Monday, September 27

** My Gear Review **

I thought I'd capture my thoughts & opinions about the gear I'm currently using, here's a breakdown along with my review:

  • My height/weight - 5'10", 155#
  • Kayak (Riot Booster 55) - I love this boat. Got it used for about $550. Easy to roll and got my offside for the first time. Nice to surf, stable in bigger water (under 2000 cfs). Comfortable and well outfitted making it adjustable for the best fit. Downside is that the rivets, ratchets, and studs inside can tend to rust and will break over time. Overall I don't think it is made as well as some other boats, but I have a lot of fun in it and I'm glad I got it. I think 155# is at the top of the weight range, works well for me but if you're heavier you might want to think about the Booster 60.
  • Paddle (Adventure Technology AT3) - Got this on sale (can't remember how much). Nice paddle, my first experience with a crank shaft which took a bit of getting used to. Couldn't roll worth a crap after I first got it. Now I like it a lot. A little heavier than some others, but I don't mind. Very durable and heavy duty. Some of the lighter Werners can tend to get beat up on the edges when hitting rocks, but the AT3 is much more resistant. I wouldn't go back to a straight shaft. $260 new at full price???
  • Helmet (Rock Headz) - Decent kevlar helmet that I think is an off-brand. I got it at a good price, not as trendy and eye-catching as Grateful Heads but does a great job.
  • Sunglasses (REI) - $20 for polarized ones. I learned the hard way that $100 sunglasses and rivers don't mix.
  • PFD (Lotus, Rio Grande) - Not a hardcore whitewater PFD, but does the job quite well. Doesn't have any integrated rescue functions and I tend to find that the Lotus PFD straps are very long and tend to dangle. Not sure that I'd buy this one again. Runs about $100. I also added a whistle on a dummy cord as well as a Gerber river knife on the lash tab.
  • Throw Bag/Tow Rope (Salamander Retriever) - Nice purchase at around $75, combo tow rope and throw bag that attaches under your PFD around your waist. I added some foam inside at the end of the rope to improve flotation. Never had to use it as a throw bag, but tested it and it seemed to work fine. Have used it as a tow mechanism plenty of times and liked it.
  • First Aid Kit (Adventure Medical) - I carry a First Aid kit in a dry bag in my kayak. I supplemented a "Fundamentals" kit from Adventure Medical that works really well. Unfortunately I think I've used it more on myself than anyone else!!! For the most part pain pills (mostly Ibuprofen aka Ibeenboatin) and ointment are the popular items.
  • Paddle Jacket #1 (IR Shortie Paddle Jacket) - Great for hot weather. It does let a lot of water into your boat though.
  • Paddle Jacket #2 (Whetstone Drytop) - I think this company is out of business now. This was a bad purchase and I think these are poorly designed and only moderately effective as a true drytop.
  • Paddle Jacket #3 (Kokatat XCR Goretex Wave) - I just bought this one and have had it out on the river once. It seems to do a great job and my friend loves hers. Pricey at $340, but seems to be worth it!! In cold weather you need plenty of layers so get one large enough to accommodate clothing underneath.
  • Sprayskirt (Mountain Surf Dur-O-Ring) - I love these sprayskirts and think they are some of the best on the market. I had to buy another since they one I had for my Wavesport didn't fit my Riot. I think they're worth the $150.
  • Wet suit #1 (NRS Farmer John) - Average wet suit, I don't think they fit very well, but they do an OK job. About $110.
  • Wet suit #2 (ONeill Shortie) - Nice wet suit made for surfing, pretty trendy and fits well. The zip up the back makes them a little awkward for kayaking, especially if you need to take a leak on the river. About $125.
  • Booties (Nike ACG Koketee) - I just got these. They have a nice tread and are very adjustable so they fit well. If your boat is tight at the feet these might cause you problems, but I like having the confidence of good grip when I get out of my boat or are wading through water. About $45.


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