Wisdom from the River | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Wisdom from the River

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Plisken

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There are a lot of threads on reducing weight, packing small, increasing convenience, etc. Those with backpacking experience start spartan and work up typically, while those coming from a car camping background are usually unnecessarily heavy and struggling to reduce. There is another way to be considered...multi-day rafting is essentially the art of the floating Winnebago and sees both types of people there too; however, there is a lot of river specific gear that can benefit the overlanding community and I haven't seen anyone else mentioning it. I'm sure there are other boaters out there so I'll simply add a couple of my favorite things from rafting that I also use when overlanding and see what others suggest too.

First, does a bear sh!t in the woods? I'm going to say yes, but so do people and the river rules at least in Colorado and Utah typically dictate a "pack it out", "Leave No Trace" mentality. The Groover is a handy device that is also great for overlanding. Add a tent for privacy (which goes against river tradition) and all but the most picky are happy in the outback. I like and use a system that packs into an ammo can (https://coloradokayak.com/products/eco-safe-toilet-system). The offending material is safely stowed in the container which has bio-active agents to break down the waste inside of a metal ammo can which means no accidents in the back of the truck. Offensive odors are also eliminated as long as the ammo can seals are good. It isn't the lightest system by a long shot but for comfort and convenience of setup/cleaning up I find it can't be beat. Anyone have a weird PVC pipe coming up out of the ground in front of your house or near the driveway that you have no idea about? It is probably either a vent for your sewer or an intended collection pipe for emptying RVs and such. It is ideal for emptying your Groover when a trip is over. These things hold about 50 uses worth of waste if you urinate elsewhere (recommended) but for my small family of three for a week or two we get by fine putting both inside (evening IPA activity aside). No fuss, no muss.

The other item I can't do without is the roll-top table (https://coloradokayak.com/products/nrs-roll-a-table?variant=29444624835&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIw-m617Ds2QIVl1cNCh3URQOJEAQYBCABEgJd6_D_BwE). Prices have gone up considerably in the past few years but these things are just too easy, pack small, are tough, and quick to set up for a lunch stop. Having at least one at the ready makes life sweet!

I'm not related to any of the companies at the above links and you may find better pricing elsewhere but those specific products are must haves for my family. Any other boaters have thoughts...stoves is another area?
 

Road

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There are a lot of threads on reducing weight, packing small, increasing convenience, etc. Those with backpacking experience start spartan and work up typically, while those coming from a car camping background are usually unnecessarily heavy and struggling to reduce. There is another way to be considered...multi-day rafting is essentially the art of the floating Winnebago and sees both types of people there too; however, there is a lot of river specific gear that can benefit the overlanding community and I haven't seen anyone else mentioning it. I'm sure there are other boaters out there so I'll simply add a couple of my favorite things from rafting that I also use when overlanding and see what others suggest too.

First, does a bear sh!t in the woods? I'm going to say yes, but so do people and the river rules at least in Colorado and Utah typically dictate a "pack it out", "Leave No Trace" mentality. The Groover is a handy device that is also great for overlanding. Add a tent for privacy (which goes against river tradition) and all but the most picky are happy in the outback. I like and use a system that packs into an ammo can (https://coloradokayak.com/products/eco-safe-toilet-system). The offending material is safely stowed in the container which has bio-active agents to break down the waste inside of a metal ammo can which means no accidents in the back of the truck. Offensive odors are also eliminated as long as the ammo can seals are good. It isn't the lightest system by a long shot but for comfort and convenience of setup/cleaning up I find it can't be beat. Anyone have a weird PVC pipe coming up out of the ground in front of your house or near the driveway that you have no idea about? It is probably either a vent for your sewer or an intended collection pipe for emptying RVs and such. It is ideal for emptying your Groover when a trip is over. These things hold about 50 uses worth of waste if you urinate elsewhere (recommended) but for my small family of three for a week or two we get by fine putting both inside (evening IPA activity aside). No fuss, no muss.

The other item I can't do without is the roll-top table (https://coloradokayak.com/products/nrs-roll-a-table?variant=29444624835&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIw-m617Ds2QIVl1cNCh3URQOJEAQYBCABEgJd6_D_BwE). Prices have gone up considerably in the past few years but these things are just too easy, pack small, are tough, and quick to set up for a lunch stop. Having at least one at the ready makes life sweet!

I'm not related to any of the companies at the above links and you may find better pricing elsewhere but those specific products are must haves for my family. Any other boaters have thoughts...stoves is another area?
Great suggestions, @Plisken (should we call you Snake?) - you're right, there's a lot of river and boating gear that can work well for overland trips and vehicle camping. I use dry bags of various sizes and some of the cookware favored by guides, and am about to decide on a good waxed canvas pack soon.

I especially like your suggestion of Groover / Eco-Safe Toilet as a great alternative to what most folks do. That's a pretty cool little system I haven't seen before. I ended up with a Nature's Head for my van and base camping which, because it's a good bit larger and heavier, is often seen on sail and work boats but not river canoes or rafts. A bit more convenient as far as disposal, too, but it's almost four times the price.

Here's more on other Groover style systems for those interested: Your Guide to the Groover. One of the things mentioned there that I've adopted is the Key system. Even though the potty area may be outdoors, there's a 'key' of some sort than always lives in the same place. If the Key is gone from it's hook, you know someone is back at the commode. Prevents people being walked up on, and keeps both parties from being suddenly surprised.

I like the rolling table deal, too, though am working on some DIY versions that can either stand on their own or hook to the side of my van in a sliding track.

If you have more Wisdom From the River, in either gear or skills, bring it on, man, there's a ton of us here that love that type of thing.

Who else has Wisdom From the River?






https://www.oars.com/blog/river-trip-101-your-guide-to-the-groover/
 

Plisken

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@Road Yup, the dry bags are indispensable and multi-use (haul water) if needed. Your toilet is a beast! Mine has to be person portable with the current setup but I get all of the needed bits into (2) 20mm ammo cans. One can holds the tank, a roll of TP, and the liquid hand sanitizer; the other ammo can holds the seatch parts and extras including our 'key' which changes on occasion. I have a few more ideas to share but will give it a few more days to see if anyone else discovers this over the weekend and has tips to add. I may even do a video or two on a few subjects.
 
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Road

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@Road Yup, the dry bags are indispensable and multi-use (haul water) if needed. Your toilet is a beast! Mine has to be person portable with the current setup but I get all of the needed bits into (2) 20mm ammo cans. One can holds the tank, a roll of TP, and the liquid hand sanitizer; the other ammo can holds the seatch parts and extras including our 'key' which changes on occasion. I have a few more ideas to share but will give it a few more days to see if anyone else discovers this over the weekend and has tips to add. I may even do a video or two on a few subjects.
Yeah, I looked at the toilet setup you mentioned and had never seen it before. It's really efficient and economical. Might end up with something like that for some trips. As you mention, if people get used to the idea of keeping solids and liquids separate, they'll have a far easier time with the waste and far less offensive odors with their camp toilet setups.

I often travel for long periods, months or more, and sometimes set up a base camp or off-grid deal somewhere for long periods, so in the long run the Nature's Head ends up being logical. If I was taking it in and out the van all the time I'd go nuts. Only time I'll do that is if I have others around staying in their own vehicle or tent, so we have a common bath area.

Hope others chime in about things they use that originally came from being on the water. A lot of 12v and other stuff now used in the RV and camping industries started with marine use.

Looking forward to what else you have and to any videos you might make.
 
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Plisken

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Surprisingly little traction here on this thread. Maybe I overestimated the number of river folks? No matter, the knowledge transfer value remains high for overlanders.

One of things I find most bothersome and tedious while out for longer adventures is keeping the dishes and cookware clean and sanitary. The method described by NRS on their site is commonly used by rafters for extended trips. You can use water from an unknown source (aka giardia filled) which keeps the potable water in your rig for drinking. Obviously this isn't a good method for dry desert trips. I recommend the the 3 bucket method as it cuts down on gear and the amount of water needed. The critical component to make this sanitary (aside from the bleach) is making sure the items all dry completely before use or storage. We hang dry in purpose built mesh bags that attach to our roll-up table or can be hung between trees. I plan to create a video on this process mid-summer when we get out for a longer trip but if anyone else wants to before then..."GFI" as my daughter says.
 
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Road

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River Wisdom - wondering who else is experienced in spending time on the water and what tips, tricks, and gear they've found useful that can also be used in vehicle travel and back-country camping. Can't say I have spent enough time on the water to add much, though I do use a lot of gear originally developed by river and rafting guides. Like the Dry Bags mentioned (I line my packs with contents in dry bags for hiking and biking) and of course my Partner propane stove, which is just indestructible and will last generations.

Now I'm looking at a variety of kayaks to choose from, to take with me camping around the continent and am wondering about lightweight rain gear, portable cooking, food storage and food prep tips, and day packs, etc. I have a bunch of bushcraft gear and tools I'm sure I'll use, like Billy Pots and Stanley cookware, but am interested in what others with more experience on the water use, too.
 

Rocksylvania

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I've done a few extended river and lake trips by canoe. Other than my dry bags the only river knowledge that transferred comes as much from backpacking. I still use my dehydrator. But now instead of for complete meals, for fruit leather and snack stuff. I suppose the weight consciousness transferred too, as was already mentioned. My bugout bag that I always keep has my survival essentials I'd carry for any long wilderness excursion. Basically a five day backpacking trip worth of everything in case rig and I need to separate. Food, water bladder, Katadyn water purifier, 2 sets of clothes, lightweight tent, sleeping bag and air mattress, etc. Lots of little backpacking stuff.

@Road if you are looking at kayaks I highly suggest kayak hybrids. Best of both worlds. A couple years back I added a Native FX 12 to my collection. And while not a kayak at all, my favorite canoe is by Hornbeck in the Adirondacks. My 15 ft "new trick" canoe is 24 pounds. No, not a typo. It's carbon fiber and Kevlar woven together. Makes portages and loading so very effortless.
 
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I've done a few extended river and lake trips by canoe. Other than my dry bags the only river knowledge that transferred comes as much from backpacking. I still use my dehydrator. But now instead of for complete meals, for fruit leather and snack stuff. I suppose the weight consciousness transferred too, as was already mentioned. My bugout bag that I always keep has my survival essentials I'd carry for any long wilderness excursion. Basically a five day backpacking trip worth of everything in case rig and I need to separate. Food, water bladder, Katadyn water purifier, 2 sets of clothes, lightweight tent, sleeping bag and air mattress, etc. Lots of little backpacking stuff.

@Road if you are looking at kayaks I highly suggest kayak hybrids. Best of both worlds. A couple years back I added a Native FX 12 to my collection. And while not a kayak at all, my favorite canoe is by Hornbeck in the Adirondacks. My 15 ft "new trick" canoe is 24 pounds. No, not a typo. It's carbon fiber and Kevlar woven together. Makes portages and loading so very effortless.
Wow, 24 lbs? Just peeked at their site, and now you have me more seriously considering a canoe. One of the things limiting my choices on a kayak was the potential of having a dog along on some trips, maybe regularly.

Good plan on your bug out bag, too. I need to do that; a more complete 5day bag I can keep in my van or wherever I might be staying for a bit.

What other good tips do you have for River Wisdom? @Plisken and I really thought this thread would garner more interest.
 
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Rocksylvania

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Wow, 24 lbs? Just peeked at their site, and now you have me more seriously considering a canoe. One of the things limiting my choices on a kayak was the potential of having a dog along on some trips, maybe regularly.

Good plan on your bug out bag, too. I need to do that; a more complete 5day bag I can keep in my van or wherever I might be staying for a bit.

What other good tips do you have for River Wisdom? @Plisken and I really thought this thread would garner more interest.
If you're thinking about having a dog in the boat, I might stick with the plastics like the Native Ultimate FX 12. It's heavier but with bow skirt it sheds water like a kayak and has more lateral stability because of the tunnel hull. Hornbeck would probably be totally fine, but I feel like it's too tippy for a dog, especially in the narrower "new-trick" variety. They do make a standard canoe style that's wider in the middle. And if I get another down the line, it will be one of those. Also, you have to keep a closer eye on water levels with the Hornbeck (punctures are fixable, but not easily in the field), the Native can take any abuse you can dish out.
 
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justjames

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Hey @justjames - have any tips to share from things you've used on river and lake trips?
Hey Road!
Unfortunately I don't as I'm not a water guy. My experience over the years has been motorcycle camping which has its similarities, stay dry, stay light. My earlier comment came from knowing a couple of back country river runners who have lots of skills and knowledge from which I've benefited. I'm sure there are people like that on OB and I'm hoping to learn from them as well.
 
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Road

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@freedomomelet - you mentioned in another thread about the craft you own and multi-day excursion gear-hauling.

What sort of tips do you have on gear for multi-day trips and gear that crosses over into general overland type travel even if you don't have a boat? @Plisken started this thread and there are a few of us intrigued by gear used on the river.
 

Road

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Checking back in on this cool thread @Plisken started. I've been away and pretty much off-grid for eight months.

Who else out there among the slew of new members has good experience being on rivers and lakes and has tips to share on gear and best practice?
My canoe is a huge part of my adventuring and exploring and I bet kayaking and canoeing has been/is a large part of your adventuring too.

A lot of what we do and use on the water can be useful in overland travel.

- What gear have you found helpful for overnight and multi-day trips?
- What do you take with for cooking and for food?
- What do you take with you for shelter?
- You go mostly bushcraft style, or re-purpose your backpack gear?
- Fishing gear and tips?
- Keeping your camera gear safe and dry?

I know there are a bunch of you with Wisdom From the River (or Lake) that others might find helpful in preparing for land travel.

hornbeck14nomad_8162-900.jpeg

roaddude_hornbeck-800-9075.jpg
 
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grubworm

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Interesting thread...my wife and I just bought our first kayak this week and will be heading up to Arkansas to paddle around in a few weeks. Neither of us have any "river knowledge". I spent over 20 yrs of my life underwater (navy subs and commercial oilfield diver) but of course nothing I learned there is of any use. The prospect of canoeing and camping out of it sounds really good. We both love really remote places with little to no people, and I can see a canoe getting us to those places. I got this kayak just for fun and to build up paddling muscles and maybe later I can get into a nice canoe that can hold some gear for over night trips. Where are some good places to do camping with a canoe?

20190701_133630.jpg
 
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Road

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Interesting thread...my wife and I just bought our first kayak this week and will be heading up to Arkansas to paddle around in a few weeks. Neither of us have any "river knowledge". I spent over 20 yrs of my life underwater (navy subs and commercial oilfield diver) but of course nothing I learned there is of any use. The prospect of canoeing and camping out of it sounds really good. We both love really remote places with little to no people, and I can see a canoe getting us to those places. I got this kayak just for fun and to build up paddling muscles and maybe later I can get into a nice canoe that can hold some gear for over night trips. Where are some good places to do camping with a canoe?

View attachment 106517

You're in some prime canoe/kayak country, @grubworm , being in Louisiana. I spent several weeks south of I-10 down around Abbeville and Morgan City etc. this past December.

Go to one of the visitor centers or look them up online; they have a bunch of canoe trail maps for various regions of Louisiana. At Lake Fausse Pointe SP up the levee from Charenton, a bunch of the campsites are on the water and have docks. Right there also is Attakapas Wildlife Mgmt Area where you can check yourself out and back in via app, according to the shore board I saw there.

I didn't do any overnight canoeing while in Louisiana, but did paddle around a good bit at Palmetto Island SP south of Abbeville from one lake to another via swamp trail. It was a quick easy walk with canoe to camp.

I'm going to be doing some overnight canoeing in New Hampshire and maybe Maine this summer, hopefully, and messing with some bushcraft ideas for shelter, fire, and cooking.

You can also get a bunch of interesting info at paddling.com - here's a page with some multi-day Louisiana kayak trip info.

Let us know what you end up using for gear and if you have any tips learned while out on the water that can be used in general overland travel as well.
 
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Boostpowered

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Well life jackets make ok pillows, kayak paddles and a tarp can be used as a expedient tent, other than using dry bags i can't think of anything else. I dont generally go camping out of my kayaks unless its an emergency. Im normally carrying fishing gear only poles, tackle, 7ah 12v battery for the garmin striker, extra life jacket, throw net and bait.
 
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Well life jackets make ok pillows, kayak paddles and a tarp can be used as a expedient tent, other than using dry bags i can't think of anything else. I dont generally go camping out of my kayaks unless its an emergency. Im normally carrying fishing gear only poles, tackle, 7ah 12v battery for the garmin striker, extra life jacket, throw net and bait.
.

Cool, thanks for the response.

I'm actually looking forward to getting out for some overnight canoe camping, and yep, use the kayak paddles I have with one end to the canoe on its side and other ends either higher or to the ground, depending on weather. I've got a couple great lightweight field blankets with Thermashield that make wonderful multi-purpose shelter and ground cover.

I'm experimenting with different packs I'll keep ready to grab-n-go with basic needs. A lot of what I do with my canoe on rivers and lakes is stuff that transfers easily to vehicle travel.
 

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I haven't done a ton of boat-based camping, but I have done a couple of trips. One in a canoe, and the other in my current "water rig" the Intex Mariner 3 with 3hp Sears Gamefisher. In both cases, space was a major consideration. I took a fair bit of gear on the inflatable, but nowhere near the capacity of the boat (660lbs total capacity) Here was the loadout for me and my daughter:
IMG_20190526_161646588_HDR.jpg
We used the blue case and the green boat bag as seats. The entire boat kit fits easily into my 99 Honda CR-V.
 
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