Register | Login
Attackpoint AR - performance and training tools for adventure athletes

Discussion: swimming

in: Wilderness Traverse (Aug 17–18, 2013 - Parry Sound, ON, CA)

Jun 13, 2013 7:02 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
How does the swimming requirement work? If one could float on one's back for a few hours and cover a km, is that alright? Is this with PFD/flotation?
Jun 13, 2013 10:16 PM # 
There are two types of swimming that could happen in WT:

1) You could fall out of your canoe wearing a PFD, surrounded by teammates in relatively warm water in August. Some basic dog paddling skills would be of use but you certainly don't have to be an expert.

2) Because of the nature of the Canadian Shield, the best route choice may involve a short swim across a narrow channel or small river. There is usually another route choice but we can't guarantee that, given how much water there is in Ontario. Racers won't have their PFDs with them when they're trekking but we recommend that they line their packs with lightweight dry bags to keep their gear dry. Some racers inflate their dry bags and hydration bladders with air to get flotation but the swims tend to be so short that anyone who can swim for a few minutes should be fine.

We leave it to the racers' judgement to decide whether they have enough skills to be comfortable doing short swims like that if the need should arise. When Bob and I do course tests in the off-season when the water is cold, we sometimes carry a small inflatable pack raft.
Jun 14, 2013 4:25 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Cool, thanks Bash.
Jun 18, 2013 1:33 PM # 
Unless you forget to take off your PFD during your transition like I did at last year's Rockstar race.....they don't breathe very welll!!!
Jun 21, 2013 11:34 AM # 
I'm not a great swimmer at all, in fact I exceed at sinking, but do know how to swim. I'm training last year I tried different things as we knew we had a channel to swim across. One version was inflated dry bag in pack in front of me as flotation + a swimmers paddle board. I actually sank them both (I really do sink).

During the race did as Barb suggests, dry bag inflated in my pack and wore the pack on my back. It offered enough flotation on my back to be helpful.

I actually saw some guy wearing a pool noodle for the entire race as a belt for his extra flotation.

This was the swim in the day:

And us at 4am:

I think if there is a mandatory swim on the course Bob will let us know ahead of time like last year.
Jun 21, 2013 2:15 PM # 
That swim crossed a river right by a TA, hence all the photos! Because teams take different routes on the wilderness treks, we can't always predict whether racers will be swimming so we require basic skills just in case. We certainly don't go out of our way to make swimming a significant discipline in the event.

I used to race with a teammate who carried "adventure water wings" when we did long races because he wasn't an experienced swimmer - but he only inflated them one time when we rappelled directly into a lake! Otherwise, he just used his pack for flotation by inflating dry bag and bladder - and even that didn't happen very often since it is usually possible to choose routes to avoid or minimize swimming.
Jun 21, 2013 2:31 PM # 
There is no better feeling than getting into some water to cool your legs after trekking for hours.
Getting out and running while everything is wet is another story. I look forward to the swims.
Jun 21, 2013 11:52 PM # 
Night swimming with a light? Say hello to the eels and water snakes.
Jun 22, 2013 3:40 AM # 
At least the mermaids are cute. ;)
Jun 22, 2013 4:39 AM # 
THanks for that image of the water snakes and eels... I hadn't thought of them... they rank up there with leeches... ech.
Jun 22, 2013 4:45 AM # 
Especially if they are screeching eels
Jun 25, 2013 12:48 AM # 
The dollar store sells interesting inflatables this time of year that can be blown up in 1 minute and can act as a flutter board. I would have used it at WT last year if I hadn't l left it in the bin by mistake.
Jun 25, 2013 1:08 AM # 
I usually carry a garbage bag on a trek that I anticipate swims and take off my top layer top and put my pack and top in bag and push it forward on swims. Even in August it can be very cold out at 4 am, so keeping that one layer dry is nice
Jun 25, 2013 1:49 PM # 
Too add to the small inflatables idea, inflatable pfd's are becoming more common. I actually saw a team use them as their pfds in a race to save on weight and space. A quick search provided many options but they were more expensive than I would have thought.
Jun 25, 2013 1:55 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
I am looking forward to odd looks as I test some of these options out in full bushwhacking gear at the local beach.
Jun 25, 2013 4:48 PM # 
I use an inflatable life jacket that is activated by the sound of screeching eels
Jun 25, 2013 5:37 PM # 
Speaking of life jackets, what would people recommend as some of the lighter weight PFD's. In the attached link, 765g for the medium was the lightest one I found between MEC and Sail.

At $95 it seems like a decent option unless you go unflatable (although I think a number of local races don't allow inflatable PFD's).
Jun 26, 2013 3:09 PM # 
Some of the 'best' AR lifejackets I have ever seen in terms of being light and taking up little space can be found in a bin at Canadian Tire or Walmart. You can (often) pick up a certified jacket for 19.99. (24.99, 29.99...)

Probably not a great long term investment if you do a lot of paddling but if your use is predominantly for AR....
Jun 26, 2013 3:41 PM # 
'Bent has a "real" PFD (for our own trips) and an AR PFD, which is an infamous Buoy-oh-Boy brand from Canadian Tire, as FB recommends. 'Bent got a sport sewing specialist (we could put you in touch with one) to add front pockets for food and a hydration pocket on the back using a net fabric. Old race jerseys work well too.

I am looking forward to odd looks as I test some of these options out in full bushwhacking gear at the local beach.

We did that once at a local beach, Mr. W! Well actually, we weren't in full bushwhacking gear but we were in shorts and T-shirts testing a range of flotation aids in preparation for a race that promised a couple of 700-800 m ocean swims. The winner was a cheap, inflatable, full-length air mattress that kept our bodies out of the water. I think we combined them with swimming hand paddles. Fins would have made us faster too but too big to carry.

At one point, a curious little boy came over to examine one of the inflatables not being used in our current test. His mother called out, "Tommy, don't touch! Those are *their* toys!"

This discussion thread is closed.