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September 2005

Secrets of the Guides

Camp like a pro with 83 field-tested tips and techniques from experts who earn their paychecks in the backcountry.


Wear biking gloves
On a long kayaking trip, they’ll keep your hands from getting sore, but because they don’t have fingers, you’ll still stay cool.
Wade Watson, Voyageurs Adventures

Fix a small leak
Stick a Q-tip in the hole and hold it in place with duct tape.
Sam Raymond, Keweenaw Adventure Company

Pack small
Use many small dry bags to load a kayak; they’re easy to fit in the compartments.
Gail Green

Make your paddles visible
Place strips of reflective tape on the back side of the paddle blade. In low light, other boaters will be able to see you better.
Wade Watson

Read the seaweed
Watch the kelp – it flows in the direction of the surface current. It can also help you land safely in a break zone, because kelp won’t grow in large surf.
Tammi Hinkle

Make a butt cushion
Lay your sleeping pad in the cockpit of your kayak. The padding makes paddling more comfortable, and sitting on it leaves you more space in the bulkheads.
Wade Watson

Find your grip

Mark the spot on your kayak paddle’s shaft where you put your lead hand, making a little ridge with waterproof tape. When you’re upside down underwater, you’ll be able to quickly put your hand in the right place and roll up.
Conan Bliss

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