New 2011 Rescue Gear from North Water [Gear]

Tuesday, 05 October 2010

North Water Logo

The good folks at North Water (makers of fine paddling and rescue gear) recently unveiled their list of new products for 2011. Among the collection of products to look forward to, a couple of products really jumped out for me.

North Water BPA Ditch KitThe BPA Ditch-Kit looked very interesting. It’s essentially two pouches large enough to hold 1L Nalgene bottles that are sewn to a backing with straps for easy attachment to the kayak deck rigging.

The idea behind a ditch kit one single bag that holds the emergency/survival supplies you would need if you found yourself separated from your boat in the wilderness. It’s very prudent planning if you are on an extended trip or paddling alone in an area where you might need to spend a night alone.

The BPA Ditch-Kit is designed to be easily released in an emergency allowing you to grab and go. The use of Nalgene bottles for storage is an interesting idea as they are (obviously) water-proof and super tough.

North Water is also going to offer a paddlefloat ditch kit. It’s similar to the regular ditch kit (it uses 2 Nalgene bottles) but it’s built into their rigid paddlefloat for storage. The idea being that this will save some space on your back deck and you can take advantage of the extra floatation while waiting for help.

North Water Paddlefloat Ditch KitIf you do decide to get the paddlefloat ditch kit you will want to make sure that you practice getting into your boat with the new paddle float. With the loss of flotation from carving out the holes for the bottles, there might not be as much float as you are used to though the lack of foam flotation may be partially off-set by the air in the Nalgene bottles. I think I need to test it before passing final judgment.

The other item that looks interesting was the new Paddle Park. The Paddle Park is essentially 60” of line with two stainless steel keyhole-eye carabineers attached to the ends. This simple tool can be used for a whole pile of things including contact tows, bridal tows, rafting up or a paddle leash for multiple paddles during an emergency.

North Water Paddle ParkI know you could be saying to yourself, “I could make that in 10 minutes with some old rope in the garage.” Yes you could but the beauty of this item is the materials and the way it’s built. They use keyhole-eye sailing carabineers which don’t allow them spin and release during a tow. Also rope is clipped back and covered with a heat-shrink sleeve which keeps the “knot bulge” to a minimum making it easy to run through deck lines.

No word the prices of these items yet but look for them at your local paddling shop sometime towards the spring.

Update: North Water sent me their MSRP prices for 2011. The two ditch kits are listed at $79.95 and the paddle park is $37.95.

More info:

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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