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 →
Regular readers know my fondness for sticking sails onto anything that floats. I even fitted a Hobie Mirage sail and Side Kick Amas onto my previous single sea kayak. As the pic below shows, the combination was a hoot for zipping around on daytrips. However, it proved too bulky to stow easily on or in the boat when not in use, so it was never very practical for touring. That’s why when I replaced my single kayak, I opted for a Falcon Sail. But that left me with a perfectly serviceable sail and outriggers crying out to be used. Continue reading →
Off-the-shelf kayak lights are an excellent way to increase safety when night paddling. By raising your light a few feet above the deck you can ensure it remains unblocked by your body and visible through the full 360. Plus, it won’t nuke your night vision by shining directly in your eyes. Continue reading →
Ever had a friend tension a piece of cloth with their hands while you sliced it with scissors? Then you know that stretching fabric over sharp edges is an excellent way to cause running cuts (or “progressive failure” if you’re a materials geek). Run your finger along the outside of your sea kayak’s cockpit rim, paying particular attention to the top and bottom corners of the lip. Unless it’s been factory equipped with trim, there are your sharp edges. And your stretchy neoprene sprayskirt deck? There’s your tensioned fabric, sawing itself against those edges every time you pull the skirt on or off.