gear

Tunnel Vision

09.02.2011

Something bad happened to North American tent design shortly after the first freestanding dome tents became popular in the 1980s. With the exception of those who clung to tired yet trusty A-frames, the camping masses shunned non-freestanding tents as being old and dated.

Creek Streak

08.19.2011

Squatting in the rain on the banks of Washington’s East Fork of the Lewis, MacGyvering a drain-plug from a rotten stick and duct tape, it hit me; creekboating is an odd human behavior. The practice pushes the limits of what’s possible in a small, plastic boat, and challenges manufacturers to make reliable kayaks that paddlers can trust.

Big Dog Drop Zone – Creek Streak

08.19.2011

This new dog knows all the old tricks, and does them well. Britain’s fastest-growing kayak manufacturer designed this high-volume displacement hull beast with a long waterline for speed and highly controlled, confident paddling. “It’s perfect for tight lines in big, pushy water,” one tester said. “It would be great on the North Fork Payette-anything large and continuous.”

Prijon Pure XL – Creek Streak

08.19.2011

Bombproof. The blow-molded, high-molecular-weight plastic in this new, plus-size downriver tank could likely survive a direct hit from a howitzer. We didn’t actually put a bomb in the German-designed creeker, but our testers did slam it into a rock or two.

Pyranha Burn – Creek Streak

08.19.2011

After setting the creekboat design bar high in 2006 with the release of the lightning-fast original Burn, Pyranha has managed to make it better. Raised front rocker makes for easier boof strokes without sacrificing speed, and the redesigned Burn’s slightly raised carving rails still provide precise maneuvering for quick eddy turns without getting hung-up on low-volume slides or while skittering over rocks.

Fluid Detox – Creek Streak

08.19.2011

Like to bomb the big stuff and play along the way? Imagine a creekboat with a playboat hull: That’s the Detox. Aptly suited for tearing up big green waves and dropping waterfalls, the Detox is the missing link between Fluid’s playful river-running Spice and its creek-specific Solo.

Jackson Super Hero Elite – Creek Streak

08.19.2011

You don’t necessarily need to be a hero to paddle Jackson’s revamped 2011 Hero line. Faster, lighter, and easier to control than its predecessor, the new Super Hero’s wide, flat-as-possible hull means stability. Lots of it.

Six Fast and Fit Touring Kayaks

07.21.2011

Running a kayak touring business in Manhattan is like driving a yellow cab in Boothbay, Maine. You get fares, but making a living is not easy. For the past 16 years, Eric Stiller, the founder of Manhattan Kayak Company has sold kayaking in the city that never sleeps and rarely paddles.

Current Designs Freedom – Fast and Fit Boats

07.20.2011

Here’s a boat that increases both your heart rate and fun rate. Long, fast, and exceedingly light, the smooth-lined Freedom is also surprisingly stable for those craving a specialty fitness boat, making it a great fit for any traditional sea kayaker looking to move faster while sacrificing only a wee bit of stability.

Cobra Eliminator – Fast and Fit Boats

07.20.2011

Made from super-linear polyethylene, the Eliminator is hit-me-with-your-best-shot durable. But at 42 pounds, it’s a handful to carry alone. It has the sleek racing design of an Olympic K-1—narrow bow, relatively high bucket seat and adjustable foot pedals to control the over-stern rudder…

Kayakpro Namu – Fast and Fit Boats

07.20.2011

Take a short, sluggish sea kayak—a standard beginner’s boat—hand it to a world-class sprinter, and viola! You get an efficient, fitness-oriented kayak.

Pyranha Speeder – Fast and Fit Boats

07.20.2011

From its source in Lake Tear of the Clouds on Mt. Marcy, the highest peak in New York, the Hudson rushes through the Adirondacks, ambles past the state capitol in Albany and, 315 miles later, meets the Atlantic at New York Harbor.

Hurricane Category 5 – Fast and Fit Boats

07.20.2011

The Hurricane Category 5 is billed as a performance kayak for training, racing and day-tripping on lakes. So when our testers first eyed this short, sleek, shiny red boat, we wondered why the North Carolina-based builders named a lightweight, rudderless craft meant for “quiet lakes” after a storm capable of tossing a well-fed cow over a barn.

Epic V8 – Fast and Fit Boats

07.20.2011

Epic’s first surfski, a 21-foot racing machine called the V10, was designed to be the fastest all-around ocean kayak in the world. Arguably, it was, especially when either of the designers—Olympian Greg Barton and 11-time Molokai champ Oscar Chalupsky—sat in the bucket.

Rock-Hoppers

06.17.2011

This review is featured in the June 2011 issue of Canoe & Kayak magazine, now on newsstands. Look at seals. They know how to enjoy themselves. Swimming in the northern Baja surf, they could have cared less about tracking, hull speed or covering miles. They were perfectly content to play in the rocks and eat […]

Dagger Alchemy 14.0L – Rock-Hoppers

06.17.2011

Capable sea kayak bred from the river DAGGER ALCHEMY 14.0L ($1,299 in roto-molded polyethylene, dagger.com) L: 14′; W: 24″; 54 lbs., also in a smaller 14.0S model Dagger started out as just a couple of guys in 1988, building whitewater kayaks in a small shop with a dirt floor. Now, they have new floors, a […]

Delsyk Nifty 430 – Rock-Hoppers

06.17.2011

Family friendly fun kayak DELSYK NIFTY 430 ($1,249 w/skeg, $1,299 w/rudder, in roto-molded polyethylene, delsyk.com) L: 14″; W: 24″; 58 lbs., also in a smaller 385 model The Nifty’s ultra-stable double-chine hull and extra-large cockpit are perfect for beginners, and an absolute blast for advanced paddlers. That doesn’t mean it can’t perform in the rough […]

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Buyer's Guide

Buyer's Guide