Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Ultimate Kayaking Gear?
There comes a point when kayaking familiar waters is no longer sufficient. The urge to go exploring sets in and has to be satisfied. There are several choices one can make when this syndrome hits a person. Most frequently, people seeking adventure plan a trip during their holidays. They either book a tour with a commercial outfit running 'adventure paddles' into wilderness areas or they organize something on their own, acting as independent outfitters in a way. I actually like this latter approach because I find the planning stage to be an interesting challenge and I also enjoy the additional freedom it provides me once I'm on the trip. In a commercial trip, the need to stay within the set time-frame is an important reality. If I see a hidden cove, I want to be able to take the time to explore it, stay in it, whatever, the schedule be damned.
I now have the time to paddle most of the year if I chose to do so. The trips I've take have been combinations of car travel, tent camping and kayaking. In some cases, I have parked the car for several days or weeks while I went kayaking with camping gear. In other cases, I day paddled and returned to my fixed campsite each evening. Again, both have been flexible arrangements, relatively cheap and have allowed me access to a wide variety of paddling venues.
I'm now looking at something different. My experience in Newfoundland this past summer introduced me to the 'recreational vehicle', the home on wheels. I've toyed with this concept for a few years now, but the idea of hitting the road for weeks or months traveling from one kayaking spot to another is becoming more and more appealing. I'm not the only one to think of this. The picture above was taken last winter in Florida. While the rest of us fought off raccoons and the near freezing weather, this fellow slept like a baby in a cozy bed with the heater set for something toasty.
Freya Hoffmeister, the well known German kayaker, has traveled around Europe now for several years in her motor home. The benefits are obvious. You arrive 'home' after each paddling trip to find a comfortable place to change, shower, eat and sleep and even entertain should you feel inclined. You can find all this in a tent, it's true, but when it's rainy, cold and windy, a lot of the fun gets lost.
So, I'm looking at RV's these days about the size of the one in the picture, not too big or small, but something Goldilocks would approve of. The one I get will definitely have a rack on the roof for my kayaks, wet smelly paddling gear piled in the shower stall, and beer in the fridge!