It is only one week until I head back to Mildura to resume the Summit to Sea paddle down the Murray River. I have about 890km left to go and it should take me most of May to complete. I am in no real rush to finish so I plan to take my time and enjoy river life.
The last couple of weeks have been all about packing and getting all the gear sorted out before heading off. A couple of weeks ago I did a 3 day paddle on the Myall Lakes which helped me check the gear and also to remind me of what I need and don’t need for the Murray.
The great thing is that my packing list really hasn’t changed from last year. I was really happy with the amount of gear I took and the only thing I ditched along the way was the coffee plunger.
The main things that needed replacing were my tent, because its floor was starting to leak, and a few mouldy and leaky dry bags.
I have had quite a few questions about what gear I take, how I pack it all in my kayak and how much it all weighs, so I thought I would address all of these questions in this post.
What do I take?
I take a lot. Basically if it fits in the kayak I will take it. I also have to carry a lot of camera, drone and laptop gear so that I can produce my videos each week.
This is a link to my pack list showing all the gear I pack and many of the makes and models.
How do I fit it in my kayak?
The kayak has 3 main storage areas (a front hull, a back hull and a storage hatch behind the cockpit). I try to distribute the weight evenly between the front and the back.
All the gear is packed into small dry bags, ranging between 4 litres and 13 litres in size. Having everything compartmentalised makes it easier to stuff into the hatches and to distribute the weight evenly. It is however a pain when you have to carry lots of small bags to the campsite and during portages.
I also have 2 deck bags that I use on top of the boat. One in front of me that I can access while paddling. It contains all my cameras, the drone, my drinking water and snacks. There is also one on the back of the boat that contains the trolly for portages.
I also carry my water bladders on top of the deck. This isn’t great from a weight distribution perspective because they ideally would be in the bottom of the hull, but it is a compromise so I don’t risk them leaking through my gear.
I also try to keep all the things I need to easily access close to the hatches and the things that I rarely need (like repair kits, water purifiers and city clothes) in the pointy ends.
I store my food and stove in the front of the boat so it is easy to access when I pull up on the bank (nose first) for lunch.
Below is my packing diagram.
How much does it all weigh?
I didn’t weigh the gear last year and people kept asking me how much gear I have. So I took the opportunity of having all the gear out this week to stick it on the scales and see how much I am actually carrying. Here is a rough breakdown of the approximate weights.
Then obviously you have to include my body weight (95kg). So there is a fair bit of stuff that gets crammed into the boat and it still surprises me that it not only floats but that I can actually get the thing moving.
So that is the gear. It is all packed and ready to go. I will be getting to Mildura on Monday 25th April and after a day of food shopping and preparation, I will be starting to paddle on Wednesday 27th April.
All the best for the last part of your long journey. It’s been a massive effort and through in COVID19/Lockdowns just to add another dimension. Have enjoyed watching this and your previous journeys. Cheers!
Thanks for taking us along on this great adventure, with blogs and videos and photos. It’s the next best thing to being there, and it’s a lot easier.
Hi Andrew, nice to see you are about to get back into it. Myself and two mates are doing the same trip. Only doing a couple of weeks each year. One helpful hint is that instead of taking all your drinking water with you, we have a couple of micron filters hooked up to a shower bag. That way, each night we filter 15l of water. Hope this helps. Cheers Scott
Hi Scott. On other trips I do often filter water but on the Murray I have found that there are plenty of water sources and I prefer to carry my water purely from a hassle free perspective. The water I carry really doesn’t add much to the overall weight of the boat and isn’t really noticeable in terms of extra effort to paddle. With all the cows, mud and algae in the water (and the taste) I prefer to have the fresh rain and town water. I do have a water filter in my board as a backup.
Looking forward to the second half. You do a great job sharing with us Andrew – thanks for being so generous to share you gear list.
Greetings, I have been following your trip with great interest. I almost got a portion of the river done last year but covid restrictions put an end to the trip. I’m sure you can relate to that. I’m curious as to how 5 and what food you pack. Thanks and have a great trip, looking forward to the updates.
Hi Peter. I am generally pretty terrible when it comes to food on trips like this. At home I am a grazer and snack lots during the day and eat small meals, so when it comes to 3 meals a day on the river, I have troubles being imaginative with my meals, eat a lot of snacks, often skip lunch and generally lose a lot of weight.
Here is a bit of rough breakdown of a typical week’s food.
Breakfast – I typically eat some sort of muesli (with UHT milk), some sort of fruit puree (squeeze pack) and coffee.
Lunch – If I have it, it is normally a mix of cheese and salami on crackers (Ryvita, Vitawheats etc.). For the first few days after being in a town I also have tomatoes, cucumbers and apples.
Dinner – I try to do a fresh meal with some frozen meat the first night out of town (beef nachos, lamb korma, spag bol etc.). Then after that I do a lot of instant past and rice dishes.
Snacks – Lots of lollies, chocolate, nuts, dried fruit and biscuits.
You know what you’re doing – look forward to hearing how you get on out there!