Updated: May 15
Packing a kayak is a puzzle where the pieces can make a different picture depending on how you arrange them. There is a general rule of thumb; the heavier the gear, the closer it should be placed towards the back seat or near the foot and should be as close to the bottom as possible to keep the center of gravity low. That will keep the kayak stable, and the trim flat on the water.
I have, however, discovered that there can be too much of a good thing. This weekend I did a dress rehearsal for the launch in two weeks; I packed 14 liters of water in the day hatch, the food bags in the front hatch and the three-person tent in the back of the stern hatch. The kayak transformed into an inflatable bozo bop doll, so bottom heavy that when I was quarter way through a practice roll the cantilevered weight sent me back up the same way I went in.
On the third attempt I succeeded, but only with deliberate force rowing myself past the halfway point. Conceivably this great stability will be an advantage when low bracing down a heavy breaker, but I worry if I will be able to duck dive to safety if a large dumper wave catches me paddling off the beach through the surf. Such things will only be knowable when they happen.
It surprised me how much packing space there is inside the Taran. After laying out all my gear I was sure I’d have to cut back on non-essentials, but everything snuggled in with room to spare (even the large dolly), albeit I had to use lots of small dry bags to fit things through the narrow front hatch.
“You’ve made the miracle of the five loaves and two fish, in reverse; next you’ll have to turn all that belly fat into distance.” I was told. That will be a much tougher miracle.
Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation