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The “Big Tuna” 2014 Yellowstone 


Headwaters Kayak (Dan) and I have teamed up yet again in 2015 for another Yellowstone fishing expedition!! My crew and I can’t say enough “THANK YOU’S” to Dan for how much he has helped out with our trips! He has Sponsored us with everything from fish finders to Go pro’s and of course geared our team up with the best fishing kayaks on the market!!!

As Always – Thank you Headwaters Kayak!

Every year my brother and I, with some family, try and find a remote place in the USA to get away for a while, away from people and find some extraordinary fishing and wildlife. We normally stick to forest service wilderness areas but for the last 5 years we have been going back to Yellowstone. This will be our 6th year in the backcountry of this wonderful natural resource.

Years 1-3 we hiked in from the Bridger-Teton wilderness (90 mile ish round trip)and crossed the southern border of Yellowstone to fish the Yellowstone River for its native cutthroat trout. Years 4, 5 and now 6, we have teamed up with Dan and Headwaters kayak to Kayak across the lake, fishing the entire time, drop kayaks at the other side and hike into the backcountry fishing the river. Then we turn around and make our way back fishing as we go.

I have done a couple of write ups that Dan has posted that talk about how we fish, what gear we use and the techniques we deploy to catch Lake trout and Cutthroats. Take a look at the fishing blog for past discussions.

This year I would like to focus on “Camping from Kayaks”. I would consider myself quite versed in hiking/camping gear…………………… and will leave the advice on kayaks where it belongs, with the crew of Headwaters!

Camping From a Kayak

2014 Yellowstone Lake – Fist Night Camping 

I am, well, I was, primarily a backpacker, so I spent a lot of time and money on my gear to save weight and space so that I could take 10-12 day trips without being resupplied. That same gear has traversed well into being able to camp from a kayak.

I take a lot of precautions placing my gear in the kayak. My backpack goes in the front of my YAK, is tied down and a waterproof covering is placed over it so it doesn’t get waterlogged. This works great on the Big Tuna since it has a lot of open space on the front but is different for each YAK layout. Other than making sure my gear is tied and/or placed inside the YAK the only thing I really do different that when I am hiking is waterproof a bit more. I waterproof anyway due to the weather we always encounter but I take a little more precaution with some of my core gear placing it in safe a location. My boots and other items not being used and not stored in my backpack are placed in a heavy-duty sea to summit waterproof bag and put in the main storage compartment.

Something to note, the gear that I will be sharing with you, I have accumulated over the course of quite a few years of trial and error. The gear I carry is light, effective and does not come at a cheap price. I have done many hours’ research as well as field-testing on the trails but everyone is different. For example, I love my boots, I do not get blisters and I will not wear anything else (For now) because of their stability and because I DO NOT GET BLISTERS!!!!! Everyone’s feet are different and just because some magazine says certain boots are the best thing since sliced bread that doesn’t mean your feet will like them! An ultra-lighter would tell you to buy trail shoes (Upgraded Tennis shoes). With the weather I encounter I would never wear trail shoes but to each their own.

Disclaimer : I am not an ultra light hiker, a section hiker, thru hiker or a “go bag the next peak” hiker. I find places to go fishing that will be difficult for others to get to so that I can be as far away from the grid as possible, enjoy the wilderness and catch fish at the same time.

Core Gear: “They Say” – not really sure who they are but, they say to start with your backpack, sleeping bag and tent. On just these 3 items I have spent over $1000.00!

  • My Pack – 2014 Gregory Boltoro 75.

    • An ultra-lighter would tell me that I am crazy to have a pack that weighs in at about 6lbs. I like its stability, how it forms to my shape and the options it has in terms of storage.

    • The new 2015 Boltoro 75 is sweet and weighs a lb less! Maybe next year I have already spent enough on other upgrades/necessities 
  • Sleeping Bag – Marmot Helium

    • Temp rating at 15 degrees

    • 850 goose fill down and

    • Weighs in at just over 2 lbs.

    • I like this bag, our trips are normally at high elevations so it can get quite cold even in the summer. “Quality Down” – don’t leave home without it.
  • Tent – Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3

    • I split the weight with my brother and use a 2 person tent on our trips. They say this is a 3 person tent but I do not know who those three people were. My brother and I are both over 6ft and weight in 230 – 260 lbs. We fit in this one just fine with a couple of inches left over

    • Under 4lbs

    • 2 Entry points– Nice for two people having their own entry point

    • 2 vestibules – IMPORTANT for keeping gear dry and close at hand.

    • This is a new tent so I will have to see how it holds up over time

    • ALWAYS use the company-designed footprint. This will save from getting holes in the bottom as well as stop water from pooling underneath your tent. It is well worth the extra cost.


I have to wonder why God created Mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes can easily turn a wonderful trip into a miserable one. I am not a big fan of the nasty buggers, I have run into them across the globe and I do everything possible to keep them away from me!

I used to say that the only thing that will keep the bugs away from me is 100% Deet. I really do not like Deet but I like it better that being bit all this time so I have primarily used it, especially when the bugs are bad. I am trying something new this year, Permethrin treated clothed and ultrathin time released 34.6%deet lotion. I have tested it in the California Sierra Nevada Mountains with good results but the bugs were not bad. I will report back on how they do with the Yellowstone Biting Buzzards!

Permethrin has also been proven to repel ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, midges and is approved by the EPA. That being said, I would like to note that I initially purchased the spray bottle and sprayed my own clothing. I do not think it was very effective so I did some more reading and the studies have shown that when manufactures “Bind” Permethrin to the clothing it is very effective.



  • Pants – Railriders Eco Mesh with Insect Shield

    • I am really starting to like these pants. They have a zippered leg section that opens exposing a mesh lining to let the air in to keep you cool. AND KEEPS THE BUGS OFF!!! I saw a mosquito try and land on my leg and it got close and then took off

  • Pants for the Kayaking portion – REI Sahara

    • They zip off into shorts. I wear the shorts portion on the water and zip the legs back on when I hit land if the bugs are around are around.

    • I have a really old pair (7 years?) that the bugs cannot bite through and they only weight in at 12-14 ounces. The newer ones are not made quiet as well and the bugs can bite through them so until they fail I use these. When they fall apart I will figure something else out.


  • Shirt – Railriders Journeyman with insect shield

    • I don’t really like hiking with long sleeves but I hate the bugs even worse so I have moved to a long sleeve shirt that rolls up and buttons if needed

    • Its great on the water as well, rail riders were founded by a guy who sails and his gear was to stay cool and help keep the sun off you.

    • Underarm and torso mesh lining to keep you cool

    • Back cape vent for additional breathability

    • I like this shirt!!!!


  • Underwear – Exofficio Give-N-GO

    • 9’’ inseam

    • Sports Mesh

    • Treated with Aegis Microbe Shield to eliminate odor causing bacteria

    • Their gimmick is “500 miles of trail, 7 days, one pair of underwear”

    • These are awesome and well worth the cost


  • For the Rain – It always rains on us, the only variable is how much and how long. It has rained, hailed and snowed on us on our summer trips.

    • Arcteryx Theta AR gore-text shell

      • My favorite piece of gear

    • Arcteryx  gore-tex pants

  • Boots – Asolo TPS 520 GV – Yes they are heavy and they took me about 20-30 miles of walking/hiking to break in but I like them!

    • Full grain leather

    • Waterproof with Gore-tex

    • About 4lbs a pair – yes they are heavy but they are stable and can handle the hiking I do.

    • They are leather so I treat them with repellant each time I go out. It really sucks if you get a heavy pair of leather boots waterlogged.

  • Shoes For Kayaking –  I use two different pairs

    • Merrell lightweight shoes that double as shoes when I have to do water crossings in the backcountry. They work good when I have to take my boots off and cross a stream as well as when it is not too cold on the kayak. I do not remember the name of them but they are similar to the Bare Access 4

    • When it is cold I use Kokatat Nomad Paddling Boots

      • Kind of a pain to get on and off but they work!

The Rest of My Gear:

I am attaching a spreadsheet (well i tried to attach it but i couldn’t figure it out so i cut and pasted most of it) where I list and weigh all the gear that I carry. Please take a look and feel free to post questions and I will do my best to answer in a timely manner. I will be in Yellowstone from July 22 – August 2ndso if you post then I will answer when I return.

Backpack weights
Item   (as packed, w/ stuff sack)lbsozlbsoz
Core Gear
Tent – Big Agnes Copper UL 34025
Foot print9.30
Sleeping pad – Therma rest Xlite1010.5
Sleeping bag – Marmot helium2626
Pillow – sea to summit aeros large4.34.3
Back Pack – gregory baltoro 756262
Head lamp – black diamond re-chargeable4.84.7
Bug Net Net – head2.22.2
pack Cover9
Cooking Gear
Evernew Titanium non-stick 900ml pan11.24.6
Stove – Snow Peak titanium auto light4.54.5
Sea to summit – ultra sil sink 10 liter1.71.7
Spoon – MSR folding Spoon0.350.4
Fuel Small77.5
Coffee Cup0.80.8
Cleaning Sponge0.10.1
Biodegradable Soap3.21.2
Survival Gear
First Aid Kit – held in zip lock container – I am still working on the complete First AID pack but am almost there – 6oz total weight0.2
     – Bandaids large waterproof for heel (6)0.4
     – Bandaids regular size (6)0.1
     – Bandaids H & knuckle version (6)0.2
     – Bandaids – butterfly (6)0.05
    –  Non stick Gauze pads 2X3  (3)0.1
     – syringe0.2
     – Pair of steril gloves0.4
     – Neosporin0.50.6
     – alcohol pads (4)0.1
     – Medical Tape1
     – anti bacterial hand wipes (2)0.3
     – Tylenol (20)0.4
     – lip balm – vasaline lip therapy0.4
     – Safety Pins (4)0.1
     – Diarrhea Meds – immodium (12)0.1
     – Needle and Thread0.4
     – 1 ounce container of zinc oxide1
     –  Qtips (18)0.2
Bear Spray11.611.6
Delorme in reach SOS/GPS Tracker57.5
Map and Plastic cover1.30
Fire Starting Kit
     –  Zip Lock Bag0.2
     –  Bic Lighter0.7
     –  Waterproof Matches (8)0.2
     –  Military grade trioxane tabs(2)1.9
Bug spray – ultrathon (2 tubes)4.8
550 Cord – 50ft4.54.5
Water Gear
Water bladder – 3 liter platypus for pack6.36.3
Water Bottle – naglene 1 liter3.53.8
Water purifier – platypus gravity99
Water Carried in Liters(3)69.669.6
Fishing Gear – Hiking portion
Fly Reel with floating line6.86.8
Fishing Kit – Flys22
Fly pole – 5 wt orvis access2.72.7
leaders and stuff22
Gerber Clutch2.62.6
Camera Gear
Waterproof Camera – Fuji XP 707.67.6
Go Pro Hero 3+ 2.52.5
Go Pro Extended Battery pack1.11.1
Go Pro head harness3.53.5
water proof case3.43.4
non water prrof backing for sound0.70.7
Personal Hygiene
Hand Wipes (2 per day minimum)2
Dental Floss – not much 0.1
Toilet Paper – 1/2 roll3
toilet wet wipes – (20) wipes2.4
Towel – sea to summit small2.32.3
Socks – thorlos trail hikink socks
           – 1st pair3.63.6
           – 2nd pair3.63.6
           – 3rd pair3.63.6
           – 4th pair – Worn00
           – Rail rider Journeyman with Insect Shield10.20
           – 2nd Shirt – noit sure which one yet88
Pants – 
          – RailRiders eco mesh with bugs away12.50
           – 2nd REI sahara 140
Underwear – Exofficio Give -N-Go 30
           – 2nd pair33
           – 3rd pair33
water shoes – merrill10.710.7
Jacket (Gore-Tex) – arcteryx12.212.2
Gaiters (Gore Tex)1212
Pants (Gore-Tex) – Arcteryx1515
Food 2015 = 9 nights/10 days
I am still working on my food list

Kayak camping provides some pretty increadible experiences and i hope this write up helps those that want to get out for multiple night

Yellowstone 2014 – What more can you ask for?????

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