Whether you’re on an endless road trip or just sneaking sessions before work, it’s not easy to paddle everyday. The biggest challenge, after you get your work/life priorities straight, is managing the piles of wet gear that inevitably detonate inside your shuttle rig. For that, you need to develop a system. Here are a few of our favorite funk-fighters to get you started.
RINSE KIT: File this one under genius–a self-contained shower system that fills up at your hose spigot and retains the same water pressure you get at home. There’s no pumping and no moving parts. The Rinse Kit just uses basic physics (air compresses in volume; water doesn’t) to provide about three minutes of rinse time, no matter where you are. ($90; rinsekit.com)
BOX STORE BIN: Fill this ubiquitous plastic container to the rim with life- jackets, sprayskirts and booties dripping swamp water and river mud. You won’t get a drop in your rig. We like the low-sided versions that won’t trip you up when you stand in them to change.
IKEA BAG: We’re no fan of disposable furniture and tortured vowels, but our Swedish friends’ blue plastic totes are perfect for containing moist gear. ($.99; ikea.com)
SCRUBBA WASH BAG: This masterpiece of dirtbag innovation looks like a drybag on the outside (and can be used as such) but it’s actually a miniature clothes-washing system. The inside has a patch of plastic nubs that work like a washboard. Our test- ing backs up the company’s contention that the Scrubba is twice as effective as hand washing, and more hygienic than a gas-station sink. ($55; thescrubba.com)
CLOTHESLINE: A throw-rope works for weekend duty, but if you’re drying gear every day don’t risk the UV exposure—get about 25 feet of paracord at your local hard- ware store.
SURF GRASS MAT: Takeout surfaces vary from uncomfortable (gravel) to painful (hot asphalt), slightly messy (sand) to totally gross (tidal muck). One thing you’ll almost never see at the end of a paddling trip is a perfectly manicured bit of lawn. So why not bring your own 20 x 25-inch patch of suburbia with you? The Surf Grass Mat’s synthetic turf brushes loose sand or dirt from your feet, and handles a full spray down when needed. Plus, it makes a fine front lawn for your tent.
SOAP: Yeah, talking to you paddler dude. Make sure it’s biodegradable, like Sea to Summit’s Trek & Travel line of bodywash, shampoo and laundry soap.
–More GEAR reviews, tips and news from CanoeKayak.com