03 July 2012

Decisions, decisions

...more cake, less cake?

Paddling solo and carrying all of your kit means that you have a pretty heavy load to shift, both on and off the water. There's no chance to share kit across the team, you carry it or it doesn't come -simple.
It takes energy to shift all of this gear, but it is also commonly overlooked that it takes time to shift it too. If you get to a point where it is not possible to move that boat alone, then everything has to come out, to be moved bit by bit, then shift the unloaded boat and load it all back in. That takes a lot of time. Time is precious.

I know there are all sorts of thoughts and advice relating to what to carry, what not to carry and just which are luxuries and which are essentials. At times people seem to try to outdo each other in just how spartan they can make things for themselves. The less they carry, the more uncomfortable things are and then the 'harder' they are by association. Hmmm, that strikes me as a load of b*******, you don't go any faster just because you make a martyr of yourself - in fact it's not hard to work out that the opposite is the likely outcome.

That said, there are limits and when it comes to carrying kit. I am pretty terrible in prioritising what I need and what I don't. But then again, with the best part of 3 months of hard, wet days ahead of me I was buggered if I was going to make life any more difficult than it had to be - no, sod that.

I had picked the best kit I could for paddling in and it was time to make off the water life as comfortable as possible. Good tent, good sleeping mat, good food, comfy, warm and dry clothing, plenty of tasty food, something to read, the radio to listen to and so on goes the list. If you are going to work hard all day, then you need to feel the best you can before and after. Life is going to be hard, there is no way around that, but there's no reason to make it any harder. Will life be any better just because you play the Walter Mitty wannabe warrior type?

You can make your mind up on my behalf if you want to, I'd be genuinely interested to hear your thoughts.

The boat, loaded with daily living kit came to 61kg or so.
The water load varied, mainly dependent on whether I expected to be wild camping or not in the coming days - but an 8-10kg load would be typical.
Food would vary too, as would maps etc. The heaviest load came just after a resupply parcel or a decent shop, probably around the 10kg mark too.

That made a boat weight of around the 80 kg mark pretty common, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.

So what do you think?

Did I really need to saw my toothbrush in half?


Geoff said...

Interesting John. For our Bass Strait crossing I carried 30 days supplies which weighed 32 kgs without water. The boat weighed around 27kgs so a total load of 59kgs.
I wholeheartedly agree than spartan is far less preferable to comfortable.

Taran Tyla said...

What I learned from paddling solo is how lonely you can sometimes feel out there. But once back ashore, in your tent with a cup of tea & biscuits can be an incredible moral boost.
So for me a comfy two man tent for myself is an essential evan if it does way a bit more.
Other than a tent, food & water you dont really need much at all. So why is my boat always full???