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This past year I had the opportunity to kayak in some rather remote places of the United States, and it made me start to think/question the items I packed with me in my drybag. I also realized that even in my home state of AL you do not have to be that far off the road to be out of reach from help if someone needed it. Everyone makes mistakes. Once I started asking asking a couple “what if” questions I quickly realized that I was ill prepared to handle or assist in anything besides unpinning a boat and giving someone a break down

-Some of the questions I asked myself in these remote places were.


-If myself or someone in my crew lost their boat, could we hike out? And if we could, how long would it take?


-If myself or someone else lost their boat and could not hike out, would we be prepared to stay the night?


-Could I repair my boat if i needed to?


Once I started thinking about these questions, I decided to redo what I carried in my drybag, and plan more accordingly, and I am going to share with you guys 5 things that I think you should carry with you if you are going to paddling in those harder to reach areas.


  1. An emergency blanket. I personally think that this is possibly the best bang for you buck in regards to weight and cost for how much you get out of this. If you are faced with an unintentional overnighter 3 seasons out of the year, this would be very helpful to have.

  2. Boat repair supplies. Fortunately, Jackson Kayak’s outfitting and plastic is super simple and easy to repair. With a couple feet of paracord, gorilla tape, and a good lighter, you could handle most outfitting and plastic failures that you might run into on the water. Having these items could keep you from spending the night on the river bank.

  3. A flashlight. This is unbelievably useful for long hikes out in the evening. I have been caught a handful of times in the dark trying to finish a run, and having a light was crucial to us getting out in a timely fashion and in one peace.

  4. Waterproof matches and a firestarter. This doesn’t need an explanation. If your going to be caught overnight this will be nice to have.

  5. (optional) I have been a big fan of having a communication device that is not a cell with me on the river. Especially when you are far away from cell service. I have been using a garmin in reach, and I feel like if you are serious about tackling some of the pristine remote runs, you should consider carrying one.


All of these items can fit in a nalgene!

I hope this helps you guys think about some different items to carry with you on the river. Obviously, this is not everything that you need to keep in your dry bag, but maybe this will help out with some other ideas!


As always SYOTR,


Matt Huddlesto