JK covered alot in his posts below on personal camping equipment and personal gear, is there anything people would like to add. As said in a previous post I think everyone should have an aquapac like thing for contacting each other on river bank.
We can also take a proper look here and see what gear we can pool as Rob's previous thread tried to do.
Have a look at the maestro's wise words below.
JK wrote:Cheap camping chairs
With can holder as Willsy recommended. These are INVALUABLE. If you do not have one of these, you'll be sitting on the ground every evening. Less than fifteen bucks if I recall correctly, from Decathlon.
They're just the business. Keeps your hands free and your way lit. They're expensive enough in Galway, and the only brands you can get are the higher end, black diamond and Petzl. They're great, but a bit too dear. I recommend a cheap as chips ebay jobbie like this one herefor just over a fiver. They're just as good for what you need them for, and I have no problem ordering a few for people if they so wish. Just mark your name on them if we order a load of identical ones...
--Airbed and sleeping bag.
Chances are we'll be staying in the same campsite as opposed to driving round to different areas every few days, so you'll want some comfort, as well as warmth. It gets down mighty cold in the night, sub zero regularly, and you'll regret relying on the shitty Aldi sleeping you got for Oxegen. I bought one in RDMH for ninety bucks and it does the business, but a cheaper alternative would be piling a few heavy tops over you at night. Bring a hat or two for your head in bed. Also, the airbed is better than a foam mat for long term sleeping comfort, as well as keeping you further off the ground. Put a towel under the sleeping bag for extra insulation. I also bought a travel pillow for a fiver on ebay, they're handy for long car drives too.
The worst that your tent will have to put up with is rain over there, so as long as it's put up right, it'll be fine. A lot of people I know didn't bring their own tents, but bought two second tents in Decathlon for eighty ish quid. They sleep 2 or three, depending on the model, and are handy enough I guess, but are damn unwieldy and cumbersome when packed up. They're not for camping without cars. I'll be bringing my own dome tent. We will have to pay for the camp lots, so don't expect to bring twelve tents for twelve people. Bunk up, and leave yours at home.
Make sure your tent is in good condition before bringing it! Put it up on a fine evening first and check it stands up.
I presume everyone will be bringing and wanting to charge some or all of the following - digital camera, camcorder, mp3 player, battery charger, laptop, PSP/DS, mobile phone etc. France has the same voltage as us, just a different socket, and the best way to go about this is to bring just a few plug adaptors for the french sockets, and some four way extension leads. Remember, we've to share the campsites and don't want to monopolise the sockets. Also, security is grand over there as long as you use some common sense. Hide away anything in plain sight, bring expensive shit in the car if you're nervous about it, but tbh leave it in Ireland if you can't afford to lose it. Another handy addition is bringing an FM transmitter for people's mp3 players, as we'll be in the cars a lot driving to the rivers, and they mightn't have cd players. Again, about ten bucks on ebay. French radio stations are SHIT and seem to repeat the same five songs ad nauseum. A small amp is handy for music while chilling too, I might bring mine.
Note - mobile signal can be patchy as hell in the valleys.
Also, BEWARE of the electric socket boxes. They're made of some sort of glass fibre, and will irritate the HELL out of your skin. Don't touch them in bare sleeves.
--Personal cooking/eating utinsils
Knife, fork and spoon
Bowl/plate for eating from. I recommend bringing light camping pots. They're made of aluminium, and will take a lot more abuse than cheap plastic plates that WILL break on their first use, if not before.
Tea towel for washing your shit after eating.
Steel/old mug for drinking.
This is only for yourself for eating with. This is not the communal cooking apparatus that will be needed for cooking the meals with. In fact, I smell a separate thread
Other bits and bobs include:
Sunglasses (dead handy going up cols, as the whiteness is pretty blinding)
Sun screen(be careful of putting too much on near latex seals)
Moisturiser (skin gets very dry over there)
2 x towels
A few books. You can swap with others on the trip as well.
You won't need a third as much clothes as you think you need. You'll be spending the majority of every day in your paddling gear, so just some shorts and t shirts, as well as a heavy top and maybe one or two pairs of pants at the most. Wet clothes also dry very quickly when hung out.
CORKSCREWS. Wine and beer is the preferred drinking solution over there. You'll get a crate of 24 small bottles of decent french white beer for about six euro, and wine for a euro or so. But bring CORKSCREWS!
I presume the club will be bringing a full tool set too, for fixing boats over there, and tightening/loosening/cutting shit.
NOTE - we'll be up pretty high, a good few thousand feet, with the cols even higher, so be mindful that the altitude can do strange things to you. We had everything from chronic farting to dry skin to diarrhoea and nightmares last time.
Medical note - if you take any prescription medicines, make sure to get a prescription that'll last you the duration ofthe trip. Likewise, if you have any allergies or conditions, always make sure and tell someone about it, and where your meds are if you suffer an attack.
JK wrote:For running Grade III/IV rivers over there, I recommend having the following:
We're in the French Alps during the Alpine melting season. This is water coming from snowfall and glaciers. It's clear as glass, and freezing cold. The sun is lovely and warm, but immersion is cold, and will chill you significantly unless you're adequately prepared. Rashies and t shirts won't cut it here. A wetsuit is good, thermals and drycags are better. I'm going to hazard a guess and presume that the club wetsuits will be provided to those with no thermals of their own?
It's about finding the balance. It's plenty warm paddling, but you want to be prepared for swimming in damn cold water.
--Air bags in your boat
We'll all be pushing it up a level or so over here, and swims may happen a bit more than you're used to. Put two air bags in your boat, be kind to your would be rescuers. If you're strapped for cash, get some beach balls and see if they fit half deflated down the stern. In the event of a swim, they'll also hold tight whatever gear you have in the stern.
If ye want to get a bulk order of airbags, I'll be able to sort a discount on some Bliss Stick ones. They'll fit most boats though.
I've a feeling this is a moot point for most of ye, but if you don't have a deck yet, you'll need one for the trip. A club one won't cut it. Chances are you'll be getting pinned a few times, and you don't want a damn nylon deck vainly trying to keep the water out.
These aren't the booties you get for thirty bucks in RDMH or a sailing shop. They need a strong sole that you can walk comfortably on rough ground with. Teva, NRS, Keen all make decent ones. Old runners are better than nothing if you can't afford ones, but I really recommend against just relying on typhoon I use neoprene socks with heavy sandals with a good sole.
--Crabs and slings
2 x large crabs, and 1 x 1m closed sling at least.
That's the bare minimum that everyone should have in with them on the river, with a throwbag and knife highly recommended,a whistle in/on your BA, a pin kit in every group, a med kit or two in every group, and long rope in every group. I brought splits with me, but didn't need them. That said, we did bring four or five extra sets of club blades for the eventual swims and accompanying losses of gear.
But regarding good value rescue gear, specifically locking 'biners and slings, it is cheaper to buy them there.
I recommend that the club stop in a Decathlon as soon as we get mobile.
Decathlon is a massive hyper marchÃ©, just geared to outdoor pursuits. You can get rashies, slings, all sorts of pulleys, crabs, everything there for about 30-45% cheaper than Ireland. I realise that most people will have some or all of this already, but it's a cheap way to make sure everyone has the basics. Also, it's a good place for the club to stock up on pin kits for itself.
I know this seems like a lot of expense, but most of ye have a lot if not all of this already. If not, beg borrow or steal the remainder, and cheaper methods can be substituted in as well.