Friday, November 29, 2013

The 3rd annual Kayaking Christmas

Congratulations! You made it through another year. Thanksgiving - if you live in the states - is behind us, and that means one thing. YES! It is time for another edition of the Paddling Otaku Kayaking Christmas list.

This year I spent most of the month of November doing a minimalist purge, and so clearly it is time to start thinking about new gear. So without making you wait any longer, here is this years list. From least expensive to most expensive, with only one item above $1000 (in the past people complained that the list was too dreamy.... ie. expensive) In about a week we will have the 'stocking stuffer' list, where everything is under $25.

Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown volume 3 $29.95(us) - I haven't seen this yet, I have a dream that in the future I am asked to review a new volume. Gordon Brown (who I have called the Yoda of Kayaking) is the Paddler I aspire to be, and Simon Willis is the film maker I aspire to be. I better get to work, and it will start with watching this video.

Suunto M3 Compass $34.95 - Repeat after me. You don't need something fancy. This compass does everything you need. Luminous Bezel, workable baseplate, Adjustable declination. I have been teaching Map and Compass for close to a decade, and this is the only compass I will use.

Gigapower torch $39.95 - Okay, I am not sure why I need this, which is tough for a minimalist to say, but it is so awesome! Essentially a blow torch that works off an isobutane canister made beautifully by snow peak. Use it to light Campfires. Or Cigars.

Ultimate Outdoor Map Kit $39.95 - The age of buying paper maps is (almost) over. With Free downloads for charts available for just about everywhere, round out your planning with tops printed 8.5x11 - which works perfectly for a kayaker. I am a big fan of this software when used in conjunction with National Geographic Adventure paper (which should also be on this list, but I am out of room!)

The New Black Diamond Spot $39.95 - I don't own this headlamp, I am still using the more expensive storm, BUT this is a killer. 130 lumen's (brighter than the storm which is ten dollars more) Spot light, Diffuse lights, Red lights, Dimmable. Lockable. Almost double the brightness of similarly priced petzls

Sea to Summit taper dry bag $54.95 - This choice is simple. Changed. My. Boat-packing-life! I know they say to use many small bags, but it just doesn't work for me. This one bag replaced two 20 liter bags that I used for clothes. I wish they made a smaller one for the tight in the bow (it could go in front of this one). The tip is eVent so you can squeeze air out, and it makes packing so much faster!

REI Allstar suit $79.95 - Another product I am itching to try. I paddled the inside passage wearing REI Powerdry mid weight base layers under my dry suit. They were awesome. This is the one piece version which means no gap at the back. Patagonia makes one also in Expedition weight, which for me is too heavy under a dry suit.

Spyderco Delica $100 approx. - I have been carrying this knife for over 20 years, and it has never let me down. Easy to sharpen, cuts anything. Flat in a pocket. You can find wild variations on price, so shop around (I saw it as low as $65!)

Astral Sea Wolf PFD $185 - I am loving this new PFD from Astral (Well, newly redesigned, and new for me) Comfortable, easy to adjust, and feature laden. I don't think there is a better touring PFD on the market.

Any Primaloft Jacket $99 to $199 - Whether you choose The North Faces Thermoball or Redblaze, Patagonia Nano Puff, Mountain Hardwear Compressor or the REI Revelcloud. If you are a paddler and need insulation for around camp. Nothing is warmer, packs smaller, or is more water resistant than primaloft. Can I get a sleeping bag please!

GoPro Hero 3+ $399 - You knew it was coming, right? I thought this was going to be a minor update, and invested in it just for the better battery life. I love it so much I am selling my Hero 3 black to buy another +. It is that good.

Werner Ovation (Special Edition) $480 - $570 This all carbon paddle looks like an upgraded Camano, a paddle near and dear to my heart. It has a slightly smaller blade than the Kalliste, they claim it is the lightest paddle they have ever made and it is 4 ounces less than my already unbelievably light straight shaft Kalliste. I am in love and I have never met her.

Kokatat Custom Dry Suit $1170 (depending on choices) Everyone knows that I love my Kokatat dry suit. Kokatat is now offering a feature where you can completely customize any aspect of the suit, from size through zipper covers and colors. I wish this existed when I got mine. I pieced together the suit of my dreams and it raised the price from the standard by around $150, which really isn't that bad considering all you get. If I were doing it again today - and if I was I would still get a Kokatat! - I would do it this way. Something else worth checking out while you are at Kokatats site is the Maximus Prime PFD, I didn't want to include it on the list because I haven't seen it in the flesh yet, but it looks interesting enough that I will seek one out and try it on.

So that is the wish list for this year. If you still need more ideas here are the lists from last year and the year before. As I mentioned above, in a week or so I will post my stocking stuffer list. Until then, have a great season, and keep paddling.

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