Showing posts with label 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2013. Show all posts

Outdoor Retailer: 3 Gadgets Under $25 You Should Know About

Outdoor Retailer is underway in Salt Lake City this week and new gear abounds. While I’d love to have the new solar powered tent from Eddie Bauer or the Vibram LED shoes, the price point is going to place that out of the realm of possibility for, well…most of us.

Three useful new items are rolling out this week however, (though some have had 30-60 days of market presence), that I felt were definitely worth mentioning. The best part is, you can get all three for less than $25! Skip the movie with the significant other, cuddle on the couch with a Redbox or Netflix and BOOM!, $25 for a new gadget.

This emergency “knife” is safe to carry on your hip, lightweight and has a blunt end with protected blades. Great for cutting fishing line, rope, trot lines, and other tangled messes, this could be the new safety knife that becomes a kayaking favorite. Right at $25, it is significantly cheaper than other safety knives on the market and may be safer and more user friendly. If I had the Trilobite a few years ago my hands would have a lot fewer scars.

Zippo Firestarter

Kayak camping demands planning but the weather can often make it difficult. When everything is soaked, it’s good to have a back up plan. The Firestarter is that plan. At $10, it has a small lightweight package but includes all the things you will need in a damp (or dry) environment to get a fire going and your gear to drying. Small and easy to pack, this should be a consideration for all your overnight trips.

YakAttack GTSL Gear Tracs

This newest addition to the Gear Trac family from YakAttack has changed rigging options once again for kayaks. This high performance polymer trac comes in a variety of colors, can curve easier than its anodized aluminum brothers, and has a lower price tag than any previous trac offering. From as low as $8 and available very soon, you can get trac and show off your personality at the same time. Rigging just got easier, more affordable and has a new personalized look.  

If a Tree Falls on a Hobie...

Staying at a lake house, kayaks sprawled in the grass drying from a morning or afternoon excursion, enjoying nature is great fun. At least for me.

My family received an invitation from some close friends to join them at an East Texas retreat last week. The kids played all week, we introduced them to kayaking and had a very relaxing few days away from the rat race. For the most part.

It seems my wife and I are doomed when it comes to vacations. We now know to wait for the other shoe to drop and this week didn't disappoint.

On our honeymoon we needed a tow truck to rip our SUV out of 36" of snow we slid into off of an icy road. One summer the car popped a service engine light and was overheating 600 miles from home. We hit so many delays coming back from Washington last year we were literally the only people left in the airport who didn't work there when our bags finally arrived. I lost an extra day of work and no sleep + kids + 20 hours of travel in airports, ferries and cars makes Chris an irritable boy. Let's just say vacations hate us.

This last week was going pretty good. We had made it through three days and no problems. Sure it was storming every day but the fishing was ok and the time away with friends was great. Then the fourth day hit. I looked outside to see if the kayaks were still there or if one of our friends had gone out for an early paddle. I saw it.

A huge branch was laying across my kayaks! This could not be good. I ran out to assess the damage anticipating my new Hobie Outback and my son's Malibu Mini-X were going to be crushed. What I saw was surprising. Lightning had struck this large branch about 25 feet overhead. It fell directly on the Hobie Outback rudder and glanced off to the side, landing the heavy part of the branch in the grass and the leafy branches across the Mini-X.

 It took some time to CSI the place and figure out what happened but it eventually all came together. After checking the property, more limbs had been hit and some were ready to fall with the slightest of breeze. I returned to "The Blue Beast" as I am now calling her.I deployed the sailing rudder, checked steering, checked lines, hull integrity, bolts, and everything else I could think of. She was just fine. She possessed some scars on the rudder but nothing major or functionally inhibiting.  The Outback rudder had taken the brunt of a large limb falling from 25 feet and shrugged it off.

Did I get lucky? Yes, and no. I won't ever know what would have happened to a different boat and a different rudder but I do know that the Hobie rudder is one mean brute.

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