One issue I face when going kayak camping or backpacking is how to bring along my camp chair. I have a Kelty Folding Mesh Chair which I love using on camp outs and tailgates, but at 8 lbs and nearly 3 feet tall when packed down it’s not a truly portable camp chair option. Often what I need is something I can easily slide into my kayak’s dry hatch or something that’ll fit into my pack for extended backpacking trips. Sound like something you can relate to? Keep reading.
The Portable Camp Chair Solution
New to ACK, the Helinox Portable Camp Chair is the solution I have been searching for. It’s lightweight, weighs 2 lbs, and packs down to just over a foot tall, something that I can easily slide into my backpack or kayak. It’s strong enough to hold a capacity of up to 320 lbs and comes with it’s own carrying case.
The portability comes in from it’s utilization of break apart aluminum pole technology similar to many tents from the manufacturer DACPole. Not only does this technology make it a great portable camp chair option, but also very easy to assemble. In fact, the chair almost assembles itself with self locating shock cord technology. See for yourself:
The Helinox portable camp chair comes in two different options: tactical and regular. The main differences between the two is that the tactical has a solid fabric with two seat back pockets (and costs a little more) while the regular uses a breathable mesh material. Both versions boast four different color options. I see a blue Helinox Portable Camp Chair joining the rest of my gear back home very soon.
The Portable Camp Table Solution
Helinox didn’t stop with their portable camp chair. You can also now find the Helinox Portable Camp Table at ACK, another solution for those looking to bring a table with them on trips where space is limited. Like the chair, the table packs down to just over a foot tall and weighs less than 1.5 lbs! It features a durable nylon table top and has to drink holders built into the tables surface. No more knocking cups off the table.
For campers looking for lightweight camping gear, Helinox gear is for you. Check them out and be sure to post any comments or questions below. Thanks for reading!
Whatever kind of paddling you like to do, it’s important to always wear your life jacket (or PFD) while you’re out on the water. Think of it like wearing a seat belt in your car – you probably won’t find yourself in a situation where you need it, but it’s a precaution that can be live saving should the worst happen. I came across some great life jacket facts from the Safe Boating Campaign about why you should actually put it on one while you’re out paddling and wanted to share them here:
U.S. Coast Guard’s 2010 statistics stated that approximately 88 percent of boaters who drowned were reported as not wearing life jackets.
This means that over 400 boaters died unexpectedly because they were uninformed or simply not in the habit of taking this significant safety precaution.
It is human nature to think it can’t happen to me–but it can.
The majority of people who drown in boating accidents know how to swim, but become incapacitated in the water.
Sometimes they are injured or unconscious.
Others develop hypothermia or become exhausted.
Some are weighed down by clothing.
An accident usually happens without warning.Other reasons why people don’t wear a life jacket are that it is too hot, or it will mess up their tan line, or they are simply not comfortable.
Usually after the accident, the life jackets are not within reach–in cabinets, trapped under the vessel, floating far away in the water.
Many people don’t realize the variety of new life jackets that are on the market–belt packs and other inflatable styles that are low profile and light weight.
It is important to wear a life jacket at all times while boating.
With a new year comes new adventure and paddlers everywhere are looking ahead to what they want 2014 to hold for them and their kayak, canoe or paddle board. I decided to find out what types of paddling goals were being set by asking our ACK social pages. Here were the 5 most common paddling goals that I heard:
Paddle more. More than anything else, paddlers said they just wanted to get out on the water more in 2014.
Learn how to roll. This specialized paddling skill is one that sets the novice and expert apart and can be done in just about any sit-inside kayak.
Buy my first kayak. Many paddlers get on the water using rentals or a friend’s second ‘yak and are ready to have their own in 2014. Hey, we can help with that!
Paddle a particular body of water. It might be an old favorite or a destination well known for beautiful paddling views (like Glacier Bay, Alaska). I’d like to visit Texas’ Devil’s River!
Catch ___ from my kayak. Kayak anglers are hoping 2014 will be the year they catch the big one, and for some that means a 20 lb Striper off the coast and others just means their first bass. Whatever your kayak fishing goals are for 2014, I wish you luck!
The iCast 2013 Best Product of Show is coming to ACK!
The Power Pole Micro Anchor is headed for ACK! This electronic shallow water anchoring system is designed for kayaks, canoes, and small boats up to 1500 pounds. Kayak anglers, this one is for you!
Here’s how it works:
Thinking About Buying One? Read this.
For $595, you get the Power Pole Micro Anchor, a wireless remote to control the micro anchor, a wireless dash switch that can be mounted on board and used instead of the wireless remote, all mounting hardware, an adjustable mounting bracket, a quick release cord, USB connector, and access to Power Pole’s free Android Operating System app that will allow your phone to act as the controller as well.
In addition to the Power Pole Micro Anchor, you must purchase the Micro Spike. This is an 8 foot long stake out pole designed specifically for the Micro Anchor. It does not come included with the actual unit itself. What is unique about the Micro Anchor is that if you already have a stake out pole and do not want to use the 8′ Micro Spike, you are able to use that, as long as it is 3/4″ in diameter (such as the YakAttack Park ‘N’ Pole).
Emergency preparedness is an important aspect of outdoor adventures that often is overlooked or forgotten. What many people don’t realize is that it doesn’t usually take much. Getting a basic kit like the Weekender First Aid Kit and keeping it in your pack or car glove compartment can prepare you for a variety of situations.
Supplies Paired with the Knowledge To Use Them
The Weekender First Aid Kit is intended to keep up to 6 people prepared for up to a week in the field. It doesn’t just offer supplies for emergency situations but also basic instructions on how to use them. It should never replace seeking medical attention, but when you have the Weekender First Aid Kit packed away nearby you can feel confident that you are prepared for the worst.
As with all of the Adventure Medical Kits that are stocked at ACK, the Weekender First Aid Kit is packed full of user friendly features. A basic but important one is that it is very clearly labelled and bright blue. This is especially important if in an emergency someone else has to grab the med kit, you can easily explain what it looks like and they don’t have to spend time searching through bags.
It’s organized into compartments labeled by injury or incident with the necessary supplies and simple instructions.The instructions do a good job of giving a crash course on how to assess a situation, when medical attention is needed and what to do in the mean time. Adventure Medical Kits even go as far as including a patient assessment chart that goes over documenting the details of the scene, subject information, noting vitals, and an evacuation plan. These probably aren’t things that you would slow down and think to use these when in a stressful situation, but they are still good to have.
The Weekender First Aid Kit also includes supplies to treat different injuries plus simple and easy to follow directions on how to identify what the issue is and how best to treat it for ailments such as fractures, sprains, and cuts. Not only that, but it also includes supplies for the one who is treating the patient. Being sanitary when treating others is extremely important and the Weekender First Aid Kit has the essentials like a bio-hazard face shield and gloves.
Don’t Rely On the Kit Alone
The most important part of being prepared, after having a complete first aid kit like the Weekender, is knowing what is inside and how to use it. Familiarize yourself with its contents and keep it easily accessible because there may be a time, whether it’s a matter of survival or cuts and scrapes, where you will be thankful that you were prepared.
Written by Austin Assistant Store Manager Bill Newberry
A towel might not be the first thing that comes to mind when listing out favorite paddling accessories, but it is for me. When I hit the water, I almost always have a McNett Microfiber Towel with me.
With fibers smaller than a strand of human hair, these towels are super absorbent, soft and dry faster than normal towels. What makes them great for kayaking is that they are light and compact and they can easily fit into a Fisherman or Chinook PFD, which I like to wear. You might want to think about re-purposing or just leaving the Mesh bag at home, the towel in its mesh bag gets a little too bulky in your PFD pocket.
But the real benefit of the McNett Microfiber Towel is the silver ions they are treated with. These ions allow the towel to stay fresh and odorless longer than a standard towel, making them a necessity for camping or multi-day kayaking trips. They also do a great job doubling as a bandanna or a dew rag to help keep cool and protected from the sun.
Don’t settle for the same old stocking-stuffers! I’ve picked out five goodies that are sure to wow any lover of the outdoors when they dig into their stocking this holiday season!
Remember, if you don’t find what you’re looking for below, there are plenty more stocking stuffers to be found in the ACK 2013 Holiday Gift Guide.
1. Outside Inside Holiday Ornaments
Paddling enthusiasts will love to have one of these Outside Inside Ornaments reflecting their adventures on the water whether it by canoe, kayak or raft. For less than $10, give your favorite paddler a symbol of their favorite pastime to hang wherever they like!
2. LuminAid Inflatable Solar Powered Lantern
The LuminAID Light packs flat, is highly portable, and is water-resistant. Charge it in the sun for 6-7 hours and it’ll deliver up to 16 hours of LED light. It easily inflates using a valve and diffuses light like a lantern. Need I say more? Any paddler would love to have a couple of these floating next to them during their next night paddle, and for only $20, why not?
3. Light My Fire FireSteel Scout Fire Starter
Very popular among survival experts, hunters, fishermen and campers, the FireSteel Portable Fire Starter makes a perfect stocking addition. Easy to use, compact and lightweight, the FireSteel is a fun yet practical gift any outdoors man or woman will surely appreciate. Throw this one into the stocking for just over $10.
4. Adventure Medical Kits SOL Survival Blanket
For $5, ensure a certain outdoor enthusiast is prepared for their next adventure by topping off their stocking with this palm sized SOL Survival Blanket. As the most advanced emergency blanket on the market this blanket will keep you warm when you need it to plus serve as a ground cloth, gear cover and more.
Lights are important for every lover of the outdoors and a goodheadlamp is hard to beat, plus just the right size for a stocking. Whether you’re shopping for someone’s first or gifting them an upgrade (like one that’s waterproof or rechargeable), ACK has a wide range of brands, models and prices to choose from.
6.* Yaktrax Pro Winter Shoe Traction Device
Know someone that could use some help staying on their own two feet when it comes to venturing onto ice & snow? Drop some Yaktrax into their stockings and they’ll be very grateful! These easy to use traction devices slip on and off the bottom of the user’s shoes and provide greater traction whether their walking a few miles or to the mailbox.
*I know I said five, but since only a portion of the country experiences weather that would make #6 useful I figured this one doesn’t completely count
The ACK.com merchandising team is constantly finding and adding new products to the website year-round but as manufacturers prepare for 2014 this is the time of the year when we start to see some very exciting stuff heading our way. With so much awesome gear either in or on it’s way in, I decided to put together a list of top 9 products you should be excited about. Why? Because they are awesome.
9. SuperNova Lighting Kits – Make your ‘yak glow in the dark with these different lighting kits. Intended for anglers but useful for everyone.
There’s Lots of Options When it Comes to Cold Weather Paddling
Summertime paddling apparel is easy. Throw on a lightweight t-shirt (or don’t), a swimsuit, a pair of water shoes and you’re set. Ok, it’s not always quite that simple, but the point is summertime is a breeze when you compare it to fall and winter paddling. The reason being is that in cold weather and/or cold water apparel needs for paddlers change drastically, especially when there is a chance for immersion.
In this article, I’ll break out the different apparel options that we carry at ACK.com and what situations you’d want to use them in.
When you go into the water wearing a wetsuit, a thin layer of water is allowed to enter between your body and the suit. The body then heats the water and allows the heat to be retained and keep you warm.
Wetsuits are available in various thicknesses which will affect the amount of insulation offered (and how quickly water will warm) as well as the flexibility of the suit. Thicker wetsuits offer better heat retention but less flexibility of movement. Paddlers usually prefer 2mm – 3mm thick suits, which just happen to be the styles you will find at ACK.com.
The most popular form of wetsuit for paddlers is the Farmer John which has full legs but no sleeves. It is more comfortable and less constricting when paddling but doesn’t offer as much protection as you’ll need for cold weather paddling. However, a wetsuit is not outerwear, it is a base layer. It’s important to note that wearing anything under a wetsuit comprises its ability to keep you warm. Instead, layer clothes on top of the wetsuit.
Cold weather paddlers should consider that while a wetsuit keeps you warm in cold air and is relatively inexpensive, it has a limited range of protection (best in water 50 degrees and above).
A drysuit is the ultimate protection for paddlers in terms of outerwear. It is a completely waterproof garment with latex gaskets at all openings (ankles, wrists and neck) to keep out all water. These are one piece suits made with nylon some type of waterproof polyurethane coating or laminate.
As outerwear, dry suits require that insulating layers be worn underneath like long underwear or specifically designed fleece liners for warmth. Choosing the right insulating layers can actually be a bit tricky because if you wear too much underneath, you risk overheating. Often a single lightweight or mid-weight base layer is sufficient. Test this out on some short paddles and find what’s most comfortable for you.
Drysuits are a great, comfortable option for paddlers in even the coldest temperatures and you won’t find anything that can keep you more dry. It’s biggest trade off is the price, as dry suits are some of the most expensive pieces of paddling apparel.
For some paddlers, a full dry suit is either too expensive or just flat out unnecessary. For example, many sit-inside paddlers see anything from the waist down as unnecessary as their lower body is kept dry by the skirt and kayak. Instead, waterproof dry wear is available to be purchased piece by piece.
Dry Tops & Paddling Jackets
A dry top is a waterproof paddling jacket with neck and wrist gaskets and waistbands to seal with a sit-inside paddlers spray skirt. A dry top protects paddlers from cold water as long as they do not wet-exit from their kayak, therefore these are great for paddlers who are experienced at rolling their kayak.
Even less expensive then a dry top is a semi-dry top which has coated-Lycra wrist cuffs and neck closures to keep out most water. Generally these don’t seal at the waist so even a paddler who has rolling experience is likely to take on water during a roll.
Dry pants are for paddlers who normally use a dry top rather than a full suit but want the added protection in case of an expected swim. These are also an excellent option for kayakers that paddle a sit-on-top kayak.
Base layers are important for every paddler planning an outing during the colder months and come in many shapes and sizes. Base layers are not meant to get wet so they should be worn underneath a drysuit or dry wear.
These popular, quick-drying polyester/Lycra spandex shirts are quick drying and most commonly worn to protect from chafing and the sun. While they aren’t particularly popular during winter months, long sleeve guards do provide a little extra warmth and UV protection and go great under a wetsuit.
Keeping your face warm on a cold weather paddle is key and ACK has a wide range of options to do just that. Popular headwear for wintertime paddles include fleece or wool caps and face masks (like a buff), lightweight balaclavas and even full neoprene hoods. It’s suggested to get something to cover your entire head and face.
Your hands are your motor on the water and keeping them comfortable is important for paddlers. During cold weather, this means wearing gloves, mittens or pogies that are durable, warm and water-resistant. It’s also important to find a pair that doesn’t impair paddle control.
In cold conditions, getting your feet wet can be a serious downer during a paddle. The standard in paddling footwear at keeping your feet warm is the Neoprene booty which comes with a thick rubber sole to provide grip and protection when walking across rocks. Neoprene means waterproof, so these are great at keeping your feet drier and subsequently warmer. They come in a variety of styles in terms of ankle types (high top, over the ankle, low top, exposed ankle, etc) and in general the taller the style the better at preventing water from getting to your feet.
Well, my first Boondoggle has come and gone. I will be completely honest with you, I am actually really sad that I have to wait until February to attend the next one. This event shed an entirely different light on how I perceived the kayak fishing community. I had always known that kayak anglers shared a bond and helped each other out, but little did I know that they were some of the most welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure to know.
As Andrew and myself pulled into Perdido Key, Florida late Friday afternoon, we proceeded to the entrance of Big Lagoon State Park to check in and scope out the lay of the land. As we drove closer to the camp grounds, droves of kayaks kept passing by strapped to the roofs of cars, truck beds, and trailers. It was a miniature caravan of plastic awesomeness. We pulled onto the road that lead to our camp site and got to behold a spectacle that I will have a hard time erasing from my memory bank. Every single campsite was packed full of kayaks as far as the eye could see and were chalk full of the latest and greatest kayak fishing accessories you could find. Every type, brand and color of kayak you could ever imagine was present and accounted for. Even some that had been discontinued for nearly 10 years. As we got to our site and started to unpack, we heard the first Boondoggle chant, and little did we know that it would be echoing through the camp grounds all weekend as each excited kayak angler wanted every one to know just how elated they were to be at the event. A single person would scream out, “BOOOOOONDOGGLE!”, and everyone followed suit shortly thereafter. We had not even set our tents up and we had already hollered our response nearly a half dozen different times. Never once did we feel silly. If anything, we felt as if it were a right of passage. With camp completely set up, we got the kayaks loaded on top of our car and made a b-line for the beach since the offshore conditions were supposed to be about as perfect as you could imagine for some offshore kayak fishing.
When we got the kayaks unloaded and down on the sand, we really had to sit back and soak in what we were seeing. Being from Texas, it is a rare event that I see water so blue that it resembles a clear summer sky nor white powder sand that rivals cake flour in texture. To sum up what we thought in one word as to how to describe the sight….”heaven”. We launched our kayaks and quickly paddled out to about 30 feet of water to try and sabiki up some live bait so that we could start trolling. I managed to bring up a few cigar minnows and we quickly put them on our lines and began to paddle around in search of our quarry, the speedy king mackerel. The conditions were so beautiful that we easily found ourselves lost in just the sheer serenity of the open calm ocean. We also forgot to take into consideration how fast the sun was setting, so once we snapped out of our trance we decided to paddle back towards the shore. We got within 3/4 of a mile from the beach when my bait got slammed. I got the rod out of the holder, engaged the drag, and reeled down to the fish. The fight was short due to a pulled hook.
Andrew sat and watched the event unfold since this was his first true offshore kayak fishing experience. Out of no where, his reel starts screaming shortly after mine. He goes through the same process and locks down on a solid king. I got my rod stowed away and proceeded over to assist him with the catch. He was grinning from ear to ear, but you could tell it was all business with him. He wrestled the fish boat side when I leaned in for the tail grab. With his first ever kayak caught king mackerel in hand, he could now show his excitement. “I can’t believe how fast my line was disappearing off my reel,” he would proclaim several times on our paddle in. I have been doing offshore kayak fishing for nearly 10 years and it never gets old watching someone get a rush from their first big fish caught from a kayak. We got back to the sand, took the customary photos, loaded the kayaks back onto the car, and headed back to the camp grounds so as to make it to the meet and greet that night.
As we arrived at the pavilion, we were amazed by the tremendous number of people that we starting to pour in. As we began to meet everyone, it was amazing to hear just how far some people drove to be at this event. If my memory serves me correct, I could have swore that I met someone who said they had made the trip all the way down from Alaska! Now THAT is some dedication. As the meet and greet ended, we made our way back to the camp site to cook dinner over an open fire and crack open a few adult beverages. While sitting in our chairs and soaking in our surroundings, people began to stop by our camp and hang out with us. We’d chit chat for a while, exchange some fishing stories, and then it typically ended with our new friends inviting us over to their camp sites for some good food or an invite was extended to fish the next morning as a group. After a while, we heard some people chatting a few sites down from us and little did we know that our friend Thomas from Diablo Paddlesports had made the journey down to Florida from Texas as well. We hung out for a few hours and exhaustion hit us like a ton of bricks. A short stroll back to our tents and then it was lights out for the night.
We woke up the next morning later than planned and took a walk to scope out the area where we were going to set up our booth. After locating our spot, we gathered our materials and set up shop right next to the kind folks who run www.yangler.com. People started to pour into the vendor area and we were off to meeting new people all over again. Twelve o’clock rolled around and it was time for our seminar, which was titled Offshore Kayak Fishing 101. Roughly 30 eager kayak fishermen found their way into the pavilion to listen to us speak on topics such as ideal kayaks for offshore fishing, basic gear, safety equipment, and fish targeting techniques. Once the seminar was over, we made our way back down to the booth to finish out the day. That night, Andrew and I decided to take the kayaks out for a little night fishing. There was little tide movement making for a tough bite. We managed one measly trout for our efforts and headed back to camp. The next morning we would try our luck offshore again.
The fishing the next morning ended up tough as well with Andrew landing another solid king and me losing another one. There seems to be a pattern here, wouldn’t you say? When we got back to our booth after our brisk 12 miles paddle, we got a chance to catch up with some of the guys who put on the Boondoggle. Mark Watanabe of YakAngler.com sat down and gave us the back story of how the Boondoggle came to be and just how much it has grown in size, attendance-wise, since it’s inception 3 years ago. We also got to shoot the breeze with Chip Gibson, the owner of www.kayakfishingradio.com, who invited us over to his camp site that night for a pot luck dinner. We were lured in by the promises of fresh venison and shrimp called ruby reds, which I found out were caught in about 800 feet of water! The night was spent just hanging out with our fellow kayak fishermen and swapping fishing stories from the previous 2 days with all who showed up. Nothing like good food and amazing company to make for an entertaining and awesome evening. As we walked back to our camp, we would make several pit stops into various campers sites, just to say our goodbyes and exchange handshakes. Sleep came easy that night on a full stomach.
As we woke up the next morning to break camp, we were greeted by the same chants as the first night being yelled across the camp grounds. I guess the term Boondoggle can be taken several ways at this event. Not just as the name of the event, it potentially could be used as a greeting, as a way of describing a particular feeling, and as a parting phrase to your fellow kayak fishing brethren. I am beyond excited I got to attend this event, and have already made plans for the next one that is coming up in February. If I could ever recommend a family style event for kayak anglers of ALL experience levels, the Boondoggle is the one I would encourage you to attend. Until next time, “BOOOOOOOOONDOGGLE!”