Gear Buying Guides

Paddling Guide

For guidance on how to choose the kayak for you, CLICK HERE

Carrier Guide

Information on selecting the right carrier, CLICK HERE.

In addition to hauling the board or boat to the shore, you also need to get your craft to the water. For some, this is pretty awkward, and can be made easier and more efficient with a cart. BOAT CARTS come in a few designs, from super compact to highly durable, just to make the trip from parking to launching a smooth one.

Finally, when you’re back at home after being out on the water all day, having a method to store your boat, board, and paddle will guarantee years of fun. Consider some of our STORAGE OPTIONS as solutions.

Water Shoes

Choosing appropriate paddling shoes makes the difference between a joyful, easy trip and a painful recovery afterwards. Wear shoes that will stay on your feet even in currents and muck, with soles thick enough to not tear or puncture on rocks or shells. If you paddle when the water is cold, use neoprene booties with either wool or neoprene socks.

SHOP WATER SHOES

Sun Protection

Over-exposure to the sun causes uncomfortable symptoms, which if unaddressed require a full stop in cooling shade to treat. Protect yourself from the top down with a sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen on your face, a Buff on your neck, a long-sleeve UV-protective top, sunscreen or gloves for the backs of your hands, and sunscreen or quick-drying UV-protective pants on your legs. Gear aside, hydrate properly, and if you are faced with a long crossing, keep cool by wetting your hat, neck, and top.

SHOP UV PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

Cold Water Clothing

If the air and water temperatures combine to less than your body temperature, you need to insulate yourself with layers that work when you swim. The most versatile piece of paddling insulation is a sleeveless, full-leg (“Farmer John” style) neoprene wetsuit. Some people choose neoprene shorts and shirts for even more versatility, and use them with the wetsuit for more insulation. However, when the neoprene becomes so thick you are hot but cannot move, you need to switch to a drysuit. These garments keep all water out and allow you to wear dry fleece insulation underneath.

For more on selecting cold water paddling gear, CLICK HERE.

Bad Weather Clothing

BAD WEATHER CLOTHING:

Think you might be paddling in the rain? Be prepared in advance with a backpacking rain hat, jacket, and pants, all of which repel water and keep out wind as you move forward. If you find yourself often going out in bad weather, specific jackets and pants are tailored for the seated user moving through the paddle stroke, making them more comfortable.

SHOP PADDLE CLOTHING

Dry Storage

There are some things paddlers will not leave the shore without, and they need to be kept dry. While many kayaks have hatches for storage, items inside may get wet from splashes, rain, and condensation, so it still isn’t wise to leave a smartphone unprotected. Electronics in particular need to be kept air, dust, and water tight, as well as made to float in the event they go overboard. For this level of protection, several pouches and cases are designed specifically for electronics, and many seasoned paddlers use them inside a larger dry bag for additional coverage.

For non-electronics, such as food and rain gear, dry bags usually have roll or zip closures that keep your supplies protected from routine splashes and short immersions. A 10-liter dry bag is perfect for lunch and some snacks for a couple paddlers, while a 20-liter model is common for fleece, a hat, and rain gear.

If your gear has to be “bombproof,” so it can survive hard use in rough conditions, invest in the beefiest dry bags. Tearing a new lightweight bag on a deck fitting or rock is frustrating and adds unnecessary complexity.

Finally, for your convenience, many bags are available in see-though materials to make it easier to win quickly in the game of “dry bag bingo” when you need that one shirt that’s deep in the pile.

SHOP DRY BAGS AND BOXES

Safety Gear

In The Coastal Kayaker’s Manual: The Complete Guide to Skills, Gear and Sea Sense, author Randel Washburne describes four sequential paddling safety concepts: avoid trouble, survive rough seas, recover from capsizing, and signal for help. All kayakers and Paddleboarders can use these concepts. Within this context, safety equipment comes into play only after the first two levels have failed. The best paddlers develop the knowledge to avoid trouble by taking classes and learning about the local waters from more experienced paddlers and boaters.

They also develop their paddling skills to navigate around or handle rough water. In the event you capsize, they learn to roll back upright or re-enter the boat or board (possibly using safety gear) and continue their trip. When all else fails, they use equipment to signal for help.

That being said, even a novice paddler on a small pond is responsible for carrying a minimal amount. Check with your local authorities, but for kayak and Paddleboard users, this usually consists of a life vest (PFD) and an audible signal (whistle or horn). At night, a visual signal (headlamp or marker light) is added.

Other highly recommended pieces of gear are leashes, and for sit-inside kayakers, paddle floats and bilge pumps. Leashes eliminate the decision, upon capsizing, about which to swim for, the paddle or the boat or board. To simplify things, tether yourself to your board, or attach your paddle to your boat. A paddle float and bilge pump, meanwhile, enable a solo touring paddler in deep water to climb back aboard a swamped kayak and empty the cockpit unassisted.

Along with everything mentioned above, additionally consider bringing dry clothes, food and drink to re-warm after an unexpected swim, and navigation gear, such as maps, charts, a compass, and guidebook, to stay on or regain course throughout the trip.

SHOP SAFETY GEAR

Selecting the Best Hiking Clothes: 6 Recommendations

If you’re gearing up to head out on a hike, you certainly want to make sure you have all the right equipment, such as the proper backpack, maps, and other gear—but if you don’t also wear the right clothes, your trip will quickly become an uncomfortable experience.

Wearing the right hiking clothes means knowing the type of trail you’ll be on, what the temperature and climate will be, and how long you’ll be outdoors. So before you get dressed, take these factors into consideration to make your decisions accordingly.

Materials

The best HIKING CLOTHES are made of synthetic materials that keep you dry as you start to work harder and sweat more. While you may be tempted to wear that soft cotton tee, don’t! It will actually just trap sweat and moisture, staying wet and cooling you down. In addition to being uncomfortable, you will quickly get the chills if you’re heading up a mountain and the temperature drops.

The best materials are soft, lightweight, and moisture wicking. TECHWICK is a great example of such a material, and can be used as a skin-tight base layer or a T-shirt. In addition to staying dry, you’ll notice synthetic materials, such as polyester, allow your body to breathe much more, releasing pent-up heat to keep you comfortable. Merino wool is also an excellent material that not only wicks moisture away but also drives away any odors. This makes a perfect base layer in colder weather, but can also be a good choice for any warm-weather hikes.

Additionally, you may want to wear either a short- or long-sleeve shirt, depending on how hot it is, but remember that a short-sleeve shirt leaves your skin exposed to the elements, including sunburn and scratches from plants and rocks.

Pants and Shorts

The decision to wear HIKING PANTS OR SHORTS is up to you, so let’s look at the pros and cons of both. Shorts give you ultimate freedom and are also cooler than pants, so if you’re going on a low-altitude summer hike, you’ll most likely be in good shape.

Pants, which should be made of durable, quick-drying fabrics such as spandex or nylon (just as with your upper body, be sure to avoid cotton), should be worn if you expect any drop in temperature or heavy vegetation along the trail. Wearing pants keeps your legs protected from hazards such as poison ivy or other allergenic plants, and keeps you warmer when the temperature drops as you gain elevation.

Boots and Socks

There are as many different kinds of HIKING BOOTS as there are trails out there, but whatever you choose, you’ll need to make sure your footwear is durable, comfortable, and appropriate for the conditions. If the trail is excessively wet or muddy, consider boots with Gore-Tex or another waterproof material to keep your feet drier. If the trail is very rocky, such as you may find in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, pick boots that come up slightly higher on the ankle for increased support.

Of course, when it comes to footwear, fit is everything. The wrong boots could leave your feet aching and give you serious blisters. Get with experts like the Foot Gurus at Eastern Mountain Sports to find the perfect-fitting footwear.

But the best boots must be complemented by the right socks. The best socks, like other garments, are made of wool or synthetic materials that dry fast and let your feet and toes breathe.

Rain Gear

Even if there’s no rain in the forecast, don’t leave home without a good RAIN JACKET. The weather conditions can change quickly, so it’s best to be prepared with a waterproof, breathable rain jacket inside your hiking backpack. These jackets use advanced technology to let sweat and body moisture out without letting rain or other precipitation in.

Ponchos also work well for keeping you and your pack dry during an unexpected rainstorm, but they won’t be as comfortable, or stylish, as a solid rain jacket.

Hats

A hat is a great way to keep the sun off your face and protect your head from direct, harmful rays. Some of the best hiking hats are full-brimmed, water-repellent garments that are extremely breathable and keep your head warm, and can keep the rain out of your face in the event of a storm.

Layering

Before you go hiking, always assume that the temperature could drop significantly, especially if you’re going up in elevation. One of the best ways to stay protected from any changes in weather is to use a three-layer system of clothing. As your base, wear a lightweight, moisture-wicking garment. If it gets chilly, pull a light- or medium-weight fleece out of your HIKING BACKPACK, and then, use an outer shell to keep out any wind or rain.

Wearing the right hiking clothes can mean the difference between staying comfortable and focused on your journey, or getting wet, sunburnt, sweaty, and scratched up. So you enjoy your time in the outdoors, make sure to factor in the conditions ahead and then plan your attire and gear accordingly.

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