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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…