Pimp My Rec Kayak
The new 2010 Current Designs Kestrel 140 OC blends sea kayak features – bow and stern compartments with bulkheads for dry storage, deck rigging and optional rudder – with a rec kayak’s entry and exit agreeability, adjustable seatback and accommodating 25” beam.
Combine the best of both worlds and you have a multi-purpose getaway vehicle, nimble enough for daytrips, spacious enough for lightweight paddle camping, and roomy enough to get in and out in without requiring contortionist conditioning.
Length: 13’ 6” Width: 25” Material: Rotomolded polyethylene Weight: 57 lbs with rudder.
Capacity: 325 lbs.
Cockpit: 49 x 17.5”
Storage: 11.5 gallons up front an 8” hatch, 15.5 gallons in the stern via an 11 x 16.5” hatch.
Hint: Customized outfitting and accessories will make any boat more functional and more comfortable.
MSRP $1199 with rudder
Paddle: An ergonomic bent shaft is easy on the muscles when the touring miles begin to accumulate. Adventure Technology Ergo T4; 36 oz of length adjustable stick in glass or carbon.
Hint: An alternate paddle for different conditions can be a welcome change of pace, and carrying a spare can mean not swimming back if loss or breakage occurs.
MSRP: Glass $189, Carbon $279
PFD: Advanced flotation technology reaches warm weather paddlers at last; The Astral V-Eight’s mesh back provides seatback or back band comfort combined with breathable Airescape tech for the ultimate in keeping your cool.
Hint: Dress for success. The V-Eight also works atop a drysuit or poly/fleece/Gortex layers when building up a sweat on winter trips.
Fire: Flame on in any wind or weather. Windmill Stormproof Delta Lighter.
Armored for impact resistance, waterproof and windproof, the piezo-electric ignition will last for 30,000+ ignitions.
Hint: Bring a can of butane fuel; this will quickly become your go-to lighter for everything use.
Knife: Even if your knife work typically involves more pepperoni slicing than rope and rescue dicing a knife is a terrible thing to be without. Byrd Cara Cara Rescue, round tipped, half or full serrated folders available for use in a thumb-flick flash.
Hint – Sand, grit and saltwater are the enemy of folding knives; post-trip cleaning and lubrication will help ensure years of service.
Whistle: Loud, shrill and heard a mile away are not desirable qualities in a paddling partner, but it’s a perfect combination for a whistle. The Fox 40 is a plastic molded pea-less whistle approved as a sound signaling device by the Coast Guard .
Hint: Review whistle signals with your paddling partners before launching (example: one long blast – Pay attention!, Three blasts – Emergency!, Five short, rapid blasts – Danger!)
Light: Bright, multi-faceted and rugged are desirable qualities in a paddling partner. And in an emergency signal light. The Arc Electronics C-Light is waterproof, easily operable in emergencies and the faceted lens is visible for up to 2 miles.
Hint: For nighttime map reading or gear futzing the C-light, or any bright light, will diminish your night vision; use a small red or amber LED light instead. The Photon Micro-Light II in red will supply 120 hours of light on a single lithium battery.
MSRP: C-light – $12
Photon Micro-Light II – $12
Optics – Waterproof magnification helps in spotting that distant campsite or wandering companion. The compact Brunton Lite-Tech 8×22 monocular is ready at hand in a PFD pocket.
Hint: Lightweight and waterproof does not mean it floats!Don’t ask how I know.
Deck storage: Having necessities like sunglasses, water bottle, or raingear easily accessible beats foraging blindly under the sprayskirt. Harmony’s Deluxe deck bag will keep miscellaneous gear contained and ready at hand.
Hint: An easily detachable deck bag makes a convenient essentials bag in camp.
Harmony Deluxe Deck Bag
Sail: Few things are as enjoyable as paddling, but cruising effortlessly across open water in a ruddered boat under sail comes darned close. The Pacific Action Sail installs easily, deploys or furls in seconds and allows controllable hands-free sailing.
Hint: (I’ll know when I finally get around to installing and sailing the one we have. We use Spirit Sails on our boats currently; once I have the PA sail rigged on a boat I want to do a real head-to-head field test comparison of the two mounted in both a canoe and kayaks)
Seat and heel pads: The Kestrel’s seat is already adjustably comfortable, but a Yakpads Paddle Saddle provides a little pressure distributing gel, adding endurance cush for the tush.
Hint: Combine the Paddle Saddle seat cushion with a pair of Yakpads gel kneeling pads under your heels for the ultimate daylong in comfort; movable heel pads work well with the freedom of positioning in a rec cockpit.
MSRP: Paddle saddle $35. Kneeling (heel) pads $20
Bilge Pump: Simple to use and efficient at 8 strokes per gallon. A Beckson Thirsty Mate kayak pump tucked under the deck bungees is a reassuring sight in troubled waters. Self priming, self-lubricating and easy to clean
Hint: Pumping clean water after a sand or muck mishap will help keep the valve operating smoothly. Otherwise just pop off the foot valve for easy inards rinsing.
Compass: Which way do we go? Getting there and back again can use a little help. The Suunto Orca deck compass is easily attached to deck bungees and the luminous dial can be charged at night with a flashlight beam.
Hint: Even if you paddle mesmerized by the glow of a GPS having map and compass skills is a good thing. Batteries die.
Dry bags: A combination of Sealline cylindrical Baja bags and tapered Kodiak bags, appropriately sized for your packing needs, will make the most effective use of available storage space.
Hint: A short length of cord or webbing trailing from the tapered bag’s D-ring will make retrieval from the far reaches of the bow and stern stems less awkward.
MSRP: Baja 30 $24, Kodiak taper 35 wide $55
Portage Cart: Sometimes the boat carries you, sometimes you carry the boat.
Ready in seconds to come or go with your boat in tow, the Paddleboy Designs Original end cart is designed to fold flat and fit in most kayak hatches. 5.5 lbs and it floats.
Hint: Asking “You wanna use this cart next?” at the take out is often good for offers of for post-paddling prandials, on-site Sherpa services or future favors.
Roof rack & saddles: Something that lifts on and off the vehicle in seconds to restore gas saving aerodynamics when not boat toting will save a paddler’s wallet in the long run, especially if your shuttle vehicle is also your commuter car. Thule Tracker II feet with a Hydro Glide/Set-to-Go saddle combo provides easy loading and unloading of boats and quick crossbar removal.
Hint: The Tracker II feet literally lift on and off in seconds and that’s four Benjamins on the roof; buy the lock cylinders (set of four $50).
MSRP: Tracker II foot pack and load bars $245, Hydro Glide saddles $85, Set-to-Go saddles, $85