Monday, June 18, 2012

Keeping afloat

                         Floating your pack can be essential when canyoneering. The technics I use work well for me in non technical canyoneering. This kind of trip where you make a loop by hiking the ridge and completing the loop through the canyon and finding those sections of the river where the only way in is a hike and a swim with wall to wall water.
 I can remember the fist time my dad and I did a trip in clear creek back when I was in high school, knowing that we were going to have mandatory swims on the trip. We ended up packing and inflating pool toy inner tubes. We were slow getting through the canyon inflating and deflating so as not to pop the pool toy in the brush. We were slowed even more when we came to a very short waterfall struggling how to
West Clear Creek
 get our packs lowered to the water risking all our gear to get soaked with one bad move. This was also back when our packs weighed over 60 pounds for a three day trip. I like to go much lighter now and would like to continue shedding pack weight with each piece of gear that I can upgrade to or make. But floating my pack is one thing that I will take multiple layers of protection to guard my self.

              The first step to my pack floating is a lightweight dry bag I use as a pack liner. This pack liner weighs in at 2.3 oz. It is the sea to summit ultra-sil dry sack 35 liter. They have larger and smaller ones to suit your needs. This year I upgraded my sleeping bag compression bag to one that is a dry sack also, last thing you want is a wet sleeping bag at night. The more sensitive to water items will even go in zip lock bags or smaller dry sacks i have laying around like my first aid kit which is almost always in a zip lock bag any ways. Now that all of my gear is protected I move to using a rain cover on my backpack to keep my main backpack from soaking up all the water and weighing me down. My dad on the other hand likes double bagging all his gear and forgo the rain cover. For me I like the idea of keeping my backpack mostly dry and deal with the hassle of trying to keep my pack facing the right way in the water to make the rain cover effective. My dad likes the speed and efficiency of just unbuckling his pack and taking the plunge. Either way the pack will float on its own.
Floating your Backpack.