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Dates: 07/18/2009 to 07/19/2009
Trip length: 31.07 miles
We decided on the larger boats because we had a lot of gear to pack for the overnight trip. The kayaks swallowed all the gear in the pictures above with room for more. We had enough room that we didn't have to scrimp on creature comforts, and were able to bring camp chairs, a gas stove, and even a fan for the tent. This is the first overnight trip we did and so we packed perhaps a little bit more than we needed, but we still had room for more. Everything that we couldn't fit inside the kayaks (or didn't want to), we could easily strap down to the kayaks using the multiple eyes and hooks to keep all our gear secure. Our gear that we didn't need access to while on the water mostly went in the fore and aft hatches, and for the most part stayed dry where it was. Tom swamped his boat once in some rapids and tested the X-13's ability to keep everything in the front hatch dry. Amazingly, the gear stayed mostly dry, even though the boat took on some water that we had to pump out with a hand bilge. The X Factor and Stealth 12 were able to stay more bouyant in the rapids and didn't ever take on as much water. As of this writing we have traveled most of the rapids in the river, including the class III at Balcony Falls above Lynchburg, and the X Factor has never needed to be pumped out, despite carrying Jasons' 225 pound frame and all the camping gear, cooler, fishing gear etc. The Stealth 12 has only needed to be pumped out once or twice. Brian and Jason liked having the center hatch on the Stealth and X Factor, which made accessing snacks, sunscreen, maps, and other things you need handy easy and convenient. With fishing rod holders positioned conveniently right behind the seat on either side, it was easy to switch between paddles and fishing rods when coming up on rapids or just after rapids to fish the eddies.