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What’s in the Bag: Comfort Kit

A complete group first aid kit is an essential bit of kit for longer journeys in the wilderness. But for most day trips I feel confident with a smaller bit of baggage that I call the Comfort Kit. I bring this kit on longer trips as well so I don’t have to pull out and dig through the full monty …

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Head to Toe: Strength Training for Sea Kayakers

Do you want an explosive forward stroke? Would you like to paddle all day without getting too fatigued, feel great the next day, and be ready to do it again? Cardiovascular endurance training will contribute to these performance objectives but an investment in strength training will yield multiple benefits for your kayaking fu. I’ve come to realize through my own …

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In knots: Taught line hitch

I’ve been experimenting with various tarp configurations recently and putting a few important knots to effective use. Also known as the midshipman’s hitch (tied slightly differently), the taught line hitch is an adjustable loop knot that’s useful for holding a line under tension. You know those little plastic bits included with modern tents to tension the guy lines? This knot …

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Head to Toe: Cockpit Hip Flexor Stretch

Kayaking is a great workout for your lower body if you’re paddling effectively under the deck by rotating the hips and pushing hard on those foot pegs with every stroke. But while the lower posterior chain is actively engaged, some of the anterior muscles — most notably the hip flexors — are used far less and don’t endure their full …

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How to Learn to Kayak

Nova Scotia is an awesome place to kayak with its stunning coastline, myriad islands that are great for camping, and diverse wildlife. Sea kayaking is a great sport that combines physical fitness with cerebral challenges like navigation, planning, and leadership. I can still remember a time in the not too distant past when kayaking was new to me. In this …

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Gear Head: Spring Gear Tune-up

Are your drybags water-tight? Are you sure? When did you last test them?  Are the medications in your first aid kit expired? What about your sunscreen? Especially for leaders, it’s important to tune up your kit before you hit the water this spring so you and your crew can be safe and comfortable on your journey. 1. Deck lines and bungees …

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What’s in the Bag: Ditch Kit

The most common and likely kayaking accident that will occur on the sea is a capsize. As the group leader, you are responsible for the safety of your crew as well as yourself. The Ditch Kit is a collection of gear for dealing with cold water emergencies. In the spring and early summer, sunny days will bring the comfort of …

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In knots: Tying bowlines with your eyes shut

It’s cold, dark, and snowing and you need to erect a tarp to shelter your camp. There are a handful of mighty knots that you should be able to fashion even with your eyes shut. The bowline (BOH-lin) is the “King of Knots” and every Maritimer or should know how to tie one. It’s immensely useful, easy to tie, and …

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Book report: The Feed Zone

I recently picked up this cookbook at the Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) in Halifax. Written by and for cyclists, The Feed Zone focuses on nutrition for endurance sports. I’m looking at it with a view of paddling, particularly with a 2016 Newfoundland expedition in mind. Allen Lim is a Ph.D. from the University of Boulder, CO, who researched integrative physiology …

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Recipe: Easy Energy Bars

You burn a lot of calories when you’re active on the water — close to 400 kCal/hr for an average-sized male versus roughly 80 while at rest. I always have food packed away in my PFD so I can recharge my batteries on the water. Commercial snack bars are rather expensive and are manufactured with a lot of preservative chemicals …