Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Aquapac SLR Waterproof Case
Wednesday, 09 September 2009

I recently upgraded my camera from a splash proof digital point-and-shoot camera to a mid-level DSLR. The advantage being that the quality of the photos go way up but sadly, SLR’s are absolutely not friendly with water. There are a couple of different waterproof cases on the market for SLR cameras that are marketed towards divers. The acrylic cases are fantastic as they protect the camera and are able to withstand the pressures of SCUBA diving but the kicker is that they start at around $800 and quickly go up from there in price. The things is; kayakers don’t need a hard case specifically designed for deep water pressure; we really just need a case designed to keep the camera dry yet will still protect the camera from the accidental dunking. That is why I got excited when Aquapac sent me their Waterproof SLR Case to test out.
Anybody who has gone on a canoe or kayaking trip will understand that keeping your navigation maps dry is super important. After all, you want to (eventually) find your way home and having wet maps makes it a touch more difficult.  There are many different ways to waterproof your gear. As an extremely poor outdoor recreation student back in the mid 90’s, I couldn’t afford to purchase topographic maps for trips so I would covertly photocopy the maps at $0.05 per page at the local library then attempt to waterproof them with sheets of sticky, clear vinyl shelf liner that I purchased at the dollar store. It worked ok, but not much longer then that weekend’s trip.Of course there are much better methods of keeping your maps/charts dry then pasting them together between two sheets of mac tac.

Gear Review: North Water PaddleBritches
Wednesday, 17 December 2008

This fall North Water released a brand new spare paddle holder for sea kayakers called PaddleBritches. It's easy to see where they got the name from as they look just like a pair of doll pants.  Like other North Water gear on the market, it is a well designed and well thought out product. It's made of 1000 weight Cordura so you know it is super tough. Installation was very easy and it only took me about 10 minutes. There are several sewn "belt loops" that you thread deck lines through making it impossible for surf to wash it off your deck. The openings have stiffeners so it is easy to retrieve or store your paddle while you are out on the water. A nice little feature is a large sewn reflective loop that enables you to quickly stow your primary paddle. You could also use this loop to temporary stow a fishing rod or a Greenland paddle when you need to go hands free for anything.

Review: Spot Satellite Messenger
Monday, 10 November 2008

After reading about the Spot Satellite Messenger for sometime, I decided that it was time to take the plunge and pick one up.Released in September 2007, the SPOT Messenger was developed by Globstar and designed to bring search and rescue technology to the general public who were not likely to purchase $700-1000 personal locater beacons (PLB's).  What makes this little unit really unique compared to locater beacons is that it is able to send out a signal to your family (or whoever you designate) that you are OK. Think of it as a check-in. When you click the check-in button, your family gets a preprogrammed message along with a link that they can click which will bring up your location in Google Maps. Really slick.Click the "Help" button and your family will get another message that you have a non-life threatening emergency and you need help. If you are in a real emergency, click the "911" button and your location is transmitted to the rescue coordination center where they will activate search and rescue.

Gear Review: North Water Guides Vest
Saturday, 29 September 2007

I was very excited recently when North Water Paddlesports Equipment sent me the guides vest recently to try out. Several of my friends have been using them for a couple of seasons now so I have looking forward to actually using it for some time.  To get PFD's certified by the government, the manufacture must design it to meet specific bouncy standards. When a manufacture decides to add pockets or accessories, they also need to increase the bouncy in the jacket to compensate for the potential increased weight (water in pockets, accessories, etc.). Generally speaking, the more pockets and storage on a PFD, the bulkier and cumbersome it is.
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