Great Gift Ideas for Paddlers

canoeing into the sunset

The end of the year approaches and the holidays are almost upon us. This means it’s time to start thinking about holiday gift ideas for the canoeist and kayakers in the family. This year, I’ve used and fell in love with a bunch of gear. Some of the gear I’ve fallen in love with appears on this year’s list. I think most paddlers would enjoy seeing these items under their Christmas or holiday tree, and I expect they’d fall in love with the gifts too.

  • Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown DVD: Two years ago I got Gordon Brown’s book, Sea Kayak: A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Sea Kayakers, as a gift and I find it fantastic. This year, for the holidays, the video companion to the book will become available. The producers made this instructional video with an unique angle; they filmed half as an instructional title and half as a group of kayak on a wilderness trip who have to put into practice what they learned from the instruction. I’ve only seen the clips on the website, but if the DVD is half a good as the book, it’ll be a winner. I hope I find this under my Christmas canoe paddle tree.
  • Sea To Summit Lightweight Dry Bags: Sea to Summit sent me a few of these to test out, and, although, I’ve been a Sealline lover for years, I’m switching over to all Sea to Summit. These light bags are more flexible than a standard Sealline bag; this flexibility makes them easier to pack. I found the 13 liter size to be the most useful.
  • Enertia Single Serve Camping Meals: Cheap, easy to make, and tasty. That sums up the perfect trail food for me. I’ve been using Enertia Trail Foods on my trips for the last seven or eight years. They’re all good, but Moosilauke Goulash is my favorite. I like these so much that I asked them to sponsor my last expedition and they did.
  • The Complete Wilderness Paddler: This year, I won this book from Adventure Canoe on Twitter, and this is the first time I read it. It’s been an enjoyable read that any paddler would like to find under the tree. It’s almost as good as Expedition Canoeing, 20th Anniversary Edition: A Guide to Canoeing Wild Rivers in North America.
  • Jetboil Cooking System: Jetboil game me a stove to use on my last expedition, and it impressed me. It impressed me because it’s so efficient. Each small canister lasted easily over two weeks of meals, which on a long trip meant carrying a lot less fuel. When done eating, the stove and fuel canister pack perfectly inside the pot for a compact carry. Plus, the system weighs under a pound. It’s not the lightest stove system on the market, but the simplicity and smart design won me over.
  • North Water Sea Tec Towline: Paddling safety has been on my mind this year. I’ve read a number of reports, newspaper articles, etc. about paddlers getting into trouble and having to be rescued. It’s hard to pull off a kayak rescue with an injured paddler without a tow rope. And the North Water Sea Tec Towline is the smartest tow on the market, because it doubles both as a waist belt tow system and a deck mounted tow system. It’d be more than perfect if it tripled as a throw bag too.
  • Katadyn Hiker PRO Water Filter: I purchased my first water filter–a PUR Hiker–in 1996. It pumped water quickly, required no maintenance, and weighed only 11 ounces. Over the years I experimented with many different systems, but this year I went back to my old PUR Hiker. Now made by Katadyn, the Hiker has seen a few upgrades: it includes a cleanable filter protector, quick attachment fittings for the hoses, and an improved pre-filter. It pumps just as fast as the old PUR Hiker, which means a liter of water in about 30 or so strokes.
  • Gränsfors Bruks Mini Hatchet Axe: A hatchet is the perfect gift for the canoeist heading to the BWCA. This one weighs under a pound, fits into a small corner of your Duluth Pack, and splits wood with the best of them. Your canoeist will never be without a campfire again. Don’t want to spend over $100 on an axe that’ll last a lifetime, then try a Fiskars Hatchet
  • An REI Membership: REI is a retail co-op devoted to selling great gear. As a member, you get cash back at the end of the year in the form of a dividend. A membership also gets you exclusive member-only deals and coupons. I love the 20% off coupon that comes with the year-end dividend and once a season.
  • Garmin eTrex Vista: I bought this gem of a GPS and love it. With lithium batteries, I get about a week of all-day long battery life. It’s expandable via mini-sd cards, and you can get free topo maps for this Garmin gps.
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