Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show Round-up [Shiny New Gear]

Saturday, 27 February 2010
Toronto Adventure Show - Swift Canoe
On Friday night I made my way to the International Centre out by the airport to visit the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show. I went to see the latest and greatest in outdoor gear and this year I was able to dig up a few interesting gems.

The Kayak Kaboose
The most interesting piece of paddling gear I found was the Kaboose. Essentially the Kaboose is a float-along trailer for your kayak gear. Its 6 foot long with a max load of 150lbs.

The Kayak Kaboose
The trailer is an interesting idea for those who are looking for a whole pile of extra space. I guess it would appeal to former canoeists who still long to haul out everything under the sun or those who don’t really know how to pack there boats. The hitch design is interesting; it attaches to a rod that extends beyond the end of your stern. It keeps the trailer from surfing into you while on a wave. There is also a 360 swivel joint that allows you to roll your boat yet keep the trailer upright.

To load your gear quickly the designers made a very large hatch to allow large camping items. You could easily drop in a small BBQ! The hatch lid us sealed with a rubber gasket similar those found on car doors so I do have my doubts that it's truly waterproof. That might be ok as the trailer is clearly marketed to those who are unlikely going to take it out in rough water though I would be concerned how well it would stay afloat if the trailer did get flooded.

The price is a hefty $850 cdn.

Barracuda Kevlar Cloth
The only other really interesting that I saw came from Swift Canoe & Kayak. They are rolling out canoes and kayaks available in Barracuda Kevlar cloth. The cloth is coated with a very thin film of aluminum giving it a shiny, 3d effect. I'm not sure if it offers any more strength but it sure looks super cool.

Swift Kayak in new Barracuda Cloth.
Apparently Swift has the exclusive rights to the material for North America so you won't be seeing it anywhere else for a while.

Swift has always been an interesting company. To me, they have always been far ahead of other manufactures when it came to unique designs or build materials. For example, they were one first to mass produce several models of solo canoes aimed at the light weight tripper. They also developed a system last year of a fully Kevlar gunwale system that is super ultra light weight yet as strong as traditional wood gunwales.

Silver Swift kayak.
I just wish that Swift would put the same kind of unique R&D energy into their line of kayaks. It always seems like the designers just took a small canoe and slapped a kayak deck on it. They float and performe ok but they are difficult to edge and the outfitting isn’t quite as good as other manufactures. Swift has clearly gone after the small lake/cottage market and their boats are fine for what they are designed for. I always wondered what cool boat they could come up with if they took a more modern approach to kayak design and aimed towards the performance paddler for a change.

Clean Pool Water!
The demo pool was super grungy but it did remind us of paddling in the Toronto harbour so it felt like home!

Liz Burnside at the Toronto Paddlefest Booth.
Liz Burnside working the massive crowds promoting Toronto Paddlefest; a great event coming soon in June.

Prototype Solo Canoe

Prototype solo seat.
Here is another a great prototype canoe by Swift. The Adirondack is an untra light and ultra low-volume canoe aimed for the solo paddler on small lakes. It's got a backrest and foot pegs and can be paddled by either a kayak or canoe paddle. Swift is currently working on a cloth sprayskirt for those who want to go on longer trips with it.

Four generations of kayaks.
Four generations of kayaks.

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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