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Canoe Adventure Rig Set-up: Next Item ... "Dashboard"

April 28, 2013

I've been long inculcated with the racing side of paddling fever. I love a stripped-down maximally lightweight fast boat. Well, I've come to see that there's more to a canoe than that.

Like, if you go out for over an hour, it's nice to have a snack or a bev. It's also fun to decorate a boat a bit, why not.

I did an adventure paddle with a gang of longtime party paddlers the other day. They know how to rig a boat.

So here's what I'ma gonna do: add a "dashboard" to my rig. It's easy. I'm going to take one of my handy fanny-packs and clip it to my center thwart -- or whatever thwart is not too far in front of me. My fave boat, the Advantage, did have a water bottle cage awhile ago -- it rotted off but really I need to screw one back in. TWO of them, in fact. C'mon. One needs variety of bev. Hot'n'cold, many times. One of my fanny packs also has bottle holsters so that'll work to carry bevs, too. But cookies, sandwiches, camera, phone -- all can slot into my fannypack main pouch. Wham -- instantly a funner, more homey boat!

(It's getting a little harder to find waistpacks with bottle-holders since back-bladders have taken over the world. I just haven't learned the art of sippin'n'suckin' yet. Seems tiring to me and I can't gauge how much I've sipped.)

And, as Verlen says, if you wanna ever go far, you gotta make sure you don't stop often. "Keep It Moving" was his motto -- for 100-mile days. To do this, you need a comfy cockpit with everything easily to hand. (Including pee bottle, I imagine, if ya wanna know.)

Lucy picked some wildflowers on the Hugh Heward 13-miler we did yeseterday. But there was nowhere to put them! So, dang, it's time for some kind of vase arrangement. You can stick anything cute into a vase.

Why not? It's not a race boat, I'm not in a race. It doesn't matter.

Freedom is the ability and power to express yourself, people. Right?

Heck, I might even paint up one of my boats oneathesedays. I've long wanted a camo one for sneaky squirrel-hunt drifting. How stealth can I be in a canoe? I have no idea since I've never had a camo boat. It seems like fun to me. But that's just camo. There's so much more to art and color, eh?

I saw a neat Verlen Boat yesterday with a custom paint job. Most are stock paint -- all others I've ever seen! People spend thousands on these things and could ask for most anything. Well, this one had a fade airbrush stars'n'stripes thing going on. I thought it looked dandy. I liked seeing the color variety. Heck, I'd add purple and yellow, too. Lucy said they don't go with red, white and blue. Well, we'll see. I've enjoyed seeing a blue > purple > red fade before. Sometimes canoeing should be fun, eh?

I saw that Connie Cannon -- who paddled her C1 all 50 miles yesterday -- had a bouquet of flowers jammed up in the front of her boat. That's a nice thing to look at all those long, sunny hours!

Then there's safety gear. I need more of it.

Heck, I've finally started carrying a handy, quick-access Swiss saw and have even used it a couple times now. Went for decades without one! Then when I paddled with yet another new group of adventurers one guy said he always has one and, darn, that just made sense. But how about bright color floaty ropes bow and stern? How about a throw-bag, even? Duct tape and a boat-hook to go with my Canoe Pole, just in case.

Anyway, there's a lot more to be done with boats. To tip my hand even further, I'm thinking of re-exploring the jiffy boat sail-rig again. Something to carry in the boat and deploy when needed. Small helps. And maybe even a seat-back. Probably one of those thermarest-inflata-strap chairs would do it.

Probably it would be nice, as this quest rolls along, to make my dashboard waterproof. Probably there is something nice like that already out there.

OK, I googled it and they do make "thwart bags" but mostly they look NOT made for easy on the go access. They're classics -- made by Duluth and Frost, etc. -- but less handy, in a way. I found one guy who's doing what I suggest: using a fannypack. I see its limitations, too. Maybe I could offer a product or upcycled item here?

Anyway, we set up our boats for what we do. I've always just gone out for quick 45-min shallow water workout blasts. My scope might be increasing soon...

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