Reader Request: Our Favorite Kayaking Gear

I sure can tell kayaking season has arrived. Lately, I have gotten a few emails asking what some of our favorite kayaking gear items are or what I would recommend. So I thought I would write about what we use and what we have found works for us during our paddling trips.

Keep in mind, we paddle mostly rivers with some whitewater involved. We have paddled lakes, although very seldom and when we do we use our recreational kayaks.

Let me also remind you that not everything listed you will find to your liking as much as we have. We have paddled now for years and have changed up our gear from time to time to adjust to our comfort while on the river.

Kayaks: We all own Jackson Kayaks. Our son has a Karma and both my husband and I own Villains. As for our reasoning to why we choose the type we did, well, honestly, we all have different likes and dislikes. I will give you my opinion and my opinion only. Safety and comfort were the big sellers for me. I LOVE the happy seat and the size of my kayak. I feel that if needed I can wet exit without any doubt, which was huge for me. (I had a little accident when we first started paddling in another kayak and will NEVER forget the feeling of being trapped underwater in a boat)

IMG_1094

PFD’s: We have gone through a few until finally finding our happy PFD’s. When you spend 4-6 hours in this safety device you really want to be comfortable. For us we all agreed that the Astral brand is for us. My husband and son have the same style and I wear the female version. Yes, believe it or not they make a female version that allows room for the “girls” to be comfortable also. Many of the other PFD companies have this feature also, so again, to each there own comfort. My advice to you is try them on, sit on the floor, and move your arms as you would while paddling. If you have rub zones anywhere hang it back up and try another PFD.

IMG_1260

Dry Bag: We have a few dry bags but the one that we like the most is from Sea Line (5L). This is the bag we take and load it up with a snack for up to 6 people, bug spray, travel size sunscreen, and my camera for every trip. It has always kept our items dry and is clear which means when we do need to open it we don’t need to rummage through everything to find what we are searching for which is very nice. It has held up for years and is still in great shape.

IMG_1254

Helmets: We all wear the same brand but a little different style. They are made by ProTec and were purchased through NRS. As you can see, my husbands is pretty beat up and has served it’s purpose a few times already. They are as comfortable as a helmet can be in my opinion as I am not a big fan of any helmet.

IMG_1258

Shoes: This is the item that we have replaced most often in the years we have been paddling. However, not due to damage, mainly due to style, and once forgetting them at the rivers edge…arggggg!  All our shoes were also purchased from NRS and for personal comfort reasons.

IMG_1257

Water bottles: Without a doubt I would suggest Nalgene bottles. Hook a carabiner to them and clip them behind your seat and you will have nothing to worry about. Ours have been thrown across rocks, down waterfalls, and on pavement and have never cracked yet.

IMG_1265

Safety Knife: My husband is the one that carries our safety knife on his PFD. Again, there are so many to choose from but we felt this knife would serve all our needs in any event where we would need to use one. Thankfully, we have never had to cut PFD straps or ropes from anyone or anything. The only thing it has cut so far is food wrappers at lunch time on the side of the river. Let’s hope it stays this way.

IMG_1263

Paddles: This is way to personal an item to suggest. There are so many variables to paddles that it is too hard to suggest a certain paddle to you. We all own different paddles and each of us dislikes the others for one reason or another.

That pretty much sums up what we use while on our rivers. We do carry a throw rope which can be purchased anywhere kayak supplies are sold and spray skirts are basically which ever company carries the proper size for the kayak you own. We have been very happy with the company called NRS and their customer service is beyond wonderful. I would highly suggest checking them out.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation to any of these companies and I receive no compensation to mention or recommend them and their products to all of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 10 Summer Essentials

Let’s talk about summer and some of the things I could never do without during these few months. Here in WI summer really only last about 3 months, sometimes a little more or less but for the most part 3 solid months. For me, I take advantage of every second. During these three months I have consolidated a list of my top 10 summer essentials. Let’s see how your summer essentials compare to mine.

#1 Sunscreen: I have finally found a favorite and I am sticking to it. It smells nice, actually does what sunscreen is suppose to do which is protect from sunburn, and does not feel like you are applying Elmer’s school glue to your body.

IMG_1252

#2 Fresh Veggies: From farmers markets, to road side veggie stands, to just stepping out in the backyard to pick our own, I cannot get enough fresh veggies.

IMG_2394

#3 Outdoor Exercise: Why anyone would go to a gym during the summer months to workout is beyond me. Use your imagination and get in a good sweat outside doing something fun.

IMG_5054

IMG_1674

IMG_1499DSC_0034

#4 Ice Cream: This is my favorite summer time treat. I would never turn down the offer to go out for ice cream.

IMG_2557

#5 Greecie Girl Headbands: Love, love, love these headbands. I wear these all year but would never exercise without them in the summer for sure. They stay where I put them, never slip, and can hold up to every activity I do. I have worn them on the river, trail, and at the gym. They come in a variety of great colors and patterns which is always a fun way to spice up any workout. Check them out here http://greeciegirlheadbands.com/

IMG_1242

#6 Vitalyte: We are an active family and replacement fluids are a big part of our summer. We go through gallons or Gatorade and Vitalyte.

IMG_1246

#7 Nalgene Cozy: Nothing drives me crazier than a sweaty water bottle that leaves puddles everywhere I set it down. Since I take my Nalgene water bottle everywhere with me I splurged on a Nalgene cozy with no regrets.

IMG_1249

#8 Clotheslines: Nothing says summer like fresh hung laundry and bedding.

IMG_1251

#9 Cool Summer Salads and Sushi: The last thing I want to do after spending the day outside is come in and prepare a hot dinner. So summer salads and sushi is rotated quite often on our weekly menu.

IMG_0717

#10 Our Kayaks: You all knew this one would be on the list, right? None of us could live without our kayaks and some paddling fun.

IMG_1095

What is something essential to you in the summer months?