Am I the only one?

Yesterday was a near perfect March day to go paddling, so I loaded up, went through a mental check list of my gear and even double checked the stuff in my pickup. Yup, it looks like it’s all there. I drove up to the lake of choice for the day and started my routine of loading things into the boat and was about to put my wetsuit on when I suddenly realized I didn’t remember seeing my pfd. Nuts–of all the things to leave behind. I have to admit that I thought about going out anyway, but I guess my better judgment kicked in and I headed back home. The day didn’t turn out to be a total blowout, though, because I stopped and got my pfd and headed into town and had some good paddling on the town lake.

How many others here have forgotten a vital piece of equipment? So far, over the years, I’ve forgotten my paddle once, my skirt at least a couple times and various other less important things. I even drew up an actual check-list, which I keep in my vehicle, but I’m too smart to even need to look at that any more. I think I need to add one more thing to my check-list–check the check-list.

I always have an extra paddle and PFD in the truck except for one time…

ROTFLOL!! You are not alone! I have taken the wrong kayak skirt, but was able to paddle without it. I keep a spare PFD in the back of the car just in case. Have let other folks use it when they have forgot theirs, but so far I have not needed it. Pulled out of the driveway and was on the road once when I realized I had left the paddle at the house, luckily I was only a few blocks down the road.

I’ve paddled in a drysuit with workshoes, seeing as I left my mukluks home, had to make the trip home to get my pfd, 40 minute delay allowing a first timer to get stoned while I was gone smh ( I did manage to make him swim and beg for mercy lol) and forgotten other doo dads at various times. 4 hour drive to a major league dam release, only to “lose” my helmet (it was in the truck, just couldn’t find until I got spanked twice, fortunately no head to rock contact).Funniest was my buddy, a kayaker, forgetting his skirt and deciding to “go for it” anyways…did great up 'til “boateater” rapid filled up his yak and helped create the dreaded slow motion “death roll”.

Once drove to the put in, unloaded the boat, put gear in boat, parked car, put pfd on and started to put paddle together. Paddle wouldn’t assemble because I had taken two left hand sections! I have 3 wing paddles and they look alike, except for length and blade size.

I have forgotten things a few times. I did not drive home to get them because it was more than a half hour’s drive each way.

A PFD once. I paddled without it.

My WW helmet once. I paddled without that, too. Given that it was on a river, I did feel naked without it at first.

My paddling shoes once. I just paddled barefoot.

My wetsuit once. It was a hot day but normally I wore a shorty 2mm for rolling practice. I paddled in my t-shirt (synthetic) and underpants, because I didn’t want my shorts to get wet for the drive home, and I could wear those without the undies. The sprayskirt concealed the fact I only had underpants on below, for the paddling. When I was done paddling, I put the shorts on and waited for the shirt to dry while I stood in the sun.

My water bottle, once. I shortened the outing, knowing I could get through it wihtout drinking. But I sometimes keep a larger bottle of water in the back of the truck for times like this. Now that it is spring and the water won’t freeze, I will resume this practice.

Although I have forgotten items only once each, there are still plenty of other things to forget once!

PFD, once. First spring paddle (pre drysuit); had so many layers on, thought the PFD was one of them. Half a mile from launch site, looked down and noticed what was missing. Went back; PFD was still in locked car. Key to car in PFD pocket (that’s another story).

Paddle once, but I was only a mile from home when I got to it on my mental checklist.

I now use a paper checklist and when I get to my launch site, that key-carrying PFD is the first item out of the car.

Things were simpler when I first started paddling. All I had to deal with then was a PFD, paddle…and the frustration of a short, fat boat. More gear now, but lots more fun

Comes with age LOL Don’t worry till you can’t find your way home.

I swim decent but would never go without PFD. I would not go missing anything because I would never be happy knowing I left something behind.

haven’t forgotten the PFD … yet. Have forgotten paddles though. One time I did take my PFD off before I climbed into shuttle car. didn’t remember that my keys were clipped to the PFD until were were back at the parking area. Fortunately it wasn’t too far.

@magooch: You made a wise choice not to paddle without the PFD.

My wife and I have been pretty good with not forgetting anything critical, but she’s forgotten her PFD and we turned around a few minutes from home to go get it. We now do a verbal checklist leaving the driveway “Boat? Paddle? PFD? Spray Skirt?”

I drove two hours one time to get to a nice beach with some waves to practice in, only to discover that I didn’t have my spray skirt. I tried it anyway, but didn’t get more than a wave or two over my boat before I was swamped. I can’t recommend it.

I’ve forgotten paddling boots/shoes, or a particular paddle I wanted to use a certain day, but always had something else to use or was able to go without in those instances. Food and water for a day paddle seems to be an issue sometimes in my afternoon hurry or morning stupor. Some day I’m sure to forget my boat…

I try to keep ALL of my important kayaking gear in one laundry basket. That basket comes with me when I leave with a boat, and stuff only gets transferred into/onto my boat or onto a drying rack at home. The only things I have trouble with are those that I use both on land and water - like a headlamp, which I have on a list to get a duplicate of.

I have forgotten my PFD once. I paddled anyway. I use to swim in similar conditions without any swim aids without a concern. Though if I had been caught by wildlife enforcement officer I am sure I would have had a nice fine to pay for not having a PFD.
I have loaned out my spare PFD and my spare, spare paddle at the put-in to others that had forgotten theirs.

I’ve got ALL of you beat, and so do my friends Pat (PJC) and Rena.

I told this story here shortly after it happened, but some surely didn’t see it (and it does work better as a story than as a statement of what we forgot). The three of us were on the Jump River in northern Wisconsin. On this fateful day, we were putting in right below Big Falls, which I think might be about a Class IV drop (go to Youtube and search “big falls jump river” and you’ll find a bunch of video clips of the place). There is a short stretch at the bottom of Big Falls that Pat and I intended to run, but Rena wanted no part of it, so we planned that she would put in at the very bottom of the drop and Pat and I would put in up where we wanted to. Getting ready to put in at two different locations was an added bit of complexity, and carrying out this major deviation from what’s normally an automatic routine is where the trouble started (okay guys and gals, start guessing).

After taking care of all the extra rigamarole necessary to launch three boats from two different places, Pat and I ran the lower part of Big Falls and enjoyed it for what it was, and then we met up with Rena and she launched to meet us. From there, we headed down river. After we’d gone maybe a mile, I was just reveling in the perfect “north woods” atmosphere of this river and how it was basically just wonderful to be there, and I wasn’t thinking of much else.

That’s when Pat said, “Hey Eric!”


“Do you know what we forgot?”

I had no clue.

“We forgot to run the shuttle.”

Goodness knows how long it would have taken me to figure that out. Maybe not until we got to the take-out. As for Pat, I think he remembered when he had some internal dialog along the lines of doing something “… when we get the car…” and then realized, “Oh, the car!”

Well, paddling back upstream wasn’t a good option because we’d already gone through some rapids and even the current in-between the rapids was hardly slow. It was time to start walking. Pat and I left Rena with the boats and headed back to shuttle the cars. It actually wasn’t too bad a day for a walk in the north woods.

Getting back to the cause of this whole thing, we actually had every intention of running a shuttle, but it was to be after Pat and I got our boats to the bottom of Big Falls. But once there and when Rena joined us, we were on the water and it was the beginning of the trip, and what else does one normally do at that moment but take off down river?

Old timers here know that one formerly active P-netter once left home without his boat, but I think forgetting to run the shuttle is right up there in the same league.

Ah yes, I remember something I forgot. I forgot the when you get up you do a turn around before you leave. We did an 8 mile paddle on Lake Jocassee. We stopped and got out of the kayaks and ate lunch at our turn around point. Then we headed back to the ramp. When we got back to the ramp after paddling 8 miles. I opened the hatch I keep my lunch dry bag in. It wasn’t there, and my keys and phone were in the bag too. I said good by to everyone, but Rusty who decided he wanted to still paddle. So we paddled back and recovered my dry bag, and paddled 16 miles that day. Being a good friend Rusty never fails to remind me from time to time!

Just remember when you get up to leave do a turn around and check that you aren’t leaving anything behind. I also do a verbal check list of what I want to bring when I drive away just in case.

Did lots of dumb stuff , most of it when I was bit younger, still will do it occasionally: boating in street clothes and shoes, forgetting the car keys, boating without a spray skirt, putting in on the “wrong” stream, getting caught in the dark, fixing a bad raft valve with chewing gum, using a shotgun shell casing for a floor plug on a ducky, slamming the xp10 into the back of a pick up with the skeg down (I now have half a skeg) all come to mind.

Castoff, I applaud you for deciding to go home and get the pfd. My most recent folly was thinking I could flip a boat while the boat was still on the rack (to empty out some rain water). Boat did a beautiful boof off the front crossbar, splatted onto the front hood (where it left a little dent) then slid off the front
end of my new car.

I’ve been with someone who boated a class II-IV creek without a lifejacket , and have also been with someone who did hit their head when not wearing a helmet while kayaking, all of this despite warnings from me. Gave me an uneasy feeling watching this stupidity.

Sprayskirt, lifejacket, paddle, helmet- everything else is extra.

Went to a winter roll session at the local pool and had left the spray skirt at the house. Doh! Luckily a buddy loaned me his for a while.

I forgot my helmet when my buddies and me got to an unfamiliar boulder-strewn Class III, not near home. The two of them had theirs and no extras, and we weren’t exactly close to any kind of department store.
I ran the bastard anyway and managed not to swim.

–Quien es mas macho???

You’re not the only one . Things have progressed so that I forget what I forgot.
At least you did get to paddle! Its going to be another month at least for lake paddling here.

I was packing up my gear in the rain to go home from Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin (Primitive Camping), I hung my rain fly for the tent over a safety fence at a site, and did not miss it until I set up the tent to dry it at home. I now have a new tent.

@harry0244 said:
I was packing up my gear in the rain to go home from Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin (Primitive Camping), I hung my rain fly for the tent over a safety fence at a site, and did not miss it until I set up the tent to dry it at home. I now have a new tent.

Quite a few years ago we lost a large “car camping” tent - yes, the whole shebang. Neither my wife nor I have any clue where it went. I suppose it could have been stolen, but more likely we just left it on a picnic table or on the ground when we left. From time to time I’m reminded of it and I wonder if I’ll find it some day cleaning the basement.