Professor Paddle: Rescue/repair/bailout kit
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Jeff
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  Quote Jeff Replybullet Topic: Rescue/repair/bailout kit
    Posted: 01 Feb 2009 at 10:33pm
John asked me today to post something along this thread and it seemed like a good idea to get people thinking and also see what everyone else carries in their boat, etc..  
 
Many of the runs we do on a regular basis are roadside runs that are easy to bail out on, but what do you do when the do-do hits the propeller?  Even a minor mishap on a canyon type run can quickly turn into a life threating situation.  Do you know how to escapse the river you are on?  Do you have the necessary gear to deal with common situations that could happen on ANY river run?  I have had more experience in these subjects then I would care to in recent months and here are a few things that I've learned and/or now carry on a regular basis for any run...
 
Escape - can you get off the river you're on?  Even the Snoqualmie Powerhouse and the Lower Sky can present real logistical challenges if you end up stranded and or injured on the wrong side of the river.  Make sure you know where access points are for the river you're on, and try to end up on the right side of the river if you swim or get hurt (I know, easier said then done).  Would you know what to do if your boat got swept away on the Green Gorge or CC Stilly (just examples of deep canyon runs with VERY difficult access)?  Something to consider before your next run
 
Repair/Lost Gear - What if your boat cracks in the middle of a run?  On the Sky you can easily just paddle to river left and get back to the road easily.  But what if you're at the bottom of the Tilton River gorge and you have a boat killer crack happen?  You ain't just walkin' out of there!    Oops!  You just swam and managed to get your boat back, but your nice new Werner foam core is nowhere to be found?  Do you have a breakdown paddle or hand paddles (with confidence to use them) to get down the run?  I've found that hand paddles are a reasonable substitute for a breakdown paddle on III+/IV- runs if you know how to use them (try running BD a few times for practice!) but they take skill and a lot of effort to use.  Obvioulsy if your boat takes a ride, you're gonna be hoofin' it.  It can happen.  Again, things to consider before your next run.
 
Injury - Do you have a first aid kit (or at least minimal equivalent gear that can serve in a pinch) to deal with injuries and the knowledge to use it?  Something to serve as a basic bandage and a sling are very usefull items.  If your partner dislocates a shoulder can you sling it so they can at least walk out with minimal pain?  Do you know CPR?  Respiratory Arrest (i.e. drowning) leads to Cardiac Arrest and that means you're dead (although since it is not due to an underlying medical condition, you stand a decent chance of being revived).  Can your boating friends bring you back?   CPR is not a difficult skill to learn.  Do you know the current protocol?  Consider taking a class!
 
These are just a few examples of things that could happen to any of us.  Here are a few things that I've started packin' to try and minimize the effects of these situations.  Now granted, these are attached to my boat, so if it's headin' downstream without me, they won't do me much good (next project is to figure out how to safely attach them to my body so I always have 'em!)
 
These first 4 are in my PFD, the rest are in my boat..
 
1) - 1" Tubular Webbing loop - Great for a quick anchor point around a tree (also useful for making an arm sling in a pinch)
 
2) Multiple Carabiners - Useful for just about everything from setting Z-drags to opening beers after a successful run!
 
3) Whistle (DUH!) Useful for alerting others of danger, swimmers, and deafining the guy next to you.
 
4) Candy/Energy Bar - I get cranky when I don't eat - Feed me!
 
***These are in the boat***
4) 50' Throw Bag (Good for retriving errant swimmers, and setting up Z-drags to haul boats, and if necessary a rappell line, also good for rigging up shelter if needed)
 
5) NRS Hand Paddles - These are nifty neoprene gloves with webbing between the fingers.  They are warm and still provide enough dexterity for grasping things such as the grab loop on your spray skirt if you need out!  No good if you need to pick you nose though.  Not as good as a breakdown paddle, but a lot cheaper and smaller.  I have used mine to run the Sky and the Nahatlatch (after breaking a paddle) and they do well in a pinch as long as you've practiced with them.
 
6) Sven Saw - This one only goes on Creek Runs where there is wood potential - it is a folding bow saw that has a 21" blade capeable of getting through most reasonable sized strainers (8" or so) and it folds down into a compact size with the blade totally covered so it won't tear up you or your gear.
 
7) Pellican Case Size 1120 - I just got this baby and am in the process of refining the contents, but here's what I've got so far.  Most items are capeable of multilpe uses and I'll list 'em.
   (1)-Medium roll of Duct Tape - good for patching boats, paddles, drysuits, and
    paddlers (no need for medical tape - if you can't duct it, f&*$ it!)
   (3) Lightload Towels - I pack 3 of them for multiple uses - drying off your boat hull so 
    you can use the duct tape to patch it, sling/bandaging material (it's not streile, but  
    you've got bigger problems to worry about besides infection right now), emergency
    toilet paper (nobody wants poopy butt inside their drysuit!), and also a possible
    firestarter if you're out overnight.
   (1) Emergency Space Blanket - The super lightweight kind that looks like tinfoil. 
   Good for keeping you warm or the basis of a shelter if you're sleepin' out next to the
    fire you lit with the towels!
   (1) Black Diamond Ion headlamp - super tiny 2 LED headlamp to help you find your
    way through the woods in the dark
   (1) Disposable Lighter - I would like to find a more durable option, but it is in a dry
    box, so it works for now.  For lighting said fire with towels next to your shelter for the
    night.
   (10) Painkillers of some type - Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Vicodan, etc..  MJ doesn't count!  If
    you're hurting, you need something to ease the pain so you can still function and
     think clearly.
   (1pr) Rubber gloves - I don't want whatever you might have, and vice versa.  Body
    Substance Isolation is always a good idea if at all possible.
   (1) CPR microshield - Again, BSI is good, and if you are doing your CPR wrong, the
    person is gonna puke on you (trust me, it happens!) and you don't want a mouthful of
    that!
  (1) Small bottle of hand sanitizer - This one might get the boot, but for now I have the
   room and it is good to have if you get blood, etc.. on you
  (1) Gerber Multi-Tool - Good for doing all sorts of things from repairs and cutting tasks
   to opening beers (hmm... recurrent theme there!)
 
Perhaps I'm being overprepared, and maybe I'll just be watching as all this stuff floats downstream around the next bend in my boat without me in it, but it is a minor investment that can pay big dividends if and when the time comes to use it.  Hope this is of some use and please feel free to comment with suggestions for improvements or things that you've found useful!
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 02 Feb 2009 at 11:56am
Great shots of CC Stilly Jeff... how did you like it?

Was that your first time down it?
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  Quote Jeff Replybullet Posted: 02 Feb 2009 at 3:32pm
No, done it once before.  Loved it.  Wanna do it when there is more water in it.  Also cpnsidering running Granite Falls.  Checked it out yesterday and it looks like it could be done at the right flows.  Know anyone who has hucked it?
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 02 Feb 2009 at 9:28pm
Egads to the Granite falls... Talk to Etive... He swears he sees a line and if you run it I will make sure he is there so he can go next. He keeps saying he only needs to see someone drop it first.... 

I have heard rumors that Chris Joose ran it and also rumors that it was run by a guy from BC. Neither have been confirmed but I have never really tried to check it out myself. I'm happy to just gaze that that thing after a run on robe chillin with a brew and think of how, why and then whizzz   
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  Quote Jeff Replybullet Posted: 02 Feb 2009 at 10:42pm

The upper drop looks pretty good, and the 3rd drop looks fine if you take the far right chute.  It's just the drop in between that we couldn't get a good look at (and was possibly the mankiest).  More recon needed!  Hail Fibnok!

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  Quote Liz Replybullet Posted: 04 Feb 2009 at 3:00pm

This is great!  Can you fit a steak dinner for me in that little box too? J 

 

This post got me thinking about what I would want with me if things turn bad.  I wouldnít go on a full day hike in a canyon without some ďjust in caseĒ gear, so I shouldnít go on a paddle in a canyon without the same.  Now usually I am the one NEEDING this kind of stuff, so I go on trips with someone else who HAS it (Jeff).  But, I guess maybe someday Iíll be the someone elseÖ

 

There are, of course, a hundred different scenarios and you canít plan for all of them, but I think you covered the big stuff quite well. 

 

For me, I would probably add a laminated instruction card on how to put a dislocated shoulder in.  Iíve learned about it, but never had to do it myself so a crutch would be nice if I get in a situation where I have to do it and Iím all nerves.  Iím thinking about doing the same with some knots.   

 

Webbing loop Ė In addition to an anchor wrap these can be used as a weight distributing anchor on, say, a pinned kayak.  They can also be used as an impromptu upper body harness.  One of the instructors in my Swiftwater Rescue class last spring related an experience where he went kayaking in Colorado with one of his buddies and used the piece of webbing he had in his PFD to get a friend off a logjam.  Story:  The instructorís friend (letís call him Bob) got pinned on a logjam.  His friends would need to attach a rope to Bob and pull upstream in order to get him off the logjam.  Bob didnít have a rescue belt on his life jacket although his friends could walk on the logjam over to Bob to attach a rope.  So, they put the webbing around his shoulders with a carabiner and rope attached in the back and were able to pull him off. 

 

Electrolyte drink mix packets Ė such as Vitalyte, NUUN, Gatorade, etc.  This may not be such a big deal in cool Western Washington, but in hot climates where youíre sweating most of the day they can help you stay hydrated, give an energy boost, and decrease muscle cramps.

 

Petzl e+LITE Headlamp Ė You could use this instead of the Black Diamond Ion.  Itís the same size and weight and has a similar brightness, but it lasts 3-4 times longer with one set of batteries.  However, I donít think it is as cute as the Ion.

 

Z-Drag kit: Rope and carabiners are the base.  Add prussic and pulleys for a Z-Drag kit.

 

Contacts - I am really blind without my contacts.  I havenít lost any on a river yet, but I use to lose them all the time in water polo.  Swimming rapids sometimes feels a lot like water polo, so, I carry an extra contact in my PFD pocket.  It would really suck to hike out of a canyon when you canít see anything.

 

Astral Ė You mentioned wanting to put more of these items on your person.  Astral believes that paddlers should carry a rope at all times, so they have designed pockets for rope.  If you buy into that philosophy, an Astral vest may be good for you.  A waist throw bag is another option.  Astral sells 46 feet of 1/4'' Polypro and Spectra throw rope packed into a flat pouch which fits into or behind the front pocket of many of their PFD's.  Jeff, as you probably know, your Aquavest 300 is compatible with their throw rope pouch.

 

You could also throw a cell phone, SPOT or ACR Electronics PLB in there?

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  Quote Wiggins Replybullet Posted: 04 Feb 2009 at 4:35pm
I carry a lot of this stuff.
 
I am surprised no one mentioned iodine tablets so far!
 
Small compass.
 
I also found that Esbit stove fuel cubes are great firestarters. They burn at 1400 degrees for about 15 minutes.
 
Pocket Chainsaw.
 
I carry it all in a small dry bag under my drysuit or PFD. The biggest thing is to carry essential items on you!
 
A good survival kit that can be purchased is the SOL from Adventure Med Kits. It is $20, pocket sized, and comes in its own drybag.
 
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  Quote slickhorn Replybullet Posted: 04 Feb 2009 at 5:18pm
I've been working on my kit for awhile.  I don't carry my full camera kit as mush as I used to, and I realized I was not taking some of the safety gear I always kept in that bag. 

Here's my kit:

I keep firestarter and a space blanket in the hip pocket of my Astral, where the tow tether goes. 

I keep flint with my shuttle keys in the pocket, which I can use with my knife and firestarter.  That plus a power bar, locking biner, whistle, and some water is what I have on my person. 

In a Nalgene bottle, I carry the rest of the kit:
bright LED flashlight
hand chainsaw
repair kit
rudimentary first aid
firestarter/tinder
iodine
gu pouches
extra screws + multitool
duct tape
hand sanitizer
pain killers

I also keep a sam splint, big extra length of webbing, and a folding buck saw in my camera bag for creeking.

pin kit stays more handy.

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  Quote RemAcct2 Replybullet Posted: 04 Feb 2009 at 8:03pm
...and then Jeff asks "why am I sitting so low in the water"...
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  Quote Jeff Replybullet Posted: 04 Feb 2009 at 10:03pm
GOOD STUFF!  Glad to finally get some responses here!  I got ideas for more stuff to jam in my boat!  I usually have 3-4 carabiners clipped to my PFD or my boat somewhere as well.
 
Slickhorn - I like your Nalgene idea (and I actually used it for a while) but I eventually busted the lid on it and all the stuff inside got ruined.  That's why I opted for a more bomber pellican case.  Although it is much bulkier then the bottle, it is also gaurenteed for life.  Not trying to put down the idea, just wanted to pass along what happened to mine..
 
And Wiggins - Iodine?  Really??  I just find the mankiest looking stagnant water puddle near the closest cow pasture and drink deeply!  MMMM, tasty!  haha!  Just kiddin!  Have you checked out Aqua-Mira?  I used to use that instead of iodine.  Slightly larger packaging and a few more steps involved, but then you don't have to drink funky tasting brown water.  Again, a good idea, just sharing my experiences...  Those esbit cubes are great, and I like the drybag inside the drysuit idea.  Next on the list of things to figure out!
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  Quote Jeff Replybullet Posted: 04 Feb 2009 at 10:09pm
...and Kirchoff, I know why I sit so low in the water.  It's 'cuz of my massivly inflated ego! hahahahaha!  Ok, there's no ego that makes my head big, I just got a big funny shaped noggin!! 
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  Quote Chuck e fresh Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2009 at 12:52pm
The moral of this story is.. If you can't help yourself... How can you help others ??!! Some people only rely on other people helping them out and never think of being responsible or prepaired or informed enough to help anyone else !! It's either ignorance, lack of expierience or lack of carring i.e responsibilaty and respect for themselves and other's around them !! This happen's throughout our every day lives not just on the river ! Back country in the mt's, driving on the road unfortuniatly our society promotes lazyness and a scence that someone else will do it or it's someone elses job or it won't happen to me type attitude. The only thing we can do is be prepaired, pass on knowledge and ask question's and pose anwser's to groups your involved with or interacting with when your out enjoying or trying to enjoy this wonderful world we live in !!!  See ya out on the river ....
There's no such word as can't!so stop making excuses!!!!
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  Quote franzhorner Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2009 at 3:38pm
Catarafters and rafters can afford to carry a lot more gear and they always should.  When I'm in my catboat I bring a climbing harness, 3 10ft lengths of 1" webbing, 3 pulleys, 6 prussiks, 6 biners, a space blanket, a candy bar.  I used to have some handwarmer too but I used them up on a bald eagle float.  On my pfd at all times is 2 caribiners, 1 pulley, 1 rescue ring, 2 prussiks, knife, whistle, candy bar, and lip balm.   Maybe I should put that space blanket on my person.  My glow stick didn't come through for me on the SF Skokomish but it had been in there for about 5 years.  It's probably best to replace those yearly.

All this is in addition to my regular "safety" kit and something to drink.

Does anyone else bring a climbing harness on the river with them??

Last year I saw a video made by Mark Kramer, legendary catarafter, and he explained his essentials that he kept on him when soloing the Stikine, Alsek and Sustina rivers.  It consisted of much of the same things we are talking about here....


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  Quote slickhorn Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2009 at 3:52pm
Originally posted by franzhorner


Does anyone else bring a climbing harness on the river with them??


One of the reasons I carry a 20' webbing loop is that it can double as a harness in a pinch.
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  Quote jalmquist Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2009 at 9:09pm
Great discussion!  I'll just add a few experienced-based thoughts...  First, the difference in what you can do with a 70+' throwbag and a 50' bag can make or break a situation.  I always used to carry a 50' bag until I took a "kayak specific" rescue class with Eric Magneson (how many on this site even recognize that name?).  Anyway, thereafter I quickly switched to a 70' bag, despite the additional weight.  Second, while hand paddles make for a great emergency spare, consider where you'll (hopefully not) be using them.  If in doubt, go with the real thing.  Finally, what's all this talk about water treatment?  Just drink up!  You won't get the squirts until days later when you're comfortably back at work and just seconds from the company restroom... 
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  Quote Jeff Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2009 at 9:14pm
I think it's a good thing that I'm limited by the size of my boat as to the extra gear I can carry.  If I had a cataraft, I'd probably figure a way to carry and aid cars worth of rescue gear!  Again, more good suggestions! 
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  Quote Texas Dave Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2009 at 9:38pm
Here's a bunch of good info from some SWR instructors. 
 
 
And I'll second the importance of a 70' throw bag.  Setting up a rescue or z-drag can be tough with a shorter rope. 
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  Quote BRoss Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2009 at 10:03pm
Originally posted by Jeff

GOOD STUFF!  Glad to finally get some responses here!  I got ideas for more stuff to jam in my boat!  I usually have 3-4 carabiners clipped to my PFD or my boat somewhere as well.


This is a great discussion. I know i need to include more stuff in my own personal kit.

 One thing that should be brought up is about the biners clipped to your pfd.  Somewhere on Boatertalk is a LOOOONG thread about a guy who flipped on the Gauley and the biner on his shoulder strap clipped into the grab bar on his stern.  So he was clipped in unable to roll on his back deck.  I actually forget what happened, because i think he was fine. 

Anyway, point being, carabiners are good, but sometimes bad, and maybe having them on the pfd isn't a good thing.  i'll try to track down the thread a post a link.
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  Quote BRoss Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2009 at 10:10pm
I kinda messed the story up but here is the linky:
http://boatertalk.com/forum/BoaterTalk/1601327

Here is the parent thread too - also interesting:
http://boatertalk.com/forum/BoaterTalk/1601319
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2009 at 11:47pm
I was on the river one time and a friend had a carabiner on the back loop of his PFD for the tow strap, He leaned back and it locked him into the grab loop... We both very carefully paddled to the side of the river, laughed in a pretty ominous sort of way and then removed all the little boogers from our back side that could do that.

Anyone with about 8 - 10 feet of rope can rig up a swiss seat if they know how. It will destroy your balls if you use it too much but it is worth knowing how to do. Like Slick said, webbing is better but the method is the same.




Edited by James - 05 Feb 2009 at 11:58pm
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  Quote 1150lbsofaire Replybullet Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 9:48am

GOOD STUFF. after a epic portage on the lower wind last winter i put a harness and a ATC in my rescue kit. i found old not so stiff mountaineering harness kind of like the ones you find at second ascent fold up really nice. also having a petzal jue mar in place of so many prusiks is a good idea to, it makes it a lot faster to set up a one person z drag and it makes it a lot safer to asend a rope if you havent allready broken in your prusik. one last thought, swoop out the candy bar for a small tube of frosting,you wont be so tempted to eat it and with so many people dieing from nuts these days it better to be safe, syotr 

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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 10:38am
Haven't heard anything about Tiblocks either... those are pretty handy little buggers for ascending ....

Oh and don't forget the Tri-Biner grapling hook. Takes 3 biners and some ductape. Great for fishing out boats!!!
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  Quote franzhorner Replybullet Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 1:25pm
I like the idea of carrying some jumars for quick set-up of a rescue system.  I never considered using them for that....

Tiblocks are those little triangular looking things with the pin that goes through is that right?  I remember getting trained on those with Chris Jonason but never really got into them...
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 1:48pm
Nope... here is a REI page with the petzel one.

http://www.rei.com/product/644068

There are little spikes on the inside to grip the rope. Not the best for longevity of gear but easily the smallest item to pack for the purpose...
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  Quote franzhorner Replybullet Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 3:26pm
Nice!
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