A run down of my favourite kit while on the road for a month and a bit, kayaking in Norway and Austria.
5) Jusjjer/dschuzzer/hand blender
Not necessarily what you might expect to need on a kayaking trip. Indeed, Jacob was sceptical when I thrust it upon him and demanded that I couldn’t possibly go away for a month without it. How else would we make cashew-nut paste I reasoned? But this really came into its own when we found twelve bags of coffee beans in the Norwegian bins. It doesn’t quite grind to a fine espresso, but beggars can’t be choosers. It was also great for making sauces, like the tomato sauce we made for the three whole trout fished out of the dumpster in Vagamo.
4) Palm Gradient shoes
Scrambling about on the bank trying to work out your line, setting safety and portaging are all scary enough without having to worry about your feet slipping. The Gradients have a super grippy sole, are very comfy and unlike some other shoes I have owned, they are easy to get on and off without ripping the backs.
3) Kelly Kettle
Tea and coffee breaks (with biscuits) are an integral part of longer trips. With trips longer than two weeks, there is a serious danger of paddler burn out. You can only keep the enthusiasm up, for long days with multiple rivers/sections, for so long. Then out-come the books and biscuits and trips usually settle into a mellower pace. The Kelly Kettle is the coolest way to boil water. It’s designed so you can build a fire in the middle and burn sticks. Not only did it let us play with fire, it also super efficient and saved us lots of gas!
2) Palm Orbit spray skirt
There are just some places you don’t want to be worrying about having a deck imploding. Norway is definitely one of them. I never had any problems with the Orbit. It kept me dry on big drops, high volume and super continuous white water. It’s also a lot easier to put on than other rand decks I have used. This might not seem super important when you buy a deck and all you can think about is those sick waterfalls you are going to send. However, hanging onto a tiny rock ledge above said waterfall, fighting to get a deck on, is hands down the scariest thing you can do in a kayak. Overall, I have been really impressed with the Orbit, it’s bomber, super reliable and easy to use.
1) Palm Zenith jacket
I hummed and hawed about getting a semi-dry cag. I knew from slalom and wild water that I really liked the freedom that not having a latex seal around my neck gives. Especially when it comes to breathing. Eventually I decided to bite the bullet and thought that at least I would have a drysuit as a backup if it didn’t work out.
I can count the times I used my drysuit this summer on one hand. I love the Zenith. I wore it on almost every river we did. As with any semi-dry cag it only keeps you semi dry. But even in the cold waters of Austria this was rarely an issue. It keeps you dry enough to be warm and it’s so light and comfy you hardly notice it.