Gear

We all know that paddling/camping and shopping for gear go hand in hand and anybody who has visited their local camping store can testify that it can be intimidating at times. Never before have there been so many options and items to purchase. For example, my local camping store has 24 different types of headlamps for sale and that doesn’t include the 22 hand-held flashlights also available!To help you out, I have made a list of my top 8 pieces of paddling camping gear for 2010. This list represents to me the best gear of it’s type for design, usefulness and durably in the field. It’s all gear that if I had to replace tomorrow I would most likely replace with the exact same thing.
Gone are the days of big chunky Personal Locator Beacons that just barely fit in your kayak hatch. ACR Electronics has just unveiled their newest Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) called ResQLink and its small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and only weighs 5.3 ounces. At that size it’s really something that you could carry with you at all times while on the water in your PFD.ResQLink is still waiting FCC certification but ACR is expecting it to be on the market by Spring 2011. The price hasn’t been announced yet but look for it in the $250-300 range as they are trying to compete with the popular McMurdo FastFind PLB which is a similar price.If you are interested, I would suggest you click over to the very good blog, Equipped to Survive which has a very detailed hands-on review of a pre-release version.At $250, PLB’s are finally in the affordable range for adventures. I remember when I was a kid and had to walk to school in the rain uphill both ways, PLB’s were in the $1800-2000 range and were only used by serious folks paddling off to the North Pole.Photo Credit: equipped.org
Jeff Allen is an aspiring BCU 5* coach and works for Sea Kayaking Cornwall. Over the past several years he has been designing and perfecting and new design for a rescue system particularly for sea kayaks.It looks part tow line and part whitewater throw bag. It can be worn as a belt and it does triple duty as a tow system, a throw/rescue bag and a sea anchor.Over the years I have seen many different homemade designs and I have got to say that this looks to be one of the best thought out systems I have seen in a long time. I agree with Dunks from Solent Sea Kayaking who wrote about it first. It isn’t pretty but it sure looks like it would function really well.The video below can explain it much better than I can so I will let it do the talking.
Here is a recently posted video demonstrating a neck gasket repair. Bernard Walsh uses an old deflated soccer ball to help stretch out the gasket which looks like a pretty good trick.Good video but could probably be edited down a bit for time.
Everybody is getting into shooting video while in a kayak. If you are on a budget and want to get in on the action then the Flip Video Camera is a good place to start. Depending on which model you are interested in Amazon has them between $120-180. They record directly to internal memory so no need to fumble with tapes. When you are done you can easily transfer video directly to your computer or straight to youtube.The problem is that they are not waterproof. To help solve that problem, Aquapac has released two brand new cases designed specifically for Flip Cameras.The cases are made out of a flexible material that is optically clear so there won’t be any interference. It’s submersible to 15 feet (3 meters) and pretty cheap at $30.More info: aquapac.net
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