Hiking and Packrafting Across Afognak Island

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Hiking and Packrafting Across Afognak Island

Postby Philip.AK » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:05 pm

I just did a 4-day, 70-mile hiking and packrafting trip down the west side of Afognak Island with my SO Gila. I started at Port Williams on the south side of Shuyak (the island north of Afognak) and finished in Anton Larsen Bay (on Kodiak, the island south of Afognak). Unlike most of Kodiak, Afognak Island is densely forested. Roosevelt elk roam there and create some amazing trails. The dense forests and vegetation means animals are more difficult to spot and I only saw 4 bears and a single bull elk, but it is beautiful country and quite different from many of my other trips in the archipelago. See it here: Hiking and Packrafting Across Afognak Island
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Re: Hiking and Packrafting Across Afognak Island

Postby ktimm » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:35 pm

Wow great video . You should share that on our facebook adventures group it’s a lot busier than here .

Since you are an expert on a trip like this what is your gear list for a trip like this ? Obviously you can be pretty general but the Gila just seems small for an Alaskan packraft trip .

Kevin


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Re: Hiking and Packrafting Across Afognak Island

Postby Philip.AK » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:11 pm

I don't do facebook, but you guys can feel free to embed it there or link to it or whatever. Go crazy. If you need to, you can download the video off vimeo using the button under the player window.

I can put together a gear list. I've been doing this for a while so I'm pretty organized and have the packing part down. The Gila is big enough assuming you carry the raft and paddles on the outside of the pack. The raft is that orange lump strapped below the mesh pocket in the hiking scenes. That way it doesn't get the stuff inside the packbag all wet, and it rides nice and low which is important here where we are sometimes crawling through dense brush or under low branches and a tall pack becomes a real liability. As it stands, the highest point on the pack is the tips of the paddle sections sticking out the top of the mesh pocket. I should probably carry them in the side pockets and avoid that potential hangup hazard too. All the loops for the bachelor buckles are a real blessing since it makes gear attachment options so wide ranging.
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Re: Hiking and Packrafting Across Afognak Island

Postby Philip.AK » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:03 pm

Here is what I took on this trip. I offered specific items where appropriate. I do not take any duplicate clothing items and just assume that I will wear wet items until they dry. I put almost no effort into trying to stay dry. It's a fool's errand in coastal AK where it will either be dewy vegetation, rain, sweat, puddles, swamps, creek crossings, or waves that are going to soak you. Don't fight it. Most weight and space savings come from not taking any duplicate items and getting the smallest/lightest versions of the bare essentials you can. Vacuum pack all food that you can (I repackage freeze dried meals with additional ingredients to boost calories and taste and still end up with a smaller package).

Clothing (one article of each item unless otherwise indicated):
Hiking boots (varies with application)
Pants (Arcteryx Sigma FL)
Long sleeve shirt (Arcteryx Phase SL zip t-neck)
Short sleeve T (Arcteryx Phase SL)
Socks 2 pair (1 pair Serius Neosock neoprene, 1 pair Coolmax hiking)
Boxers (Arcteryx Phase SL)
Wind shell (Mont Bell Tachyon)
Long-johns (Arcteryx Phase SL)
Ball cap (Arcteryx Motus)
Warm hat (Polartech fleece)
Gloves (Arcteryx Venta Windstopper)
Puffy jacket (Patagonia Nano Air or EE Torrid Apex)
Rain shell (Montane Spire GTX)
Rain pants (Arcteryx Zeta SL Paclite)
Sleeping socks (Smartwool ankle)
Camp shoes (Vivobarefoot Ultra Pure)

Essentials:
Bear spray with holster (10.2 oz UDAP)
Headlamp (something tiny)
Water treatment/filter (Sawyer Micro)
Fire-starter (dry chem cubes and Bic mini lighter)
Bug head net (OR)
Bug dope (Deet)
Compass (Suunto M3)
Maps (printed on waterproof paper)
ID & money
TP and baby wipes
First aid kit
Toiletries

Gadgets:
Cameras with spare batteries (DJI Osmo Action and Panasonic DMC-ZS25)
Power brick with cables (Anker 5000 mAh)
inReach (Mini)
GPS or phone (iPhone XR)

Hike and Camp:
Backpack (varies with application)
Trekking poles (varies with application)
Water bottle (32 oz Gatorade)
Shelter with bug nest, stakes, pole, etc (MLD Duomid with Solo XL nest)
Sleeping bag (Katabatic Gear 40* quilt)
Sleeping pad (Thermarest Neoair SL)
Pillow (Zpacks Cuben stuff sack pillow)
Camp chair (chair kit for Neoair)

Cooking:
Stove (Jetboil Sol Ti 0.9 L)
Bowl (Fozzils folding)
Mug (GSI Infinity)
Spoon (Ti)
Knife (Victorinox)
Water bladder (Platypus 2 L)

Packraft:
Packraft (Alpacka Alpaca)
Paddle (Lendal carbon 4-piece)
Inflation bag (Alpacka)
Patch kit
PFD (snorkeling vest)
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Re: Hiking and Packrafting Across Afognak Island

Postby ktimm » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:56 pm

Thanks for sharing . Interesting your take on being wet ... but it’s not different than say ultra running ... your feet are going to be wet don’t try to fight it


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Re: Hiking and Packrafting Across Afognak Island

Postby Philip.AK » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:38 pm

On the ‘wet vs dry’ thing...

I do try to keep critical gear dry. Mostly my sleep system; inside the tent, pad, sleeping bag, sleeping socks. Since your feet are wet all day, you need to dry them at night. Peeling off your damp footwear, letting the skin dry a bit, and then putting on nice dry socks for sleeping means you can go pretty much indefinitely even with soaked footwear during the day. Light boots that don’t hold a lot of water make your feet lighter when hiking. For alpine trips I will wear Goretex boots and avoid water, but for low country and packrafting, I just wear breathable non-waterproof light hikers and get my feet wet at the first opportunity (which is usually hopping off the floats of the plane dropping me off, lol) and never have to think about it again. It’s incredibly liberating to have a f**k-it attitude towards water. I never realized how much effort goes into staying dry until you stop fighting it entirely.

All that said, wet gear is heavy so I do try to keep water out of my pack. I use light drybags and often seam seal my pack. Shake water off the tent before packing it. Don’t bring extra clothes because once it’s wet it goes into your pack and just stays there like a sodden millstone.

Also, here's a map of my trip:

Image
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