2014 Holiday Gift Guide


We’re well inside the two-weeks-till Christmas mark. If you need a little last-minute gift-giving inspiration for that paddler on your list, look no further than a few of C&K’s favorite gear goodies in our annual Holiday Gift Guide.

Rides: John Stookey’s Souris River Quetico


I enjoy the solitude of solo canoeing. Solitude is a precious commodity in today’s world. I also enjoy running a long stretch of Class I rapids; you have the rushing water without all the work. However, my favorite moment might be starting off first thing in the morning. I love that time of day. It’s so tranquil.

Field Tested: GravityWorks Water Filter by Platypus


By Alan Kesselheim Every so often a piece of gear comes along that feels like a breakthrough. The gravity-feed microfiltration system by Platypus has that feeling. It is truly simple, truly convenient, and truly efficient. No more teetering on a streamside rock, keeping the straw in deep water, and laboring over a pump. Gravity does […]

Astral Rassler


Astral Rassler [MSRP $120] Best know for its PFDs, Astral Designs was founded in 2002. A decade later, the Asheville, N.C.-based company started producing footwear with the debut of the Brewer, which utilized Five Ten’s famed Stealth rubber sole. The Rassler built upon that popular platform, and for 2015 it takes a step forward with […]

Vasque Lotic Water Shoe


Vasque Lotic [MSRP $100] Vasque’s Lotic model is a performance hiking shoe designed to excel in wet environments like creek or river crossings and portages. It uses Vibram rubber, known better for its durability than traction, though we were surprised to find in testing that the rubber had better-than-average traction on slick granite and deep […]

Salomon Gecko


Salomon Gecko [MSRP $120] Salomon is another huge Euro-rooted multinational that makes footwear for just about every activity. The incredibly light Gecko is Salomon’s river entry, though it closely resembles a standard sports shoe. Arch support is outstanding and the sole is stiff, making the Gecko ideal for extended hikes, and of all the shoes […]

Five Ten Water Tennie


Five Ten Water Tennie [MSRP $120] Started as a climbing shoe company in California, Five Ten is no stranger to granite, and the Water Tennie is a well-known staple of the whitewater world. The shoe is above average for traction on slickrock and granite, but below average for loose dirt due to the tread pattern. […]

Chaco Z/2 Pro


Chaco Z2 Pro [MSRP $ 110] Chacos have been loved by raft guides since they were first developed 25 years ago in Paonia, Colorado. Being sandals, the toe-looping Z/2 Pros are different from the other standard shoes in the test. It’s no surprise that they are the fastest drying by a large margin. These are […]

Adidas JawPaw II


Adidas JawPaw II [MSRP $60] You may have heard of Adidas. While it is no newcomer to the shoe game, the German multinational giant only recently started branching into adventure sports. The Jawpaw II benefits from many generations of shoe design, clawing its way into our test as the fastest-draining shoe of the crop. Credit […]

Gerber’s River Shorty Knife


What I like about the River Shorty comes down to two things. First, it is stout to the point of indestructibility, from the sheath and the easy-to-grab glass handle down to the stainless-steel blade. Second, it works.



Seasoned expedition kayaker Darin McQuoid tests six of 2015′s top river shoe options in extreme High Sierra, slick-rock conditions.

Big Al’s Canoe Seats Rant


Over a 35-year run, my old butt has made the acquaintance of damn near every style of canoe seat; from aluminum to roto-molded plastic, from foam pedestal to tractor seat, and from cane-laced to webbing. Some have been a pleasure to meet, others . . . notsomuch.

Rides: Marcia Seaman’s Hornbeck Ten


A local guide introduced her to “pack” canoes — a unique style of compact vessel designed for the small lakes and long portages of the Adirondacks, with roots dating back over a century. Seaman rented a 10-foot solo for her first journey and was amazed at its nimble handling.

Kokatat Idol Drysuit


The new Kokatat Idol has captured the Holy Grail of drysuit versatility—the two-piece suit. Thanks to an innovative 360-degree zipper system at the waist, the Idol functions as a full drysuit or as a drytop. It’s easy to get on and off, and there’s no need for a separate relief zipper.

Hole in the Wall Jacket


Until 2012, sleeping under the stars felt like rolling the dice. A handful of nights each year I’d wake up freezing my ass off, because condensation had soaked into my puffy down sleeping bag and stolen its warm-making mojo.

The Gear We Love


The following installments (with product photos by JP Van Swae) appeared originally in C&K’s December 2014 issue.We’ll be periodically adding our editors’ favorite gear essentials.

MEC Slogg Drybag


The Slogg earned best-ever drybag status on the Northwest passage two summers ago, when Canadian adventurer Frank Wolf attempted that mythic journey in a 19-century rowboat.

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Buyer's Guide

Buyer's Guide