Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Kayak camping, pre-trip.

It's that magical time, you've made plans to go camping. But now you have to do the work of organizing your trip , planning your gear, and the dreaded wait.

That's what I am currently experiencing. I've been talking about kayaking the full length of the Mokelumne River between Camanche Reservoir Dam and Lodi Lake for a few years now.
It's a 22 mile trip, down what is often refered to as some of the most amazing kayaking scenery the central valley has to offer.

On the surface the Moke, as we locals lovingly refer to it, seems like a lazy unassuming paddle. Something more akin to the bunny slopes of the kayaking world. Admittedly it is no class 4 rager, this river has an evil side that will take you down if you do not show her the proper respect.


So the fun part, what to take what to leave. I think I find almost as much if not more enjoyment in the packing list and preparation of the journey as to the actual trip itself.
The two kayaks that will be going. Jackson Kilroy (Front) and the Native Watercraft Redfish 12 (Back)

Here's a rundown of what I'm taking:

Kayak - Jackson Kilroy
Shelter - Canteenshop Trail Tarp, Deluxe Sleeping Pad, Reusable Space Blanket (footprint)
Sleeping Bag - Modular Sleep System (warm weather bag and gortex cover)
Knife - Mora 840mg, SAK 1 hand Trekker
Cooking - Stanley Cooking Pot
8" Frying Pan
Biolite Stove / Grill
Fire - Bic Lighter, Ferro Rod, Road Flare
Water - 40oz Kleen Canteen
1 Gallon Drinking Water
Life Straw Water Filter

Tarp Shelter setup (Missing the bag and sleeping pad)

Misc gear:
Bacho Laplander Saw
First Aid Kit
Fishing Gear
Hygiene Kit
Camera Equipment
Jute Twine 
Paracord (Who would've guessed!)

 I don't think it's enough either.....

Now, I know what you're thinking "Is he going out for a week or an overnight?". Truth is, I like to take plenty of comfort items to Smooth It, rather than Rough It. Kayaking provides all the space you need to take these conveniences that you'd never lug on your back.


Our mission, should we choose to accept it will be an arduous journey through miles of uncharted (to us at least) waters from the Mokelumne Day Use Area above Clements California to Lodi Lake in Lodi Ca. A 30 minute trip to our starting point will leave my companion Rick and I with no other means to get back home than braving the river and seeing it through to the end.

This stretch of the Mokelumne lies between two Lakes, and where as it is not the white water thrill seekers dreak come true, it still has plenty of dangers to take into consideration. 

A shot of the Moke at Stillman Magee Park (Mackville Rd) Where most folks
who tube float from our starting point end their journey.

A great and many cottonwood tree has been felled by the Delta Winds and eroding river banks, making navigating around the numerous tree branches to avoid capsizing and breaching the hull a very real concern.

Though rapids are not expected to be an issue, the current of this river can be very strong, combined with several whirlpools and a strong undercurrent a PFD (Personal Flotation Device)is going to be a must.

Our plan is to make it to a rough halfway point well before sunset, and make camp on one of the many beaches or islands for day 1. Rest, and a good meal that night followed by a hobbit sized breakfast to see us through the rest of our journey the following day. With hopes to do a little fishing and wild edible collecting (Blackberry Season) along the way.


Have fun! When I was a kid we used to go "Creek Walking". Basically, you'd get to the creek and walk up or down as far as you could before you thought mom would worry or until you got hungry and headed back. We always wanted to keep going to see what was around the next corner, the spirit of adventure was never far away at that tender age.

My hope is to find a little of that while I'm out there. Going into a new area, with no real certainty of what to expect give me a feeling that a slice of that feeling is waiting for me out there on the water.

Wish us luck, and go find the adventure that's been waiting for you. Thanks for reading.


Para-Cord Guy Outdoors