As the paddling season sets in for spring, It’s best to not have any unexpected gear failure while away from our great resources. A pre-trip gear check and care is a great way to ensure you get the most life out of your equipment. The main items I like to focus on are outerwear care, boat outfitting, and emergency kit updates.
Outerwear care is often overlooked. Keeping up with the application of 303 Aerospace Protectant to gaskets is a great way to reduce the risk of torn and brittle gaskets as the protectant soaks into the gaskets providing UV protection and hydration to the gasket. A dedicated zipper lubricant also keeps it easy to get in and out of your drysuit, Gear Aid Zipper Cleaner is a great option, along with the zipper lube included with new drysuits.
If you’re anything like me, you are very particular about how the outfitting is set up in your boat, not wanting to move anything once it is where you like it. Most outfitting systems are fairly maintenance free, however you can’t just set it and forget it as the vibrations from boats being transported are prone to loosening all of the little nuts and bolts holding your outfitting together. A good routine is to go through the entire boat and tighten every bolt a few times a year. If you want to take it a step further a little bit of lock tight on the bolts that tend to come looser easier is a great option.
The nature of water sports is very self sufficient, with the ability to deal with a variety of situations being imperative. Being prepared and having adequate training for the style of paddling you with to do is the most important part to being prepared. Having the basics such as a first aid kit and a communication device to contact assistance outside of your group is the minimum that I carry. What you carry in addition is based on where and what you have as an objective for your trip. Some of these items may include, a breakdown paddle, emergency shelter, extra food, or any other equipment you see could be of use.
Being prepared for a trip, big or small, could make the difference between having an enjoyable day out and finding yourself amidst an unmanageable situation. Stay safe and enjoy the spring.
See you on the water.
Odin Pryor – Aquabatics Ambassador