Here is a list of gear we use:
Yaks: Jackson Coosas - We add drag chains, and anchors (which you will need for windy days that you WILL have), 5-6 foot pull ropes for getting around tough rapids and shallow water and at least one 20 foot rope for portaging around Dolan Falls and guiding your yak past the cliffs to where you can get back in.
Paddles: I love the Werner Kalliste, My wife uses an Aquabound Manta Ray Carbon, Lonnie has a Werner Kimano, and the other guys had Bending Branches I think.
Dry Bags: Seal Line Tapered 35L size. (about 60 bucks each ) 2 of these should hold all of your sleeping gear and tents and all your clothes. And they fit well in most front hatches. Then a see through 10L Seal Line works great for toiletries. Then another small dry bag of your choice for snacks. All together 4 good dry bags per yak should work.
Tents: A Eureka Backcountry 1 is the perfect one man tent that sets up easy and doesn't weigh much. Bring a set of 4 guy lines per tent that you can use to secure your tent to rocks, brush, or your kayak for those windy nights. There was only one or maybe two camp spots that you could actually use tent stakes on. It's hard to find these tents for sale anywhere anymore, I don't know if they have discontinued them or what. I recommend a small tarp to smooth out the harsh surfaces you will be sleeping on so that you don't destroy your tent bottom.
Bedding: I don't know about you guys but sleeping on rocks after a hard day of paddling is NOT fun. Maybe I am just getting old. This year we tried the Nemo Cosmo insulated air mattress in the medium size (fits great into the Eureka Backcountry and has a built in pump). It weighs less than 3lbs and has a compression strap that makes it fit in your dry bag well. They were super comfortable and by far the best we have ever used and easiest to inflate/deflate. The exped synmat 7 is a good air mattress and so is the aerobed pakmat but it can be hard to find. A small lightweight sleeping bag with a compression bag or a zippered fleece blanket should suffice unless you are going in the colder months. Some kind of small inflatable pillow or equivalent. One other thing that helps me at night is one good Advil or Tylenol PM helps me sleep quick after a long day of paddling and fishing, but that could be just me.
Clothes: Dress in Layers, lightweight, quick dry, long sleeve shirts and pants will save you from having to constantly apply sunscreen as you will be getting in and out of the water for rapids and camp, etc. Columbia, Magellan, the North Face, H20 Express, and REI all have good versions of these in pants and shirts. GOOD SHOES. This year I tried TEVA surge shoes and they worked great, some of the other guys tried Zekos and Columbia PFG brand shoes that did well. My wife LOVES the Merrill PaceGlove shoes she bought and said they were quick dry and held up well. A good hat and polarized shades will go along way to helping you sight fish the extremely clear water.
Necessities: WAG bags (can be bought online or at most surplus stores), Toilet paper, Sunscreen, Chap Stick, Insect repellant, a good PFD, an Extra paddle, a water purification system (The devil's is the cleanest river in Texas and I have seen people just drink the water straight but we still run it through a Katadyne filter and fill our Nalgene bottles each day, this saves weight from carrying water on your yak. Gatorade powder or Hydration tablets - don't just drink water without sodium or electrolytes, a guy died on the river last year from dehydration doing that.) Food. 4 out of 5 of our yaks had coolers full of food and drinks secured very well and secured closed in case of flipping. (We use dry ice on bottom and wet ice on top and still had cool drinks on the 5th day) You need a DRAP permit for each day on the river, your fishing license, and you must carry them on your yak at all times. Heavy duty trash bags so you don't leave trash in the cleanest river in Texas. A first aid kit for sure, the limestone rocks can be sharp and will scrape you up often. Good flashlights a small camp stove. There are NO open fires allowed as there is a burn ban for Val Verde county and has been for a long time.
Sorry for the long post, but I know there is alot of people that want to do this river and alot of discussion on what to bring so I thought I would share all that I have learned from my past two trips. Hope you will get your chance to dance with Devil someday. It's an experience you will never forget.
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