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11/12/2019 8:23 am  #1


Gear Upgrading

Winter looks like it has started so my first off season thread to help get me through.

Every winter I take the season to review all my gear and make additions or upgrades then sell off items I no longer use. The constant journey towards Gear Nirvana.

When I first started paddling my number of winter purchases were numerous as I had lots of holes to fill in. Recently though my purchases have slowed to a trickle as I think my gear
is now in a pretty good place. I’m only really thinking about 1 maybe 2 items this winter.

So a couple of questions.

My 1 serious upgrade contemplation this year is to get a CCS tarp. I have never used one. I have read in many places that they are considered to be the best tarp you can get. Looking at the cost of one  in Canada has me questioning if they can really be worth it though. A 10x12 is almost $350 CAD. That’s at least double the price of other good quality tarps from MEC etc.

This is the set up I would move to. Likely in a 10x14. It does look pretty slick.

https://youtu.be/GqlFP8C_z10

So does anyone have a CCS tarp and is it really worth the extra coin?  I don’t mind paying for good gear but it has to make sense. What magical properties does it possess?

Follow up questions... What new gear or upgrades are you thinking about this winter? What other pricey gear have you taken a chance on that you believe is absolutely worth the high price ? Or on other side of the coin, wasn’t and you regret buying?


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
 

11/12/2019 10:21 am  #2


Re: Gear Upgrading

A few years ago we upgraded our Big Blue Canadian Tire tarp for a Hilleberg. It was expensive but an excellent piece of gear. The Hilleberg comes with guy lines pre-attached and it packs down nicely. It's tough and can be tied down drum tight. 

Not sure about the CCS tarp but I do have their pack and it is bomb-proof. If you're a serious gear junkie like me in need of a fix I'd consider the upgrade. 

 

 

11/12/2019 11:34 am  #3


Re: Gear Upgrading

Jackets! and some bottom layers too. It's a process I started last spring, picking up MEC's thermal layers on clearance and just recently I went hog wild buying a half-dozen or so clearance jackets from Last Hunt. For the last several years I've been putting various layers, including decades old MEC long underwear, under my trusty North Face softshell. It works well for the hardcore dog walking with mild bushwhacking that I do on a daily/weekly schedule.

Now I want to get into colder weather camping and that means having the right protective and insulating layers to ensure comfort and survival, but keeping the weight and bulk to something reasonable. I was impressed with the information I found here, regarding the US Army's 3rd generation Extended Cold Weather System (ECWS):
https://kitchi-gami.com/2018/03/24/a-simple-outdoor-clothing-system/
I also bought the ECWS Level 7 parka and pants via Amazon. Shipping is pricey but I think its great value. I've been trying out some of the pieces and I'm looking forward to a brutal cold snap so I can justify wearing the L7 jacket.

 

11/12/2019 3:27 pm  #4


Re: Gear Upgrading

After having the opportunity to try them on a 8 day trip in Woodland Caribou PP, I purchased some "Superior Deluxe Cordura Portage Pads".  They are incredibly comfortable, I don't know why anyone would waster their money on a regular yoke pad like the ones you find at MEC.  Not once did my shoulders or neck get sore.

 

11/12/2019 4:13 pm  #5


Re: Gear Upgrading

CedarHillX wrote:

After having the opportunity to try them on a 8 day trip in Woodland Caribou PP, I purchased some "Superior Deluxe Cordura Portage Pads".  They are incredibly comfortable, I don't know why anyone would waster their money on a regular yoke pad like the ones you find at MEC.  Not once did my shoulders or neck get sore.

hmmmm..Always been curious about these. These are them? and they attach easily to any yoke? To me it looks like the yoke would have to be flat for these to attach properly. A contoured yoke wouldn’t work? https://superiorportagepads.webs.com/dlcwb.jpg

Last edited by ShawnD (11/13/2019 7:49 am)


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
     Thread Starter
 

11/13/2019 8:55 am  #6


Re: Gear Upgrading

That's them.  Although I haven't installed them yet (they were already installed on the canoe by the outfitter) all that is required is tightening 4 wingnuts.  I think I can handle that

 

11/13/2019 3:12 pm  #7


Re: Gear Upgrading

ShawnD wrote:

To me it looks like the yoke would have to be flat for these to attach properly. A contoured yoke wouldn’t work?

Correct.
 

 

12/05/2019 7:28 am  #8


Re: Gear Upgrading

EddyTurn wrote:

ShawnD wrote:

To me it looks like the yoke would have to be flat for these to attach properly. A contoured yoke wouldn’t work?

Correct.
 

 
So I’ve been chatting with the folks over at Superior Portage in Wisconsin. They make these popular pads.

https://superiorportagepads.webs.com/dlcwb.jpg


Don’t see many up them up here in Canada though and I suspect it’s because of the pervasiveness of  manufacturers like Swift and the fact that most  people have contoured yokes.

Anyway, the owners just bought the company from some  friends with an eye on increasing their offerings. Sounds like one of the new owners is an engineer and fairly confident they can design a new model for contoured yokes. They ordered some from Swift and a few other manufactures who use contoured yokes and will try to build something that works. Told them I will be their first customer. They look comfortable, I’ve  read many good things about them.


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
     Thread Starter
 

12/05/2019 2:37 pm  #9


Re: Gear Upgrading

That's the problem with contoured yokes: coupled with comfortable pads they just don't make sense. Ordering new canoe from Swift one can always ask for a flat yoke.

 

12/16/2019 8:54 am  #10


Re: Gear Upgrading

I'll have to get some of those for my father in law. He always spends a seemingly inordinate amount of time arrange hats and socks on his shoulders to maximize comfort when portaging. Your standard yoke pads for contoured yokes don't seem to meet his needs. Keep us posted if you hear about them releasing anything. 

 

12/17/2019 8:12 am  #11


Re: Gear Upgrading

Am I the only one that prefers no padding on the yoke?

Last edited by trippythings (12/17/2019 8:13 am)


Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures
www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

12/17/2019 12:43 pm  #12


Re: Gear Upgrading

trippythings wrote:

Am I the only one that prefers no padding on the yoke?

I also prefer no yoke pad.  I usually have a bandanna around my neck to avoid the yoke digging in and rubbing, but I find my packs straps are well padded and the canoe feels unbalanced with anything on the yoke. 

 

12/17/2019 6:38 pm  #13


Re: Gear Upgrading

I rented an SR 16 and forgot my yoke pad - no issues.

As for upgrades, after more than a couple of disappointing flow problems with my BeFree, I dished out for the Katadyn Pocket.

 

12/17/2019 7:45 pm  #14


Re: Gear Upgrading

TripperMike wrote:

trippythings wrote:

Am I the only one that prefers no padding on the yoke?

I also prefer no yoke pad.  I usually have a bandanna around my neck to avoid the yoke digging in and rubbing, but I find my packs straps are well padded and the canoe feels unbalanced with anything on the yoke. 

I don't like carrying a pack under the canoe mainly because the canoe feels off-balanced when it's sitting on the straps. As weird as it may be, I prefer the yoke direct on my shoulders. I do like carrying my small day pack though, but the straps are very flat and almost paper thin... they're a bit thinner that the tie down straps most people use to put their canoes on the car.


Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures
www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

12/17/2019 8:11 pm  #15


Re: Gear Upgrading

Here are some no-nos on my portages, in the order of magnitude of inducing unnecessary pain:
- footwear allowing sand inside
- poor padded yoke
- poor physical shape
- shorts
- absence of portage rope - you know, the one that allows one to keep his hands below his waist instead of above his shoulders
- footwear that has to be kept dry
- tbc

I admit it to be very idiosyncratic over-the -sixty list, but it keeps me going without slowing down

 

12/18/2019 6:23 am  #16


Re: Gear Upgrading

EddyTurn wrote:

Here are some no-nos on my portages, in the order of magnitude of inducing unnecessary pain:
- footwear allowing sand inside
- poor padded yoke
- poor physical shape
- shorts
- absence of portage rope - you know, the one that allows one to keep his hands below his waist instead of above his shoulders
- footwear that has to be kept dry
- tbc

I admit it to be very idiosyncratic over-the -sixty list, but it keeps me going without slowing down

The painter/rope and hands below the waist was a life changer. And I swap into my hunting boots for portaging.
 

 

12/18/2019 5:23 pm  #17


Re: Gear Upgrading

Ahhhhh, footwear that allows sand inside.  I learned that lesson August 2018.  Sandals/watershoes seemed like a great idea so I could just step out of the boat into the water to unload.  But the portage conditions were abysmal in terms of muck and schlop, and it turns out that muck and schlop are a very effective sandpaper substitute.  By the end of day one I had sanded the top layer off a few toes.  By the end of day two, I'd broken through skin on a few toes.  By the end, on day four....several toes were pretty gross and painful and infected  Never. Again.

The difference that using a painter makes is incredible.  So much easier on your shoulders since you don't have to hold one or both arms up the whole time, and not nearly as fatiguing.  (By the way, I saw a woman two years ago portaging a canoe with no painter and her hands at her sides.  The most perfectly balanced canoe I've ever seen.  I was soooo envious.)     

 

Board footera

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