Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Thigh Strap Revolution

Ok, i'll admit this post might be an advertisement for lingerie.  Not the case.  Read on and you'll find out that this strictly deals with getting into the backcountry.

At the end of last year, Tim Johnson started the packraft revolution of adding thigh straps to his raft.  Soon, many other pioneers followed suit like Luc Mehl, Roman Dial, Becky King, Tony Perelli, and JT Lindholm.

At first I was very hesitant, especially with a limited whitewater background.  As I floated and negotiated more CLIV+ rivers, I began to see the utility.  It wasn't until this paddling season when I bought my finance (Meg :-) an Alpacka sized raft.  I jumped in it one night on the local stomping grounds and found the fit to be a lot better giving me more control than my Yak.  And it wasn't until I floated with Erik Tomsen that I rationed the thighstraps.  We conversed and he told me I was really looking for the added control that a smaller boat would give me.  I was sold...

I made a visit to Tracy Harmon of Alaska Raft & Kayak.  For a mere $73.56, I was setup with 4 1" Aire Brand D-Rings and some Aire Brand Deluxe Thigh Straps.  Grab the glue, we gonna have a huffin' party!

Thanks to Roman and Tim for the YouTube video and instructions.

These are the elements of a successful thigh strap installation party.  Note the domestic light beer.  Less calories.
The installation of the 1" D-rings.
 I loosely fit the thigh straps.  In order for the glue to dry, it is recommended to wait 72 hours without any kind of load or tension.  I still need to move my seat forward and add new velcro.  I purchased a new seat and explorer seat today from Alpacka.  All I need is a sewing machine (Maqina de Coser, in spanish).  Anybody got one?
Ol' Blue:  another look at the finished product.  Your daily history lesson - my Dad used to have an Oldsmobile Delta 88 that he used to call "ol' blue".  I'm bringing it back!
In other news, after the large flows on the Eagle River there is a lot of new wood in the campground rapids.  The river right channel is totally plugged up.  The river left channel is navigable.  This photo was taken last Thursday night, at 1380 cfs.
Public Service Announcement:  This Saturday, 21 August 2010 is the 3rd Annual Six Mile Fest.  Held near Hope, Alaska on the Six Mile River - the best and most consistent CLIV-V river in Southcentral Alaska.  New this year is a packraft mass carnage...i mean start.  Maybe I'll raft...next year.

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