Devils River, Texas

RIO DIABLO…that was all the subject line of the email said…from “Steve”, one of three  guys I meet with every Thursday morning. Rio Diablo or Devils River is a remote river in west Texas that feeds into Lake Amistad, a huge lake that borders the US and Mexico.  It consists of Class I through Class IV rapids and for paddlers is considered a Devil when it runs at low or high flow rates.  It is also said to be crystal clear and a great fishing river.

That initial email kicked off a series of responses that birthed a 48 mile kayak trip down the Devils River…so now the fun begins of getting outfitted for the trip.  So I’m going to be talking to my teammates here at Austin Canoe and Kayak to get suggestions and I’ll post my product decisions along the way.

First decision is a lightweight sleeping bag.  My 20 degree bag is way too big and hot and I’d wanted to add a lightweight sleeping bag to my gear collection anyway so I grabbed a Kelty Light Year summer-weight sleeping bag off the shelf and gave it the once over.

The bag is only $119 ($20 bucks cheaper than REI plus free shipping)…and it packs down into a 11” x 7” stuff sack which is great when trying to save room in  a kayak.  It only weighs 28 ounces too…another bonus on the kayak.  The bag has loops to keep my pad in place and of course I get my employee discount…very nice.

So for my summer sleeping bag I’ll opt for the lightweight Kelty Light Year.  And the great thing is I think I can combine the sleeping bag with a shell/bivy and bump up the rating enough for my fall backpacking trip in Big Bend.


Update: Between writing the blog and posting it I was advised by more experienced paddlers to consider a synthetic bag over down due to the potential of it getting wet.   I’d appreciate any other thoughts about bag specs for water related camping.