Gear

  Thanks to Boing Boing I learned that Adventure Medical Kits has come out with the Backcountry Intimacy Kit. The waterproof zippered bag comes with 3 lubricated condoms, 2 packets of lubrication, 4 wet wipes, 4 compressed towels, and one disposal bag. I love the fact that the bag has reflective piping on it so you can quickly find it with a head lamp and that the package says that it’s for, “2 People for Up to 2 Nights.” Get in on the action for $14.95.
I always listen with amusement when I hear people complain that new life jackets or PFD’s are uncomfortable, hot and therefore better off strapped to the back deck of a kayak or thrown in the bottom of the canoe. To help appreciate the technology advancements keeping us afloat, let’s look back at we would have had to use while on the water... This photo was taken around 1890. Back then life jackets were made from pieces of cork sewn together. Though it kept you afloat, it wasn’t very practical for anything else. Since many would have only used them in an emergency, I can imagine a good number of sailors would find them rotten, crumbling and useless when they needed them most. Photo Credit: Sean Sexton/Getty Images Here is an integrated life vest and early version of a survival suit taken by Harris & Ewing in 1916. I don’t think I would have fit in my kayak with it on. Photo Credit: old-picture.com Life vests took a big step forward in technology in 1925 but clearly a huge step back in fashion. These are made from inflated bicycle inner tubes. When wearing this you can be guaranteed of two things, severe chafing and the fact that everybody will be staring at your crotch the whole time. Photo Credit: davison.com On a different note, If you are interested in cool war history stories, here is a good one where somebody found a very old German life vest from the 2nd world war and worked to try to unite it with the pilot over 60 years later.
  I recently saw photos of the new colours and design changes available for Kokatat’s new dry suits which will be available in Spring 2012. You will want to save your pennies over the winter as you will be able to order dry suits in lichen, azul, cedar, graphite, mango, radish and black. Of course they have been offering mango and radish for several years so this will be a nice change to help break up the sea of yellow suits that often show up at paddling symposiums. Keen eye Joes out there will notice that several of the suits now come with contrasting dark pants which I have got to say is a nice improvement. You will also be able to custom order color combinations to get the exact suit of your dreams. Sadly I will need to keep dreaming as I’m waiting for the day that the suits are available in any of these colours and patterns above so I can look dapper like these guys. Common Kokatat, get on it pronto as I think that would be dynomite! For those who want to look awesome at the boat launch can order the limited edition Gore-Tex Meridian dry suit which is based on the Rogue dry top colour pattern. It is only available in cedar/black and it has reinforced cordura patches and extra reflective piping in the arms. Finally, those poor souls who don’t get the pleasure of paddling in ice cold water but need just a bit of insulation, Kokatat is rolling out their new WoolCore line. It is a lightweight Polartec® Power Dry® polyester/wool blend fabric so you get the warmth of wool with the moisture wicking and dry time of polyester. The WoolCore pants and tops are also designed to be as green as possible. The wool is chlorine-free and grown in the Rocky Mountains while the 100% recycled polyester is from New England and the whole thing is assembled in California keeping the carbon footprint as low as possible. Look for all this stuff at your local paddling shop in Spring 2012. Photo credits:…
Reading through the latest issue of Ocean Paddler magazine I stumbled upon this ad from Valley. Not sure how long they have been doing it but it’s the first I have heard of anybody manufacture offering this service. For a flat fee of ₤150 Valley will refurbish your old kayak. The flat fee includes all new deck lines, bungies, hatch covers (you get the old ones as spares), pressure testing of compartments and minor leaks repaired as well as a major overhaul to the skeg system. For an extra ₤50 they will throw in a keel strip which is a super deal considering you would pay that in material alone. You are responsible to get the boat to and from their factory so this isn’t super practical to paddlers outside the United Kingdom. The service is only available during what I presume is the factory downtime (July to December) so this is a great way to keep the staff busy during that time. Of course there is some small print (that can’t be read in this capture) which outlines how much hole repair they will do. Generally speaking it covers small holes around leaky bulkheads and skeg boxes. It will cost extra for that large crack down the length of hull. Email Valley if you need more info.
If you have ever wondered how they assemble those little red knives that every camper owns now is your chance to see how it’s all done. CNET recently took a tour of their factory and posted an extensive photo gallery of bins and bins of knife parts and cork screws. Photo Credits: Kathleen Craig
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