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I am posting this so people can learn from my idiot mistakes yesterday.

Lesson #1: Even if you've got a pocket on your pfd tie everything in anyway.

I didn't heed this advice and had my camera and my keys in the pocket on my pfd. Well, I didn't zip it up and one flatwater cartwheel and they were both gone into the depths of the upper salt. I don't think a simple mistake like this has ever cost me so much money, not to mention ruining my day.

Lesson #2: If it's expensive and doesn't float, tie something to it that does.

I have been telling myself for about 8 months to tie something to my camera so I could still find it if I dropped it, but never did. If your like me, stop reading this and go find your camera and do this. You won't regret it.

Lesson #3: Have a backup key stashed on your car.

It made it extremely difficult to enjoy the run knowing that I had to go find a locksmith and get a key made and how long it was going to take. I got lucky and I had never taken the key from the glove box from when I bought the car and we were able to get the car open, but it sure would have sucked if that wasn't the case.

So go do these things today and you'll thank me tomorrow. And there is a boatload of beer for anyone that finds my Pentax. (if its still working)
 

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I feel your pain. I dropped an ammo can in the Middle Fork Salmon a couple years ago. I went to grab my iPod to listen to some tunes. I thought I had two straps, but there was just one on the handle. The second I hit the cam buckle, the box dropped like a rock through the middle of my cataraft. It had my iPod, wallet, tools, spare parts for the raft, flashlight, toothbrush/paste, deodorant, ibuprofen, and several other things. It also had my keys. I just got a new car about 3 weeks prior, and it only came with one key. Luckily, I had 2 spare keys made the day before the trip. Unluckily, I left those new keys at home in the chaos of packing everything. I had to borrow a truck from one of the guys on the trip, drive 3 hours to Stanley where my wife met me after her 3 hour drive from Boise. I got a key from her, then we each drove back 3 hours. I slept a couple hours and then woke up and drove the 6 hours back home.

Lesson #4: Keep your important items in a secure location. I now have a pelican case that fits very snugly in my frame and has extra straps to ensure it never drops into the river.

Lesson #5: Keep backup tunes in your car. I was using my iPod, but it's now in the river. There was no radio for the majority of the drive. BORING.

I also keep one of these on my camera now: Olympus Floating Foam Camera Strap - 202204 - Buy.com
 

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spare vehicle key

I've told all my friends/family to get the "hide-a-key" for all their vehicles. a little black box that has a strong magnetic backing that won't bounce off. it's about $4 compared to a $50+for a locksmith/broken window.

My buddies being skeptical about this "someone will find it"! I told them if you can find it, you'll have free range of my truck while i'm gone on vacations...lol Yeah they gave up after an hour.

It saved my buddies that took my advice and my ass many times. But now that i shared my info and you read it...it's bad luck not to. It has happened to a friend that i told this to...I was like you got the Hide-a-key right? sure didn't...grrr. We are locked out and it's raining.
 

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Scott, I'd make fun of you for being a dumbass but knowing my luck I'd be next so I think I better be humble instead. Sucks it ruined the trip on top of it though, since you think about it the rest of the way down the river.
 

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get the "hide-a-key" for all their vehicles. a little black box that has a strong magnetic backing that won't bounce off.
I had one of these boxes on the inside of the frame on the underside of my truck. The first time I needed it was a couple of years later, but it was gone. So I would say, check it often and always before a long trip.
 

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Use Electrical tape or bailing wire. Make it difficult, but not impossible. There is one wired to my truck that i cannot find. Duh.
 

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Yeah, I got to replace all my keys this past year after roll practice in a lake. Same thing - in a lifejacket pocket, and forgot to zip the pocket up. Now I have a key I just keep in my lifejacket, so even if I do something stupid my other keys are safe in my car!
 

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Agreed. Extra key hidden on the vehicle is a must. My wife wasn't happy one 4th of July when I had locked the keys in the trunk of the car before a run and then to save money an older transient fellow helped me bust out the lock cylinder on the trunk. After that, anyone with a screwdriver could open the trunk....except for my wife! ;)
 

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Yep I use a hideakey but only put it out before I start a run. I also have a littler biner inside my pocket on my PFD. So I have a spare always binered in my pocket. Of course once I decided not to put the hidakey out AND left my PFD at the TO with my friend while I hitched up...However, I forgot to lock the door so I didn't waste the ride. :)

Also don't eat yellow snow!
 

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Scott, I'd make fun of you for being a dumbass but knowing my luck I'd be next so I think I better be humble instead. Sucks it ruined the trip on top of it though, since you think about it the rest of the way down the river.
Thanks Patrick. I'll remember your sympathy next time you swim.
 

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Pulled something like this on Lodore once, but just left the keys at the Split The Ranger at Split gave my buddy a ride to get the key. LUCKY he was having a good day. After that, ZIP TIE the spare key to the frame somewhere, preferably on top of a rail so no rock ricochets take it off. Or ZIP & DUCK for no jingly, overdo it.
 

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Two years ago I got a Honda Odyssey, which uses a chipped key. For those who are still blissfully unaware, chipped keys have a small radio transponder that is recognized by the car's computer. If you turn the ignition switch but the car doesn't find a chip to talk to it won't start. For some cars a dealer is the only place you can get a replacement key. Another problem is that the keys are like hotel pass cards - get a new key and the old ones stop working if they aren't reprogrammed. Even if you can get a new key nearby you'll have to pay to have all of your keys reprogrammed later on. Just to make things even less convenient for paddlers, on our model the remote entry is built into the key, so it's not waterproof.

Considering the implications of losing my key when I'm hours from home on a Sunday I decided that getting extra keys was something to do before I started losing them. In my case no locksmith could make duplicate keys, and several dealers told me that the only keys they could make were the master or valet keys, at upwards of $130 and $35. After a few more calls I found a dealer that was equipped (or maybe just smart enough?) to cut some simple old-fashioned door keys. Since I bought a pair of valet keys they cut the 4 door keys I wanted for free. I've got a door key in a hide-a-key (that I had to epoxy to the all plastic underside of the car), and another one lives in my PFD. My regular key stays with my dry clothes at the take out, and for good measure I keep a valet key in the car all the times, so the worst case scenario is breaking a window to get in. It may be a bit overkill, but it's cheap insurance against losing a key or running shuttle without the PFD.

Everybody who hasn't planned ahead for losing a key should do it now. If your car uses a chipped key you should do it yesterday.
 
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