Gear

Trolling through the US patent office for kayaking related inventions is a bit like wandering around the Island of Misfit Toys. While some patents have been issued for products that have been introduced to the market, a huge number of patents have been issued for inventions that...well...most likely will name make it to your local paddling shop. Here are a couple highlights that I found: In 2004 a patent was issued for this Emergency Air System for Kayaks. In theory it seems like a good idea for whitewater paddlers but according to the filing, it was going to be intended for paddlers who fail their roll the first time and need another breath before trying again. Here is somebody who invented what could be called the worlds most complicated hydration system for kayaking. It involves a bladder that held water behind your seat followed by a series of tubes through the deck of your kayak and up to your mouth. This was unique because of a squeezable bulb (mounted between your legs) which would be used to pressurize the bladder. No sucking for you! I don’t know a single person who hasn’t said that they wished their kayak deck came with a set of luggage racks so I have no idea why manufactures didn’t jump all over this invention. Just think of the junk luggage I could have taken on trips if this patent from 1993 had come to market. Speaking of people who like to bring lots of stuff, here is the perfect accessory for your next camping trip. This Buoyant Storage Vessel comes with its own cooler, gas powered stove and yes, a kitchen sink. Looking at the filing, I couldn’t figure out how it would work in real life. Picture this, you get to your campsite at the end of a long day and then you are expected to drag it up on the beach to use it as a portable kitchen. Let’s hope that you have the 13-14 feet treeless, flat ground available at your campsite or else the whole thing is pointless. Even if you…
  If you are the type of camper who hates scrapping burnt dinner off your dented pots (me) because of somebody’s poor cooking skills (mine) then you might be interested in the Hexa Pot. The Hexa Pot is a collapsible pot made from a special non-toxic waterproofing multi-ply paper material to prevent liquid from leaking out or soaking through the paper. Of course you’re asking how a paper pot won’t burn (like last night’s dinner) when it’s over the high heat of a camp stove. The secret is that as long as you have liquid in the bottom of the pot, it will keep the paper from getting hot enough to ignite. Isn’t science awesome? According to the manufacture; it’s primarily designed as a single-use pot in the aftermath of a disaster to disinfect water by boiling but the material is strong enough to be used several times while out camping over the weekend. The pot is perfect for heating drinks and durable enough to cook a pasta dinner. Right now you can’t buy it as it’s still in the prototype stage but they have posted the project on Kickstarter to try to raise the capital to bring it market so here is your chance to get in on the ground floor! Photo credits: Hexa Pot
I believe there are many in the outdoor world that would disagree with the Fail Blog and herald the Ugg Croc Toe Shoe as the greatest shoe of all time. For me? I have to agree with the Fail Blog but hey, whatever floats your boat...
If you carry a bike or kayak on your car and also suffer short-term memory loss you might be interested in the Headsup System. It’s designed to remind you that you have rack-mounted stuff on your car’s roof so you don’t drive full speed into the garage damaging your expensive toys. The design behind it is pretty simple. You store a small wireless tag with your gear on the roof and another inside your car. When you approach your garage door an LED sign on the wall starts to flash along with a beeper in your car reminding you to stop. Of course this whole thing works great at home but still wouldn’t help the two people I watched crunch their canoe and whitewater kayak when trying to park underground at the Toronto Mountain Equipment Co-op. Both incidents were not pretty... Prices start around $170. Top Photo credit: IMG_5399.JPG / j.s. clark / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0Bottom Photo Credit: headsupsystems.com
If a bothy bag isn’t part of your gear kit yet, you should consider adding this ultra-lightweight emergency shelter to it pronto. I’m a huge fan of them and it’s easily one of the top three pieces of gear that I own. Basically a bothy bag is a nylon sheet cut to easily wrap around you and your friends while you sit on the ground. It cuts the wind and on a cool day warms everybody up with the body heat of the people inside. To demonstrate their effectiveness, the gang from the White Squall Paddling Center put together a quick demonstration of them in action. My guess is that they stayed out for several hours long after the camera operator got cold and went back inside to watch television. There are several manufactures like Terra Nova or Brooks Range Mountaineering who make them in various sizes. You can get them small enough to fit 1-2 people or as many as 12 if you regularly guide or paddler with groups. If you were wondering where the name comes from, Wikipedia describes a Bothy as "a basic shelter, usually left unlocked and available for anyone to use free of charge". Click through and read the full article and become a expert on the history of Bothies. You will impress everybody at your upcoming work holiday party later this week or at least something to talk about that isn't work-related... Top Photo Credit: Bothy 2 / Phil Rogers / CC BY-NC 2.0Bottom Photo Credit: Brooks Range Mounteering

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