The 3 Rules of Warmth

jMost northerners know what it takes to stay warm on those cold winter nights, and I’m not talking about that magical liquid in the flask. Im talking about the gear you’ll need to hang out in the cold and not even notice that it’s -30 degrees. I’m a Texan that went to live in Colorado for a year to be a ski bum and I only wish a wise man had told me the 3 rules of warmth before I was months into freezing my butt off. A lot of people have their own recipes for staying warm. Momma always said, “wear some layers,” and I’m not going to contradict Momma (I was raised better than that), but that advice is a little vague when you find yourself leaving the house in a blizzard.  Continue reading The 3 Rules of Warmth

Winter is Coming: Kayak Storage Solutions

Although we hate to admit it, it’s officially time to start thinking about kayakiStock_000019474758Small storage. With temperatures dropping and in many places, snowfall becoming more and more frequent, kayaks take a back seat to cozying up indoors and spending a little quality time next to the fireplace. With that said, we have a few storage tips and product recommendations to make your transition from fall to winter a breeze.

Step 1: Prepping Your Boat for Storage

Cleaning your boat and ensuring everything is secure and ready for Spring is an important step to take before storing your kayak for the winter. It will make spring feel that much sweeter when you finally take your kayak out for the first time and everything is ready to go! Continue reading Winter is Coming: Kayak Storage Solutions

How to Choose a Trolling Rod Holder

Guest blog written by Andrew Moczygemba, Railblaza 

Rod Holder
Photo courtesy of Stephen Snider

This year, we have seen multiple big water kayaks like the Viking Reload and the Wilderness Thresher introduced to the market. While these are both all-purpose kayaks, they are designed for appeal to the offshore, beyond the breaker (BTB), kayak fishermen. Like these kayaks, their rod holder counterparts are technically all-purpose rod holders, some of which are designed for and appeal to the offshore kayak angler such as the Railblaza Rod Holder ||.

Most BTB anglers will be trolling baits with their rods locked in rod holders from time to time. In fact, some fish this way exclusively. Continue reading How to Choose a Trolling Rod Holder

Introducing the ACKessories Milk Crate!

What is the one accessory item you can always find in the tankwell of a kayak fisherman? If your answer was, ‘A milk ACKcessories Milk Cratecrate!’ then you are 100% correct. Kayak fishermen use them to house all of their gear and even turn to some creative rigging to make their crates suit their style of fishing or needs. Let’s face the facts though. Not everyone out there who buys a milk crate wants to have to go and get extravagant with their crate designs. The typical modification that you find is the standard PVC pipe that is zip-tied into the corners of the crate to act as rod holders. Outside that, the standard milk crate is fairly plain in design. Now, with ACK introducing the ACKessories Milk Crate with Slide Trax Crate Rails, ANYONE can have a well thought out milk crate design that goes past just having some PVC strapped in.

This kit comes with everything you need to turn a 19″ x 13″ milk crate into a multi-functional kayak fishing accessory. With tapped holes to allow for the attachment of after market gear tracks, slots cut out to house pliers or fish grips, and even a slot that allows for a 5 gallon bucket to fit snug in the center of the crate that can be used as a live bait container. For the fisherman who enjoys having his PVC rod holders in his crate, there are four holes cut out in the corners to slide some PCV in to cure that itch.

The days of having to think out a milk crate design are over!

Below, Jerron Wosel, an ACK Buyer, demonstrates how to install the ACKessories Milk Crate with Slide Trax Crate Rails onto a kayak.

How To Wash Your Eno Hammock

Guest Blog by the Eno Hammock Team

Life happens to hammocks. Mud, coffee and trail mix can most likely be found on or in many hammocks after a full season of hanging around in them. Don’t fret too much though, it’s easy to keep your Eno Hammock clean and fresh throughout it’s lifetime.

The nature of the parachute nylon is fairly dirt resistant to begin with, but it’s always good to spot clean extra dirty spots along the way. Sometimes, it’s nice to revert your hammock back into a flawless, soft, breezy oasis.

Eno hammock carabinerStep 1. Remove Carabiners.

Make sure you don’t wash the carabiners! Remove them from your Eno Hammock and set them to the side. Be sure to keep track of them so when your hammock is clean and dry you can get right back to hammocking!

Step 2. Gentle Detergent.

Add just a little dose of a gentle detergent. Wash your hammock alone, with nothing else in the machine. This will get it the cleanest. Do not add fabric softeners or any additional cleaning agents. Wash on cold!!

Step 3: Line Dry.

It’s best to do this chore on a sunny breezy day. That way you can line dry your Eno Hammock outside. Regarless if you do it indoors or out, air drying is what we recommend. When drying outside in the fresh air, it won’t take longer than thirty minutes for your hammock to completely dry.

Step 4: Get In Your Hammock.

Hopefully it doesn't stay clean for long!
Hopefully it doesn’t stay clean for long!

Re-attach your carabiners and get outside…once it’s clean, it’s time to get your Eno Hammock dirty again! :)

 

 

 

Travel Safe: How To Protect Your Bags and Belongings While Traveling

Travel SafeIf you strategize for travel safety—and plan ahead—you can avoid becoming a victim of theft on the road. Keep these eight tips as you start packing up for your next getaway.

From Eagle Creek Blogger Jessica Festa

When traveling and exploring unfamiliar territory, your belongings become more vulnerable to being lost or stolen. That said, you don’t need to travel in fear: there are tactics you can employ to keep your things safe. To help you plan a strategy, here are Eagle Creek’s top suggestions.

1.  Leave Unnecessary Valuables at Home

If you can’t bear the thought of losing something, leave it at home. Of course, there are some things you may need to bring like your camera or cell phone for emergencies; however, do you really need to bring your high-end wristwatch, costume jewelry, laptop, tablet and your smartphone? Pack light, especially when it comes to valuables.

2.  Invest in Concealed Accessories

Instead of putting valuables in outer pockets and backpack pockets where they can be easily stolen, invest in accessories that allow you to keep your important items on the inside of your clothing and inside secret pouches.

ACK offers three different concealed accessories to help you travel safe. The Undercover Neck Wallet can be worn around your neck and tucked into your shirt. The Undercover Money Belt and the Undercover Hidden Pocket are two other options for keeping your valuables out of sight.

3.  Lock Up and Stay Alert in Crowds

Instead of just leaving your suitcase vulnerable to intruders, keep it locked up using a Signal Search TSA Lock or Mini-Key TSA Lock. This type of lock allows you to see when your belongings have been opened by TSA. You can also use one of these locks to secure purses and day bags to make it more difficult to get into your possessions both on the street and in the hotel. If you stay alert and are confident, you’ll avoid looking like a target.

4.  Don’t Let Your Guard Down In The Hotel

It’s easy to let your guard down once you’re off the city streets and back in your comfortable hotel room. Don’t. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying in a hostel or 5-star hotel, you need to be mindful of your belongings in order to travel safe. Lock up valuables, keep luggage closed and secure and, if you don’t need your room cleaned every single day, hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the door to keep cleaning staff out of the room when you’re out exploring the city.

5.  Keep A Clear Head

While it may be tempting to sample every beer on the menu at the local bar when traveling, it’s not wise. When drinking, sip slowly and alternate with water to keep from becoming intoxicated — and putting yourself in a vulnerable position. Some thieves specifically target travelers they see leaving popular bars and coffeeshops as they make easy targets. The more clearly you can think, the more aware you will be or your surroundings and better equipped to handle potentially dangerous situations.

6.  Trust Your Gut

If something seems too good to be true or a situation just doesn’t feel right, trust your gut. Get in the habit of always taking your hotel’s business card and putting it immediately into your wallet. Late at night—or if you need to leave the scene quickly to avoid trouble—you’ll be able to hand the card to the driver, and know that he’ll be able to get you back to safety. You won’t have to remember addresses and directions or deal with language barriers.

7.  Be Mindful of Scams

There are some truly outrageous scams out there aimed at robbing tourists, so ask your hotel or travel agent which ones you should be aware of when you are touring around at your destination. One rule of thumb is to be wary of anyone trying to be overly helpful — helping you with your bags, wiping dirt from your shoulder, touching you in a flirty manner — as they may just want access to your pockets. In general, keep your bag closed tightly and close to your body.

8.  Stay Organized

The more organized you keep your luggage, the less likely you are to lose track of your valuables. Use Pack-It Specter Cubes  to save luggage space and keep clothing separated. Additionally, Pack-It Sacs can secure your important documents, credit cards, passport, money and receipts.

Jessica Festa, a New York native, is a world traveler who is always looking for a new adventure. She stays active through hiking, cycling, and dance and loves nothing more than her backpack. Follow her travels around the world at Jessie on a Journey and at Epicure & Culture.  

Fitting Railblaza To The Old Town Predator 13 & Ocean Kayak Big Game II Mounting Plates

From the Railblaza Team

Railblaza sponsored UK angler Ian Pickering (Ocean Kayak UK Fishing Team) has been putting his thinking cap on and applying a little DIY to make use of his Railblaza accessories on the Old Town Predator 13 fishing kayak. The Predator 13 comes with mount plates fitted to the gunnels, which allow the mounting of accessories without the drilling of holes into the kayak. Ian has used these plates to recess mount the Railblaza StarPort. Here’s what he had to say:

The mounting plates fitted to the Old Town Predator and Ocean Kayak Big Game II are a fantastic idea. No holes to be drilled in the kayak and you can change your mind as often as you like without worry. I’ve started off by fitting a star port to the left hand forward plate. If I change my mind I could rotate the plate 180 degrees to move it further forward or even swap it with another position.Very versatile.

Proper Kayak Maintenance

If every paddler had their way, kayaks would glide through the years without a scratch or dent to it’s hull. But let’s be realistic here – a well used kayak takes a beating! The good news is that kayaks are very resilient and kayak maintenance requires minimal effort. There are a few basic things to do and think about to keep your kayak and equipment in good shape and soon, it will be routine!

Pre-Season Kayak Maintenance

Doing a little kayak maintenance at ACK Houston.
Doing a little kayak maintenance at ACK Houston.

The last thing you want to happen when you pull your kayak out of storage for your first spring paddle is to find that something was left broken from last year, or worse, was damaged during storage. Refer to these pointers to prepare:

Look over the hull for damage. Long term storage is one of the most common ways a kayak’s hull can be damaged. In the case of a depressed hull, heat will often be enough to return the kayak to it’s original shape. Leaving it in the sun on a hot day will often pop it back to it’s original shape.

Inspect the rigging. Make sure the hardware, perimeter lines and bungees are all in good shape. UV radiation can deteriorate plastic pad-eyes and degrade bungees/lines.

Look over the rudder or skeg if it has one and evalutate the deployment lines, stainless steel cables, pivot hardware and pedals. Make sure to repair anything that needs fixing now, rather than finding out on the water!

Replace old parts and accessories, or just add new ones. This is the perfect time to retire old gear like a seat or bulkhead. Look over all of your gear and remind yourself what was bothering you last year.

If you found yourself wishing for an extra something last season, like another rod holder, this is the time to add it!

Refill emergency gear. Go through your first-aid kit, bailout bag and emergency repair kit to make sure everything is stocked. This is especially important to do because if it needs refilling it means it was something you had to use last year!

In Season Kayak Maintenance

Keep these pointers in mind during the peak of your paddling season:

Avoid kayak maintenance by using a cart!
Avoid kayak maintenance by using a cart!

Use a kayak cart. Dragging your ‘yak on the ground will thin and weaken the material at the bottom, the worst case scenario being that it could lead to holes that will have to be repaired by a specialty shop. Kayak carts are a win-win because they will protect your kayak from damage plus make getting to and from the water a cinch.

Keep it clean. A kayak doesn’t need to look shiny and new, but it’s good practice to quickly spray down your kayak after every outing. This’ll remove grime and salt that can lead to corrosion of the hull and prevent mold from growing.

Usually just taking the hose and spraying down the interior and exterior will suffice but it’s a good idea to give it a thorough scrub with mild soapy water and a kayak sponge a couple times a year.

Protect it from the sun. Long exposure to the sun will affect more than just your kayak’s color – it’ll eventually weaken the plastic, making it brittle and prone to cracking. No, leaving it out for a few days here and there won’t mean you should expect to puncture your hull on the next outing, but several months will certainly lead to deterioration!

Spraying it down with 303 Protectant.
Spraying it down with 303 Protectant.

Using 303 Protectant is a popular method of stopping harmful UV rays, but this will wash away with rain and during paddling outings so it will require re-application. The best solution would be to use a kayak cover or store it indoors.

Cover the cockpit. When it’s not in use, it helps to use a cockpit cover to keep rain and critters out. Remember to dry out the inside before you cover it to keep mold, mosquitoes and scum from accumulating.

Proper kayak storage. It’s important both in season and off! Refer to the link for tips on how to best store your kayak.

Kayak Maintenance to Prepare for Off-Season Storage

Many of you won’t have an off-season, but for some there is a point in the year when water turns solid and the kayak has to go into hibernation. When that time comes, refer to these tips:

Clean and dry the kayak. On a dry day, unload any and all loose gear and put them aside, this includes any rigging accessories that are removable like a seat, deck bag or rod holder. Turn it upside down on a pair of kayak stands and lather it up with mild soapy water. From beneath, spray water throughout the cockpit interior and all the hatches, allowing any loosened sand, crud and dead bugs to drain out. Make sure to let everything dry out before putting it away.

Take a kayak sponge and scrub away if you think it’s necessary. Areas like the cockpit rim can end up being a nesting ground for insects if they’re left alone during storage.

Care for your rigging components. Look over any attached parts on the kayak – like deck cords, toggle handles and bulkheads – and take note of any frayed cords or parts that need replacing and order a replacement part promptly. If any of the bungees, straps or buckles can be loosened or un-done during storage, loosen them. This will help retain their elasticity.

Make sure dirt was removed from bolts/screws during your clean earlier and sponge away anything left over. The use of some WD-40 or other type of corrosion blocking product will keep metal joints in good shape.

Also, be sure to give this short video from PaddlingTV about kayak maintenance a watch:

Hobie Pro Angler Fish Finder Install

Ryan Herzog is a competitive kayak angler and recently shared his Hobie Pro Angler Fish Finder installation on the Austin Kayak Fishing forum. This content has been re-posted with his permission.

I recently picked up a Humminbird 998 with side imaging. The first issue that came to mind was where/how to mount the transducer. I knew because of the side imaging, that the transducer would not work up in the transducer covey that already existed on the Pro Angler. After some thought and seeing how the Mariner guys mounted their transducers off of the back, I figured that would be the best option.

First thing I had to do to install my new Hobie Pro Angler fish finder was to make a small modification on the H-bird metal mounting bracket. I drilled out the middle slot to 1/4 inch so that I could mount a RAM 1″ screwball.

I then mounted one of these to the back hand rail of the PA:

RAM Part # RAM-B-231ZU (ACK Special Order).
RAM Part # RAM-B-231ZU (ACK Special Order).

From there, I stole the 3.5″ RAM arm from my existing FF mount and put it all together:

After much deliberation, I decided to have the exit point of the cable on the high point of the back of the boat using the Hobie Thru Hull Wiring Kit to ensure a good seal on the hole. Left a little slack in the cord for adjustments. Once I have it fine tuned out on the water, I’ll seal everything up.

Just an FYI for PA owners. Here is an inside shot (Video) of the boat from the back hatch looking towards the drain plug.  You can see the rudder lines and the pully on one side. The back is clear for the most part:

Storing Your Hobie Kayak

One way of storing your Hobie Kayak.
One way of storing your Hobie Kayak.

Original content reposted from the HobieCat Forum.

Kayak storage isn’t often given much thought, but doing it improperly can lead to permanent damage. Matt Miller, Director of Parts & Accessory Sales at Hobie Cat USA, shares tips and techniques for properly storing your Hobie Kayak.

Important: When storing your Hobie Kayak, do NOT hang your kayak from the bow and stern handles. These handles are designed for carrying the kayak, not for hanging for long periods of time. The plastic will slowly stretch over time and possibly even eventually fail which will create a hole. When storing your Hobie kayak, it is important to be sure that it is well supported.

Storing your Hobie Kayak on the ground or on a rack

One technique for storing your Hobie kayak is by putting it upside down and resting on its two crossbars. The rails of the kayak are very stiff and can support the weight easily. Padded crossbars will reduce the chance of any scratches or marks on the rails. If you must store it right side up, use cradles or something that is shaped to the contour of the hull. If the kayak is resting right side up with little to no support, the entire weight of the kayak may rest on one point on the bottom and possibly cause a flat area to develop. We do offer custom molded cradles for the Adventure Island and the Pro Angler.

Storing your Hobie Kayak with hanging racks or straps

If you plan on hanging your kayak from a ceiling, a minimum of one inch webbed strapping should be used to spread the load of the kayak over more area. Using rope to support it may leave dents in the rails, especially in the heavier kayaks. Best if stored upside down with the strap loads on the stiff cockpit rails.

Removing dents after improperly storing your Hobie Kayak

If you do see a dent or flat area from improper storage, you can remove it fairly easily. For minor dents, put the kayak in the sun with the dent up. The plastic will soften slightly and the plastic will return to its original shape. For more severe dents, pour near boiling hot water over a towel on the dent and pressurize the hull. The air pressure will push on the softened plastic, returning it to its original shape. A great way to put air pressure in your hull is to direct a shop vacs exhaust flow into the opened drain plug. Do not force more than a pound or two of pressure into the hull without the possibility of the pressure easily escaping. Pressure in the hull can cause damage.

So how do you store your Hobie Kayak? Leave us a comment below and let us know!