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Old 02-28-2014   #11
mrkyak's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 311
Sorry dudes, just got on a march trip.
Happy boating!

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Old 03-01-2014   #12
glenn's Avatar
BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
Anyone have self support experience out of a duo? Things might be getting a little silly.

The sunshine walked beside her
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Old 03-01-2014   #13
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 40
Duo only trip, maybe a double ducky for fun. Its about to get real!
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Old 03-01-2014   #14
Brooklyn, New York
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 4
I would go for a few more days...

I just did my first Kayak Support this past December and it was a 9 days solo. I left only 2 or so miles for the last day (as I was being picked up at diamond at noon) so effectively 8 paddling days.


If I were to do it again (which by God I plan to!) I would definitely do more days. Probably 11. 8 paddling days made for lots of paddling and not much exploring or relaxing. It came out to be just about 28.5 miles per day with about 9 hrs and 54 minutes of daylight. If you put on the water at 9 am, most of your day is spent making sure you get to camp, setting up, and then cooking and eating as it gets dark. If I had some more days thrown in I would have really enjoyed taking a bit longer for lunch, hiking, or just reading my book and kickin' it.


I paddled a Stinger XP, and maybe I'm just not the best packer but I JUST had enough room for all my gear. And that is one heck of a big boat. I don't know your crew's level of experience with similar trips, but I would have almost certainly never been able to put what I needed for that amount of time over the winter in a creek boat. I would look into securing rentals from Moenkopi and other such outfitters. I got my boat from Moe (great folks, great company) and it was dirt cheap.

Finally, DO IT.

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Old 03-01-2014   #15
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 382
Moenkopi Riverworks has Stinger XPs for rent in Flagstaff. I did a 7 day kayak trip this past December in a Stinger XP. The miles were easy to make, and fitting gear in that boat was easy. I would totally do that trip again but a few extra days would be better. January this year was very mild, but you never know. Next year is anyones guess. It's currently raining in Flagstaff which is completely unheard of this time of year as we can get snow into April and beyond. Winter cancelation permits were plentiful this year...
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Old 03-01-2014   #16
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 382
Oops, didn't read what desigr said. I agree that a creek boat would be way less fun than the Stinger for that trip...
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Old 03-03-2014   #17
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Belfair, Washington
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 40
I have done half a dozen spring and summer trips there, and a couple of winter trips (I'm a kayaker, but rower also, and chose to raft both winter trips).

Winter boating in the canyon is a real treat -- clear green water, no crowds (we didn't see another group for a couple of weeks!), stunning to see snow on the rim. But the short days are a definitely a factor. You are in camp before 4 (hopefully, or you are cooking in the dark), and it's pitch dark close to 5. When you consider that it doesn't light until 6:30 or so, that's a looooong night. Take plenty of books, headlamp batteries, and/or booze. And definitely go with people you like being around! That's a lot of time in camp.

The temperatures were also a real issue. It was 17 degrees the morning we launched, and our handwash buckets and water supply froze solid every night. Keeping warm was a challenge all day at those temperatures, given that we were getting wet constantly. Pogies help the kayakers, but the rafters struggled with that.

That said, I would totally do a winter trip again. Just make sure you are prepared for 14 hours of darkness a day, and for dealing with the potential for extremely low temperatures for that long. It does warm up considerably as you make your way through the canyon, though. And the scenery can't be beat, no matter what time of year it is there.
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Old 03-04-2014   #18
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 75
Just came off a 27 day self-support solo trip. Launch date was January 24th, and some of the warmest weather was at the top at Lee's, then it got a little colder, and blazing hot by the end. No snow the entire time, so I was way overpacked for the conditions, but winter can be a lot harsher down there so it's always good to be prepared for the worst, especially when you're alone.

Obviously I took a long time in the Canyon, but I ended up paddling 20-30 miles then laying over for 2 or 3 days to explore. My pace got a little quicker after Phantom, but I see no issues with a 9-10 day trip. So many self-supports passed me doing 10 day or 5 day trips. It all depends on how much of the canyon you've already explored and how much time you can get off of work.

I'd recommend a cross-over boat or sea kayak both for ease of packing, and making miles. I used the Katana and it had plenty of usable space for all the standard group gear, 16 days of food at a time, tripod, filming gear, and lots of extra reading books. The Stinger is an attractive option, but I've heard some so-so things about the hatch and there's an absurdly small amount of usable space in the stern since it is so long and narrow. The Katana is nice and bulbous so the stern and hatch swallowed food and gear. Most of the outfitters rent out Stingers and XP 10's for reasonable prices, so that might be the way to go. I'm selling my boat too, if you're looking to buy a Katana.

Good luck with all the planning, and I'd highly suggest a winter trip - the canyon is much more special when you have it all to yourself. And sometimes you get a nice surprise with warm weather in the dead of winter.

- John
Fluid Glass
John Nestler
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Old 03-06-2014   #19
trickpony's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 65
Chris will run a duo down the Grand by the end of this... I swear by it. Maybe it's possible to get a side-car attachment too.

Originally Posted by glenn View Post
Anyone have self support experience out of a duo? Things might be getting a little silly.
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Old 03-06-2014   #20
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 311
The duo can hold 1100 pounds of water. If something unforeseen happens and you find yourself outside the boat...... Time now to start practicing towing two fifty five gal drums of water through fast current. Owned a duo for awhile and almost died trying to get it to shore on the Snake, surfing lunch counter and the unforeseened became seen. Just a thought.

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