Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Social Media Kayaking (and gear too)

As much as I strive to be zen, and detached from the technological world - no TV, I make very few phone calls, my phones ringer is only set to vibrate - I also love social media. I have a personal facebook account - I am toying with one for the paddling otaku world - a twitter account, and I am an active redditor.

And while I hike and travel and cycle, I am truly a kayaker at heart. In fact it is even a little more niche than that. I only paddle long touring kayaks, I don't dabble in whitewater or racing sculls, or surf skis or rec boats.

But I am regularly depressed by how little of the social media world is directed towards true touring kayakers. Is this section of the kayaking conversation so small that we warrant so little attention? Today I read the current copy of Outside magazine because they had an article on social media. There were exactly zero links to any social media that pertained to kayaking. I even went to what outside listed as the number one gear related site - Outdoor Gear Lab - which does look like a great site, but do a  search for the word kayak on their site and you get zero items returned. Gear institute, another recommended site has - much to my surprise - a paddling section. But when I clicked on it, it offered a review of one canoe, and one kayak (and whitewater at that). Another article in the same magazine touted '63 perfect things, our favorite trips, gear, booze, events, addictions and more'. You guessed it, zero directly related to kayaking. And just for the record I don't need wine made by Clif - of clif bars - for it to be considered 'portable'. I started drinking whiskey as a young man because it packed in so efficiently. Outside agrees with me, because they also offer a flask as a 'perfect thing'. About a year ago I emailed 'the Gear Junkie' Stephen Regenold - who also writes for outside - and asked him why he didn't do more reviews related to kayaking. His response was honest, I just don't kayak that much. A search of his site does show that he kayaks occasionally, as he has reviewed a fair amount of kayaking equipment. I must also say he does the best reviews following Outdoor Retailer.

Now, when I say kayaking I am referring directly to kayaking. A kayak. A drysuit. A paddle. A type of dry bag. I do appreciate a good tent or sleeping bag review, as those are products I use a lot. But why does kayaking get so little time? I find it very interesting that when we see kayaking in the media it is almost always whitewater - which in terms of participation has had negative growth the last five years, while recreational kayaking has had very good positive growth.

I know that the answer to that question is of course, money. Fewer people buy expensive kayaks than expensive bicycles. And media caters to who spends the money. But I think there are more people that enjoy the outdoors the way I do than the 'media types' think.

Here is what I am thinking. I don't think I have big enough readership to make this happen, but lets give it a shot. Post in the comments - or send me an email, what ever you want - A perfect thing (and how it related to kayaking) OR a kayaking related piece of social media. A link to a website, a twitter feed, a Facebook page or an app for your smart phone. If you want to post a piece of gear that doesn't directly relate to kayaking - like for instance the Gopro Hero HD2 - just tell me why it makes kayaking better.

If you're a long time lurker, I am going to ask you to break your silence, and post something that you like. If I get enough responses I will do something fun with the links.


  1. I'm a huge fan of my NRS life jacket, its kind of mid-level price-wise. Its comfortable, I've never had weird chafing issues or other problems, I like the pockets and where they are. I've had it for about a year, and I'm glad to have it. I think this is the one

    Not so specific to kayaking, though I think slow water is its best usage (Wisconsin is great place for that!), I can't say enough good things about my sawyer water filter, but I'm pretty sure you're the one who told me about that one. :)

    I gotta say, if anyone was to recommend gear, you would be the one to go to.

    ~Meghan (very recreational slow-water paddler)

  2. I love, Rutabaga, Everytrail, Austin Kayak, Seattle Sports, NRS,, Paddling Planet, Church of the Double Bladed Paddle, C&K Mag of course and hundreds of others but I'm supposed to be working...So start clicking!

  3. HI PO, your idea is excellent! Here's a couple of iPhone related items I've really appreciated lately - both for sea kayaking and MANY other uses. The first is a SealLine eCase. I wrote up a little review on our blog that you can find here:

    It's the best waterproof case we've found yet - you can use the phone and it's safe in the wettest conditions. It's awesome and thin/light enough for hiking, running etc.

    The second item is an iPhone App called "Paperless". I use it for numerous purposes but for kayaking, I use it to log paddling time. You can enter a particular date (trip) and then add notes. It's also absolutely PERFECT for creating a "checklist" - always available before heading out. You create the checklist and then as you gather equipment together, you "check mark" the item (it drops down), and it's easy to ensure you have everything - especially little stuff that sometimes gets left at home. We don't forget stuff anymore! As I say, I use it for coutless other categories and lists! So there's a couple of pieces of kit - iPhone / kayaking related. Cheers, Duncan.

  4. awesome input guys. Thanks. Lets keep it going, and I will make something out of it.


  5. My favorite kayaking dream reading is at

  6. Honored to be on the page where you dream. I have news for you though, this is a dream you can make a reality.


  7. Excellent article. We discovered the same thing and it was one of the reasons we set up The community really needs a centralized repository of reviews, etc.

    So often in the past, when we were able to find reviews for gear we were interested in, none of it is kayaking or paddling specific and often times that stuff really matters! How well did that tent perform day in and day out in really wet weather camping on the beaches of BC? How durable were those dry bags and did they maintain at least some level of flexibility in order to get them into hatches easily? Was the ferrule wonky on that paddle or did it feel like a one piece with little to no play?

    If you have any gear that you want to do a review for, we are happy to post it up. We don't have any formalized submission requirements, but the more thoughtful and in-depth the article, the better. Media rich is best. You would be given full credit as the author of the article. As long as it is somehow related and tied back to how you use it in your paddling adventures/excursions we are happy to post it.

    Share your story:

    PO, not trying to poach users/readers. Please do not post if you feel this is an inappropriate outreach to the community.


  8. Not worried about you poaching users! The community is small enough - and my niche within it even smaller - I am sure we can help each other in terms of readership. I would love to write some reviews for you, and I will get that rolling as soon as I am done with my book project. about a month.

    thanks for stopping by!