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Spend Your Summer Paddling with the Proper Kayaking Gear

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By , dealnews contributor

What's a fun-loving person to do for recreation and relaxation when the golf course is a desert, bicycling is a death march, and the tennis court is a patch of hell? When the summer heats up, nothing is better than spending some time on the water. Flat-water kayaking (where you don't have to worry about being dumped into swirling water by a nasty rapid) can be invigorating, relaxing, and refreshing. And thanks to some special deals we've located on the necessary gear, you can try your hand at the sport at a discount.


Finding the Perfect Kayak

Of course, a kayaking adventure must begin with a boat. Kayaks come in a number of styles for different purposes: whitewater running, fishing, sea excursions, flat-water paddling, and just plain goofing off. For a new paddler, a sit-in model like the pictured Emotion Edge Kayak ($399.99 with $37.95 s&h, a low by $37) works best. It's lightweight, roomy, and stable. At 10 feet long, it's nimble enough to navigate around deadfalls in the water, yet spacious enough to hold your gear, including food, clothes, and beverages. The cockpit measures 51"x19", so there's also plenty of wiggle room for travelers up to 350 lbs. Itself only weighing 37 lbs., the average adult can haul it out of the water and lift it onto a car rack. Last, but certainly not least, it comes with a padded seat for your paddling comfort.

We also recently found a deal on the pictured 44-lb. Old Town Vapor 10-Foot Kayak ($379.99 with free shipping, a low by $116), which features a 325 lbs. capacity, comfort flex adjustable padded seat, adjustable foot braces, molded in paddle rest, and cockpit tray with cup holder.


Set Your Sights on the Proper Accessories

The Paddle


Of course, kayaking requires more than just the boat. A paddle and two arms are required to get anywhere! An excellent choice for the former is the double-bladed (a blade at either end of a shaft) Bending Branches Bounce X-Grip Kayak Paddle ($79.95 with free shipping, a low by $8). This fiberglass-reinforced polymer blade is light, stiff, and breaks down into two sections for transport. It weighs only 2.5 lbs. and features a sturdy aluminum shaft. Spend a day paddling yourself around a beautiful lake and your arm and shoulder muscles will let you know that you've managed to include a workout in your play.

Personal Flotation Device

There's no denying that kayaking is best enjoyed from the surface of the water, and a personal flotation device is designed to keep your body in such a fashion in the event that you have a close encounter of the wet kind. The vest-style MTI Current Personal Flotation Device ($55.73 with free shipping, $19 off) weighs only 1.5 lbs and is made of water-shedding polyester cut to fit either sex. For the fashion conscious, it's available in both Red (pictured) and Turquoise.

A Dry Bag

You'll want to take some things along on your watery expeditions, like extra clothing, sunscreen, provisions, electronics, etc. However many of these items are no use if they get wet, so be sure to invest in a dry bag. These leak-proof bags seal securely to keep the contents high and dry when you aren't, and they can be stuffed into the bow or stern of your kayak.

The SealLine Black Canyon Dry Bag comes in 5-, 10-, 20-, 30-, 40-, and 55-liter capacities and in a variety of colors. A nice intermediate size is the SealLine Black Canyon 20-Liter Dry Bag ($29.66 with $5.95 s&h, a low by $2), pictured in Yellow. The bag is made of coated nylon, with science-fiction sounding "radio-frequency welded seams" and has a roll-down closure to keep out water. To keep your smaller gear safe from a dunk, invest in the Black Universal Waterproof Bag for Cell Phone / PDA ($3.58 with free shipping, a low by $2). It's a perfect fit for your iPhone, Android device, and more. It's clear screen allows for full functionality and it's waterproof up to 20 meters. But most importantly, it floats. Meritline also offers a variety of waterproof cases and bags for important electronics.

The Deck Caddy

One thing you'll find as you begin paddling is that there isn't necessarily a particularly convenient place to keep the stuff you might need at hand; sure, you have the waterproof stuff safely stowed away, but what if you want to quickly grab a snack, the GPS, some sunscreen, a map, or a drink of water? For this, you'll want a deck caddy, which is a fabric harness that attaches to the deck of your kayak.

The Tempress Cockpit Deck Caddy ($52.49 with $19 s&h, a low by $17) has pockets for water or soda, a clip-on electronics pouch with a clear window for a phone or GPS (in case you skipped the aforementioned pouch), a mesh trash bagger, a waterproof chart pouch, a clip-on water bottle sleeve, and an insulated pocket for food and beverages.


These one-time kayak expenses can lead to many, many hours of fun and relaxation, regardless of the heat. Even so, it's easy to love the summer when you're able to spend it on the water.

Note that this feature has been updated since it was originally published last year.



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Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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3 comments
judgewapner
Dave, seeing as you own a sit-on top, the deck bag might not be a good idea for you, unless you are strapping it to your legs. The deck bags add easy access storage to the sit-in kayaks, making them a great purchase! Also, skip the cheap PFD as comfort and safety come way before frugality. Get a nice fitting, comfortable PFD made of quality materials.
sunglint
Not a great article. A 10' kayak is only useful for small waterways, shorter kayak = harder to keep going straight. A 12' sit-on-top is a much better choice, and re-entry is much easier on a sit-on-top, bigger = faster and straighter. Craigslist has used kayaks all the time. It is important that the paddle be _light_, as you are holding it up the entire time. Get a PFD that is comfortable because it is vital that you ALWAYS wear it - you WILL fall in the water. Plastic bags != dry bags, dry bags are cheap and tetherable so get one. Academy, Bass Pro and Gander Mountain have decent kayaks and accessories, better yet find a real canoe/kayak shop like Austin Kayak, their advice will be golden. TETHER EVERYTHING, including your paddle, or it will float away, cheap braided line and mini-carabiners are a must. Milk crates are popular for containing things if you dont have hatches. Above all READ, there are great sites online like Texas Kayak Fisherman that will save you tons of frustration.
dave.stingler
This is an ill-informed article written by someone who knows little or nothing about paddling. First, a 350-lb paddler will need to look into something other (and more expensive) than the Emotion Edge, which is a decent yak, but won't effectively serve a 350, 300 or even 250-lb person, all of whom will soon tire of trying to gracefully get in the thing, as well as the slow paddling and flooding. I'm 200 lbs and have a 12-foot 350-lb capacity sit-on-top and wish I have gotten a 14-ft 400-lb capacity yak.

Just buy a $50 aluminum paddle. And I got a perfectly good PFD for $20 at Sports Authority during one of their sales along with the weekly coupon. Good zip-lock freezer bags work just as well. Deck caddy? I don't know why you need that.

The biggest obstacle to kayaking is getting the thing to the water, and roof racks are a major PITA. I suggest a hitch from a good Uhaul and a small cheap trailer from Lowe's modified with wood frame padded and designed to carry a kayak.
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