I just saw a really the trailer for the very interesting documentary, The City Dark produced by Ian Cheney (also produced King Corn). The City Dark asks the question, "What do we lose, when we lose the night?"
Living here in downtown Toronto we hardly ever see the stars. Of course we see a couple but it’s nothing quite like watching them while sitting on the edge of a lake during a camping trip in the middle of summer.
Watching the trailer, I was excited that Astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is in it. That guy is such an inspirational scientist and has amazing ability to take mind crippling topics like black holes and explain it so a 3 year-old can understand. If you watch The Colbert Report you have most likely seen him on the show as he has been a guest of Stephen Colbert eight times now.
Here is a funny clip of him explaining about the recent discovery of a new earth-like planet and the chances of bears living on it. (Sorry my Canadian friends, you probably can’t view this clip).
Flickr photo credit: Toronto Night Skyline Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), announces the acceptance of the SNEWS/Backpacker “Best Online Retailer” award.
The award recognizes retailers who embody the spirit of entrepreneurship and who serve as visionaries for the outdoor market and leaders of the communities they serve.
“We are honored to have won this award, going up against the likes of larger companies such as REI and Backcountry.com makes this award extra special to us,” said Peter Messana, Austin Canoe and Kayak CEO, “it’s a validation that we are providing the best possible service to our customers and we look forward to continuing to deliver this service.”
Steve Messana, Austin Canoe and Kayak President, added: “We are proud of our entire staff for making this possible and most of all, we are grateful for those who voted for us. This award combined with the massive expansion of our product offering is legitimizing ACK as a full fledged outdoor adventure retailer.”
The winners were announced at an industry ceremony hosted by SNEWS, Backpacker and program sponsor Horny Toad during the 2012 Winter Outdoor Retailer Show on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
About Austin Canoe and Kayak
Founded over 20 years ago, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK) is an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer based out of Central Texas dedicated to providing exceptional customer service and the widest selection of paddlesports and outdoor equipment. ACK operates three physical retail shops in Austin, San Marcos and Houston, Texas and an online store at www.AustinKayak.com.
Backpacker Editor-In-Chief Jonathan Dorn and his staff of editors and testers presented MSR with the award for the WhisperLite Universal stove at the annual Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, January 19th.
The Backpacker Editors’ Choice Awards, bestowed annually since 1993, honor the products thatBackpacker editors have chosen as the best of the year based on months of trail testing by teams of highly experienced hikers and climbers. With no set categories for the awards and no set number of recipients, the products and the testing process drive the award categories.
The MSR WhisperLite Universal Stove was one of only 13 innovative products that have been honored with a 2012 Backpacker Editors’ Choice Award. The new stove is MSR’s first hybrid-fuel stove and combines canister and liquid fuel capabilities into one comprehensive package. Fuel-specific jets and fuel source couplers let it burn just about anything, from white gas and kerosene to unleaded gasoline, while an inverted canister improves performance.
"BACKPACKER gear reviews have many imitators, a few competitors, and no equals," said Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Dorn. "That's because no other magazine or website conducts in-depth field-testing as vigorously or impartially as the crew led by Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter. With a core team that has several centuries of combined trail time, along with first descents, decades of retail experience, and expertise in every backcountry discipline, Kristin puts new products through an unprecedented level of real-world abuse in every terrain and weather imaginable. She also oversees a transparent process that has earned an unrivaled amount of trust from readers, retailers, and manufacturers. The results are reviews that lead consumers to smart, durable products that consistently prove their worth with years of best-in-class performance."
“Since MSR’s inception in 1969, we’ve been committed to quality, local manufacturing and innovation. The WhisperLite Universal is the result of years of hard work and, at long last, easily powers globe-trotting expeditions by working with numerous types of fuel,” said Drew Keegan, Division Director, Stoves and Cookware for Cascade Designs. “We’re huge fans of Backpacker, their scrupulous testing methods, and their expertise in the outdoor industry. We’re honored.”
The Backpacker Editors’ Choice Awards are the gold standard against which all outdoor products are measured, and are a seal of approval that can help put an outdoor company or product on the proverbial map. Each year at the Outdoor Retailer show, retail buyers use the awards announcements as a must-buy shopping list, knowing that their customers will be asking for these products in the spring.
Since their inception, the Backpacker Editors’ Choice Awards have come to be regarded as the most sought-after award for outdoor equipment and apparel found in the industry. The impeccable outdoor credentials and rigorous field-testing standards of the Backpacker staff guarantee that these awards are an undisputed mark of quality for the companies and products selected.
All winners must excel under extensive field-testing conducted by Backpacker’s team of editors, who take hundreds of new products every year into the backcountry to put them to the test. This rigorous process ensures that the performance of the winners is truly worthy of distinction and meets the guiding principle behind the program: gear that is of real value to the readers ofBackpacker magazine, who are very active, long-term outdoor enthusiasts.
The complete list of Backpacker 2012 Editors’ Choice Award winners will be officially announced to the general public in the magazine’s April Gear Guide issue, on newsstands March 6, 2012.
Werner Paddles just announced their new SUP racing paddle line called the Grand Prix which will come with three blade shapes in both straight and bent shaft (12 degree bend) designs.
The straight shaft weighs in at an unbelievable 15.5 ounces and of course that light weight comes at a price. The MSRP is $389 for the straight shaft while the bent is going to be approximately $465.
Look for it at your local paddling shop mid-March.
More info: wernerpaddles.com
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 did have the space, the whole thing seems a touch unnecessary.
And finally the weirdest (so far) that I could find is described as, “an apparatus for use in evaluating paddled watercraft.”
From what I can tell, it’s a device designed to sit on the paddleshop floor that would allow a customer to get a feel for how a kayak would handle on the water without actually needing to be on the water. Not sure exactly how it works but it seems to have a series of rollers enabling you to test its stability side to side. How is this not in all shops!?
Did any of these items ever actually make it to market in a slighty different form? Let me know in the comments.
If you are like me there is a very good chance that you struggle to explain to your students the basics of how tides work.
To help solve the mystery, the gang from Minute Physics produced a very cool video that explains the basics so simply that that my 10 year-old could understand.
Also, if you have also got an extra minute why don’t you learn why some rocks on the shoreline are round while other rocks are flat and perfect for skipping across the water.
Who knew that gravity affected our lives so much? I didn’t.
I would say 90% of this video are bang-on for whitewater paddlers so I want to know when somebody is going to put together one for sea kayakers?
Here is my working list so far but feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.
“You can only roll 3 different ways?!”
“Pungo’s are not real kayaks.”
“I don’t care what colour my new drysuit and PFD are as long as they are black.”
“How do you like my beard?”
“The waves on the lake were at least 10 feet high.”
“Hold on, I left my Tilley hat in the car.”
To the store clerk, “Does this come in black?”
Eight women, led by Kokatat athlete and former Australian Adventurer of the Year Tanya Faux, are set to embark on a 30-day unsupported river expedition through an uncharted section of the Kimberley region in North Western Australia. The Kimberley Whitewater Women Rafting Expedition aims to raise awareness for the Save the Kimberley campaign (www.savethekimberley.com) whose goal is to protect the cultural, historical, and environmental significance of the region.
“Tanya is a fantastic ambassador for our sport and the environment, and we’re proud to support her and her team on this historic and important expedition,” said Lisa Kincaid, Kokatat Promotional Marketing Manager.
The expedition was inspired by Faux’s previous kayak expeditions in the region and the dispute over a proposed gas hub in the area. While the controversial industrialization in the Kimberley region has been narrowly resisted thus far, the Save the Kimberley campaign is petitioning to gain World Heritage Status for over 20 hectares of what has been deemed “one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth”.
The self-titled Kimberley Whitewater Women, depart from Melbourne to Broome on January 14th and will proceed into the Kimberley via helicopter to begin the first rafting leg of the journey down the Isdell River. Over the course of the expedition, the team will encounter class 5 rapids on the Isdell and Charnley rivers and will complete a 150km off-track hike in between. The team’s daily progress will be posted on their website www.kimberleywhitewaterwomen.
The eight women on the team are all current or past employees of the Outdoor Education Group in Eildon, Victoria, (www.oeg.net.au) and as outdoor educators, enthusiasts, and adventure seekers, all support and advocate for the protection of wilderness regions.
Kokatat has provided each member of the team with Ronin Pro PFDs and a selection of its Destination technical apparel. The Destination apparel which features UV protection in paddling specific designs will help protect them from the sun throughout the journey as they endure extreme tropical temperatures in a territory teeming with saltwater crocodiles in the midst of the mating season.
To date, the team has raised over $2000 for both Save the Kimberley and the Wananami Remote Community School at Mount Barnett Station. Donations can be made online at www.kimberleywhitewaterwomen.
About Kokatat Watersports Wear:
Celebrating over 40 years of innovation, Kokatat is an independently operated, US manufacturer of technical apparel and accessories for water sports. Handcrafted in Arcata, California, Kokatat employees are focused on building the finest functional product for people who work and play on water. Our gear is designed for paddlers, by paddlers, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the water all year long and in all weather conditions. Into the water with Kokatat! Please visit www.kokatat.com and follow Kokatat on Facebook and Twitter “@kokatat”.
Check out these boat shoes from this vintage photo. Looks like she is standing on top of two torpedoes. Sadly the date and location of the photo is unknown.
How did this boat design not take off in popularity?
Flckr Photo credit: ADiamondFellFromTheSky, Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic / CC BY-NC 2.0
Yesterday CNET posted a mini gallery of somebody who transformed their canoe into one of the greatest boats on this Class-M planet we call earth.
This was put together for the annual Venice Canals Association holiday boat parade and of course it won first place. Captain Kirk would have had it no other way.
Photo credit: Venice Canals Holiday Boat Parade 045 Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0