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Old 08-20-2013   #21
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 728
Sand makes boating harder on gear than car camping and backpacking. Always go to the side of more durable.

Sleeping pads-paco or similar. I had a 1 1/2 inch pad in my youth, which serves my daughters well since I replaced it with a 4" pad for the old dad. I roll it flat or suck the air out with a wonder pump before rigging it. One PVC pad could last a lifetime. Thermarest has provided years of good use, but they don't make a 4 incher.

Tent should also be durable, not sure if the lightweight backpack tents will hold up to years of river abuse. My old windy pass dome has lasted over twenty years stored in a long dry bag, but it is on its third set of zippers. Zippers appear to be the weak link of tents and bags, so scrutinize them. River Rat Ray suggests the twisty type zippers over the YK, as one damaged tooth won't fail the entire zipper. I used a really nice Big Agnes loaner tent on recent GC trip (only 5 of 22 days), and I was doubtful it would hold up over time, ESP the zipper. But others may have a longer sample set and better report on that brand. I always sleep outdoors weather permitting, a couple tarps are mandatory on all trips.

Bags- see zipper comments, and ya might need two, one light and one heavy depending on time of year. Down blanket can work in warmer seasons or if with a SO. Sheet and pillow is mandatory, ESP with the plastic pads.

Shade should always be brought, the cheap beach umbrellas have a surprisingly long life span for the price.

Bells and whistles are just more things to fail, keep it simple and durable, and also use it all for car camping. No need for two sets of everything, unless you are an avid backpacker. Rafting=Car camping and Solo Kayak trip=Backpacking, more or less, but I go boating/car camping waaay more often with plenty of day hikes.

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Old 08-20-2013   #22
L Knapp
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 27
I've got a thick "base camp" Thermarest that made me very happy for a few years. I've had cheap ultralight knockoffs, and they quickly develop all kinds of leaks that can't be fixed. My husband just bought a pair of Silverback sized Paco pads, and I'm in love with them. I've used Pacos on the Grand in summer, and not thought I was too hot, but individual thermostats are set differently. The giant Paco pads fill up all the floorspace in my tent (we then just turn our kids loose all over the place in there), which is a 10 year old Kelty "Riverbend". It's held up just fine, with a few sleeves to reinforce the poles, some new shock cord, and a little seam seal. Sleeping bags are 40 degree synthetic bags, I think NorthFace, maybe Marmot. For kids we bring a few fleece blankets because they either climb into ours or crawl maniacally around the tent all night.

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Old 08-20-2013   #23
Orem, Utah
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 12
Originally Posted by 2kanzam View Post
Drybags: I've had Sealine and the NRS ones...but (and this will get some laughs too) a few years ago I noticed some Outdoor Product ones in walmart on sale so I tried them. I've had those ones for 3+ years and have yet to have issues. In fact I was so impressed that I bought more and now they are insanely cheap! I think you can get the 20L for $7 and the 40L for $13...and again no issues. A friend of mine was beginning his guiding season this year and mentioned he needed a new bag because his watershed bag got ripped, I mention the OP ones I used and he scoffed saying he needed something durable to get through the season. I saw him the other day...he had bought one LOL! Yes they are clear but if it's hot and stuff might melt-I open it-we've had no issues though.
I second the OP bags. I noticed them a little while ago after getting sick of paying to replace all the other ones and then mentioned them to my friends who were looking for some bags when I took them on trips down Westy. Never had a problem with any of them. But maybe I'm just cheap....
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Old 08-20-2013   #24
Plunk your magic twanger!
Gremlin's Avatar
New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,105
I would not buy a tent with fiberglass poles for more than occasional, short-term use.
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Old 08-21-2013   #25
Rojo's Avatar
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 184
Sierra Design "Meteor Light" tent - the newer models even have a door on each side.

I still favor the Therma-rest type pads for compact comfort.

JPW bags last forever, but I recently had to replace the closure strap which had rotted (justified for the amount of river days this bag has seen). And the guitar bag is huge, good for consolidating camp chairs, rolla-tables, etc.

Speaking of rolla-tables, they are hard to beat for the price, but a homemade version of the cambridge table can be custom built for cheap and lasts forever.
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Old 08-21-2013   #26
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 338
I vote for an AIRE landing pad to sleep on. I have slept on Pacos and AIRE and think the AIRE is a better pad. I also like you that is has a real boat valve.
It is NOT made in America, but I cannot ignore that its a great pad.
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Old 08-21-2013   #27
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Originally Posted by tanderson View Post
I vote for an AIRE landing pad to sleep on. I have slept on Pacos and AIRE and think the AIRE is a better pad. I also like you that is has a real boat valve.
It is NOT made in America, but I cannot ignore that its a great pad.

This is gonna seem like a silly question, but stick with me....

Are the Aire landing pads actually air tight? The Maravia are NOT. I thought that strange when I tried mine out- but it lost air until I could feel the ground thru the pad. I looked at the literature that came with it and they say that it is not air tight!? I called Maravia- and the rep didn't believe me.... but then looked at one and said, "Hmmmmmm". Pad returned~
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Old 08-21-2013   #28
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 105
All paco pads should be air tight. If not, there is no point of having a valve.
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Old 08-21-2013   #29
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Originally Posted by verendus View Post
All paco pads should be air tight. If not, there is no point of having a valve.

If you get a chance, check out the hang tag on the Maravia version. Not air tight. Stoopid design choice!
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Old 08-22-2013   #30
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
Thanks for all of the advise and product reviews, they are all helping my process along. Have you seen those Kelty air pole tents? Kinda cool, kinda uncertain about them. I like the Mach 6, lots of storage and an area for the kids on one side and me and the wife on the other. I'm having a hard time swallowing the price on the sleeping pads. (Keep in mind, I am looking at buying 4 at once) So 100-200 each is a big chunk of cash.
If I stayed with one dry box and one 150 QT cooler, what do I do with dry foods? Do you make room in your main drybox, or bag them, or what? I am still trying to decide the best use for a drop bag in the front. I might have to omit the tent this year and work on dry bags and sleeping pads, I'm looking at a couple G's to do all three.
We have a Coleman weathermaster 10 that works great for us, but it is a large package. It is 3 years old, has never leaked, and it's got the hinged door. It's also easy to set up. I'd be scared to take it some place windy, pretty sure I'd find it's weakness at that point. For car camping it's been great.
I'm thinking 3 medium sized regular dry bags from a place like NRS, and 3 roll top duffels, medium also. I have enough small/ cheap ones for things like the tent and day clothes. I'd use the duffels for clothes, and the standard ones for bedding. Since the bedding bags only get loaded/ unloaded when camp gets set up of broken down, they shouldn't be much of a hassle.

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