Rescue Essentials – The collection of gear and equipment that you carry to aid in a whitewater rescue is pretty crucial. It is a compromise between having enough gear, space available and the weight it involves.
My gear shifts, changes and evolves over time but the basic core of gear always remains.
Within my paddling group there will be several variations of this gear, it is important that the group is not reliant on one persons gear as it may be that person or that person’s boat that is in need of assistance. Do you know what emergency gear your paddling buddies carry? Should you?
It is also important that you know how to use the gear effectively. This is particularly the case with those items that carry an element of risk when used, e.g. ropes. If you are not sure book yourself on a good course.
Breakdown Paddle (Splits):
Two piece or four piece. What ever you choose is should fit in your boat and be capable of handling the types of water that you venture onto. For my money I’d go with a four piece Vertical Element or Werner setup (in that order!). My own personal set up is below.
Walk into any climbing shop and you’ll be presented with a wide array of carabiners, loads of sizes, loads of shapes, loads of colours and a range of prices.
What ever carabiner you choose to buy please make sure that it is a type that is rated for climbing/caving and that it is suitable for job you will be asking it to do. A carabiner suitable for climbing will have its strength rating forged, stamped or etched on it. It should also conform to the relevant PPE standard (EN 12275, the standard for mountaineering connectors), this again should be present on the carabiner.
There are some really super light carabiners available out there that are great for climbing but could be too easily damaged/compromised whilst on the river. In instances where hauling, belaying or security are required locking carabiners are best. I carry four locking carabiners as part of my kit, but also have a couple of non-locking carabiners in my boat for clipping gear into that can be called into service if required.
This post has been rattling round my head for the last few months as I have debated on whether to put it out. A conversation with a couple of fellow paddlers has prompted me to make the post.
First things first the risk of being snagged or caught up in a strainer or similar is something that all paddlers need to think about and although the risk is minimal the risk still exists. Any kit that you wear has the potential of being snagged and all steps should be made to keep loops of tape, laces etc tucked away and out of danger. However I sometimes find that it is necessary or advantageous to have some pieces of kit on the outside of my PFD rather than in a pocket.