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Get:Outdoors Blog

Kayak, Canoe, SUP, and paddling accessory reviews, trip reports, and more from Get:Outdoors.

  • Whitewater kayak camping

    For years I have done climbing trips that involved overnight camping- Mount Rainier, the Wind River Range, Colorado fourteeners and Chopicalqui in Peru. Later I discovered canoe camping was a great way to get my wife outdoors with me in a low-impact adventurous and fun way. Our first canoe camping trip was in 2003 in the Boundary Waters and it was magical. I think the hook was set then and all other trips on the water have evolved from this one. Over the years some of the trips we have done have been in the Everglades, rivers in Maine, the Green River in Utah as well as sea kayaking in Alaska.

    For the last several years my main interest has been in whitewater kayaking. Several moth back I got an invitation to kayak the Grand Canyon, and that trip is planned for August of 2017. In preparation for the Grand Canyon trip, I did my first kayak camping trip on the Chattooga section IV recently. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip despite cool weather and rain. Recently I have been working on plans for a kayak camping trip through the New River Gorge in West Virginia this summer. Kayak camping has been a fantastic way to get more deeply immersed in wilderness adventure on amazing rivers.

    New River Gorge Campsite - July 2017

    Last weekend on a trip to the Cheoah, I picked up a copy of Kayak Session magazine and read an article about Desert Canyon Solitude, a three-day 70-mile descent of the Jarbidge Brunel River in Idaho. I found the article to be very fascinating. This week in the mail I got the latest issue of American Whitewater, and what did I find, but an article about self-support kayaking! The author describes trips on 6 different western rivers. Wow, is this a sign? I feel like powerful forces are telling me this is the direction I should go. Someone once said, when powerful forces tell you something, listen to the forces!

    Camping is much like backpacking in the respect that you bring with you only what you need for a trip to experience the beauty of nature. Now what you bring with you depends on what kind of person you are and how big your kayak is. A minimalist only brings the essentials, no beer, no book. The luxury camper likes to have all the amenities, post paddling libation as well as quality reading material. The third type falls somewhere in between, enough stuff to keep the trip from being too bare bones along with a few luxuries to enjoy modest comfort without having all the burden of extra gear and logistical challenges of packing all that stuff into a kayak. Bring either libations or literature. What to bring is a big question, and the answer to that is primarily based on a few factors such as temperature and weather topping the list. Also trip length is a major factor to take into consideration on what and how much to pack.

    My basic kit consist of a tent, sleeping bag, food, and dry clothes. Group gear includes stove, fuel, pots, water filter and a first aid kit. Of course there are lots of other details that go into those basic items but those are the essentials. The next factor to take into consideration is picking the right kayak for you and then negotiating a loaded boat down whitewater rapids. A kayak loaded with you, plus 30 lbs. of camping gear, if you pack it well, can handle better than you think, provided you get the boat trimmed out well. The extra weight makes it punch holes better and track straighter in turbulent water. You will learn to read water well to keep from having to make last-second directional changes in a kayak that is a bit heavier and not quite as responsive as it once was. Rolling is not as bad as you think. It will be a little slower to initiate, but once you get it going, it rolls quite easily. On the other hand, if you load your boat poorly and don't get the weight trimmed out well, it will handle horribly and be very slow to respond which makes for a more challenging experience.

    My preferred boat is the Liquid Logic Stinger XP with lots of room for storage and an easily accessible stern hatch in a beautifully handling whitewater package. For an overnighter, I can slide the seat all the way up and load the stern down with gear and it handles like a dream. For more room, I can remove the front bulkhead and have much more storage. I found that I can pack most everything that needs to be kept dry for an overnighter in 4 medium dry bags.

    A Liquid Logic Stinger is a good boat for hauling fire wood

    There is something magical about being in a wilderness setting for a few days, being submerged into quiet solitude and being in touch with nature. This experience is amplified when you know that the only way to get to this special place on earth is via a whitewater boat. It puts you in the mindset of connecting with the essence of what is important in life. This makes you appreciate the little things and makes you refine your experiences and examine things from a different perspective.

    The view from a loaded kayak

    Right now it seems like the trip potentials are endless with so many exciting possibilities - South and Middle Fork Salmon Idaho, Jarbidge Bruneau Idaho, rivers of the upper Ottawa Valley including the Noir and Cologne in Canada, Middle Fork of the Feather California and the lower Owyhee and Rogue in Oregon.

    2017 will be the year of the Grand Canyon but the possibilities are unlimited for 2018. Who knows what the future holds in kayak camping adventures.

  • Wilderness First Aid Class

    I have been spending more and more time kayaking and doing more and more challenging rivers.  As I have been more immersed in advanced kayaking I have heard of an increasing amount of injuries sustained by kayakers. Additionally, I was invited to participate on a 15 day kayaking trip in the Grand Canyon in August of 2017.  With these things in mind, it has become more apparent that I would benefit from a wilderness first aid class.

    I found a class in Boone on the ASU campus taught by NOLS and Landmark Learning. I enrolled in the class and was joined by a couple of friends, Joe and Martha Mount. The class was held over 2 days for a total of 16 hours. Both the instructors were extremely knowledgeable and had a fun approach to the class with lots of hand on activities. As a bonus, both of the instructors are boaters.

    The course was split between classroom time and hands on activities.  The course topics included patient assessment of the ABC’s- air way, breathing and circulation also how to do a head to toe assessment. Other topics were SAMPLE assessments which include Symptoms, Allergies, Medications, Pulse, last in last out and Events.  Another big topic was how to determine when to evacuate someone vs. continue on a trip.

    The instructors showed us how to make a neck collar as well as how make an improvised arm and leg splint. They had us practice patient and rescuer scenarios of injuries from falling, to being hit in the head by a falling rock, from a person with severe abdominal pains, to someone that is just drunk or high.

    Some of my favorite topics were wound management, tapping a sprained ankle, dealing with burns, blisters, lacerations and reducing a shoulder dislocation.

    These are just a few of the topics what were covered in this in-depth 2 day class. For more extensive training, they offer 5 and 9 day courses on Wilderness First Aid.

    Most of us that adventure in wilderness scenarios settings will encounter situations with health issues and injuries at some point and will need to know how to deal with them.  Accidents will happen, the question, is will you know how to deal with them?

  • Popular Fishing Kayak Brands Compared

    Kayaking has long been a popular sport, but only recently have models like the Native Watercraft Ultimate become popular with the fishing community. They offer a flexibility that no other type of boat offers, and allow the fisherman to be as close to the water as possible without being in it. With the right kayak, you can get in close to shore, slide into narrow spaces and head out into open water, all in the same craft. There are of course several brands of kayak on the market for you to choose from. Here is a comparison of the most popular brands.

    Native Watercraft Ultimate

    The Native Watercraft Ultimate is one of the most versatile kayaks on the market. The Ultimate is light and easy to maneuver at only 48 pounds without the seat. Stable enough to stand, comfortable enough to sit and fish for hours. Inside you will find first class framed seating and plenty of storage for your gear. The Ultimate is well-suited for use on calm waters all the way up to Class II rivers.

    Kayak brands photo

    Jackson Mayfly Kayak

    While the Native Watercraft Ultimate has long been one of the most popular fishing kayaks in the country, the Jackson Mayfly became an instant winner with the fly fishing crowd. That should come as no surprise as it was specifically designed for them. The cockpit features an open, snag-free design complete with footrests that are also snag-free. The stern has been designed to hold a 25-quart cooler. In the gunwales, you will find flip-down fly boxes complete with foam liners to hold your favorite flies. The deck has been padded with foam to provide all-day standing comfort.

    These are just a couple of the most popular fishing kayaks on the market. Whether you choose the Native Watercraft Ultimate or one of the others, the most important thing is for you to get out and enjoy the great sport of kayaking, and if you happen to add in a little fishing, so much the better.

  • Top Kayaking Safety Tips

    Kayaking is becoming an increasingly popular water sport. If you are thinking of kayaking for the first time or taking regular paddling excursions, your top priority should be safety. Dangers and risks abound when you take to the water, but can be avoided with some simple safety measures and kayak accessories. And with Paddlefest coming up soon at Get:Outdoors, it’s time to start preparing for the big event. Carefully consider these kayaking safety tips, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned paddler.

    Kayak Safety Graphic

    Avoid Accidents

          • Wear a life jacket. No matter how well you swim, wearing a life jacket, or PFD,  could save your life. If you fall out of your kayak and hit your head hard enough to be knocked unconscious, your life jacket will keep you upright so that you can still breathe. If you find yourself in open water with nothing to hold on to, your lifejacket will keep you afloat until you can be rescued. Good quality life jackets are available that are comfortable and do not impede range of motion. Check out our Astral PFD selection.

     

          • Practice emergency procedures. Be prepared for anything. Kayaks can tip over. It is smart to practice righting your boat before getting out into rough water or far from shore. You should also practice helping other paddlers right their boats. Experienced kayakers should teach these skills to new paddlers before they embark on long excursions.

     

          • Never go alone. You should never go paddling alone on any water. Having at least one other paddler with you makes it easier to handle any situation, from flipping over to getting stuck on rocks or tree branches. If an emergency occurs, having other people around could mean the difference between a good or bad outcome. Always tell someone when you are planning to go paddling, where you are going and when you expect to return. That way someone will know to come looking for you if you do not return in the expected timeframe.

     

          • Wear a helmet in rapids. If you plan to kayak in rapids or fast moving water, you should always wear a helmet. Even if the water seems fairly calm, a helmet is always a good kayaking safety measure. If you were to fall out of your boat or if your boat flips over, your helmet will protect your head from rocks or other objects. Even if you are paddling a stream with very few rocks, low hanging branches can catch you by surprise. Keep a sharp lookout in front of you at all times. Check out our Sweet Protection helmets.

     

        • Do not stand up in moving white water. If you fall out of your boat in fast moving white water rapids, your natural reaction is to try and stand up. Do not do this. You risk getting a foot caught under a rock, and if this happens the water will push you face first down into the water. Float with your legs straight and feet out in front of you, in a sitting position. This way your feet will hit first on any rocks or obstructions.
          Kayaking in rapids photo

    Do Your Research

          • Map your route. Look at a map of the water you intend to paddle. Decide where you will start and end, and even some meeting places along the way. Agree on this with your group so that everyone can regroup if separated.

     

          • Get information about the water you’ll be on. Find out what level of rapids to expect and any possible hazards along your route. If going on a planned excursion through a paddling organization, talk to the guides and other paddlers with experience who have recently paddled the same waters.

     

          • Avoid dams and waterfalls. Dams can be dangerous for kayakers, as the strong currents can push your boat up against the wall, making it difficult to get out and essentially trapping you. Waterfalls can be hazardous as well, no matter how big or small. Going over even a small waterfall can easily flip your boat, and large waterfalls can be extremely dangerous. Be sure you know what to expect along your route.

     

    Prepare for the Weather

          • Check the weather forecast. The weather has a huge impact on your kayaking excursion. Thunderstorms with lightning can be extremely dangerous in any kind of water. The temperature of the air and water is important to know. If there has been a lot of rain lately, water levels will be high and the water will be moving faster. During a dry spell, low water levels can mean more rocks are exposed, making it easier to get stuck in low spots.

     

          • Dress appropriately. You should expect to get wet. If the water is extremely cold, it is best to wear a wetsuit. Even if the air temperature is warm, the water may still be cold. Dress in warm layered clothing made of fleece or microfiber, avoiding cotton when possible. If you do get wet in cool temperatures, get out of the water and into dry clothing as soon as possible. Hypothermia can set in quickly, even when it doesn’t seem that cold. Getting dumped in even 60-degree water can be dangerous.

     

    Get the Right Kayak and Kayak Accessories

          • Know your boat. If you already have a kayak, find your owner’s manual and read it carefully. The appropriate uses for the boat and its limitations should be clearly defined. Some kayaks are made for streams and rapids, others are designed for lakes, and some are made for ocean use. Having the right boat is essential for kayaking safety and fun. If you are buying a new boat or looking at discounted sale kayaks, make sure you speak to a knowledgeable sales associate who can help you choose the right kayak for your intended use.

     

          • The right accessories can help. An array of kayak accessories are available that can make kayaking, safer, easier, and more comfortable. Kayak seals fit over the opening in your boat to keep the water out so that you stay dry and warm. Seat pads make your kayak more comfortable for long trips. Life jackets and floatation devices keep you safe in emergencies. Paddles come in different sizes, shapes and materials, and are made for different uses, paddling styles and people.

     

          • Carry a spare paddle. It is possible to drop and lose your paddle out on the water, or for it to break. Light, take-apart paddles are available to purchase for just this possibility. Keep it with you just in case you find yourself literally up a creek without a paddle.
            Werner Paddles Photo

     

    Kayak Accessories: Choosing the Right Paddle Can Make a Big Difference

    Choosing the right paddle is very important when you’re kayaking for the first time. No two people are exactly alike, and everyone should not use the same type of paddle. The decision depends primarily on four categories:

    1. Paddler’s height and size. The height of the person who will be paddling should determine the length of the paddle. The taller the person, the longer the paddle. A knowledgeable sales associate should be able to determine what length your paddle should be. Paddlers with smaller hands may want a paddle with a shaft that has a smaller diameter that will be easier to hold. Shafts can be round or oval shaped for personal preference.

    2. Boat design. The boat design also determines the paddle length. Typically, the wider the boat, the longer the paddle needs to be to effectively and comfortably reach the water. The paddler’s height combined with the width of the boat will make the best determination in paddle length.

    3. Intended use. How you intend to use your kayak and paddle determines the material your paddle should be made of. Touring paddles for longer trips need to be lighter, whereas white water paddles need to be strong. The highest performance option would be a carbon fiber paddle, which is extremely lightweight. The next best option would be fiberglass, which is not quite as light, but is very durable. Nylon, aluminum and plastic are on the low end of paddle materials, which tend to be heavy, durable and affordable.

    4. Paddler’s level of experience. If you’re just starting out, you may want to go with a more affordable paddle in case you don’t end up sticking with the hobby. You likely won’t be traveling long distances in the beginning either as you learn. If you’re an experienced paddler your trips may be longer and your technique will be more developed, making it more sensible to get a good carbon fiber paddle or at least a fiberglass one. With experience you may find more complex features , as a feathered paddle, helpful. Feathered blades are set at different angles on the shaft so that when you put one in the water, the other slices through the air with less wind resistance. Feathered blades cut down on wrist fatigue and the angle can be adjusted to suit your preference. A bent shaft paddle may also be beneficial to any paddler, as it positions the hands at an angle that allows more power to be applied during each stroke.

    Get Advice from an Experienced Kayaker Before Purchasing Gear

    When choosing your kayak accessories, especially your paddle, be sure you get help from a knowledgeable paddler who can help you determine the best fit for you based on the criteria above. The type of paddle you use can make a big difference in your overall kayaking experience. If you start out with a paddle that is difficult to use, you may find that you never get past the beginning stages of kayaking before you decide it isn’t for you. Don’t let the wrong equipment keep you from enjoying a hobby that offers so much outdoor enjoyment.

    Get:Outdoors Paddlesports Kayaking Paddefest 2017

    Calling All Paddlers: Paddlefest 2017 is Near

    Paddlers of all ages and levels of experience are encouraged to come out to Paddlefest. Get: Outdoors sponsors this exciting event each year to promote kayaking and other paddle sports. Whether you are a seasoned paddler or just thinking about giving it a try, Paddlefest is an excellent time to get out on the water.

    Before you head out, check out Get: Outdoors for some new gear. From a wide range of kayak accessories to boats of all types and sizes, you will find everything you need to start the paddling season off right. Save money on a new boat and check out current inventory of sale kayaks. If you’re thinking about getting started, but not sure if kayaking is for you, starting with a discounted sale kayak is a great way to ease into the sport. Sales associates with paddling experience will help you choose the right boat and kayak accessories to get you started on the right foot.

    If you are an expert paddler, come and see the latest accessories and gear to make your experience out on the water even better and more comfortable. From seats pads to kayak seals to the latest technology in paddles, your experience on the water can be enhanced with just a few small additions to your boat.

    And don’t forget apparel. The proper clothing can make a big difference in comfort and safety. Wetsuits, warm underclothing, water shoes, etc. will keep you warm and protect your body.

    Get: Outdoors wants all paddlers to make safety a top priority at all times and especially at this year’s Paddlefest. Check out the kayaking instructional programs Get: Outdoors offers for paddlers to learn skills and safety. Basic kayaking, whitewater kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and even kayak rolling is offered, covering a wide range of kayaking safety training.

    Get: Outdoors covers all your paddling needs. Call (800) 450-6819 or visit the store at 1515 West Gate City Blvd. in Greensboro NC.

  • Kayak Camping Trip on Section IV of the Chattooga River

    Kayak Camping Trip

    Chattooga River March 11- 12, 2017

    In preparation for an upcoming Grand Canyon trip in the summer of 2017, a few of us decided to do a bit of a shakedown run. Even though we have raft support on the Grand Canyon trip, we thought it would be a good idea to see what kayak river camping is all about.  In our group of ten for the Grand Canyon, there were only three of us available to do this weekend trip. As a bonus, there was snow in the forecast to heighten the sense of adventure.

    As the date drew closer, the water level was too low for a Section III into Section IV trip as it was only about 1.2 on the online gauge. The Grand Canyon trip leader, Mike Herndon, suggested doing two laps on the section IV. We would do 1.5 laps on Saturday including the shuttle back up to the top and camp midway down, and then do the last half lap on Sunday morning. I hadn't thought about doing it this way but this seemed like a great approach to doing this trip.

    The plan breakdown was for Mike to put on the river Friday afternoon and get two nights on the river. We would put on at Bull Sluice on Saturday morning and travel down a mile or two and Mike would be waiting for us at the campsite beside the river. Then we would proceed on to a campsite near Raven chute, stash our gear and then continue on through to the five falls and onto the lake. Then once we finished the lake paddle our shuttle driver would take us and our boats back up to the put in at Bull Sluice and we would paddle down again to where we had stashed our gear at Raven shoot and camp for the night. Finally on Sunday morning we would paddle the rest of section 4 to finish up our trip early on Sunday.

    Matt and I travel down to the Chattooga sound campground on Friday night and stayed at the campground overnight. This Campground was one of the nicest I have stayed at, it was very clean with modern bathrooms and we had the place to ourselves as it was early season. We arranged for a morning shuttle that would put us on the river around 9 o'clock meet Mike around 10 and then the campground owners son, Tanner, would help us again with the shuttle Saturday afternoon.

     

    On Saturday morning, once we got to the put in, we did two carries to get our boats and gear down to the river at Bull Sluice. Matt and I packed up our respective boats, Matt took a Jackson Superhero and I paddled my Liquid Logic Stinger XP which is my planned boat for the Grand Canyon. We each had two different approaches to packing their boats. The Superhero is a standard creek boat so Matt packed gear in the bow and stern. My approach was just a put gear in the large stern via the hatch and move my seat up to re-trim the balance of the boat. Luckily my efforts to balance the boat empty versus loaded work perfectly I found out that the boat handled just as well loaded as empty. The boat rolled easily loaded, it turned well and actually seemed to carve a bit easier loaded. Another advantage of the loaded boat was that it tracked and punched holes better than empty. The only downside was that it took a little longer to get up to speed then an empty boat. Actually I found that my loaded boat handled better for me than it did for my to stick paddling partners. I was worried that being a hand paddler it would be difficult for me to control a loaded longboat but I was delighted to find out that it didn't bother me at all.

    One of the things I discovered in previous paddles in my new Stinger XP was that to better control a long boat you needed a bigger paddle. So I had an extra-large set of hand paddles custom made for me. This made for a substantial improvement in giving me more control in paddling a 12 foot long expedition kayak. This was Matt's first trip from the Bull to Woodall. He had only paddled section IV once before and that was two years ago. Matt looked solid and paddled well. The river level was between 1’ and 1.1’ on the bridge gauge. We ended up meeting Mike closer to 11 than 10 but all was good. Once we got underway our crew was in fine form. No rolls and swims and all had solid lines. The one interesting experience we had was running the line beside the hole at Woodall. I have never run this line at levels over 1’. Mike and Matt got stalled a bit coming over the drop to the right of the hole, so I wisely went several feet further right to get well clear of this wicked river feature. We continued down and dropped our gear at the predetermined campsite spot and then reset our boats and got under way again. The five falls were the rapids we had been preparing ourselves for. Entrance was fine Corkscrew was very manageable at this level. The third rapid, Crack in the Rock, had a log blocking the entrance at the top of rapid during my last run but has since been cut out. So it was now runnable.  Jawbone was fine and Sock’em Dog was challenging for me to hit a good line, as usual. But our group did fine through the five falls.

    We met up with another group along the way that had already pre-arranged a boat shuttle across the lake, so we were able to take advantage of this and make quicker time to get back to the lake take out. Once we got to the takeout, Tanner was waiting for us. We loaded up and headed back to the put in posthaste. Once we got back to the Bull I decided to run the double drop line at the Bull for the first time. I had an ugly line but got through upright. The rest of the run was fine. We made it through this section from the Bull to Woodall and Woodall to Raven fork in one and a half hours. We made it to Camp around 5:30 that evening in plenty of time to set up camp in the daylight.

    The campsite was a pretty, flat sandy beach with plenty of wood firewood- the perfect spot.

    My camp kit included- a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, warm dry clothes, gloves, headband, down booties and plenty of food, an inflatable pillow, a camp chair, rain gear and pee bottles. The camp treats were beer, bourbon and dark chocolate. Our shared gear was a stove fuel canister and a water filter. I estimated the weight of this was about 35 pounds plus the weight of the normal kayaking gear. Mike brought along a tarp and a fire starter log. I felt like I had all the camp essentials but Mike saved the day with his Noah's tarp as it started raining about 9 o'clock that evening and rained all through the night and into the morning.

    The rain made for good sleeping weather for me as it was a restful night. Unfortunately, Matt’s hammock leaked and he ended up with a wet and cold sleeping bag and by 5:30 in the morning he was starting to shiver. So he ended up putting on his dry suit to keep warm. Mike and I were up by 7:30 and had a leisure morning at camp. Very leisure as it turned out, since we didn't leave camp until after 12 noon. We found that all the rain had bumped up the river level and the five falls section felt considerable considerably pushier than the day before. It felt like the river had risen several inches overnight. We did fine the rest of the run. Mike wanted to get back home early so he paddled ahead on the lake section so he could load his boat and get packed up for his trip home. Matt and I, on the other hand, had a very leisurely paddle and actually found it most enjoyable to have no head wind facing us and our spirits were bolstered by the pint of whiskey we split crossing the lake. The paddle got even better the closer we got to the bottom of the flask as we neared the boat ramp.

    It was a great weekend. The only disappointment was we didn't get the forecasted snow. It was a good bonding time with a few of the Grand Canyon crew and a valuable learning experience on paddling a loaded kayak, rolling a loaded kayak, determining essential camping gear on a kayak camping trip and first and foremost a new and exciting adventure. This type of trip added a new level of excitement to a kayaking trip and I look forward to doing it again soon.

  • Essential Kayaking Supplies to Buy for the Novice

    If you are buying a kayak for the first time, you probably have no idea what supplies you will need beyond the kayak itself and the right paddle. A good salesperson, one who loves to kayak like the ones at Get:Outdoors, can help you find the accessories you really need. While browsing kayak accessories online can be convenient, there are advantages to getting hands-on assistance from an expert.

    Kayak team

    Getting started in kayaking does require you to invest in a number of essential accessories that will make your adventure more enjoyable. With this in mind, here are the most important items you should not go kayaking without.

    Seats: Now for a word on kayak seats. Your kayak may have come with a solid platform seat that has very little in the way of padding or comfort, or one that doesn't fit right. Have your salesperson show you the different styles. Try sitting in them on the display floor, or, better yet, place the ones that interest you in your new kayak and see how they feel. The right seat will make a huge difference in how enjoyable you will find kayaking and how often you will be back out in the water.

    The right life vest: Life vests that are kayaking specific have a higher back that won't interfere with the seat. They are also designed to fit more snugly than standard life vests so they do not rub while you are paddling. The best ones have pockets for things like a camera, your cell phone, a few snacks or several other small items.

    A whistle: You can use a good whistle to stay in touch with other kayakers and ensure other boaters can hear and then see you in the water. A whistle is also a great way to get attention when you have an emergency. You may want to invest in a whistle that includes a signal mirror and can float.

    Dry bags: You need a way to keep dry things like a spare set of clothing, your cell phone and a first aid kit, even if your kayak flips upside down. You will be better off buying several small bags, rather than a single big one, as they are much easier to store.

    Flotation: You might be surprised to find that unless your kayak is one with bulkheads, it will not float once it fills with water. This is a problem that some manufacturers have overcome by using bulkheads and watertight storage areas. You should pick up a flotation bag for the front of your kayak as well as the back.

    While you may enjoy sitting at your computer and browsing kayak accessories online, as a beginner it may be advantageous to seek advice from an experienced kayaking enthusiasts. The staff at Get:Outdoors will offer you guidance and assistance to help you find what you need and avoid what you don’t. Stop by the store at 1515 West Gate City Blvd. in Greensboro or call (800) 450-6819 to speak with a kayaking specialist today.

  • Best Physical Benefits of Kayaking

    Kayaking in ActionThere are few exercises in the world that offer as many physical health benefits and as much entertainment as kayaking. Whether you’re a long time enthusiast or a beginner just starting to learn the basics, this sport is quite enjoyable. It is one of the few sports in which you can be gliding smoothly over calm waters one minute, then careening over roaring rapids the next. Among the many physical benefits of kayaking are:

    Inner and Outer Strength

    Whether you buy the latest kayak paddle or get a great bargain on a used kayak paddle, paddling your way down the river is a great way to strengthen your cardiovascular system. At the same time, it can also strengthen a number of major muscle groups. Kayaking might seem to be focused on your upper body, but you also use your legs to help maneuver, creating an excellent lower body workout. In this way, you can keep your entire body busy, building muscle and burning calories at the same time.

    A Great Aerobic Workout

    No matter what type of workout you do on a weekly basis, it should contain a number of aerobic exercises to ensure your body gets the most from it. Kayaking is an excellent form of aerobic exercise. The results of this level of exercise are improved overall health, increased endurance, improved regulation of your cholesterol levels, reduced blood pressure, better blood sugar level control and a stronger pair of lungs.

    Peace of Mind

    Doctors have agreed for years that good physical exercise, such as kayaking, plays a major role in your mental health. According to a study published in the Harvard Health Publications, one of the benefits of aerobic exercise is the release of endorphins. These are chemicals that cause a reaction in your brain that elevates your mood. If you find yourself feeling down in the dumps or stressed out by work, family or life in general, why not run out, pick up a used kayak paddle on sale and then take your kayak out for a nice relaxing workout? Not only will this help to relax you and relieve stress, as you build your physical and mental health, your self-esteem will also increase.

    Creating a Fitter Healthier You

    One of the key reasons why so many people start an exercise regimen is so they can burn calories and lose weight. In choosing kayaking, you are choosing one of the best possible forms of exercise. According to experts, a person who weighs 185 pounds and spends a mere 30 minutes kayaking can burn as many as 222 calories. While this might seem less than many other forms of exercise, most kayakers spend longer than this each time they go out. It is quite conceivable that during a longer excursion you could burn 1,000 calories or more.

    When you buy a kayak, be sure to check out our kayak paddles and other necessary equipment. Get:Outdoors has a wide selection of new and used kayaks and paddles. Call (800) 450-6819 or visit the store at 1515 West Gate City Blvd. to check out the inventory selection.

  • Jackson Kayaks Coosa HD: Could be the perfect river fishing kayak

    Kayaking down river

    One of the neat things about having a major kayak retail shop near you is that they often offer kayak demos at local lakes through the warmer months where they bring out their demo fleet for the public to try out. The huge box retailers never offer demo days so if you buy a boat from them, you really have no idea what that particular boat is really like when you and all your gear are out on the water. On-the-water kayak demos really come in handy when you are considering getting a new kayak and you have narrowed your choices down to a few. Get:Outdoors is one of those major kayak shops that has a huge demo kayak fleet that they will haul out to the local lakes through the spring and summer months so you can try out the many offerings during their Kayak Demo Days. I would suggest going one further step and rent each kayak on that short list to spend some serious time on the water with all of your fishing gear so you know how the boat actually paddles loaded in various paddling conditions.
    This was the case I found myself in recently when looking for a fishing kayak I could use mainly on the river. I fish mostly on lakes and have a great flat water fishing kayak, but wanted a boat that would serve its main purpose as a river kayak. It still needed to paddle decently on flatter water however since most of my local rivers have many long flat slow sections on them. I’m a tall big guy and need a manageable boat; I know Jackson’s BigRig will handle my size and weight but it weighs a bunch and is really a bit more than I want to deal with by myself. Another option to the BigRig is Jackson’s Coosa HD. It is a good bit narrower and lighter than the BigRig and a bit shorter, so I wondered if this kayak would handle my size and weight OK and would be the river boat I am looking for. Time to do an extended on the water test ride that will include all of my fishing gear to see if the boat fits my needs.

    Jackson’s Coosa HD

    To back up a little, what made me look hard at the Jackson offerings? Besides the company’s reputation for producing some serious fishing kayaks, their history goes way back in making some of the best whitewater kayaks…this means they know how to make a tough kayak and they also know what it takes to make a really good boat that will perform in the river. Jackson’s Coosa HD comes with all the bells and whistles Jackson Kayaks has become famous for. Their fishing kayaks usually come rigged with everything most fishermen will ever need and even include a few things you may not need. One of the features I was really drawn to was the rod tip protectors. These allow you to store your rods close at hand and they protect those rod tips from low hanging branches, steep river banks, or logs and stumps you may run your bow into while fishing. We hear lots of Coosa HD users say the boat is a trimmed up more manageable version of the BigRig…and that description sounds like it is what I am looking for, so that’s enough to want to take it out for a few days on the local water I would be paddling such a boat on.

    Jackson’s Coosa HD

    The Coosa HD Get:Outdoors has in their demo fleet does have a few of the gadgets removed since it is a demo/rental boat. To see what the boat has standard on it from the factory, I suggest checking out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qSBeRKyVv0 . In it, factory rep and designer Drew Gregory covers all the features found on the boat. I managed to load the Coosa HD on my car and get it to the lake with no problems; its 82 pounds was a bit tough on the old shoulder, but still do-able. My first day’s jaunt would include a short paddle across a lake where I would fish and work my way on upstream to the dam tailrace that feeds this lake. Placing all my gear in the boat and strapping the seat in place, I noted that Jackson has taken boat trim into consideration for the seat indents. There are not only high and low positions for the seat to fit into, but also more foreword and aft positions to adjust the boat’s trim. I assumed with my height, I would need the seat to be in the furthest back position. This position gave me the most cockpit and leg room, but trimmed the boat too stern heavy, making it wag a bunch back and forth while paddling and the position also killed the hull’s speed. So after a quick pit stop to reposition the seat the next position forward, the boat began behaving the way I wanted it to. The foot pegs are actually long enough that a taller paddler can still adjust them for more forward seated positions.

    Jackson’s Coosa Perspective

    So how did the hull behave in flat water…well it was no speed demon, but with the length being only 12’ and it being a wide 34”, I didn’t expect it to break any speed records. With the hull properly trimmed where the bow is floating just slightly higher than the stern, you can maintain decent hull speed and still keep the maneuverability you would want to fish some tighter areas. The hull does seem to slump off in power boat wakes much like the BigRig; getting caught in the trough. To me the speed felt much the same as the BigRig, which isn’t fast, but the Coosa HD does feel much lighter and more responsive as far as handling goes.

    Jackson’s Coosa HD Hull

    In moving water, the boat’s hull design comes into its own. You can adjust the trim and make it stern heavy and have great maneuverability, or with the hull moderately trimmed, you can keep most of that turning, but also keep the boat tracking where you want it. The boat feels much quicker in the current and is rock stable. It is still light enough to hop out and drag up a rock garden to fish the pools above, or even drag it around a rapid without wearing yourself out. This big guy isn’t going to do any standing in the current, but I know it can be done. I felt most comfortable with the seat in the low position in the current, but with a little more time spent in the boat, I’m sure I would set the seat in the high position and forget about it. Paddling the boat up light current is easy, moderate current is do-able, heavy current and the boat’s width will work you. I like to drift perpendicular to the bank when fishing and this boat does that well in the current when trimmed neutral. With a heavy stern or a heavy bow, the boat wants to spin in the current…this is very much like any rockered kayak.

    Jackson Coosa

    What did I think about all that great Jackson gear? Well I was really interested in how the rod tip protectors would work with the side gunnel rod storage…well, it wasn’t as great as I imagined. They work great on the giant BigRig, where the rods fit down into side rod troughs. That boat is 38” wide and it has the room to make rod troughs along each side. With the rods sitting on top of the gunnels in the Coosa HD, I found myself constantly hitting the rods with either my paddle or my legs when I was getting in and out of the boat. Paddling late summer shallow rivers with many rock bars, getting in and out of the boat happens a lot and the rods take a bit of abuse. After a couple of drags, I ended up placing the rods I wasn’t using into the rod holders on my back crate. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Jackson Kayak

    As far as other gear, the seat was fantastic. The inflatable lumbar support makes the seating a bit more comfortable compared to other high-low seats in the industry. As seen in that video I posted the link for, all the other gadgets work very well. I never used all the line holders in the middle hatch and doubt if I had the boat I would use it, but that may well appeal to other fishermen. If you are a seasoned kayak fisherman, all the extra added gear may not be all that attractive to you since you may already have most of it, but to someone new to paddling, that extra gear comes nicely priced compared to other top-end kayaks. Jackson has certainly done quite well in the market by offering fully loaded boats ready for the water. Also a big perk to having all that gear on a boat is the resale several seasons down the road. I can promise you, a prospective customer will pay more for a fully loaded used kayak than they will for a stripped used boat.
    The original Coosa was the first serious fishing specific kayak Jackson offered. It was really a river specific boat that had a bunch of rocker and this rocker was a bit more than many really needed or could handle. The new Coosa HD did an excellent job at calming the original hull down, increasing the stability, but still maintaining a hull that can handle all types of water; especially shining in the river. If you are looking for a kayak that can handle all types of water but leans a bit more towards river use, the Coosa HD could very well be the ideal boat for you. It can handle all but the heaviest of paddlers and those guys will feel at home in the BigRig. All in all, Jackson did an excellent job coming up with a hull that fills the needs of most river paddlers in a package that is loaded up with goodies and is still competitively priced to go against all the other industry competitors.

    Jackson Kayaks

  • River Confessional (The Importance of the Occasional Swim)

    Considering this has been a very dry summer and fall, 2016 has been a great year of paddling for me with lots of new rivers and personal first descents. As of late October, I have had 15 pfds. You can start to feel pretty good about yourself and be overconfident in your skill-set. You start to think you can run just about anything within reason. You say to yourself, "if it's not a class 5++ death wish, I can get down it just fine". You start to feel invincible. This is about the time that the river Gods smack you down. Your ego gets checked by having a couple of swims on a river that you thought you would be fine on. For me, it was the weekend of the Russell Fork release and I decided to go for a Gorge PFD. I had a solid and experienced paddler with me and we took our time, scouted rapids. I even walked Fist even though I thought I could make the moves safely.

    It was about halfway into the run that I rolled in a rapid called Triple Drop. I should have rolled back up but I wasn't setting up right for the roll and after three unsuccessful attempts I pulled the freedom cord. I got my boat into an eddy and recovered one hand paddle while the other hand paddle went downstream. Once I collected myself and dug out a backup paddle I set off to catch my group. The feeling of control and relaxation and confidence in my paddling skills went away and I started feeling nervous and less confident. I walked El Horrendo rather than run it or take the race line sneak. We worked our way on down the river and made it down to the last significant drop, Climax. Climax is a beefy rapid in the center of the river, the easier line on the right is called the Box. I set up for the Box move and entered the drop and flipped. The current quickly pushed me up against Braille Rock. I was still upside down. Once I knew I was up against the rock, I quickly pulled my spray skirt and swam for the second time. Fortunately, my boat and both hand paddles got stuck in the eddy with me which made for an easy round up.

    After that, thankfully, it was mostly Class 2 rapids to take out. By that point I just wanted to get off the river. My conference was very low.  I was very tense and stressed which is exactly what you don't want to do, but it's very hard to overcome that feeling. What I had discovered was that having all these successful pfd’s and only having a couple of swims in the past year had made me start to feel like I was invincible. I felt like I could do no wrong on the river and could deal with almost anything. After these swims, my ego got a significant adjustment. Once I got off the river I felt much more humble; I look back at some of the rapids I have done in the past and now I see them as more hazardous. I actually think these swims were a healthy thing for me. I believe it's a good thing to have your ego deflated once in a while. It's good to have a more cautious approach to rapids with hazards. Now, that's not to say I won't run class 5 rapids in the future, but I will look at them through new lenses with more consideration of the hazards.

    So the next time you have that swim, try to look at the silver lining. Are you getting overconfident? Are you starting to take chances on rapids that exceed your skill level? If so maybe that swim was just what you needed.

    PS  - The booty beer.  I had generally thought that the booty beers were for the young 20-somethings. My feeling was a guy of 47 had aged out of this adolescent practice. However, I heard a new outlook on this whitewater ritual. Having a booty beer put the incident behind you. It’s like the booty beer washes away your river sins.

    We've all heard the saying that we are all in-between swims and that is so true. So the next time you have a swim see what you can learn from it.  It might have been the best thing for you, and don't be afraid to have that booty beer to set your karma right with the river gods.

    Cheers

  • How to turn your mini van into a paddling/camping vehicle

    I bought a mini van recently and have spent the last few weekends converting into an excellent camping and kayaking vehicle.

    Time involved - 2 weekends.

    Materials all sourced at Lowes - 3/4 plywood sheet, 1 Dozen hinges, (8) 2" x 4"s 8 ft., roll of carpet, adhesive for carpet, various screws, bungee straps and felt pads for a total of $150-200. FYI - this could be done cheaper with a more stationary platform but I wanted more flexibility for storage.

    Part 1 -Vehicle Selection and exterior changes.

    https://youtu.be/EWBowNc1wCc

    Part 2 - Set up of the platform and storage configuration.

    https://youtu.be/FrtLWQ1e-4k

    Part 3 - Camping set up.

    The inaugural trip will be up to the Gauley in September! The only thing I am waiting on is my  order of Skeeter Beater bug screens to come in for the windows for some fresh air.  Hopefully I will be a happy camper!

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