Top 10 Kayaks For Cold Weather Paddling


Here in Wisconsin we are definitely in the cold water paddling season.  Before the water gets too hard to wet a paddle there are some great months of exploring Wisconsin waterways.  With virtually no one around it’s a paddling nature lovers paradise of solitude.

Austin Kayaks has some recommendations for kayaks to use for cold weather paddling.  What do you think of their recommendations?

Top 10 Kayaks For Cold Weather Paddling – ACK – Kayaking, Camping, Outdoor Adventure Blog : ACK – Kayaking, Camping, Outdoor Adventure Blog.


Paddling The Solo Canoe DVD

Have you ever paddled a solo canoe?  Would you like to learn more about solo canoe paddling?  The DVD Paddling the Solo Canoe
is a good instructional resource for solo paddling.   Canoe instructor and Rutabaga paddle shop owner Darren Bush takes new solo paddlers through all the basics when it comes to paddling the solo canoe.

The DVD is organized into short, quick watching sections.  Darren covers everything from canoe anatomy and design basics to paddling strokes, outfitting and gear basics.  Darren demostrates techniques on the water and additionally animated stroke diagrams are included for more specific details.  The instructional video segments are quick, clear and to the point.   There is enough instructional information and the information never lags.  It was easy to watch a few sections multiple times because they’re well organized in the DVD menu.

I recommend this DVD if you’re interested in improving your solo canoe techniques or if you’re interested in paddling in general.

Paddling the Solo Canoe DVD is 58 minutes.

Kayaking Sailing with the Wind Paddle

Sailing and kayaking seem like a nice combination on those days when you want to use the wind to add a few more miles to your paddle or just feel like messing around on a windy day.  Here WI Paddle member Norm shares a little review of his new  WindPaddle Adventure Sail

Norm’s Review

Here is a photo of the Wind Paddle sail in action.  The visability is great through the large clear window.  It has tacking limitations which may improve with a little more practice.  I was going approximately 5 mph with a 10 mph wind at my back. It steers very nicely with a rudder, while holding the guy lines.  I may add anchor points to attach the guy lines to, so I won’t need to hold them.

I’ll keep you posted with my sailing adventures.

Thanks for the quick review Norm. Get your own WindPaddle Adventure Sail

Kayaking Safety! Understanding Safety First

By Andrew from Rocky’s Rudders

We all need to UNDERSTAND WHAT SAFETY FIRST means when you are a kayaker. What I mean by that is listed below:

1. NEVER EVER GO OUT WITHOUT THE PROPER EQUIPMENT (and if you do go out without the gear you need you are only asking for trouble sooner or later)

a. PFD not just a orange life jacket you would wear on a fishing boat. You need a real PFD made for kayaking. If you are unsure of what one would look like you can google kayaking PFD and there are numerous companies that sell them.

b. PADDLE LEASH: ALWAYS HAVE ONE ON YOUR PADDLE. A paddle leash is one of the most important things you will need if you do fall out of your kayak. Did you know you can actually use your paddle to help you swim back to safety?

c. PADDLE FLOAT: There are 2 different kinds of paddle floats, one you blow up and one that is safer and is a special type of foam that FLOATS. A paddle float will help you get back in your boat if you were to fall out.

d. EMERGENCY RADIO: VERY VERY IMPORTANT TO REACH COAST GUARD and or other boaters who could be in the waters near by who could come and assist if you are in trouble. And believe me it happens to even the ones who have paddled many many miles. I personally have had to use mine last year(if you want to know more on that subject just ask)

d. WHISTLE: which is used to get help if in need. And maybe it would not be you in particular that may need help, maybe it would be a fellow kayaker.

e. KNIFE: needed for cutting line, for instance if you get caught up in old fisherman’s line…or for assistance in making a fire. This device has SEVERAL ways you would need to use it.

f. BILGE PUMP: If you do have a wet water exit(fall out of your boat) you will need to get the water out of your kayak. You can not just “dump” it out you will need the bilge pump to pump the water out. They have these available in manual form or in an automatic form

g. BEACON LIGHT: This is used for emergency purposes only. Which you never know when you will be in that type of situation

These are just a few BASIC pieces of gear you need BEFORE even going out in a kayak. There is many more items you should have with you before you leave on any type of paddling adventure rather it be a short run or a longer paddling day.

It is all our responsibility to set an example for fellow kayakers new to the sport or whom have been paddling for years to be prepared for anything that could happen.  That would mean taking a wet water entry and exit lesson.

How many kayakers know how to get back into their kayak if they would capsize? I have an 11 yr old daughter whom I taught to know how to get back in her kayak and she can do it in 35 seconds….This is an IMPORTANT kayaking skill and please do not think that OH IT WON’T HAPPEN TO ME…I AM ALWAYS SAFE ON THE WATER and I CAN “SWIM”….In the water that is around here, hypothermia starts to set in within 10 minutes. Once that starts you start to get worn out, your thinking is effected and not for the better and hypothermia hits the HEART and makes the heart unable to pump the blood through to your body correctly.

I just want everyone to be SAFE on the water and to UNDERSTAND what their responsibilities are to THEMSELVES AND TO FELLOW KAYAKERS.

If you have any questions at all please feel free to ask away.

Andrew Griffin of Rocky’s Rudders has paddled over 7,000 miles on some of North America’s most breathtaking backwater and wilderness areas.   Andrew offers service, sales and guide services in Wisconsin.

Packing Your Kayak for the Ultimate Preparedness

Guest post from

Jon and I decided to check out the seminar on “The Art of Packing a Kayak” with J. Browning while at Canoecopia 2011 in Madison last weekend. Wow! Personally speaking, I left the session thinking I have totally missed the mark on preparedness and safety on any of my river and lake outings.

But for those of you who missed the session, here are the notes of being , REALLY, REALLY, prepared, for a day trip or one that is longer.


  1. A clean top deck as in nothing in the tie down straps. If you tip you need to get back in the boat without having  to climb/crawl over things.
  2. As for balance, you must keep the load even. If you pick the kayak up in the middle, it should balance.
  3. A thermos of hot water, to fight off hypothermia if someone in the group gets wet and then chilled.
  4. A first aid kit could come in handy. A small one for day trips and a more involved one for longer paddles. Make sure you have sunscreen and hand sanitizer like Purell.
  5. A GOOD backup paddle. Yours might break, and if there is still lots of time on the water, you will need a decent replacement.
  6. A bilge pump and a sponge are handy to keep from sitting in a pool of water. The water that runs off the paddle into the kayak can become problematic. The bilge pump will get most of it, and the sponge will finish the job.
  7. A strobe light fastened to the top of your PFD (personal flotation device) is a must, especially in big water, like the Great Lakes or ocean for emergency location.
  8. A flare gun or hand held smoke flares, and fluorescent green dye for emergency locating, if you run into trouble and others are trying to find you.
  9. A  marine band VHF handheld radio for emergency communication or simply for communicating with others.(waterproof radio would be the best)
  10. A signal mirror, a regular flashlight (white light) and a whistle are necessary emergency equipment. Some flashlights come with a radio and don’t require batteries, but are energized by winding.
  11. A hydration system built into PFD is nice with tubing that hangs out and easily reached, hydration fights off tiredness.
  12. Extra garbage bags and tie-downs are handy if a hatch is lost and Duct tape and a dry cloth as emergency repair for the hull stored in a little waterproof bag.
  13. A sighting compass which is much quicker and easier to use than a mounted compass on the hull of the kayak for determining direction, binoculars and GPS, would also be good to include for locating landmarks or determining exact location.
  14. A grease pencil is good for marking on laminated maps or a kayak.
  15. A small knife tethered inside the PFD, for quick use.
  16. Nutrients like extra water and energy bars (Fig Newtons are equivalent to energy bars).
  17. Velcro and a  pin are handy, put the Velcro around their wrist and pin a chunk on the PFD and stick them together to immobilize the arm, if a fellow paddler dislocates a  shoulders from paddling,
  18. A Contact tow strap and Carabiners for towing another kayak for whatever reason (like a dislocated shoulder)
  19. A spare change of clothing for you or someone else in your group and of course a bring or wear a hat.
  20. A drop cloth or footprint for a tent should be packed on top of inside of hatch so you can unload onto it and carry your load over your shoulder to your campsite, if you are doing a paddling and camping trip.
  21. A couple tapered waterproof bags work well for hatch areas that also taper.
  22. A repair kit for kayak is  a must. They should include a dry cloth, Epoxy (depends if your boat is polyethylene plastic or fiberglass), duct tape, gloves, a multi-tool, you may have to patch a hole or repair a rudder or a skeg.
  23. A small sewing kit could come in handy as well.
  24. A folding hand spade and toilet tissue would be good to include for basic necessities.
  25. Your kayak may have hatches for storage, or space behind your seat. It is suggested that a shelf could be made cheaply above your legs from a large plastic cutting board tethered to inside. The extra paddle, bilge pump,and sponge could be stored there.
  26. AND LAST OF ALL…..packing  in waterproof compression bags will save space for this long list of “must haves”!  Much of this can be kept in “ready to go bags” kept in the trunk of your vehicle.

Keep your paddle in the water and stay paddle sport safe.

You can also connect with Jane on the WI Paddle community.

Surfing the Delphin 155 from P & H Kayaks

Do you like to play in the waves? We don’t get a lot of huge waves in Wisconsin but you can find some waves in Lake Michigan. P & H has a new sea kayak play boat called the Delphin.

Here’s a list of the key features from the P & H website.

  • Rocker- Super maneuverability when surfing and prevents purling.
  • Quick resurfacing bow- Splits and sheds water preventing nose burying on steep waves and helps punch through waves on the way through surf.
  • Hard chines in the bow, soft chines in the stern. Fast pick up on the wave and forgiving for beginners and when surfing.
  • Flat mid-section hull-  The most manoeuvrable sea kayak on the market, spins like a white water kayak to get you out of those sticky situations like crossing fast flowing races.
  • Low back deck and cockpit- Easy to roll when the wave wins.
  • Squared off stern- Increases water length, speed and tracking.
  • Rear weighting- Creates a long water line when paddling on flat water for speed and tracking.
  • Large rear and fore hatch- Lots of day tripping storage.
  • Mini hatch- Access your essential gear on the move.

P & H Delphin Demo Video


Does the P & H Delphin look like a boat you would like to use to surf Wisconsin’s waves? Do you have any favorite Wisconsin kayak surfing spots?

Keep Your Hat on with Capsurz

Windy days paddling are fun. You don’t want to have to worry about your cap blowing off while maneuvering through the waves. Capsurz keep your cap secure in the wind.

When you don’t need to strap on your cap the Capsurz hides out just above the brim.

Wearing a hat while out on the water is almost essential for sun protection. A couple of my hats have built in chin straps and they’re the ones I wear when the wind is blowing. Paddling hats with chin straps come in very handy when you do not  have free hands to hold onto your hat in a gust.  With Capsurz I can wear any of my hats on a windy day Do you have a favorite hat that you like to wear while paddling?

Here’s a video I shot of Mari from Capsurz demonstrating her hat protector at Canoecopia.