The Old Sea Dog’s Gear Locker [25]

By Norm Sanders

What, I ask you, is sea kayaking without gear? Wet and boring, that’s what, with nothing to talk about around the camp-Trangia on those cold, dark nights unrelieved by the warm glow of candle-lantern or Petzl headlamp.

Fortunately, there is help at hand! The Old Sea Dog himself has agreed to answer any questions about good, cheap (inexpensive) ways to fit out a kayak and partake of the wilderness in safety and comfort.

For starters, he suggests sending away (or FAXing) for your very own copy of the Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) catalog in America. Just reading the free catalog will give many hours of heartwarming pleasure:

REI, 1700 45th Street East, Sumner, WA, 98390, USA. FAX – 1-206-891-2500.

Look up their Expedition Weight M.T.S. 2 Thermal Wear. The zip neck top is very warm and perfect for all season use under a CAG. US$35 plus air freight. Delivery within a week of receiving a FAXed order.

Speaking of CAG’s (spray jackets – CAG is reputed to stand for something in the hated French language), the Old Sea Dog has just purchased a nifty model put out by EX-Treme. (Gulp. $89. What the Hell, you only live once, except if you’re a Buddhist!) It is waterproof nylon, with tight neoprene cuffs and neck band and a full length zipper. The zipper makes it very convenient to put on and take off in the cockpit, and, it doesn’t let much water in during rolls.

Unfortunately, the introduction of the zipper will require a revision of the Winkworth System of kayak stability standards, which are based on whether or not it is possible to remove or put on a CAG at night without capsizing.

Finally, the secret is out about where to get those classy black deck lines. The Old Sea Dog has discovered that it is made by RONSTAN and is available at Q-Craft in Sydney and Bateman’s Bay Power and Sail.

That’s it for now. Next issue: Olives, bailing scoops, urinals, water purifiers, and MORE!.