Experimenting With Additional Skegs and Other Adventures – Camping Hiking Adventures
Experimenting With Additional Skegs and Other Adventures

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Experimenting With Additional Skegs and Other Adventures

Connecting with our customers across Canada and hearing about their packraft adventures brings us great satisfaction. Geoff has had some interesting ideas about modifying his packraft, and we have the pleasure of interviewing him today. Enjoy! 

How did your interest in packrafts begin? 

I've been canoeing since I was old enough to drag my father’s canoe the 300m from our backyard to the Thames river in Chatham. I had a clunky fiberglass canoe most of my life, but as I got into my 50s, I decided it was too heavy to shlep. I have since purchased 3 Pakboat folding kayaks. They have the wonderful adaptation of a removable deck (Velcro) allowing them to become a canoe for portaging, yet more protective against wind and rain, and they weigh 20-32lb. I also got a Klymit 1kg. packraft for backpacking or cycling adventures. 

How does your Nomad compare to other boats you’ve owned or paddled?

I followed the few reviews on the Nomad for years and was fascinated by the idea of a hybrid kayak that could do flat water sort of efficiently, and yet also handle modest white water, and weighed 1/2 what my folders do. A compromise in terms of speed, but a bonus for packing (smaller), carrying (lighter) and a greater range of waters I could safely travel on (my folders are no good if there are rocks threatening). And so far, since I finally bit the cost bullet, it has met and even exceeded my expectations. Perhaps I must expect 25km on flatwater instead of 30, or at least paddle an extra hour if I have a destination. But I don't worry about class 2.5 or even a bit of class 3 rapids. I've figured out a great way to portage, with the internal storage containing full expedition gear. I can contain all my stuff for travel by plane/bus in smaller bags that can be multifunctional and easy to carry when hiking to start, or from end points. Any trip that includes a lot of longer portages will be best with my Nomad.

Can you explain what gave you the idea to experiment with additional skegs and what your theory was?

When first paddling my new Nomad in February I noticed that the front of the boat swiveled 10-20% with each stroke, even though I had the large rear skeg affixed. And when I had a 30km/hr cross wind, I struggled to maintain direction which considerably slowed progress. My kayaks have both a rear skeg and a front keel and they track much better. After discussions with Elizabeth of Camping Hiking Adventures, and several other dealers, and looking online, I decided the best option was to add skegs near the front. I figured 2 shorter ones might do the equivalent of the longer one in the back and leave the option of using a short one in the back also (or none) for shallow situations. Elizabeth helped me big time to get the gear.

What did the process of adding skegs look like from a logistical perspective? 

This was simple. As the skegs need to be parallel to the direction of motion, I could put them only as far forward as the point where the front turns inward. I measured, as best as I could, to ensure they were parallel to each other. After gluing the bases on I added a bead to the front of bases of all 3 skegs to reduce drag.

What was the outcome?

Boy did they perform! I cut through strong cross winds with very little extra effort. Really an astounding difference. Sure, to the extent that the wind was against my direction, it slowed me down, but I didn't find one arm getting exhausted because it had to correct for the direction. She tracked solidly with nearly all my effort translating into forward motion. In windless situations I did notice that the front swayed less with each stroke and especially so comparing times when I gave hard strokes. I think the net benefit (in forward speed) would be modest.

What are your future plans? 

I hope to paddle 3 days on the Grand River (Ontario) later this week, from St. Jacobs to Brantford ON. This will be my first real test of semi-serious whitewater. Early June I will be in Belgium paddling the Semoir and Meuse River for a couple of weeks or more with a fellow packraft friend, and in August I will be doing a hike and packraft adventure in the Alps with a friend who also has a Nomad. We likely will also take our Nomads to Lake Powell in Utah in October.

Anything else you would like to add? 

I'm having fun McGyvering mods. I've converted a yoke I made for my kayaks to a fast snap onto my Nomad, and it doubles as a tray table for my tea mug and fishing rod holder. The 45 litre drybag I found can hold my kayak and gear for transportation, and then become the portage backpack for all gear that I don't have in the internal storage, and it fits neat in the rear trunk when I'm on the water.

How can our readers reach you? 

I would really like to form a users group specifically for the Nomad. I think it is iconic, like Airstreamers are to R.V.s and Bromptons are to the folding bike world. Owners of these exchange ideas, and even meet up in fun places. For now, I can be messaged at facebook.com/adventuregeoff (my travel blog) or email rose1geoff@gmail.com 

If I get enough reaction I will set up a group. Hope to hear from you!


Editor's Note: if you have any MRS packraft adventures you would like to share on our blog, contact us at info@campinghikingadventures.com

1 commentaire

  • Steve Calverley

    A helpful blog post! Thank you!

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