by John Bolivar

12/8/05 – Web Exclusive

Do you have paddlers you need to buy presents for? Having a hard time finding just the right gift? It’s coming down to the last days of shopping opportunities before the large man in the sled sneaks down your chimney. I asked our staff and some of our pro paddlers and came up with a can’t-miss list of last-minute gifts that won’t be returned – maybe exchanged for a larger size, but definitely appreciated.

Make sure to forward this link to your relatives so you’ll get a pair of pogies instead of a set of monogrammed hankies. You can forward this article by going to the bottom of this page and clicking on EMAIL THIS.

Start with a subscription to the best paddling magazine in the world, Canoe & Kayak – sure to make any paddler happy. New for 2006 we are going to come out with 7 issues of boating fun (we were 6 issues per year).

The new 2006 Canoe & Kayak Calendar is out now and makes a great present that will be remembered all year long.

Our annuals make great gifts also – feature packed once-a-year issues specific to the sport:

Kayak Touring (the new 2006 issue is just out!)

Canoe Journal

Beginners Guide



For the techie paddler there are a ton of waterproof doo-dads and gadgets this season. High on everyone’s list are items that are waterproof or make your digital toys waterproof.

Waterproof housing and headset for your iPod from H2O Audio. You can still listen to your Kayak Journal podcasts while paddling in a snowstorm.

MSRP $149.95

Digital waterproof camera. The Pentax Optio WP is a great 5 megapixel compact camera that is totally submersible. It starts up fast, shoots fast and has a long-lasting battery so you can take it and shoot all day while on the river.
MSRP $300.00

Waterproof cases to carry your digital treasures. If you have a cell phone, GPS or other digital toy that is not waterproof on its own get a case to carry it in. Pelican makes a micro case series. They come in a variety of sizes and make a great stocking stuffer.

A new paddle rates right up there with finding the Holy Grail, and you can’t go wrong with a Bending Branches Bending Branches-Cruiser Plus 14
Fiberglass reinforced, bent-shaft cruising paddle.

To keep their paddles, looking new get them a padded paddle bag from North Water.

The 20th-anniversary edition of Expedition Canoeing by Cliff Jacobson would make any paddler stay up late reading.


If your paddler has been super nice this year, why not break the bank and get them a new kayak? Just think of their howl of delight on Christmas morning – not your Visa bill that will appear in January. Get them a new Carbonlite Equinox from Eddyline or one of the new fitness series of boats from Perception– the Rythm or the Cadence.

Spent all your spare change on lottery tickets so you don’t have that much cash left? Why not buy an Aleutian – a waterproof deck bag from Cascade Designs.


Tired of doing all the paddling while your kids sit in front of the double kayak? Get them a Sprite Sea Kayak paddle from Werner Paddles for them. Its smaller shaft and blade are guaranteed to put a smiley face on them come Christmas morning.


She would surely appreciate a Kayak Anchor System from Wildwasser for those windy days of casting for lunkers. An anchor is also handy for birders and photographers trying to keep their kayak in one place.

You can always get them a MTI Angler combo fishing vest and PFD from LL Bean. Its got a boat load of pockets, loops and adjusting straps and is Coast Guard approved for flotation.


There never are enough rodholders on a kayak fishing boat, and they make great stocking stuffers. Scotty makes several models to fit many fishing types, including flyfishing.


River toys make everyone happy. Remo Drums makes a great item. They are Paddle Drums – drum heads with handles. They look like large ping-pong paddles and when you hit rubber balls back and forth they make delightful drumming sounds. You can google ‘paddle drums’ to find dealers since they are not for sale in your local boating shops…yet.
$185.00 – Set of four.

Cold hands are not fun. Wildwasser makes Yampa Pogies – bombproof warm pogies that will have your hands thinking they are in Mexico, even if your eyes says it’s a snowy US river in January.

Got kids who paddle whitewater on your gift list? Jackson Kayaks makes the best kids whitewater paddle on the market. The little monsters will promise to feed the dogs and take out the garbage for the rest of the year if you get them one of these paddles for Christmas.


Got little paddlers on your list? Hi Tec makes a great water sports shoe with little frog eyes on them, the Phibian, perfect for summertime paddling and puddle jumping.

Make your paddler friends happy and buy them all hats – Turtle Fur makes several models that fit under helmets, are made of moisture wicking Dryline and keep your noggin warm and toasty.

What boater doesn’t like to wile away those winter evenings reading about paddling or watching a boating DVD? Justine Curgenven’s exciting sea kayaking movie, This is the Sea Two is now out and on sale for $30.
Jock Bradley’s whitewater kayaking coffee table book Torrent is so full of close action shots you might be tempted to wear your rain jacket while reading it. The water seems to leap from the pages.

Becky Bristow has a new whitewater DVD out, The Russian Wave. The quirky film was a People’s Choice winner at the Whistler Film Festival and Finalist at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Follow Becky and Dunbar Hardy’s misguided search for rapids from a rickety Russian helicopter while getting a fascinating insight into the local Russian culture.

Boaters are always getting owies and soggy bandaids are almost as bad as a wet sleeping bag. Adventure Medical Kits makes a series of waterproof first aid kits that will keep your supplies safe and dry. The Ultra-Light Paddler Medical Kit comes in a small see-through dry bag and will let you fix those boo-boos and continue boating.

The less time we spend shopping the more time for paddling! So go on-line and spend some money.