Item for Emergency Dry Bag

Today my husband and I intercepted a friend near the end of an 18 day trip from Albany to a kayak jamboree in Connecticut and back up the Hudson. He was resting at a river side campground, but had finished the paperback book he had brought with him and would really have liked something to read. I realized that I should carry an unread paperback book that would appeal to both men and women for just such an emergency. It could also be torn up for kindling. I am eyeing a copy of An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears, very compact/725+pages. Perhaps a Nelson DeMille would fit the bill? Is this something everyone already carries?


How about Atlas Shrugged
It’s over 1000 pages and would fill up several days in a tent.

Some favorites
You’re right, men and women don’t read the same books. Here are a 3 titles that should appeal to both:

A Painted House, John Grisham.

Iron & Silk, Mark Salzman

Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer.

Childhood’s End - An old A.C. Clarke tale of the end of mankind as we know it, and the start of something new.

Collected stories of Jack London.

Ditto on Jack London collection n/m
When I was young, London was considered a man’s writer. Today, if the reader is an outdoor adventurer, gender shouldn’t matter.

It is amazing reading his prejudiced reports on the Jack Johnson fights. It was a different world back then. It is hard to believe it when reading these reports, but London was a Socialist and was, relatively for his time, an enlightened man.

On Celtic Tides . . .
by Chris Duff. Very inspiring paddling adventure, but you wouldn’t want to use it for kindling.

Could use for emergency bandages, toilet paper, shoe insole, etc.

Emergency Items
Actually I was going to bring him a cold 12 pack when I met him at the Kayak Jamboree but I didn’t know if he drank beer? He’s a great guy his website is A book is a great idea but I would bring other items to such as a medical kit, flash light, dry clothes, rain gear, extra food and water plus communications gear.

"A Walk in the Woods"
would appeal to both men and women, but isn’t so long.

Maybe a historical tome. I am reading “Empire of the Bay” about the Hudson’s Bay Company and the settling of Canada. At over 600 pages, it is fascinating, but easy to read in bits and pieces too. Also, you can buy a used copy at or

Just soaked
a copy of “Annals of the Former World” by John McPhee on my last trip. (I thought the zipper was closed before the rain hit… Good thing I bought it in paperback at half price and could replace it.) Its a good 650 page read on the geology of North America divided into five geographical sections. McPhee makes it interesting. And when the storm passes and you look up and see what you’re paddling through, it’s seen in a different light. I don’t think gender matters much as regards the formation of continents. In fact, all of humanity’s presence on the planet seems a bit trivial.

“Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome is much lighter in every way though.

“The Best of…
…Robert W. Service” a poet of the Alaska gold rush era. “Cremation of Sam Magee”, “Ballad of blasphemous Bill”…

another would be anything by Patrick MacManus.

other sea-related titles
"Sailing Alone Around the World" by Captain Joshua Slocum, published 1900

Not a lot of pages but a completely delightful tale of refitting a small sloop and then taking a leisurely sail completely around the world alone. The author’s completely relaxed attitude about sailing through the craziest waters is awe-inspiring. One of the most pleasurable books I can think of to read stuck in a tent on a rainy day when you can’t paddle. You can even buy a supercompact version of the book specifically designed to not take up a lot of space in an on-board library.

A rather large and heavy book (great if you need stern ballast) is “Voyaging” by Rockwell Kent, a lavishly illustrated retelling of his days as a seaman sailing around the coasts of South America.

Items for emergency dry bag
Sorry - I just saw this post (almost a month old), and couldn’t resist - Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry. Wonderful book!

Want a laugh ?
We were on a 15 day guided trip in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, and each night I would hit the sack early just to get away from sitting around a camp fire with a cold back. (there is no wood to speak of in the Arctic)

On one particular night I was awakened by voices imploring my wife to read faster.

I looked out of the tent and saw the group huddled around a fire that was about 3" in diameter, and the only thing that was keeping it going was the pages from my wife’s paper back book that she was reading.

As soon as she finished reading a page, she would tear it out and keep the fire going.

Needless to say my sleeping bag was much warmer than the fire!