Why we have extra gear with us

Went to rolling practice this morning and while getting the Ikea bag ready to walk down to the launch, “oh, x&$#%^#@, I left my spray skirt at home.”

My buddy, who paddles a similar NDK kayak said “not to worry, you can use this one. And, btw, I remembered my water shoes today so I do not need to borrow your extra pair this time.”

In the past, what gear have you loaned out or borrowed at a launch thanks to forgetting stuff at home?

Spray skirt for evening easy paddle, could sub with the cag.

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Solo paddler here, so no opportunity to borrow or loan. But once I did have to return home after heading out because I forgot to pack my paddle.

I now use a checklist as I load the car.


I store my skirts in my kayaks. Bet you can guess why I started doing that… :laughing:


I capsized in the Edisto River in December. The water temperature was 41° . I had dry clothes in an allegedly dry bag that wasn’t when my paddling partner used it for a float.
The air temp was 70° but the sun was setting. Another paddler had a field jacket liner he loaned me which made a huge difference.
Lessons learned:
-Wait until a first time paddling partner has demonstrated some competency.

  • Make sure your dry bag is.
  • Take water temp and condition into account. Shorts and a t-shirt are not adequate for cold water.

I like your system, however spray skirts need to dry sometimes…and I need to remember to grab it/them. I have a Seals Sneak that I put in my car this afternoon and plan to keep it there in case this happens again when paddling my NDK Explorer. At least I will have a skirt with me.

Using the other kayaks is potentially more problematic as one skirt fits 3 different kayaks which I paddle. I’m used to having to grab the skirt b4 using any of those kayaks, but perhaps I should get a cheap nylon skirt as an emergency for those kayaks?

Use a gear bag for essentials. Clean gear when done put it back in bag or container.

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I’m a solo paddler; I try to keep 2 of everything I might forget in my vehicle. When I need to use a piece of back-up gear I almost always forget to put it back in the vehicle so I take 2 of everything so it’s harder to screw up.

When paddling with others I always make a conscious effort to take more (food, water, clothes, etc) than I need. I remember one time on the Huron River when I passed a father with his young son crying “I’m thirsty” and the desperate father asks me if I hsve anything to drink so I reach into my day pack and hand the kid a chilled orange sports drink. Poor kid wanted to keep crying but lost his justification.


and for a long paddling trip - I carry (at least) 2 of everything in the kayak:
spayskirt (the Reed Aquatherm takes very little space)
bilge pump
tent (I carried a 1 person tent and a small bivy tent)
duffel bag (carry gear to high tide)

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I’ve loaned out sprayskirts numerous times (Almost always have a spare on me), paddles, compasses on foggy days, drybags, and even a towbelt once.

Exactly ! It is frustrating when it happens to us. All of us are human.

Life jacket, paddle, headlamp, tarp, rope, straps, stove fuel,

Sadly, no one was able to help me when I showed up at the put in without the key to unlock the racks. :unamused:


Been there! In my case I had a cable lock fed through the metal security bar on my Venture kayak and the roof rack (which was also locked onto the car). Fortunately that day we were only 10 minutes from home so it wasn’t so bad to run back and get it. Since then I keep tagged spare keys to EVERY lock I use in a pouch in the utility well between the front seats of my car. Only issue there is remembering to grab it when I change vehicles.

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I was an outfitter guide and wilderness sports instructor in my prime so I have the girl scout “be prepared” bit drilled into me and always bring extra stuff in case others come up short (and to cover my own absentmindedness). Had too many experiences with trip participants who did not even bring the most basic/logical kit with them, usually in spite of being provided with a detailed checklist beforehand. Since I have been guilty of forgetting “basic/logical kit” items myself, I can’t really throw stones and prefer just to be prepared enough to stave off the possible glitches.

Twice I have packed in haste and grabbed what I thought was a nylon or neo skirt but discovered at the launch site that what I had was a Seals, Harmony or Feathercraft cockpit weather cover instead. Dang. Too much black fabric used for such accessories!!

Since I have multiple boats and gear and often outfit several other people on outings, I have adopted use of those tall “Swiss cheese” plastic laundry baskets in which I can stash all the items needed for one paddler: a breakdown paddle, proper skirt, PFD with whistle, pump and small drybag and/or Pelican case, and in the case of my folding and SOF boats, a pair of float bags. These baskets are cheap (usually $5 to $10 in any Big Lots, Target or other discount store) and so well ventilated I never worry about storing damp gear loosely in them. I used a Sharpie to tag each basket with a boat’s ID so I have the right skirt (and float bags if needed) in each one. The baskets live on tall shelves or on the floor in the basement (or, soon, in my garage/boathouse that I recently reclaimed from my crappy tenants at the rental property up the street after a grueling 10 month eviction process.)

As long as I am rigorous in returning the gear to the proper bag after each outing it is ready to throw into the car for the next trip. They can stand up in the back seat or hatch of most wagons and can also be laid down in a trunk. An advantage on group trips is that each paddler knows what goes back into the basket they were handed at the launch site so it’s easier to sort and inventory the gear at the end of the trip. Before I load for a group day trip I often set the hampers on the porch and add a hat and water bottle to each, sometimes a ziplock baggie with an apple and a granola bar in it if I am feeling generous and am taking out newbies.

Since I usually rinse my good paddling boots and shoes with neoprene wash and leave them on the covered porch to air out, I am apt to forget to replace them in my paddling garment bag during periods of frequent use. Footwear and hat omissions are so common (by myself and co-paddlers) that I keep several pairs of cheap water shoes in assorted sizes (the kind you can get at chain drug stores for a few bucks at the end of any summer) and baseball caps permanently stashed under the car seat.

I used to use IKEA bags but didn’t like that they were open and lacked a small pocket. i watch the “aisle of shame” at my local Aldi (that aisle filled with non-grocery items that you didn’t realize you could not live without until you gazed upon them while waiting in line to check out) for the large zip top nylon beach bags with generous side pocket(s) that they often sell for less than $10. I have several by now that are great for paddle clothing. Red one in pic below is a favorite since it has a sturdy mesh outer pocket that is great for wet gloves and footwear. Same volume as an IKEA bag but zips up securely. I recall it was only around $5. I have two others (one with a fish print and the other with tropical leaves) same size but they have plain zip side pockets. All three also have a small interior zip pocket which is good for car keys, noseclips and sunscreen tubes, little crap that often gets lost in bags if bigger stuff.


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Everything comes home to be rinsed and or washed back all together in bag then in dock box. Gloves get rinsed then attached to vest. Use it pile it together you can’t go wrong. I don’t store anything until washed items are done and back with the rest. Wouldn’t store much in a car gets to hot and shortens life span. Friend ruined his drysuit like that. Cars can get to 175°F +.

Good gear bag has two compartments one for stuff that needs washed.

They should all be 105… but then it would be easier to steal them.

Well I have two monumental, mental lapses. I canoe. I love long trips and white water. A short trip for me would be a springtime trip from The Hoover Dam on the Colorado River to Lake Havasu City What? About 140 river miles, 10 or 12 nice days, camp along the way,

Drive out from Michigan where I live, canoe on top, gear in the back under cover, 2400 miles? Forgot the paddles. Ya know, canoe, paddles, they kinda go together. Bending Branches bailed me out with a fast construction and shipment of two paddles built for me. Thank you, BB. Thank you.

My second big gaff, or a Duh, moment, Two years ago I bagged an unused, orphan permit to run the Green River in Utah through Desolation and Gray Canyons. Found the available permit just 4 days before launch, in Michigan that is a nearly 2,000 mile drive. Grabbed all the gear, I had gotten back from a similar white water trip just a few weeks before, loaded the truck and made the drive in just less than three days arrived at the Sand Wash launch point after a 2 hour drive down a brutal dirt and rock road, of 40 miles, with the requirement to launch that same afternoon, permit day. Unloaded truck, loaded canoe and lashed it all down, and reached for the food box… uh, No! Yep. I had some breakfast bars and a just purchased bag with some fresh fruit, and that was it. I weight too much anyway. I launched. Got a bit desperate for coffee about day 5 or 6 .Traded a few lemons for some ground coffee. Cowboy coffee. Boil it in a pan and drink it carefully to exclude most grounds, chew what you do swallow. Had a great time, lost ten pounds. All good. Except the memory part, that still sucks. Got home to a loaded food box still sitting on the kitchen counter.


I place inexperienced paddling partners on the floor of the cane low center of gravity facing the stern, me. sitting ideally in a folding ‘princess’ seat (Stadium seat?) We can talk, I love good company. They can watch how it is done, well, as well as I can do it anyway. The low center of gravity keeps them usually from tipping over the canoe. The best, they are facing upstream, and I do not like to warn them of white water… so that 41 degree water blasts them in the back of the head, and I, I get to watch the surprised expression.
Place your student sitting in the bottom of the canoe facing you. Safer, better for learning, better for conversation, and fun if a low branch might pluck a hat off.

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On my first paddling trip, my friend and I were paddling singles and came upon a pair who had bad fuel for their camp stove. We were in Glacier Bay, AK, and they had been without fuel for several days after being dropped in the middle of the wilderness by a charter boat. We had extra fuel so we let them take some of our fuel so they could have a hot meal and coffee.