Yukon, Before You Go! Part Two

I used a Goal Zero portable solar panel with a recharger to power my inReach, iPhone, and camera. It worked well for my needs. The best way to use the solar panel was to put it in a clear dry bag and paddle with it on the deck of my kayak. It even charged on cloudy days.

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If you intend to paddle solo as I did, I would suggest bringing music and headphones. Its wonderful to listen to the sounds of wilderness but after a month of hearing silt hiss against the hull of your boat- you’ll be glad you brought something else to listen to.

Here’s another suggestion- buy brightly colored kitchenware or spray paint it before you go. I’ve lost more spoons, knives, lighters, and tent stakes than I can count.

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This spray painting idea was good in theory but didn’t work as well as I hoped. I used the spray that had paint and primer in one can. Cause I’m lazy. I was constantly walking around camp with orange hands. But at least I didn’t loose my spoon. Instead, I broke it, and had to carve another one out of a log, as usual. Then, I simply transferred the paint on my hands to my new wooden spoon. Perfect.

Lets talk about tents. I started my trip with a Black Diamond Megamid. It’s been recently replaced by the Mega Light. Same Same.

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Megamid

 

I love this tent! It weighs less than a pound and the center pole can be replaced with a paddle to make it even lighter. It doesn’t have a floor (which you don’t need) but it’s nice to sew some strips of nylon to the bottom edge as a way of keeping the mosquitos out. One problem with this tent- it doesn’t do well in strong wind. On the Yukon, camps are almost always set up on islands and areas exposed to wind. This is good because wind keeps the mosquitos down. Unfortunately, if the Megamid isn’t protected from wind it will act as a sail.

I went through THREE tents on my Yukon trip. Sand destroyed the Megamid zipper and gnats got in and ate my hands. In Dawson, I bought the only tent I could get my hands on which was a cheap “World Famous” dome tent.

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My World Famous tent protected by a driftwood windbreak

Surprisingly, this tent did very well but also had issues with wind and the zipper (sand again). Note: The sand and silt on the Yukon will destroy most zippers. Even the one on your coat. So its best to have as few zippers as possible. I found adding a little clean/clear water can save a zipper, or at least improve its functionality. Anyway, I accidently ripped the “World Famous” tent (my fault) and had to get yet another tent sent to me. This time I borrowed my friends Mountain Hardware, Room With a View. He sent it to me in the mail. Its from the late 90’s and STILL works great.

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Mountain Hardware, Room With a View

 

Two other items I wished I brought along but didn’t- sturdy tent stakes like the ones below, and a mallet for pounding them in. I used those cheap aluminum stakes which do well on tundra but can’t break the surface of a hard gravel bar. Trust me, bring a mallet (a rock isn’t a good substitute)and tough stakes. I think MSR Groundhogs are the best for gravel bars but those expensive Cyclones look pretty badass, albeit longish. Nothing worse than seeing your tent blow away while doing dishes.

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