Paddling kit is a source of endless discussion, tinkering at the best of times. When preparing for some form of assessment it can border on the obsessional. As part of my preparation for assessment with the BCU 4 Star Sea Leaders award, I spent a long time thinking through the kit I was going to carry and in particular where I was going to store the kit so that as incidents occurred I could deal with them quickly and efficiently, in particular trying to organise kit so I could avoid opening front and rear hatches when on the water.

I ended up creating an A5 laminated checklist of the kit, showing where it is stored, which served two purposes:

  1. Served as a packing list to avoid forgetting essential items
  2. Is carried on trips so if anything happens to me other group members know what kit I carry and where

The photograph at the top of this article shows all the kit laid out for packing and my A5 kit list can be downloaded here should it be of interest. A couple of points regarding the kit:

  1. My VHF and a day night flare are in the day hatch in calmer conditions but are moved to either deck or buoyancy aid if rougher conditions are likely.
  2. The ‘coverall’ stored in my ‘quick warm kit’ is a hooded cag top that fits over the top of all other kit, including PFD and spray deck.
  3. The idea of the 3 mini kits (ouch pouch, quick repair kit and quick warm kit) which are instantly to hand to deal with first aid, repairs and rewarming a paddler long enough to get to shore and deal more effectively with an incident.

I should state that this list is NOT the definitive list, it simply reflects what I currently carry and is something I have no doubt I will tweak and improve over time and with further experience. I would welcome questions and suggestions.

Useful Links:
4* Sea Leaders Kit List – downloadable .pdf version of A5 kit list