For several boats now, I’ve been outfitting my sea kayaks with electric pumps. (My reasons are explained in the first part of this posting.)
So I’ve fitted my new-to-me Valley Etain with an electric pump as well. The overall design is pretty similar to my last pump, with a waterproof Pelican battery box designed to let me run the system on either 12 rechargeable AA batteries or 8 alkaline AAs. A stretchy Velcro strap and a pair of stainless steel footman’s loops hold the battery pack in place against the bulkhead at the back of the cockpit.
Today, let us praise those who are not content to passively take only what the outdoor retail market offers. All hail those explorers who tinker, tweak or make things from scratch. Sometimes economic necessity is the mother of invention: good gear ain’t cheap. Other times, it’s because what’s available doesn’t meet your purposes off-the-shelf. Or because there’s no product at all for your particular niche. Continue reading →
There are valid reasons to always carry a hand pump when sea kayaking. In my home Canadian waters, a bailer of some sort is a legal requirement. If you’re assisting another paddler, a hand pump lets you empty the rescuee’s cockpit while leaving their sprayskirt fastened to keep out waves. It’s smart to have a manual back-up to electric devices. And I have successfully self-rescued using only a hand pump in moderate conditions. But when the surf really hits the fan, I don’t count on a hand pump alone to save my soggy ass.
My first generation electric kayak pump. The grey metal nozzle on the left side of the battery box is a pneumatic switch, activated by an air button at the far end of plastic tubing.