Tips from the Paddler

Tip 5. The Vacuum Sealer

Some gear is meant to get soggy. Some is not. I like to keep each in its own realm. For gear that is not meant to get wet or simply just creates added weight (or mold) when it does get wet, being able to keep it dry and in a state that’s ready to go when you need it, nothing beats a common household appliance for creating that dry nirvana.

The Vacuum Food Sealer. The ubiquitous “Seal-a-meal” is one of the greatest tools around for helping paddlers keep stuff dry that needs to be dry. While I swear by the value of great kayaking drybags and storage floats like those made by Watershed and others, there are times when it’s nice to have an extra layer of protection or to be able to protect items individually, sans an extra container. Ideas like these can be made much cheaper on a per-use basis by chipping in among your friends on a sealer and bags and having an occasional sealing get-together. If you want to seal some stuff, feel free to hit me up.

Some examples of the gear or supplies I give the Seal-a-meal treatment include:

Folding saw- I don’t have to use it often but it will rust like crazy if it gets/stays wet. The seal a meal keeps it protected until needed

Dry clothing layers- I’ve dedicated a couple of Capilene® shirts just for dry storage in the kayak for winter paddling. Separately, I have a pouch with a balaclava and a pair of liner gloves for that emergency when I’m caught on shore and out of the boat in the winter.

Fire-starting kit- emergency lighter and tinder

First aid supplies- See my separate tip on the single-use “ouch pouch”, combining supplies for on-water first aid of minor cuts and scrapes.

Spare flares- for those paddling coastal waters and trying to keep signal flares dry.

Boat repair kits- A kit of duct tape, JB Weld, etc. for emergency repair of damaged hulls.

Emergency shelter- I packaged a large rectangle of Tyvek® house wrap as emergency shelter. This would get nasty moldy in the stern of a kayak unless you dried it consistently. In its pouch, it can wait forever for use (and I’ve used it to keep a group dry and warm(er)). It weighs nothing to carry.

Rescue webbing- I used to constantly have to pull out my rescue webbing to dry it alongside my throwrope after every paddling day. Rolling my webbing up and sealing it in a pouch keeps it dry (and therefore much lighter!) without needing constant attention.

Be creative!

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