Gear Tips Anyone?

I use a golf wiffel ball on the end of the spray skirt grab loop for an easy find of the grab loop when necessary. It works like a charm. I use a chamy as my “sponge” to absorb excess water in the cockpit etc. I have taped reflective tape onto my PFD for visibility. What neat gear tips do you have?


use my
camelbak for hydration on board and when I get out and explore the land around. Use a 1" thick hunting seat pad on my seat for extra comfort/extended paddling trips.

Bungee Balls
I use what I can “bungee balls” for all sorts of lashing purposes. These are those looped bungees with a small ball on them usually used for attaching tarps to frames.

I buy the 6" length and shove the knot out of the ball, retie the knot where I want it to get just the right size for whatever it is I’m lashing in, or to. After retying I just trim off the excess bungee, which usually isn’t much.

If it’s something like my York Box I’m lashing in,I tie a small length of looped rope to the handles and bungee those to the thwart.

By doing it this way I can still move the box around some, depending on the length of my looped rope, to trim the hull or take off the lid even though it may be riding under a thwart while traveling…


mesh bag
I carry a small mesh stuff bag to use as an anchor. When I pull up to a beach I load the bag with a couple rocks and clip it to my bow painter. With 20 foot tides in this area anchoring a boat, even on a short break, is a must.

Have fun


I take a foam block (used for car topping) and put it under my calves or ankles while I kayak. Feels great.

I use a chamy too, got it at wally-world its one of those funky sunthetic ones that never gets stiff. works great and makes a nifty hat too. Also use Camelbacs for water. I just put it between my leggs and run the tube under the skirt or under the edge of the skirt, but then I have to bend down to drink. other then that most of my gear is “backpacking and or water gear” I also have a small deck bags for snacks/GPS ect.

I use a wide-mouth large-size (~1-1/2 gal?) 2-lb. protein powder -or any nutrient supplement, come to think of it -jar as my dry storage on my OK S-Pro Tankwell SOT. It holds my wallet & keys, my cigar(s), cutter, & torches, and even my camera with the lens shroud/cover removed. Can add in miscellaneous stuff -energy bars, small pad & pen, whatever, as well. It’s opaque & white, so it’s visible and keeps the temp inside lower than if it were a dark color.

It’s waterproof when the lid’s screwed snug (even without any sealing ring or gasket on the inside) and most importantly, it floats even filled. A dry bag or cannister that doesn’t float is every bit as good as not having one when you’re in deep water, flowing water, murky water, or bad critter-sighted/frequented water -a BIG positive! Tho it behooves one to b a lert in the latter case even for a floater…

When I’m taking a few more things, I’ll use a larger clear plastic ex-pretzel cannister. It will fit larger items because it’s longer -so if I want to bring a chart that won’t fit in the protein powder jar, I can probably fit it in the pretzel jar. It has all the positive attributes of the protein powder jar save one -its opacity. That’s a mixed bag -things inside, especially if dark, can warm in the Florida summer sun down here. On the other hand, you can SEE the stuff inside…

One caveat for using these helpful aids -as is, or should be the case for ANY dry bag/box -don’t introduce moisture INto them! Same priciples that apply for keeping them dry will come back to haunt you if water’s put INside: they’ll turn into relatively effective humidifiers if indeed not saunas, which may tend to ruin your day if you’re carrying sensitive electronics, or oerhaps leather goods that might stew for a while now and mildew later -or paper products like maps & charts, which’ll just get soggy.

they’re a great, effective, and cheap way to keep stuff dry on the water, and to make retrieving them, should something go amiss, a lot easier. Look around and you’ll find a similar opportunity I’m sure -from a plastic peanut butter jar for small stuff like keys, through the mid-size things like the protein powder jar, to big ones like the pretzel jar.

I also use a clip-on (to my suit) Aquapac waterproof pager ‘pouch’ to hold my fishing license, a few bills, some change, and my drivers license when I want to travel light and/or have the fishing license handy and visible for the ranger. It’s been tested down to 20’ and it’s a great little gadget as well. (Mine was free -I won it at the 2003 B&B.)

And all these waterproof containers/carriers make life a lot nicer for me out on the water as I

Paddle On!

-Frank in Miami

anything that
sinks can be made to float with 1" slices of a “pool noodle.” It’s especially good for flashlights, many of which can slip right thru the hole.

Another new addition to my kayak is a bungee loop that runs from the center of my shock cords to the bow and stern toggles to keep them from flapping around in waves and chop (which are always present in my 'hood). I saw this idea somewhere online, maybe here, and it works perfectly without interfering with the carrying or lifting function of the toggle because the bungee stretches.


dry bags
Granite Gear makes a soft, flexible dry bag that I MUCH prefer to the stiffer more traditional ones. I didn’t believe they’d be dry at first, but they have been perfectly dry even after a total soaking. They can be cinched down so are especially great for clothes. They’re easier to stuff into hatches when things get tight, and make a decent pillow. There might be other brands, too.

I still prefer the traditional bags for food as items are less likely to get smooshed.


Foam pipe insulation from…
…Home Depot or such is useful for:

  1. Along gunnwales of canoe where I’m apt to bang my paddle when trying to sneak up on birds. In the case of my body and canoe configuration, they also pad my knees when stiting with knees spread.

  2. Along gunwales of canoe (would work on kayak) to give a cheap, slightly lower cartop carrier than a

    Yakima/Thule rack or even foam blocks. Tied down very securely, of course.

    In both cases, duct tape holds the foam in place, is cheap, and removes easily. Fashion gurus might not like it.

Home Desperate Lash Tabs
I’m sure they’re available eslewhere, just haven’t looked. These are about 5" double sided velcro/plastic tabs that I use on my program pfd’s shoulder straps to create lash points for strobes, running lights, biner’s etc. Much stiffer than cord but still pliable. Lot’s of other uses in the tool shed too, the part that isn’t taken over with kayaking gear that is.


Homemade Bungee Loops
I buy nice nylon covered 1/2" bungee and double it up and sew the ends together to make a big loop. I have one about 2’ and another about 3’

I loop over the end of the rack bar and over the first kayak, then under the bar and over the second kayak and then over the end of the bar.

I strap the kayaks down on the front bar and use one bungee for “insurance” and I just use the bungee on the back bar.

Spare paddle system
I saved the nylon straps and plastic clips from my sons’ cast-off school backpacks and used them to make spare paddle holddowns. They clip onto my hatch cover D-rings, and I added $2 Wal-Mart fastex buckles in the middle. They cinch the paddle down tight to the deck, but release with an easy squeeze.

I have everything
(well almost everything) on a leash so if it gets dropped it doesn’t go far. lights, paddle, ect. also use small carabiners to keep equipment on deck in case of roll or tree swipes.

On my kayak saddles;
I glued some indoor outdoor carpet to the face of the pads. I made each piec bigger than the size of the pads.

Both my composite and my plastic yaks slide real nice on them and are even cushioned better.

Makes loading very easy.



Like Northman…
I’m fond of leashes. I make my own by cutting up a 15’ phone cord and making loops on the ends by using small tie straps. Add some non-sticky velcro loops and viola! Made three 5’ leashes last week for about $8. They ain’t pretty but they work very well.

Also use the large mouthed jars like Scupperfrank but mine are made by Rubbermaid and are sold at WallyWorld for about $3.50 each.

More Comfort
In cold weather I fill a 2 or 3 liter soda bottle with hot water. Wrap a towel around it so it stays hot. When I get to the put in, remove the towel and place it in the kayak right between my feet. aaaahhhhh.

Noodles and pipe insulation
Both very handy for lots of things. I took 2 of the new flat noodles and cut each into thirds. I glued each 3 pieces together to make two pads about a foot long each. Drilled two holes into one end and tied the two pads together with a piece of rope about 5’long. Then I put small bungees around the two pads to hold them together around the rest of the length and BINGO!

SUPER PADDLE FLOAT! My full weight on it won’t sink that thing! I just slip the paddle between the two pads and use the length of rope to tie it to the paddle.

With the purchase of a new Carolina I didn’t think I could quite bench press it over my head like I do the Swifty. So I knew I’d need to add an outrigger to my racks. I couldn’t afford the kind of money they wanted for the thing so necessity being the mother of invention, I bought a 3’ 1/2inch axel from the local hardware store for about $3 and some 1/2" pipe insulation. I padded half of the axel and taped it with electrical tape (I chose red for the color) and shove the uninsulated half into the end of my rack. INSTANT OUTRIGGER. Now I just stick it in there, put the front end of the boat on it, push it forward, go to the back of the boat and walk it onto the back rack.

i took some 4inch pvc pipe and glued an end cap on one end and a screw on cap adapter and screw on cap on the other end to make a waterproof container for my boat you can make it just about any length it is waterproof floats and 4 inch will hold a roll of toilet paper very well

I use threaded rod…
to do the same thing. I have a jepp Liberty that is quite tall. People always come up to me when I load my boat and tell me what a great idea that is. I forget where I got the idea from. Probably from PNet. I had the rod at work and some old pipe insulation and gaffers tape and it works great and I no longer scratch the Jeep’s paint.