If you have ever dreamed of making customizations to your sea kayak you need to check out Gnarlydog's summary post of every single hack he has made to his boat over the years. You need to check it out as his site is fantastic and always a great read.

There are links on the page to articles he has written over the years highlighting his homebuilt electronic pump with magnetic on/off switch or instructions on how to build your own custom fibreglass replacement seat.

If you are scared about putting holes in your brand new kayak, just remember it’s only the first hole that really hurts (in theory).

Photo Credit: GnarlyDog News

Published in Gear

I don’t care what camping traditionalists or lightweight campers have to say; I feel that Coleman’s new propane powered camping oven is one of the greatest inventions in the last 10 minutes.

Published in Gear
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 16:56

Aquapac Unveils Waterproof iPad Case

Aquapac has just announced a 100%-waterproof case for the iPad.

It’s got a couple of appealing features compared to other waterproof cases on the market including the large twist and clamp opening. When the three camps are closed you know that there is a 100%-waterproof seal.

The other thing that looks very appealing is the 3.5mm nickel-plated earphone socket that allows you to watch movies yet keep the waterproof integrity of the bag intact.

The MSRP is around $60 US.

Published in Gear

VW Van Tent

You can get your VW Camper Van Tent from firebox.com for £299.99 and comes in Yellow, Red or Blue. Sadly you can’t get it to look like the Mystery Machine.

Back to the Future Car

Now we just need somebody to develop a Back to the Future Delorean tent and we will be all set.

Published in Gear

Sparxgear Fire Piston

Any inventor with an awesome idea will tell you how difficult it is to take it from prototype to store shelves. In many cases an awesome idea never gets off the ground because they just can’t find the cash.

Finding that cash has always been difficult but getting easier. In the past year or so, Kickstarter has become the largest funding website for creative projects or inventions.

Here is how it works. You are looking for funding for your project, invention, art piece or documentary. On Kickstarter you create a page to sell your idea and people pledge. If the idea meets the fundraising goal then credit cards gets charged and everybody is happy. You get the funding and project backers get a piece of the action depending on their pledge level.

Browsing through the site, here are a couple of cool outdoor related projects currently looking for funding or were recently successful:

Published in 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:

Kayak Water Breather

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.

Hydration system for kayak integration

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!

Kayak Deck Rack

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.

The Kayak Trailer

The Kayak Trailer

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.

Kayak Testing Base

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.

Published in Gear

 The Hexa Pot

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.

Hexa Pots folded up.

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

Published in Gear

IMG_5399.JPG

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.

Headsup System

Top Photo credit: IMG_5399.JPG / j.s. clark / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Bottom Photo Credit: headsupsystems.com

Published in Gear

Bothy 2

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.

Bothy Bag by Brooks Range

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 2.0
Bottom Photo Credit: Brooks Range Mounteering

Published in Gear
Sunday, 27 November 2011 21:30

Build Your Own Papercraft Kayak

If you are like me you probably don’t have a lot of space in your living room to start building a 17 foot kayak.

To help solve that problem, Jöns Aschan from paddlingsfabriken.fi developed a papercraft kayak available for download. All you need to do is carefully cut out all the pieces with a pair of sharp scissors and tape it all together (just like the real thing). The price is €2.00 ($2.65US) and it works best if you can print it out on thick stock paper.

Looks like a great rainy afternoon project for sure.

Published in Websites
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