioned a shorty drytop and a rash guard I forgot to mention that you will want the long sleve rash guard under the shorty drytop to protect your arms. It is soo much cooler, but if you are the type to get cold easily then you will be fine in a full drytop. Also, as was just mentioned sun protection is key and NRS makes a light weight fingerless glove for around $22 that still allows pretty good paddle grip. They are worth their weight in gold down there that time of year!
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Old 02-17-2009   #9
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 75
It's been a while since I was down in there, but I recall wearing my river booties while paddling and scouting, sandals (chaco/Teva style) for short hikes and camp, and a pair of beat up running shoes for the longer hikes (no socks). I clipped the shoes into a beener on a raft. The shoes were really great on the Thunder River and Havasu hikes because of the cushioning, arch support, and sun protection. They also helped with avoiding stubbed toes.

The water's cold. Wear the long sleeve dry top. As Deep South indicated, if you get hot, roll. That'll cure the heat. If you do swim, you'll be glad for the extra protection.

Carry your own Nalgene in addition to a bottle on a raft. You may get way ahead or behind your support.

Oh yeah, here's a hard lesson I learned. Keep your paddle with your boat always. Almost got stranded at Havasu with a boat and no paddle. Luckily, my boat and I caught a ride to camp with another trip.

Have a great trip. Camp near the water.
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Old 02-17-2009   #10
Niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 35
IMHO Kaituna or Bigger for maximum enjoyment. July is a good time for Rolling though so small boats give a nice view of the rim... I don't like rolling so much so I go big.

here are some shots of some on the fly surfs down there. The boil issues are not so visible here.



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