As the gradient of a river increases, so does the commitment. On remote runs and more dangerous rivers a more comprehensive set of gear is necessary.
Here is what I take creeking or even with me on remoter play runs.
an alternative list that is also worth looking at is avaiable here:
A rescue vest is required here and you should match the vest to your skills, experience and body shape. The best pfd will fit you will provide at least 50 N of buoyancy and contain a releasable harness. I also like to look for a vest that doubles as an abseil harness with a fixed tie in point that I sometimes back up with a 150 cm runner. Cowstail with a paddle biner.
My gear of Choice: Astral Greenjacket.
Hard shell multi impact. Cut determines protection, full cut or full face now the trend.
Another consideration is whether you should get a helmet with a Beak or not? beaked helmet provide a little sun protection, reduce glare and shed water from your eyes better. The disadvantage of a beaked helmet is that some of them have been know to slide back exposing the forehead. A helmet with a strap on the base of the neck can remove this issue. Sweet Protection offer a awesome system for this.
My gear of Choice: Sweet Protection Wanderer
There are a lot of options here. Primarily any shoes for creeking need to have enclosed toes (to protect your poor feet) and good grip for wet rock and possible portages.
Soft shoes –Neoprene boooties or similar. Whilst i suually wear these in my playboat, on creeking trips better footwear is demanded! O’Neill surf shoes
Sandals – Teva make a selection of river sandals most of them don’t have enclosed toes, which makes them unsuitable. I’ve heard mixed things about the rubber they use for their soles as well, some swear by it but other aren’t such a fan.
Sneakers – 5.10 have the best grip of any shoe around. When i need something with more protection than a soft neoprene bootie I will wear my 5.10 Insight. Savants (same shoe but in synthetic instead of leather)would let the water out better, and the new water tennie is now available again so I wouldn’t go with that option again though!
Water boot – If you want the next level a good “water boot” like the 5.10 Canyoneer is the best bet.
Elbow and forearm pads
My gear of Choice: SixSixOne Protection
I keep a sheath style river knife on my chest. It needs to be secure and quick on the draw in case you get tangled in a rope. If you carry a rope, you should carry a knife. Look for blunt tip , serrated edg and a bottle opener.
My gear of Choice: NRS co-pilot
Any whistle for kayaking needs to be pealess otherwise water will ruin it. It should also be loud and able to be tied onto your pfd.
My gear of Choice: fox40 slid into the hidden knife pocket of my greenjacket and tied on
You need an option in case you beak a paddle, it can happen at any time (i broke two one day last year, how about those odds) and take it from me paddling out in the fading light with half a paddle isn’t fun (although it is good for you low brace).
4 Piece Breakdown paddle
I think at least every group should carry one, your option vary a lot price wise. Hopefully one per every 2/3 paddlers should be ok!
If you have the skills you can use hand paddles as safety. they can be purchased or made from scratch (article to follow!).
I keep a simple pin kit in the front of my green jacket, and sometimes supplement it with a few pulleys in the back of my boat. Just a short list here, expect a full post on my pin kit later.
2 prussic and/or tiblocs.
1x 150 cm sling
1x 30 cm sling
1x micro pulley
Good throw rope with spectra
My gear of Choice: Solution waist throw
Locking blade, double direction teeth, oil your saw blade regularly to keep from getting rusty!
My gear of Choice: $5 no name brand
A headlamp for kayaking should be bright, waterproof and compact. They really ease the pain if you finish a run late or have to walk out in the dark. A cool backup trick if you dont have one and have to walk out is to take a photograph of something light coloured (like the bag of your map) with a digital camera and then turn the camera into “play” mode.
My gear of Choice: Black Diamond Storm, 100 lumens, 2 m waterproof with Lithium batteries for long life and resistance to cold.
My gear of Choice: Mars Bar, 2x Gu, Gu electrolyte tablets, petrol station muesli bars plus whatever im taking for lunch.