There is a bit of an upset at the Outside Magazine Gear of the Year awards this year. Rather then awarding the best boat category to one of the major players (Confluence, Johnson, etc.) Outside gave the honours to the Sterling Reflection.
Haven’t heard of Steling Kayaks you say? I don’t blame you as not many have. Right now they are a small hidden secret amongst some rough-water paddlers on the West Coast of North America. Think of the Sterling Reflection as the cool hip band that your teenage nephew saw in concert nine months before they became popular.
The Sterling Reflection is described by the designers, Reg Lake and Sterling Donalson on their Geocities inspired website as a “playful multipurpose craft that will excel where control is the primary goal, be it in wind, currents, waves, chop, obstacles, explorations, instructional or teaching situations.”
I know it gets great reviews from Rowan Gloag from The Hurricane Riders as well as Warren Williamson who you have most likely seen on YouTube paddling with his Greenland Blade at DeceptionPass.
Posted boat specs:
Length overall - 15’ 11 3/8”
Beam - 23 1/8”
Cockpit size - 17 1/4” x 31 3/4”
Cockpit coaming height – Forward - 13”, Aft - 8 1/4”
Height of seat - 1 1/8”
Weight - 41 to 55 lbs.
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.