Sometimes the best paddling is halfway around the world. Here’s some gifts that make the trip go better, faster, and safer. Plus, this year’s best gifts for the traveling boater.
For the Kayak Fisherman – Kayak Fishing Gift Guide
Gifts for Any Paddler – Boaters Gift Guide
ExOfficio BUZZ OFF Baja Long-Sleeved Shirt, $85
BUZZ OFF Air Strip pants, $75 (exofficio.com)
The three worst things about paddling in the tropics are indisputably the hot sun beating down on you, the bugs dive-bombing your tender skin, and the warm beer. ExOfficio's BUZZ OFF line transitions seamlessly from tarmac to tackle shop, and takes care of two of these problems along the way—the lightweight, quick-drying fabric is impregnated with insect repellant and has a 30+ UPF UV protection rating. The ventilated yoke, arms, and back keep you cool while chest pockets house a passport and cigars, and a handy Velcro tab secures your flyrod as you untangle your line from the mangrove trees—perfect for kayak fishing in the Everglades. If only it had an insulated pocket to keep your beer cold … Pair with ExOfficio's BUZZ OFF Air Strip Pants, complete with cooling mesh panels, built-in bug dope, and array of cargo pockets, for your next hot weather adventure.
SealLine Urban Shoulder Bag, $150-$170 (seallinegear.com)
Some travelers are not content to spend eight-hour layovers reading magazines in airports, especially in unexplored Central American countries. They prefer, rather, to pay their $5 airport tax, hail a cab in the rain, and prowl a drizzly, humid waterfront all afternoon. These travelers need a good, water-resistant carry-on. These travelers need the PVC-free SealLine Urban Shoulder Bag, complete with padded shoulder strap and internal laptop sleeve. Available in two sizes.
McNett Aquamira Water Bottle and Filter, $25 (mcnett.com)
Do drink the water when it's filtered through McNett's ingenious system—a 22-ounce Nalgene bottle paired with an activated carbon filter that halts microbial monsters like giardia and cryptosporidium in their tracks, before they reach your intestinal tract. Good for 230 uses, whether on the river or in a Third World hotel room after a little too much tequila. Don't worry, you can still blame your hangover on the ice in the margarita mix at that iffy Mexican joint.
Solio Hybrid 1000 Solar Charger, $70 (solio.com)
If you're constantly on the road, offset (a very small) part of your travel emissions by juicing up your portable electronics with the sun's rays. Clip this sleek, one-pound unit to a backpack or set it on the dash, then plug in with one of the myriad of included adapter tips—it charges at the same rate as a wall outlet and stores power up to about two charges for an iPod Nano. One hour of sun will power an mp3 player for about an hour or provide 25 minutes of talk time on most cell phones. Traveling at night? Plug the Solio Hybrid into the wall to charge it up for on-the-go power tomorrow.
Kaenon Jetty and Georgia Sunglasses, $199 each (kaenon.com)
Paddlers who want the best protection for their peepers know polarized is the way to go. Kaenon makes it easy to look glam on and off the water with these his-and-hers models, featuring oversized, boxy Italian-made frames that hug the temples like a long-lost lover at baggage claim—leaving dangerous UV rays little room to strike.
Royal Robbins Global Traveler Zip N' Go Skirt, $60
Aries Crew, $65 (royalrobbins.com)
It's formal meeting wear. It's a chic piece at the caf or bar. It's a handbag. Royal Robbins Global Traveler skirt is practically all you need for business travel, in a washable, water- and wrinkle-resistant nylon package. Wear it long, zip it off at the knee, or fold the whole thing into the side pocket, which turns inside out, complete with shoulder strap, to serve double duty as a day bag. Pair with Aries Crew (pictured), constructed from elegant yet technical merino pointelle that keeps you cool under pressure but also acts as an insulating baselayer.
Keen Berkeleys, $85 (keenfootwear.com)
As cute in the boardroom as they are at the ticket counter, these Mary Jane/clog hybrids slip on easily as you're flying out the door, and kick off in a snap in the line for airport security. A cushy footbed cradles your arches while running to catch a plane; non-marking soles tread lightly on shiny surfaces and wrap around for superior toe protection.