Kayaking With My Dog

The dusty truck door slams shut as I head home after a long day’s work.  I’ve got my kayak, my paddle, my life jacket, and I’m headed home to grab my dog Cassius (Cash for short).  Cassius is a 94-pound black lab with a taste for river fish and a love for the water comparable to my own.  He’s no stranger to long river kayak rides, and on occasion has passed the four hour mark down the local Texas river systems with me.

Sometimes we’ll put in at a low point and paddle upstream with Cash usually guiding the way some 30 feet ahead of me.  As the trip progresses he understandably could use a break and will swim up next to my right hand side so I can give him a leg up into my kayak.  In some boats, this kind of maneuver would not be practical, or in some cases even possible.  I own a Wilderness Systems Ride 135, a good fishing boat with lots of leg room and stand-up capability. The hull is a pontoon design which distributes the weight more evenly over a broad surface area of the kayak.  This design allows my buddy Cash to jump in and out of the boat without flipping us or rocking it to where I will fall out with him.

It was my dog that I was primarily thinking about when I first purchased my kayak.  I was drawn to a number of boat designs but realized what I needed after renting a few and going down the river with Cash.  He’s a large dog that needs room and on these hot days I need space for my DuraSoft Cooler.  I found that a 12 foot boat or longer works well with a larger dog and gives me the ability to take him with me on our river excursions while still having space for extra gear that I bring.  Recently I invested in a canine life jacket to be safe and make it so Cash and I can go out on the river for 4 hours or more.  That is typically the time I see Cash getting tired and needing some flotation help. The Ruff Wear Big Eddy Float Coat fits him nicely and the Big Tug Fire Hose Bumper Dog Toy is his personal favorite water toy.  Every time I go out on the river with Cash I see the value of my investment sharing all these great experiences with my canine buddy.

Chris S.
San Marcos Store

Coolers – Ice Chest

NRS DuraSoft Cooler

I don’t know why but as soon as my kayak hits the water and I climb in, I’m parched.  A cooler ice chest is a necessity for kayaking – especially longer kayaking trips.  They hold the sodas, the fish, and sometimes, when appropriate the adult beverage.  I’m the type of guy who gulps down 4-5 glasses of water at a restaurant before our meal even gets to the table.  One bottle of water does not suffice for an hour or two of paddling.

Soft-shelled outdoor ice chest coolers such as the Dura Soft Cooler and the NRS 30 Can Cooler fit great in the tank well on kayaks.  These coolers can hold a large number of drinks and ice.  I personally, wouldn’t mix my drinks and fish in the same cooler – I’d use a Catch Cooler bag for the fish.

Hard shelled covered ice chest coolers sometimes don’t fit right, or they are too bulky to fit on a kayak.  I don’t know how many times I get asked if the tank wells are molded to fit a specific model cooler – they aren’t.  Some coolers will fit, some won’t. One in particular that may work well is the Yeti  Roadie 15 qt. or Yeti Roadie 25 qt. If one of these will work, your food and drinks will stay cold for a week.

So when you go out with family and friends, don’t forget the ice chest cooler to hold your food and beverages.

Assistant Manager
ACK – San Marcos

Camping and Kayaking – Part 2

So I have finally recovered from the Demo Weekends. Thanks to everyone that helped with the events. We had some so-so weather for the San Marcos and Houston events, but everyone trudged along. Continuing on with the Camping and Kayaking theme, part two of this three part series follows:

Fire and Water: Fire, Man’s greater discovery. Fire makes everything better. Fire cooks your food, keeps your warm, and can add a romantic touch in the right situation. A simple lighter usually suffices, but as a backup you can’t deny the utility of simple Swedish FireSteel . FireSteel will spark in any type of weather and altitude. The best $12 bucks anyone could spend. Water is a no-brainer. You need a water to transport it and a way to treat the water if you run out of your Evian and have to drink from the bayou. There are chemical treatments as well as ultraviolet systems. Both are equally effective, but the ultraviolet systems are faster and over time become more cost effective. Chemical treatments like Aquamira Water Treatment Drops are fast and effective as well as easy to pack, and take 20 minutes to treat a liter of water. UV systems like the SteriPen Classic Safe Water System allow you to filter and purify a liter of water it in about 45 seconds. Lamp life on the SteriPen is 8000 cycles, so in English that would mean about 2,000 gallons or 36 fifty-five gallon drums of water.

Coolers: Food and drinks MUST stay cold. Yeah, the Styrofoam one from the ‘Snappy Mart’ works just fine, but boy does it make a mess when it gets inadvertently crushed by your x-camping buddy who uses it as a camp chair. A good cooler, like the Yeti Roadie, packed properly and opened infrequently can hold ice for days, sometimes weeks, even in the hottest environments. For a less rigid cooler there are soft-sided ones like the NRS Dura Soft Cooler. Not quite as insulated as the hard-siders but still keeps ice for a day or two. We kept ice in our coolers from start to finish in The Grand. After 15 self-supported days – the margarita’s tasked fantastic on day 13 when we were sure we could spare the extra ice.

Camp Chairs: If you are hiking any distance you don’t want to carry a bulky camp seat, I recommend the Therm-A-Rest Trekker, it turns your Therm-A-Rest Sleeping Pad into a comfy camp chair and takes up virtually no space. If you don’t have far to travel then a camp chair like the Crazy Creek Classic Camp Chair is simple, sturdy and comfortable, just tougher to pack. Those chairs in a bag are great but are no fun to hike, so reserve them for the shortest trips.

Sleeping Pad: Get the biggest one that fits your tent. Why not, they don’t weigh a lot and strap to the outside of your pack. The Therm-A-Rest Base Camp is super comfy and keeps you well insulated from the ground. As mentioned above, these will double as your camp chair so you get a two-fer.

Look for part 3 in a few days. Comments are always welcome and encouraged or you can send an email to customer@austinkayak.com.