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Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning a middle feather overnighter next may. Wilderness kayak self support, IV-V, 3 days two nights. Wondering how other groups approach number of breakdowns vs. number of people in the group.

I can see going 1 breakdown per person for long / hard trips. I can see going 1 breakdown per group for mellow shorter trips.

My gut feel was 2 breakdowns for a group of 4 on the middle feather. What do others do? More? Less?
 

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Since there is classV in your description I would go one paddle per person or at least some good hand paddles + 2 paddles so you could paddle the lower grade stuff with those (trade off for bigger rapids?) and cover bad scenario of all having a paddle issue...
 

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I am a fan of one per person really not always convenient but I have had a few situations recently where if everyone had their own it would have avoided some exposed sketchy rope work. But what the hell do I know?
 

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One per person.

Ever been up shit creek without a paddle? I have been on one day trips with only a 3 hour hike out where we needed more than one breakdown, even that sucks. Better safe than sorry...
 

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Hi,

On regulated rivers, there sometimes is a prescribed number you must have.

At Westwater, for instance, it's one spare (breakdown or hand) for every three boats.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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You should be good with two for a group of four. The most probable reason that you would need to use a breakdown on that run is from loosing paddles after swims so remember that factor.

Glad you're doing it Ian! The Middle Feather is the shit!
 

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the only problem with everyone having a breakdown is that there will be less room left for the beer.
I think as a rule of thumb 1 to 2 ratio is a good bet for most trips (unless you happen to be goin boatin with joe), but I say if you have one take it, it would suck to plan the trip and have to do a very bad hike-out (a few days on MF with boat).
I'm with chrisitan, they don't get much better than the MF.
 

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Every paddler should sack up and carry their own.....

When we first started going to Cali (mid-80's), we'd carry one breakdown per two paddlers, each carrying a half. The Cali paddlers let us know right away what they thought of that plan: dumb as shit. From then on, it was everyone carries their own full breakdown. It's been the right choice on a lot of rivers over the last 25yrs.
 

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"(unless you happen to be goin boatin with joe)"

that is f-ing hilarious Tom, one of the situations I was talking about was with the individual in question, right after one of the sickest pitons I have ever witnessed on eye of the needle NSV.
Good game sir, good game
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the info folks. Just what I was looking for.

I've got a lendal 4 piece breakdown. I think its a great spare, and you don't feel like you are boating with a rinky dink fisher price paddle when you need it. Any other recommendations for breakdowns for my buddies who might be in the market for one?
 

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we'd carry one breakdown per two paddlers, each carrying a half. The Cali paddlers let us know right away what they thought of that plan: dumb as shit.
I'd have to agree with the Cali paddlers--by splitting the spares in two and carrying them in separate boats, you've effectively doubled the odds of losing a spare, as half a paddle isn't much better than none.

IMHO, one per boat is never a bad idea, and an especially good one where walking out is going to be an ordeal...
 

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It was definitely a great education at the time. I had only been kayaking 2 seasons, and had just come back from a 10-day trip in Mexico where Lars (Holbek) was one of the paddlers. He really was incredibly helpful in changing everything about the way I approached self-support packing and the whole thought-process in general. My boat got lighter, and yet I carried more useful stuff.
 

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My second time on big south our group broke 2 paddles in bar room brawl. I was very glad to be the proud owner of the one breakdown we did have.
 

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A couple different thoughts for ya:

1. Creeking is a team sport. Everyone carrying a paddle can weight down the entire team. For example, it's nice for one person to have the breakdown and another person to carry the cooking gear. It's especially important to travel as light as possible on runs with big portages/hikes - Upper Cherry, Black Canyon. This saves time and energy for the kayaking, therefore increasing safety and decreasing the chances of needing a breakdown.

2. On gorged out runs, it's a good idea to have more breakdowns as sometimes the person needing one is un-reachable by the rest of the team. We had a situation on Upper Cherry this summer where a paddle got knocked into the water during a tight portage and it was nice that there were lots of breakdowns in the group.

3. For the record, I've only used a breakdown twice in my career, although that NSV situation was interesting, to say the least.

I have no answers for you, but I'd bring less paddles on a IV+/V- river run and more paddles on a V gorged out run. Just depends on your crew.

Joe

P.S. Tom did you use a breakdown on the Raven's or did someone else save your shit?
 

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Keck, when I was running the shit down in the SE you were pizza and french frying your ass down the bunny slope at keystone.
So yeah after I swam outta the cave my brother climbed back in there and got my paddle, I don't think I ever have used my breakdown but I carry it most of the time.
If your good at the handpaddling that might work, I just paddled the west prong at high water when a guy swam and hand paddled out thru some shit.
 
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