Re: kayak equipment

Posted by FrankP on Oct 26, 2005

I'm late on this thread but would like to recommend getting or making a good paddle first and foremost. First, it's very hard to find good sales on paddles...they just don't go out of style fast enough. Second, it's your first line of defense against going for a swim, and also the one thing that will tire you out first (and most) if it doesn't fit you well weight &/or length-wise. That doesn't mean go blow 60% of your budget on a superlight CF paddle, but shop wisely and spend well. You can get a decent paddle for $125 or you can make one for substantially less.

PFDs can be had cheaply, and though they may be less comfortable, they will still keep you alive. I would recommend essentially the same thing Mac said, buy one designed with paddling in mind and see if it works for you. REI Outlet has decent PFDs on sale for as low as $40. You can find similar prices in a lot of places (MEC is a good alternative with slightly lower prices-usually). Good names are Lotus Designs, Extrasport , MadRiver, and Stohlquist. There are probably other brands I didn't mention that are plenty good, but those are the ones I know. I bought LLBean PFDs for myself and my daughter and we are both reasonably happy with them. I will likely modify mine or buy a new one at some point, but I couldn't complain about $70 for both of them. Mostly the only differences are pockets and personal fit since flotation has a legal requirement levied against it.

Wet suits are a dime a dozen and you can always find one on sale for well under $100 that will be plenty suitable for paddling in the fall and spring. If the concept of used suits doesn't squick you out (it does me) then that's a pretty good alternative for ridiculously cheap (~$15) wet suits.

Gloves and booties can also be had relatively cheaply if you shop around...probably <$40 for the both. Or just go with neoprene socks and homemade "mittens" that secure around your paddle shaft instead of gloves. That cuts you down to about $20.

Nylon spray skirts can be made for under $20 or you can buy a cheap one on sale for around $40-50. Neoprene skirts are a bit more expensive but realistically you can find them near $100.

Don't forget safety equipment like a paddle float, signaling device of some sort (preferably 2), and light sources. Also marine band VHF radio with a weather channel if you're going to be somewhere other people aren't typically going to see you.


In Response to: Re: kayak equipment by kurt freewald on Oct 22, 2005



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