Review: Water-friendly outdoor gear for the summer

Review: Water-friendly outdoor gear for the summer

(Ocean Kayak)


1 photo

Estimated read time: 8-9 minutes

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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — The weather is warming (in fits and starts) and the ice on most of our lower lakes is becoming a thing of the past. With spring in the air, water sports are returning to Utah.

Here’s a look at several outdoor products that play exceptionally well with water.

L.L. Bean Canoe Motor Mount

PRICE: $54

GRADE: A

There’s something undeniably tranquil about the dipping of a paddle as you slowly glide across your favorite lake. But there are other days on the lake when a motor makes more sense. For those times, this motor mount from L.L. Bean is a convenient and reliable way to make it happen.

This motor mount is definitely more focused on utility than aesthetics, which means it’s easy to use and can be quickly affixed to nearly all gunwales. It’s made from white ash with stainless-steel hardware and can be adapted for both electric motors and gas outboards (up to four horsepower).

Astral Loyak W Shoe ===================

PRICE: $85

GRADE: A-

Like most of Astral’s shoes, the Loyak is made primarily for amphibious use. Lightweight and self-draining, it’s ideal for long days on or near the water.

True to its land-and-water design, the Loyak has a Flex-Grip outsole that’s sturdy enough for an afternoon hike. It’s made with a tacky, high-abrasion compound that lets you jump from rock to rock with confidence, and the divided lugs give you excellent grip on loose terrain.

Up top, the hydrophobic canvas upper has ventilating mesh that stretches for ideal comfort and fit. And the midsole is 7 mm thick, with 45C EVA foam, so it gives plenty of cushioning.

KÜHL DESTROYR PANT ==================

PRICE: $139

GRADE: A

What does 92 percent nylon and 8 percent spandex get you? In the case of the DESTROYR PANT, it’s an ultra-durable and comfortable softshell fabric that’s perfect for most outdoor activities. Add in the DWR (water repellent) finish and you get the kind of outerwear that doesn’t really rely on the weather forecast.

These pants from KÜHL are technical, yet still feel flexible and comfortable. The fabric moves effortlessly with you, stretching and then retaining its shape.

The articulated knees and gusseted crotch provide an impressive range of movement. The stress points are also riveted, to provide extra durability. In total, the pants have six water-repellent pockets, essentially making them cargo pants in the truest sense of the words.

Costa 580G Bloke Sunglasses ===========================

PRICE: $249

GRADE: A-

Costa sunglasses work great for everyday activities but really thrive on the water. The polarized lenses provide 100 percent UV blockage and are designed to eliminate the harsh glare of the sun on the water, while the frames have Hydrolite nose and temple pads to stay snugly on your face (resulting in fewer accidental drops).

Costa has recently introduced its Sunrise Silver Mirror lenses in its 580G lens line. These scratch-resistant glass lenses boost contrast in low-light conditions, which are certainly familiar conditions to most anglers. After all, dawn, dusk and overcast days are often the best times to target fish.

The Sunrise Silver Mirror 580G lenses are available in several of Costa’s frame styles, including the Bloke, which is a truly XL frame style that’s great for ample-headed anglers.

L.L. Bean Allagash XT Waterproof Duffle =======================================

PRICE: $229

GRADE: A

Big outings often call for a big duffle. The Allagash XT has a 95-liter capacity, which is more than enough for most trips. Made from 420D nylon with a polyurethane coating, it’s completely waterproof.

Despite its rugged design, this bag only weighs about 3 pounds. It’s got a reinforced, waterproof zipper, which is good news because zippers can be a weak link for many products that claim to be waterproof.

The Allagash XT has a detachable shoulder strap, plus carrying straps that can be worn backpack-style. It’s big enough to handle all your gear in one place, while still being lightweight enough that it’s not like your dragging an armoire around with you.

KICKER Bullfrog BF200 Bluetooth Speaker =======================================

PRICE: $299

GRADE: B+

Music and water have always been a perfect combination, but that doesn’t mean that speakers and water always play nice. The BF200 from KICKER is one of the latest entries in the waterproof speaker market, and it largely holds up its end of the bargain. If it plops into the marina or pool, no big deal, because it’s got an IP66 weatherproof rating.

In addition to being waterproof, the BF200 provides legit sound. It’s got a 20-watt amplifier, two 2-3/4-inch drivers and two 2-3/4-inch passive radiators to go with a double-sided speaker layout that provides 360-degree sound.

Additional features include a built-in FM tuner, AUX jack and a 100-foot Bluetooth range. The integrated battery is charged through the USB port and delivers up to 20 hours of nonstop music.

Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal ========================

PRICE: Varies by retailer

GRADE: A-

The Malibu Pedal uses an impressive PDL Drive System to smoothly propel you across the water. The drive system takes a little getting used to, as it’s oriented differently than nearly any bike you’ve ever ridden, but it’s quite sleek once you get the hang of it.

Made with single-layer polyethylene, the Malibu Pedal is 12 feet long and 34.5 inches wide. It weighs about 100 pounds, with carry handles on the bow and stern to help you get it safely from Point A to Point B. It has a capacity of up to 450 pounds and is impressively maneuverable.

There are several features that make the Malibu Pedal extra comfortable for riders. First, the Element Beach Seat is quite nice. It has slide-track adjustability, so you can easily set it to the perfect placement (though it still might be a little cramped for extra-tall riders). There’s also a jump seat that can accommodate a child or pet, as well as a click seal hatch under the seat and three cup holders.

Canada Goose Skreslet Parka

PRICE: Varies by retailer

GRADE: A

Not all water-ready products are intended for warm weather. Because despite the fact that temperatures are rising around the state, there are still mountain excursions that call for extreme weather protection.

The Skreslet is one of the best on the market. It’s named for its co-designer, Laurie Skreslet, who was the first Canadian to summit Everest. And it’s designed for high-altitude adventures, with an extreme thermal rating that protects you in temperatures dipping below -25 degrees Fahrenheit. When the weather gets nasty, the fully sealed seams effortlessly lock out the wind and water.

If you’ve ever worn a Canada Goose parka, you know that they’re built so robustly that they can often be quite bulky. The Skreslet is different, with a slim design that really minimizes the poofiness of the jacket. It’s insulated with 750-fill Power Hutterite duck down, which is lightweight and warm. The extra-long sleeves give comprehensive coverage and the oversized hood is also packed with down, so it does much more than simply block the wind. To further seal out the cold, it has an elastic snow skirt and a one-handed adjustable drawcord.

Icebreaker Incline LS Half Zip ==============================

PRICE: $160

GRADE: A-

If you do a lot of hiking or running in the spring, rain is no stranger. You can start out with clear skies, only to be overtaken by a shower before you have time to make it back to home base.

This midlayer from Icebreaker isn’t intended to be a full-on raincoat, but it’s great for this time of year because it dries so quickly and is comfortable even when damp. Made with 75 percent merino wool and 25 percent polyester, it’s got venting in the underarms and a low zipper to provide lots of breathability. And with the extended hem and thumbhole cuffs, it can really seal the heat in when you add a shell.

The Incline LS Half Zip is stretchy enough for intense outdoor activities, with underarm gussets for improved range of motion. While it’s not intended to be a cargo jacket, in the rear is a stash pocket for car keys or other small belongings.


![Grant Olsen](http://img.ksl.com/slc/2560/256091/25609108\.jpg?filter=ksl/65x65)
About the Author: Grant Olsen \-----------------------------

Grant Olsen joined the KSL.com contributor team in 2012. He covers outdoor adventures, travel, product reviews and other interesting things. He is also the author of the book “Rhino Trouble.” You can contact him at grantorrin@gmail.com.

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