Monday, February 8, 2010

Gear Up!

The weather has been too snowy... too cold... too wet... too "yucky" (yep, I'm whining a bit!) for me to get out and paddle for the past two weeks. I don't own a dry suit and can't justify laying out close to $500 - $900 for one! :-O. So, on Saturday, after getting "fortified" with several cups of coffee, my wife and I headed out to my favorite gear store - REI.

And yes, just as I mentioned in an earlier gear post back in January, I purchased a PFD - the Stohlquist Trekker. There are several features that I really like about this PFD.

(1.) Mesh side panels with three side cinch-straps. I can "breath" easier and it allows more air flow since it is a more open design then the MTI Reflex PFD that I also tried on. No side flotation panels makes a big difference in comfort!

(2.) Two zippered bellows pockets with drainage ports so I can carry my digital camera, cell phone, and energy bars. Big plus as I can now reduce the amount of gear carried around the neck! :-)

(3.) 3M reflective accents on front and back to improve visibility.

(4.) Plus, it was on sale... 25% off the regular price!

I also worked with a REI Paddlesport associate (John) who got me fitted in a correctly sized PFD for my body frame. It is very important that you not only get a properly fitted PFD, but that it is also comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. A PFD is essential paddling safety gear that you should wear at all times while paddling.

I also purchased a paddle leash to keep my paddle within arms reach at all times.

As John explained to me... if you get separated from your paddle, it is going to drift down the river at a different speed then your kayak! ;-)

There was MORE gear that I was drooling over (isn't that always the case?), but my money ran out before the gear did! I plan to circle back to REI several more times in the next few months so I'll be well prepared when warmer paddling temperatures return. Gear up!

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