I once asked the late Verlen Kruger what he valued most on a wilderness canoe trip.
"My comfort!" he replied.
"I like a big roomy tent, a thick cushy sleeping pad and baggy clothes that don't bind when I paddle."
Verlen did not keep frequently used essentials like rain suit, wind-shell and sweater in a waterproof bag. He preferred a simple (not waterproof) zippered duffel so he could get at things fast.
"What happens if you capsize?" I asked.
"I don't tip over much," he replied with an elfish grin.
Like Verlen, I am willing to make some concessions for easy access. For example, I keep gloves, sun glasses, bug dope and other small items in a zippered thwart bag (not waterproof) that has a shoulder strap and waist-belt (for ease-of-portaging). An oiled canvas day pack (Frost River "Nessmuk") holds bulky items and is handy for hiking.
Here are some more comforting thoughts that may add to your canoeing pleasure:
Cliff Jacobson is a professional canoe guide and outfitter for the Science Museum of Minnesota, a wilderness canoeing consultant, and the author of more than a dozen top-selling books on camping and canoeing. www.cliffcanoe.com
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