The weather didn’t cooperate with our planned Black Friday paddle, so below are a few few gift suggestions for the paddler on your Christmas list. If you’re looking for a local business to support, Rusted Moon in Broad Ripple and J.L. Waters in Bloomington have a more thorough selection of paddling supplies than the typical sporting goods store. And they have people who know what they are talking about to help you out.
Straps – I don’t think you can have too many straps. Ratchet straps are not the best for securing a boat, as they can put a lot of stress on the hull without you realizing it, and they are terrible for securing gear. NRS (www.nrs.com) has a variety of high-quality straps available. Some come with the length woven into them, or you can order them color-coded by length. Either tell whoever you buy them for how the lengths and colors coordinate, or let them unroll them on the living room floor for some extra Christmas-morning color.
Hat – A large-brimmed hat can help a paddler stay cooler on sunny days, and help with sun protection.
Dry bags – A selection of dry bags is always useful. For short trips a couple of smaller bags can keep your basic gear dry, for a longer trip several larger bags may be needed. Several different types are available, and some have a clear panel so you can see what is inside. And a waterproof bag or case for the phone is a must.
Boat cart – using a cart can reduce the wear on a boat from dragging it to the put-in, and also makes it easier to maneuver it over rough ground.
Paddle bag – Gives the ability to store and carry several paddles in a convenient package. It also protects paddles from abrasion during transport.
Mesh bag – something is always wet on the way home; water shoes, boat sponge, towel, etc. and a mesh bag is a great way to carry wet gear in the same place. And if it gets left on the back porch for a day or so after a trip, it will be a bit less smelly than if left in a closed bag.
Floating fish net – This is a newer item, and I haven’t tried it, but it looks like it could be handy for the kayak fisherman on your list.