Thursday, October 31, 2019

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Outdoor Tip #324 - The Ziplock Mistake!

Another in a long line of outdoor tip videos - are you making "The Ziploc Mistake?"

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Big boats versus little boats

Recently a friend sent me a link to the new Oru Kayak - the Inlet. Which is their newest and smallest folding kayak. He asked what It thought. Here is the video that accompanies the boat on Kickstarter.

First I would argue that their points "where do you find the time, where do you find the space?" Are fallacies driven by capitalism run a muck. Yes, it may be hard for some people to find the time to paddle or follow other outdoor pursuits, but that isn't a problem that should be fixed by buying something. It is a problem that is fixed by getting your priorities straight, but that isn't what my friend was asking.

He asked, what I thought of this kayak, and even that has some problems with it. Was he asking what did I think of folding kayaks? What did I think of this particular type of folding kayak or what did I think of this specific Oru folding kayak. Again, it comes down to priorities.

If your priority is a boat that packs small and stores easily I think this is a great boat. It weighs a mere 20 pounds and according to Oru assemblies in 3 to 5 minutes. I would add, that is 3 to 5 minutes when you know how to do it. The first time I set one up it was close to 30. But at the end of that 3 to 5 minutes you are still paddling a ten foot long, 30 inch wide kayak. If you are okay with that, then its a great boat, but I am not okay with that.

You see everything in kayaking - or the outdoors, or life for that matter - is about trade-offs. So what am I giving up by paddling a boat that is 10 feet long by 30 inches wide? For reference, I currently paddle a boat that is 17 feet long by 22.5 inches wide. So how does that effect my paddling?

When boats are long, they do two things really well. They go in a straight line (which we call tracking), and they go fast. Which means this 10 foot long boat is going to be slow, and harder to paddle in a straight line.

When boats are shorter we say they don't track well, which means they don't want to go in a straight line, but they do turn really well, which is why white water kayaks are shorter. But when a boat gets shorter it also gets wider and that width does two things. It makes the boat far more stable, and it also contributes to the boat being slower.

Let's talk about the slower aspect first. When a boat is moving through the water the boats bow slices the water and forces the apart as it moves down both sides of the hull. The longer the boat is, the more time it has to do that, so the less pressure is exerted on each square inch of the bow and the hull of the boat. A wider boat has to push that water further apart, increasing the pressure on the hull, and in turn slowing the boat more - or requiring more effort to propel the boat forward. So a short wide boat is really slow. I could add that a flexible hull like on a folding kayak will also have a harder time pushing through the water, but let's save that conversation for another day.

Let's talk about the added stability. That's a good thing right? Well, yes and no. Yes, if you are a novice kayaker, you may want a more stable boat, but there are a lot of factors that play into stability and I would bet if the Oru kayak was 22.5 inches wide it would still be pretty stable. But for me, That added stability is a hindrance to making a boat perform even better. I want my boat to be a little unstable. Instability is in fact a good thing - to a point.

The reduced stability - and my boat is actually still pretty stable - gives me the ability to edge my boat through turns and roll my kayak. I use that instability as an advantage, the same way a fighter jet is inherently unstable. I want it to be easy for my boat to get tippy, it makes everything else I do in my kayak better and easier. But you have to be comfortable with that.

You see, I started this by saying everything is a trade-off. You have to decide where your priority is. My priority is a high performance boat. If your priority is a boat that packs easily, and can store under your desk - with the limitations that imposes, This may be the boat for you.

But if you are that person in the video, who somehow equates a kayak that fits under their desk with their life somehow making more sense. I would say take some time off work, and spend a couple of weeks paddling a real kayak in an amazing place. You may realize that the problem in your life isn't storing your kayak.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

My Last Weekend Teaching Kayaking

Recently I taught my last paddle classes for the season, and maybe for quite a while. Head over to YouTube to find out why.