Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gear parallels

As I got ready to head out for a quick ski last night, I agonized over which skis I should take. It was about 20F (-7C) which was plenty warm to skate and also perfect for some nice hard blue wax on the classicals. I could also just grab the no wax classicals but that option was a distant third in the mental voting. As I rummaged in the ski closet in the garage, I bumped my head a couple times on the Ore Freighter, the Valley Aquanaut HV, that was hanging just above the ski stash. I was struck by how my ski collection, acquired for different conditions and moods, paralleled my kayak fleet.

I ultimately decided that the waxable classical skis were the way to go last night. I was up for a nice, steady, leisurely run instead of the potential heart attack (note near death expression in above image) that's induced every time I attempt to power up a hill on the skate skis. I use all the skis, including the telemark skis, depending on how I feel and what the snow and weather are offering up that day. Its the same with kayaking. If I want to go fast on a day trip or spend my time upside down, then the Q-boat is the only choice. If I am on a trip or want to just poke around and take some photos, the Aquanaut is the perfect choice. Often the soothing varnished wood on the Chesapeake 17LT and its uber stable design is the logical choice on inland lakes.

I'm sure the gear sales guys love fickle outdoor types like me. The only saving grace is that relatively speaking, skiing and kayaking are fairly inexpensive sports. I work in a company where motorsports like snowmobiling and ATVing are big. I checked out the cost of an Arctic Cat T Z1 Turbo snowmobile, a fine touring sled. MSRP is $15,000. All my kayaks, skis, paddles, boots, poles, pfd's, etc. all totaled up, will only get me to about 2/3 of the cost of a new sled. Plus I get some exercise and save a tremendous amount on gas, alcohol, and potential ER bills.

The gear candy store for kayaking, Canoecopia, will be open in about 60 days. Even though I don't need anything (famous last words) I still attend and fantasize about all the stuff I could use. After all, to paraphrase the words of a shooting buddy, I have all the kayak gear that I need but not as much as I want.

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