Retreating in nature

A Kayakers Guide To Surviving The Coronavirus Pandemic

– Exploring Freshwater Archipelagos in Northern Sweden

Mother nature is not affected.

Nature is not affected, she continues as normal.

There is plenty of space to kayak without being around other people, which actually makes it a very safe place to be.

There is no lockdown in place in Sweden, and this is how I am surviving the pandemic.

STAY AT HOME – If your country has demanded to do so.

By THOMAS MOGENSEN

In those difficult Pandemic times we’re in, the need to find refuge in nature is rising.

What people often don’t think about is that nature isn’t affected.
It goes on as normal.

And it is sufficiently spacious to find a place without other people,
which actually makes it a very safe place.

The perfect place for social distancing.

It might not only be the Corona itself that affects the majority of the population, but maybe even more the mental stress.

Retreating into nature will not only be a method of distancing from the virus, but an equally good way to restore mental health.

” But how to do it? Where to start? “
I will get deeper into how easy it is to get out by kayak

Finding A Good Area

When deciding to go kayaking, the first thing to do will be to find a place that both suits your level of paddling and isn’t crowded.

Hidden shallow water like an archipelago, is often empty of boats and rich of experiences with vegetation and animals.

When deciding to sleep outside, you should also pay attention if it is suitable for camping and, of course, if it is allowed to camp.

Last, but not least, find a place you like to stay, a place that brings the inner peace to you.

Warm Air, Cold Water

The spring is often the most difficult time of year to dress right.

When the winter is over and the sun breaks through, the warm weather can be overwhelming.

Everywhere on the street corners and in nature, you will see people dressed in t-shirts and some even in shorts.

It can seem like a good idea to dress the same way, when going out kayaking.

But a golden rule in any paddling adventure is:

“Dress for the water temperature”

So even if the hot air motivates you to undress, the water can still be just above the freezing point, which can be fatal if capsizing.

Do not underestimate the cold water, even if it feels weird wearing a drysuit with a warm dress underneath.

As I said, dress after the water temperature and use a drysuit for proper safety.

Preparing For Your Paddling Adventure

To dress up properly in the springtime, a drysuit is your best friend to stay dry.

Dress normally under the drysuit, just like you would dress for the temperature.

The drysuit is only used to keep you dry.

Use the multilayer principle.

Use wool on the inside and normal clothing on top of that.

Could be soft clothing material for better movement or just hiking trousers and a fleece.

Even wool socks are recommended, since the neoprene shoes doesn’t provide much warmth.

After putting on the drysuit, it is good to put on a warm hood and a buff.

Other Essentials:

  • Life jacket
  • Water pump
  • Throw rope
  • A suitable paddle
  • Extra dry dress
  • A bottle of warm drink and snacks

Important reminder:

Always make sure that you know what you are doing. Your skills play a key role in deciding the difficulty of the trip – distance, weather, environment.

You don’t have to paddle a long distance in difficult surroundings to find the best and finest spot for camping.

How To Camp Overnight – Essential Gear

Tent

Freestanding tents will often give you better opportunities for camp spots, compared to a tent that would need lines and attachments.

Tenting on a bare cliff in the middle of nowhere, is a heavy experience.

This will of course only function in little or no wind at all.

Often you can find something close to the main spot, that provides with some shelter. In my case, it was behind a small island.

Sleeping

An inflatable sleeping mat with isolation inside is recommended for easy packing in the kayak.

Always keep in mind that most of the cold will come from the ground.

You can bring an extra isolation layer, like a blanket, to use under the sleeping pad.

Sleeping bag after air temperature. For a little better feeling, you can buy a liner to use into the sleeping bag.

It is a low cost investment for a little luxury.
It will also provide some extra heat.

I also never go without a small pillow.

Cooking

Kitchen can be a small one for boiling water if using dry meal or a little bigger if bringing fresh food.

If possible, I always recommend bringing fresh food.

It really spices up the overall experience and there is plenty of room in the kayak.

Gas is recommended as fuel, since it is easy to use and pack in the kayak. It does not leak either.

Other things to bring:

  • Mobile phone
  • First aid kit
  • Multi tool
  • Camera
  • Head lamp
  • Tent lamp
  • Power bank
  • Clock
  • A book
  • Coffee
  • Snacks

Make the trip as comfortable for yourself as possible – without overpacking!

My Kayaking Trip Packing List

In the picture above you can the kayaking gear I brought during my adventure.
  • Kayak: Zegul Bara
  • Paddle: Robson (Tahe Outdoors)
  • Drysuit: Palm Cascade
  • Life jacket: NRS Odyssey
  • Neoprene shoes: Crewsaver Basalt
  • Neoprene gloves: NRS Veno mitt
  • Spray skirt: Artistic (Tahe Outdoors)
  • Water pump
  • Tow line: Palm Ocean Pro
  • Water bottle: Nalgene 1L
  • Thermo: Primus vacuum bottle 1L.
  • Dry bag: Sea To Summit (for an extra whole set clothes)

My Camping Trip Packing List

  • Tent: Hilleberg Soulo
  • Sleeping pad: Exped SynMat 3-d 7 MW
  • Sleeping bag: Helsport Alta 195 (3 season)
  • Liner: Haglöfs
  • Pillow: The cheapest in synthetic.
  • Kitchen: JetBoil MiniMo
  • Gas: Primus Winter Gas
  • Plate: Primus Meal Set with Spork
  • Cup: Hand made
  • Water bag: MSR 4L
  • Multitool: Gerber Diesel
  • Headlamp: Lumonite 1000
  • Tent lamp: Cheapest from the local store
  • First aid: Lifesystems in drybag. Added extra for paddling and camping.
  • Camera: Gopro6 with different mounts for head, tripod and kayak.
  • Drone: DJI Mavic Pro
  • Dry bag: Several bags in all sizes (for sleeping bag, pillow, electric gear)
thomas

Find refuge in nature, especially in those difficult times.

Enjoy and respect nature.