Emergency Bag

Virtually every time we go on the water we should carry some basic items of safety equipment. Unfortunately I am basically a disorganised person and finding small items of equipment from the chaos of the kayaking shed was virtually an insurmountable problem.
So the solution was to put together a small bag with all the essential items of kit. It took about 3 months to source all of the things that I needed and it is true to stay that it still isn’t complete. I still search diligently in yacht chandlers and outdoor shops for that elusive item of equipment which may provide the final piece of the jigsaw.
The following items of equipment are contained within my waterproof bag:


Signal Mirror: A small item which could prove to be useful if you have an accident on a sunny day. I found mine in a small French yacht chandlers. It only cost 3.00 €, so it is worth the small financial outlay.
Bungee Cords: Just one set and you never know when they will be needed. Ideally for keeping some of the items in the bag wrapped up.
Multi-purpose Tool: There is the Leatherman and then there are cheaper ones. For this emergency bag I have selected a cheaper one, as there is every chance that it will damaged by the sea water. I paid 7.00 €, at “Mr Bricolage” in France.
Woollen Hat: I might swap this for a sun hat during the warmer summer months.
Plastic Sheet: Cut from a sparkling water bottle. The thin plastic is ideal fro helping to repair a relatively large hole in the kayak.
Repair Tape: Spinnaker tape, electricians tape and duck tape. A selection which should be able to sort out most needs.
Epoxy Resin: I use a French variety, partly for the challenge of translation, and partly because it is effective. It will set under water and will repair most materials.
Whistle: I have the loudest one that I could find. The literature makes numerous extravagant claims about decibels etc, all I know is that if I blow it my ears hurt!
Lighter: More like a blow torch than a lighter. An effective heat source and according to the publicity material it can’t be blown out by the wind. Useful for a number of reasons. Just in case the gas runs out I also have a box of waterproof matches.
Fire Lighters: Just a couple in case it is necessary to light a fire.
Exposure Bag: I don’t have the traditional orange exposure bag but one which is made of the same material as the well known space blanket. The advantage is that it packs up very small.
Poncho: It fits over buoyancy aids, etc so is an ideal item of clothing to use on winter days when temperatures are low and it is important to retain heat.
Spare Food: Just a small amount. I don’t plan on getting stranded for several days in the heart of what is in effect an urban area. I normally take food which I am not that keen on so I am not tempted to eat it.
Money: Just a small amount stored in the inevitable film container. Useful for telephones, cafes etc.
Spare Batteries: These are for both the GPS and the VHF radio. A selection of cheaper batteries is better than the more expensive variety, they only have to last a couple of hours.
Strobe: Ideal for drawing attention to yourself at night.
Wet Ones: Ideal for all sorts of uses.
First Aid Kit: Just a few small items. Triangular bandage, skin closures, assorted plasters, wound dressing and safety pins.


When I open up the waterproof waist pack it always amazes me that all of the above fits inside such a relatively small container. What it has enabled me to do is to always carry a basic level of safety equipment. It can be customized to meet individual needs and because I am always on the look out for another useful item it remains a work in progress.