Paddling Life Schwag Roundup!


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And this is why we make the big bucks! Yep, our team over hear at Paddling Life gets to test all sorts of gear that comes across our transom every year, from shoes and shorts (don’t worry, we wash them for multiple testers) to dry bags and even dog collars that let you set a fence line for your canine at camp. Read on to see what all we got our hands on to put through its paces this year, be it in the mountains, on the river or beach, or at camp

Of course, if the neighboring camp has better beer and your dog is trained to retrieve, you can always set the virtual fence a little bigger…

Halo Dog Collar

Don’t want your pooch roaming beyond your camp on the river? Set a temporary perimeter “fence” with the new Halo 3 dog collar, which allows you control your best friend’s wanderings so he or she can still explore, but not stray too far. Built for use at home or whenever you’re traveling, Halo gives you peace of mind that your dog is always protected with patented GPS technology that guides them back to safety. Instantly create virtual fences in the Halo Collar app: no terrain limitations, no wires, no digging or anything. Create them in different locations (like your different campsites), whether you’re on an ocean beach, river camp, campground, dog park and more. The virtual fences are stored in the collar and keep your dog inside the boundaries you set, with customizable sound, vibration, or static feedback from the collar alerting your dog to turn around when they approach a fence boundary. Now, if only we could get one of these babies for a few certain other members of our usual river party… Info:

Gotta’ love the name: the Boatman!

Roark Boardshorts

Channel your inner Tahiti on the river beach in Roark’s new collection of boardshorts, whose vibrant colors mixed in with classic darker shades will paint you the life of your riversides party. The collection ranges from the performance surf Passage series to the relaxed Chiller Series, and our fave, the guaranteed-for-life BoatmanThey dry quick (so perfect for that impromptu cannonball or backie), thwart river grime and are as comfy, almost, as going commando (which you, ahem, sometimes do on the Grand). Info:

Why bring two when you can bring one?


Packing light (such as in an Alpacka pack raft) and sick of bringing along two or three half-empty Jet Boil fuel canisters just because you never know how much fuel is in each one? Kiss those troubles and that extra weight and space goodbye with the new Flip-Fuel, a nifty gizmo that lets you easily transfer fuel from one container to another with the flip of a switch. Simply attach the two, flip the lever and presto! it all goes into the receiving canister—which frees up weight and space for that extra beer.

Watershed dry bag
Bomber material and a bomber seal…

Watershed Largo Tote Drybag

If it’s gotta’ stay dry and accessible (ahem, toilet paper, anybody?), trust your gear to Watershed. We got our hands on the new Large Tote drybag and were the envy of the river trip, with its easy access Ziploc-type seal, on a nine-day jaunt down Alaska’s Lake Creek (where, yes, you want your gear dry). But its real story is its almost bear-proof material. After two years of development and another year of testing, its new Kryptothane Plus has been upgraded to an 840-denier Nylon base fabric on both sides with extruded pigmented polyurethane. Bombola. The extruded coating is thicker and its pigmentation creates even higher resistance to UV rays (read: go ahead and take it on the Grand in the dead of summer). The material is then embossed using a roller process that creates a balanced, grippy coating. Bonus: its first color change in seven years. Info:

Unwork? That’s for us…

686 Unwork Pants

Now’s here’s a pair of pants made for paddlers: the new “Unwork” pants from 686 (not like any of us like working anyway). 686, an independent snowboard, ski and technical apparel brand, introduces the Unwork collection, a progressive take on classic workwear, providing seamless transition between work and not-work environments (i.e. paddling and post-paddling). The collection includes a jacket and pant designed for movement, durability and breathability—perfect for apres-paddling and fixing that spare on the shuttle rig. “Our goal is to unwork the mentality that you need multiple products to do multiple activities,” says founder Michael Akira West. “Our brand is about blurring lines.” The Unwork Pant comes in a durable stretch fabric, with 500-denier nylon tear zones added into the pockets, belt loops and rear leg opening hem. With an 11-pocket design, it offers stow space for wallets and even noseplugs, with a side hammer loop, zippered mesh pocket and reinforced 500-denier pocket internals for abrasion resistance. A DWR finish offers water repellency for after the river, and all seams are sewn with Duracore™ thread for added durability. MSRP

$139.95. Info:

Kane wateshoes
They’re just a little hard to drink a bootie beer from…

Kane River Shoes

Crocs, schmocks. Kane has your feet covered with its Revive recovery shoe, combining functionality with aesthetics for all your on- and off-water needs. Three features ensure comfort: a 10mm heel-to-toe drop reduces strain on the achilles; raised nodes on the sole stimulate feet; and it has aspacious fit, keeping your tootsies relaxed and supported while encouraging blood flow. The Revive is also waterproof with ventilation holes on the upper, allowing you to hop off your board or boat and onto the beach without spongy, waterlogged soles. Bonus: It’s made with a renewable, sugarcane-based foam that sequesters carbon, with its upper and sole made from Kane’s RestoreFoam, using over 75% sugarcane materials. Info: Kane Footwear’s Revive

Especially grippy for those games of Ammo Can Tug-o-War…

Vibram’s V-Aqua’s water shoe

Get a grip. That’s Vibram’s motto, with its new 3.7mm V-Aqua for men and women, a light, slim and flexible “tool for the feet” with a snug fit. Featuring its patented “five-toe” design for grip on slippery, wet rocks (i.e. portaging, scouting and hopping off the raft at camp), it comes with a Megagrip Outsole for lizard-like traction, complete with silicon treatment drainage perforations so your feet don’t get soggy from its cushy 2mm EVA insole. And a silicon print inside the lining prevents internal slippage. Bonus: perfect low-profile design for squishing into those tiny playboats. Info: V-Aqua’s

Fast draining...just like most paddlers' bank accounts come paddling season...Rocky Nowake Water Shoes

New for Spring/Summer 2024, Rocky Boots introduces NOWAKE for men, what could well be the perfect paddling shoe. From kayaking to paddleboarding to fishing and apresing, this fully drainable shoe has your feet covered in and out of the water. Built with a recycled fishing net upper and a perforated drainable footbed, water flows through freely without pooling (no matter how bad your swim), allowing for quicker dry times. Added grip in wet conditions comes from its non-marking, slip resisting outsole with drainable rebound EVA midsole which pushes water out with every step. Features like the integrated neoprene sock construction and locking bungee cord laces with toggle closure add all day comfort and secure support. Info:

Free Fly hoodieFree Fly Hoodie

Keep the sun off with an Elevate Hoodie from Free Fly. The company’s most technical fabrication to date, the Elevate collection is made with a recycled poly/lyocell/spandex blend, for the perfect river- and beach-friendly combo of durability, moisture wicking capability, four-way stretch (for those Beersbie games), and—perhaps best for paddlers—lasting odor control. Want more options? Try its Bamboo Lightweight Hoodie and Lined Breeze Shorts (we love ‘em all!).

Free fly Tee
Comfyville on the river or ocean…

The Bamboo Lightweight Hoodie ($68), comes with a buttery-soft Viscose from Bamboo blend, is ultra breathable, lightweight and quick drying with crossover hood and thumbholes for complete coverage; and the UPF 50+ Lined Breeze Short ($78) is made of  of Free Fly’s signature lightweight Breeze fabrication for everyday action with 4-way stretch for those diving catches and a soft, breathable and quick-drying boxer-brief style liner.

Hest Sleeping Pad (Foamy Regular)

Hasta La Vista, Paco Pad. Paco Pads are great and all, but Jack down at Jack’s Plastic Welding hardly corners the market on them anymore. Case in point: the Hest Foamy, a 78″x25″ (or a Wide: 78″x30″) pad which offers two layers of enhanced memory foam—the top providing plush body contouring, the bottom layer delivering support and pressure point relief—serving up uber-comfort even on those rocky shorelines. Designed to perform in cold temps and weighing 11 lbs. (your raft rower won’t even notice), other features include no inflated air or pump needed; a removable, machine washable cover; integrated compression straps; a durable, waterproof base; a compression harness that doubles as a welcome mat; a handy phone pocket; and connector clips on the sides that let you link up to other Foamie fans. $299,



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