Bail Out!

I’ve been working on a “bail out” bag. In it: a flashlight, space blanket, firestarter/matches, a length of string or cord, signal mirror, knife, power bars, bottle of water, aspirin, etc. Enough for spending the night outdoors, in an emergency,if seperated from my boat. Packed in a drybag and strapped to my deck and having some type of clip for attaching to my PFD. Now I realize the first line of defense is a bomb-proof roll followed by a self rescue re-entry. I mostly paddle on inland lakes and never expect to need this bag but…who ever expects the unexpected? If its very windy/rough, and you are capsized and find yourself seperated from your boat and swimming for shore, this bag may be a handy thing to have. Which brings up another problem, If the bag is not recovered immediately upon capsize, being strapped to the deck with your boat blowing away faster than you can keep up…said bag does you no good. If you recover the bag, worrying about losing it, it could hinder your re-entry, fumbling around with it. I’ve heard of people using a fanny pack for this purpose but sitting in a kayak with a fanny pack on isn’t attractive to me. Perhaps a length of bungee cord attached to the bag on the deck and your PFD? This may even help prevent your boat getting away in the first place. Does anyone use some type of bag as I described? How is it secured and what “essentials” do you carry in it?

For convenient carry
if you are rec or touring… Lotus makes (or made, not sure if it’s still available) a small backpack that attatches to their PFD. It rides high and doesn’t interfere with the seat back. They are not cheap. You can easily fit a small survival kit in it and it’s equiped with a water bladder. There’s a bungie on the back for a jacket, too. I found mine at 1/2 off in an only one of it’s kind in the store deal.


hang on to your canoe
only time I could imagine being seperated from my boat is on a river. On flat water I usually clip myself to a painter if going solo. This works fine, or haas on the one ocassion I needed it.

A ditch bag for a river is a good idea, but carrying it is a pain, and it could cause serious issues if swimming down a rapid with it.

I carry a pin kit and very basic survival kit (nothing too remote where I am), but I’m very conscious that if I ever need them, they migh not be actually with me at anymore.

I was once tracking up a class 3 and nearly got my boat pinned. Everything needed to recover that situation was still in the canoe! Lesson learnt.

Most of the big manufacturers make
a backpack thing like that, Extrasport, lotus, palm (still on web site) etc etc.

Wow, what a list
Mike_McCrea I see a few things on your list I forgot that I have in mine, light sticks etc The plastic garbage bags could come in handy for rigging a rain shelter and a water filter could be a life saver. Say you get this all wrapped up in a bundle the size of a football? I need to hire you to teach my wife how to pack for a trip. I could receive a hernia carrying her luggage for a short weekend!

How do you handle attaching it to yourself so you won’t be seperated from it in an emergency?

About Fanny Packs
Sagebrush Drygoods makes a great waterproof fanny pack, and a few expert kayakers I know use them for their bail-out bag. BUT . . . they wear them on the front, underneath the sprayskirt, so they are inside the kayak and sitting in their lap. This keeps them out of the way, but always on your body in case you get separated from your boat. Great idea!


Come H * or High Water…
I’m stayin’ with that boat. It’s strapped in.

Better paddlers than me have been

– Last Updated: Jan-14-05 11:37 PM EST –

sucked out of their boats in surf.

Something for the newbies to meditate on.

Do what you like!

Excellent tip thistleback
Wearing a bailout bag interferes with my tow system, but I hadn’t thought of wearing it under the spray skirt. Will try it, thanks.

My blue bag and contents: