Click here to visit Balogh Sail Designs.

Home Page

Table of Contents

December, 2002
Table of Contents

Surviving When Gods Play
By Steven John Isaac

Make a Hypothermia Kit
By Steven John Isaac

Modify Your Space Blanket
By Steven John Isaac

Dozing Off
By Steven John Isaac

Fueling the Fire
By Steven John Isaac

Hydrate Or Die
By Steven John Isaac

The WaterTribe Kit
By Steven John Isaac

How To Finish a Challenge
By Steven John Isaac

Tow, Tow, Tow Your Boat
By Steven John Isaac








The WaterTribe Kit

By Steve Isaac (aka Chief)

This is the recommended WaterTribe kit. It is designed for anything from an afternoon nap to a week in the bush. You can take a comfortable nap in the bush by carrying only the extra hypothermia kit and your camping hammock. If you're planning a WaterTribe Challenge in class 1, then you'll want to consider all the non-luxury items in this list. If you're going on a camping trip or expedition some of those luxury items may be very important to your success.

This kit will handle any weather, rain or shine, down to 32 degrees at night. It is intended for SW Florida in November through May. Other climates might need more or less protection. This kit meets WaterTribe required equipment rules (and then some).

Waterproof Matches

It's good to carry a couple of boxes of normal waterproof matches stored in convenient and key places. 

But be sure to also carry some so called "Life Boat Matches," "Storm Safe Matches," or equivalent in your emergency hypothermia kit.  Once these matches are lit they will not go out even in rain, wind, or from violent shaking.  Caution - you must let them burn out completely before disposing.

Many items give a company or brand name. These are my current selections and are intended to be examples. Other companies may have similar or even better products. Select what works for you to fill the line item function.

The waterproof sacks I'm using are Outdoor Research (OR) Advanced Stuff Sacks. Sometimes I use SealLine bags.

Just because an item is found listed under a specific function does not mean it can't be used for some other function.  For example, if it is very cold, I'd add the poncho liner to my wool long johns and the cocoon sleeping bag.  I'd also put the sleeping pad in the hammock.  The only exception to this "cross use" statement is the "SACROSANCT" camp clothing.  You must not ever wear that clothing while paddling.  It's OK to wear paddling clothes in camp but it's not OK to wear camp clothes while paddling.  

You can use this checklist as is or customize it for your particular needs and choices.

Shelter and Sleep System

  • Cocoon sleeping bag/blanket, synthetic insulation,
     in #2 Waterproof sack
  • Modified Hennessy UltraLight Hammock in #2 Waterproof sack
  • Sil Tarp (optional)
  • 6 stakes and 50' light line in ditty bag in sack with hammock
  • 6 clothes pins (for drying your paddle clothing) in sack with hammock
  • Closed cell Ridge Rest ground pad stuffed in tail of kayak

SACROSANCT Camp Clothing and Sleep Wear

This is stored in a #3 Waterproof Sack.  NEVER, EVER, under any circumstances wear this clothing for paddling.

  • 1st Layer: wool or synthetic long johns (shirt and pants)
  • 2nd Layer: expedition pants and shirt
  • Teva Sandals (allow your feet to dry out) (not in sack)
  • Wool or Polartec watch cap
  • Wool or Polartec socks
  • Wool or Polartec gloves or mittens (optional)

Kitchen and Pantry in CCS Kitchen Bag

  • 2 Liter pot with cover or a tea kettle
  • Pot holder
  • Measuring cup
  • Extra MSR fuel canister
  • MSR Superfly stove with fuel canister and hanging system
  • Waterproof matches
  • 1 Paring or fillet knife
  • 1 Tough plastic knife and spoon
  • Coffee cup with cover
  • Water purification tablets
  • Individual sheets of paper towel stored in Ziploc bag
  • Extra Ziploc bags

Hypothermia Kit With Your PFD
AND In Your Boat in Waterproof Sack(s)

In or With Your PFD Additional Gear In Your Boat
  • Orange Plastic Survival Bag
  • Ranger Rick Modified Mylar Space Blanket
  • 3 PowerGels or Stingers
  • 3 Chemical heat packs in crush proof box
  • Candle Lantern
  • Waterproof matches
  • Life Boat Matches
  • Fire Ribbon or starter
  • Folding eye glasses (optional)
  • Sil or Military Poncho
  • Ranger Rick Poncho Liner
  • Mylar sleeping bag
  • More heat packs
  • More waterproof matches
  • More Life Boat Matches
  • More Fire Ribbon or starter
  • Resin or paraffin impregnated kindling

Paddle Wear: Day Time, Good Weather

The Mysterioso top and bottom will work in cold or cool temps and even somewhat warm temps.  However, for hot weather substitute a lighter weight rash guard 

  • 1st Layer Cool Weather and/or Cold Water: 
    Mysterioso M-Tech, Polartec, Power Stretch tights and long sleeve top
  • 1st Layer Hot Weather and Warm Water:  
    RailRiders Tough Tights and a light weight rash guard shirt with long sleeves
  • Nylon or Supplex shorts (quick drying), worn over the tights
  • Tilley or Ultimate Sun/Rain Hat
  • Boat Shoes, should give protection to your ankles – (socks optional)
  • Sunglasses with retention strap, look for full UV protection and don't spend more than $20.

Paddle Wear: Night Time, Good weather

  • Outer Layer: Kokatat Gore-Tex Paclite Anorak 
    or GoLite Newt Jacket (9 oz.)
  • Outer Layer: Kokatat Gore-Tex Paclite Pants 
    or GoLite Reed Pants (5 oz.)
  • Fuzzy Rubber skull cap or Polartec skull cap or ear band

Paddle Wear: Foul or Cold Weather

  • Middle Layer: 100 weight Polartec vest and/or shirt
  • Middle Layer: 100 weight Polartec pants
  • Chotas and/or Smart Wool socks (optional)
  • Paddle Poggies
  • Cascade Designs Large Pack Towel (for wringing out paddling clothing at night)
  • It doesn't hurt to carry another Pack Towel for your own use

Boat Gear

  • Main paddle with leash 
  • Spare paddle
  • Paddle float with lanyard roughly 3 feet long
  • Main electric or foot operated bilge pump
  • Backup bilge pump
  • Sponge
  • Inflatable seat pad
  • Thermos
  • Comprehensive repair, patch, and tool kit with duct tape
  • Sail Rig (optional) -- 
              Class 1: Balogh TWIN, or Spirit Sails
              Class 3: Balogh BOSS
  • Sprayskirt containing on-the-water boat patch kit
  • Cockpit cover
  • Spare hatch covers
  • Deck bag holding pharmacy, night paddling gear, Leatherman, food, batteries, duct tape, VHF, blister 1st aid kit

Well Found PFD

  • Strobe/Flashlight combo (replace batteries regularly)
  • Knife
  • 3 Flares
  • 1 to 3 Smoke canisters
  • Signal mirror
  • Whistle
  • Hypothermia kit (see details above)
  • Small fish eye compass
  • Randall Mini Survival Kit


  • Charts in special waterproof chart bag with 2 caribiners
  • Waterproofed waypoint list with notes
  • Waterproofed flip cards for each "chunk"
  • Mini Red LED flashlight tied to chart bag
  • Navigation Quad tool
  • Compass
  • Watch
  • GPS and lanyard with deck bracket
  • Backup GPS (optional)
  • Binoculars 7 or 8 by 35 to 50 depending on physical size you want (optional)
  • Waterproof log book with pencil

Night Paddling

  • Hands Free Headlamp – Petzl Duo or multi LED type
  • Powerful, waterproof hand flashlight (at least 4 AAs)
  • 1 White chemical light stick per night plus 1 spare
  • 1 LazerBrite Red/Green LED light (optional)
  • Passive reflector tape permanently installed on the boat and/or reflective deck lines


  • Waterproof and submersible VHF
  • AA battery adapter for VHF (as a backup)
  • Cell phone in special waterproof bag
  • Cell phone 12 volt charger (optional)
  • Roll of quarters for pay phones and/or calling card in Get Away Bag

Hydration, Fuel, and Food – 8 Days

Each morning move the day's supply of food and fuel from the rear hatch to the deck bag, day hatch, PFD or where ever it will be handy. You can also do this at each chunk during your rest break. Obviously you need to make your own list. This is more or less what I carry for 8 days.

  • Gatorade or favorite sports drink in 1 to 4 liter bladder with drinking tube, in cockpit, day hatch, PFD, or on back deck.  Replenish at each "chunk." It's important that the volume of your hydration bladder is enough to finish the next chunk or open water crossing.
  • 3 caffeinated PowerGel or Stinger packs per day
  • 3 non-caffeinated PowerGel or Stinger packs per day
  • Jerky enough for about ½ to 1 pound per day in deck bag. Repackage in 1/2 pound vacuum bags.
  • Gorp or snacks for each day
  • 1 Orange, 1 apple, 1 banana per day for meals or snacks
  • 3 Cheerios Milk and Cereal Breakfast Bars per day for meals or  snacks
  • 1 MetRx or Ensure can per night, consume before sleep
  • Pita bread 2 pieces per day in re packaged vacuum bags
  • Peanut Butter for the pita bread
  • Jelly or stinger packs for the pita bread
  • Freeze dried coffee
  • Hot chocolate mix 1 per day
  • 1 Freeze dried meal for every two days
  • Water filter if traveling in fresh water regions (optional)
  • Water purification tablets (always)
  • 1 Gallon jug of water – replenish at each checkpoint
  • Another gallon jug of water or equivalent Gatorade – replenish at each checkpoint. But I start with as much liquid Gatorade as I have room for in the boat. It's a lot of weight at first but is reduced at a steady rate. Re supply can be problematic in some areas. You can carry powdered Gatorade instead of liquid but it's more of a hassle. I carry one tub of powder just as a backup anyway.

Body Maintenance in a SealLine See 5 bag

  • Toilet Paper & matches
  • Purell (to disinfect your hands)
  • Trowel (in its own Ziploc)
  • Pee bottle in the cockpit while paddling and in the hammock while sleeping


  • Prescription drugs as necessary
  • Purell ( to help dry your hands or feet and wash your hands)
  • Aspirin
  • Imodium AD
  • Chewable Pepto Bismal
  • Chewable Dramamine
  • Benadryl tablets and spray
  • Neosporin Plus (some people are allergic to Neosporin)
  • Desitin
  • Medicated drying powder
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunburn ointment
  • Chapstick
  • Vaseline
  • Body Glide
  • Insect Repellant
  • Dental chewing gum
  • Other items as necessary, substitute brands as desired, check for compatibility and allergic reactions before placing in kit


  • First aid kit with Sawyer Extractor and resuscitation mask
  • Spare batteries
  • Eye glasses with a spare
  • Magnifying glass for reading charts
  • Camera and/or camcorder
  • Medical ID for identifying allergies or other medical conditions
  • Dog tags or waterproof ID card for identification in case you die

Get Away Bag

You will need this when you run to the nearest 7-11 to get some supplies. Clip into the rear hatch area for easy but safe access.

  • Small waterproof belt pack carrying ==>
  • Wallet with ID, cash, and credit cards
  • Roll of quarters
  • Keys
  • Glasses

Other Items as YOU Deem Necessary for Safe and Efficient Open Water Paddling.

That's the end of the basic WaterTribe Kit. But if you are doing a challenge or an expedition you may want to add the following items.

After Trip Bag in #2 Waterproof Sack or a SealLine bag

  • Shower kit: bar of soap, shaving kit, tooth brush & paste, floss, towel, other items as necessary
  • Under shorts
  • Pants with belt or suspenders
  • WaterTribe t-shirt
  • Socks
  • Running shoes

Although the basic kit is surprisingly comfortable, you may want to add certain items when you are "cruising" on a planned camping trip. But even luxury items should be considered carefully for weight and bulk.

Luxury Items

  • Therm-a-rest pad at well over 3 lb.
  • Additional tent or tarp
  • Additional pots, pans, and other kitchen items
  • Coffee pot
  • Bigger stove, more fuel
  • Fishing and/or diving gear
  • Campfire materials: starter, kindling, hatchet, etc.
  • Campfire grate
  • Baking oven
  • Harmonica or other torture device
  • Book
  • Chess or checkers set
  • Playing cards
  • Lafuma sling chair at 4.5 lb. is a big load but provides sinful comfort in camp.  But you won't have room unless you are paddling a Kruger Dreamcatcher.
  • Additional clothing
  • Additional body maintenance items
  • That one luxury item you can't do without

Key Points

  • Start out with a basic kit that provides for all your critical needs
  • Keep it fast and light so you can take it all the time.
  • Packed bulk is as important as weight
  • Consider components that work together as a system
  • Pare it down to a minimum that still provides comfort and protection
  • Add trip specific items as needed
  • Add luxury items sparingly


Believe it or not, this is a light weight kit.  The list seems endless but many of the items are very small.  You can't really save much weight for Boat Gear, Navigation, Paddle Clothing, etc. The weight saving must come from the camping equipment.  The "camping" portion of the list is only about 10 pounds -- that's light.  

Food and water weighs what it weighs.  You can save weight by carefully calculating your real needs.  Challengers usually carry way too much food.  It's not unusual to have 10, 20 even 30 pounds left over after your first challenge.  

Paddlers in class 2 (racing kayaks and canoes) will get nightmares from this list.  They will pare it back to almost nothing.  In my opinion they are rolling the dice with each race.  Their almost super human capabilities will usually get them through, but it's not worth the risk to me.  I'll carry this kit and be comfortable and safe when I have to sit out bad weather.

© 2003 Steve Isaac. All Rights Reserved



© Copyright 2000-2022 WaterTribe, Inc.

WaterTribeTM Pending