Building on overnight experiences from last year, I have spent time over winter to research and invest in lighter weight kit, along with improving my knowledge through reading good old fashioned books: ‘Scouting for Boys’, Lord Baden Powell and ‘Canoe Camping’, Tim Gent. Plus signing up to the Water Skills Academy excellent 'Leave No Trace' webinar.
What worked well....
• Sleeping kit - my new Sea To Summit mat worked like a dream, even on river shingle and my trusted Snugpak sleeping bag stood up to the lower temperatures of -4c. All in all a very comfortable and cozy nights sleep.
• Food - Look What We Found boil in the bag chilli worked a treat (£1.69 from most supermarkets). Its an ambient and shelf stable product - super tasty and wholesome, made with 100% British ingredients.
• Fire - access to vast amounts of dry ‘flood wood’ which burnt very hot. Providing valuable and much needed warmth.
• Dry bags - 60l, 30l, 10l all performed well - q mix of OEX and Aquapac.
• Boards - My 11'6 Fanatic touring board handled well with the additional weight, the addition of river fins helped with the negotiating the shallows.
And less well...
• Camp shoes - I overlooked them as not a necessity.....they were! Wet shoes are as much fun as no shoes.
• Defrosting kit - challenged with limited storage options and a tiny tent. My dry suit succumbed to a heavy frost.
• Hands - further research into finding warmer and more paddle friendly gloves. My neoprene ones simply didn’t cut it....particularly when paddling at 6.30am.
• Feet - I struggled with cold feet in my Palm dry suit during the early morning paddle. Further research and speaking to fellow paddlers has introduced me to Rooster Hot Socks - a game changer!!!
I’d love to hear your tips/tricks/recommendations for overnight adventures, especially during the cooler shoulder seasons.