My Book!!

One opportunity that the blog has brought me is the co-authoring of a guidebook, Paddling Southern Maine! It is something in which I take a lot of pride! My writing partner, Sandy Moore, and I have created a book with 54 amazing trips that are within about an hour of Portland! Our motto as we wrote the book was wanting to 'get people to spend the day on the water and not in their cars!'

If you want more information on our book please visit Sandy and I are available to attend/present various functions/events. Please email me at for more information!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Christmas GIft Ideas Complete with a Little Shameless Self Promotion

Happy Holidays!!!

The reality of all things holiday hit me this week as I was suffering with another sinus infection and HAD to get my holiday baking done... I mean... I am not allowed to attend Thanksgiving if I don't come prepared with my pumpkin rolls! (Yesterday I made EIGHT...all of which are spoken for... I may need to make more before Christmas...) 

So... along with the holidays comes SHOPPING... I am hoping that people will put Paddling Southern Maine on their Christmas list this year... either as something they are hoping to receive or... perhaps as a gift for your favorite paddler!  I JUST looked on Amazon and it is ON SALE for under $13!  Click here and add it to your cart!  At that price why not buy one for yourself AND for someone on your list who would enjoy it!

I also wanted to suggest  a few other gift ideas for the kayakers, canoers, and SUP users in our/your lives... I rarely endorse products, but... it makes me feel a little less egotistical to share other products!   Below I am including some ideas for paddlers, bigger gift ideas and stocking stuffers!  I hope this helps you get ready for the holidays with your favorite paddler! 


Ok... and these are in no particular order...

***** The PERFECT life jacket/PFD.  
The perfectly fitting PFD is very underrated!  First, people should be wearing them and not just having them hang as decorations (see the holiday reference I did right there?!)  I admit I was guilty of not wearing mine, but the more I learn about kayaking the more importance I place on having mine on.  Accidents are called accidents because nobody plans for them to happen... if we knew we were going to be in an accident we would wear it... 
This photo is of a life jacket that meets Coast Guard Standards, but... I do not recommend it.  It is better than nothing, but needs to fit well so that it keeps you up.  Investing in the right PFD is well worth it! 

For those who carry multiple kayaks using a truck, a bed extender could be the perfect gift!  This is the one I use when I need to carry more than a couple of 'yaks and I love it.  I think it is very reasonably priced as well!

***** A new PADDLE...
I am not very knowledgeable about paddles and what you should get, but many paddlers have a very clear idea of what they are looking for.  I would say, ask outfitters and try to be sneaky and ask your loved one what they may be looking for. 

This one may be a bit tricky to buy for others, but can be something that can help extend your paddlers season.  In the book we remind people to dress for water temps not air temps... There are a lot of options out there for people to choose from.  Remember cotton is not recommended! (Cotton dries slowly!) 

*****Transport system....
JHooks are popular for Kayaks, but there are other systems out there as well.  I am not an expert in what people should use.  I have a truck and have used a tracrac system for years.  (Top Picture)Where I would put the kayaks upside down and strap them on... which many people say changes the shape of the kayaks... I had older kayaks and didn't seem to mind... but this year, when I invested in my new kayak.... I added to my trackrac...

 Excuse the frost, but this is the cradles I got from Malone... I forget the exact system but it had "T-Slot" involved in the name in order to fit into the slot on the Tracrac. 

I do think that the cradles are helpful.  (Confession: When I take multiple kayaks... my new kayak goes in the cradles, royal treatment!) 

I have a few friends who use the Hullavator and others that get creative with their transporting of their boats... whatever is used, make sure that if the gift is for a solo paddler, it is something the person receiving the gift can use alone. 

*****Kayak Cart....
THIS is a GREAT idea!  Even for people who think they will always have help carrying their craft a cart is super helpful.  (Also safer as we age, to keep our bodies in tip top shape and not overusing our shoulders especially!)  
THIS is the one I use ... I found both of mine on craigslist...

What about stocking stuffers? 

Here are some ideas (sorry no links, just ideas!): 

  • Water Bottle !  EVERY paddler needs to stay hydrated! 
  • Safety Identification like Something from like an identification necklace like this  I  wear the dog tag style necklace with my information including my name, allergies, and emergency contact information.  If I was out paddling, either solo or with others, and had an accident people will know who to call!  Here's an example:
  • A waterproof phone case (I have one that has a built in compass!)
  • Safety whistle
  • A Jackknife or multi tool, like a swiss army knife (May have to save a turtle from fishing line!)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Dry Bags
  • Sunglasses
  • Sponge - to get the annoying puddles of water out from your kayak/canoe
  • Bilge pump (In case your kayak/canoe takes on water!) 
  • Headlamp (Great for those full moon paddles and required if paddling after dark or before sunrise) 
  • Paddling Southern Maine  (Oops I did it again but it will fit into a stocking well!)
  • Snacks (granola bars, trail mix, etc.) 
  • Invasive Plant Prevention Kit (a spray bottle, some cloths/rags, and white vinegar... do your research to make sure you know the best methods to prevent the spread of invasive plant species.) 
  • Sunscreen (Be safe out there!)
  • Insect repellent 
  • Hunter Orange Gear (for paddling during hunting season, a hat or a vest that fits over your pfd is great!) 
  • Traffic Flag (A red or orange flag to have at the end of your kayak to be safe in traffic, making sure people can see it, especially when you have long boats.   
  • COAST GUARD STICKER  - Free by the way... contact the coast guard or go to most outfitters who will provide them for free.  VERY important equipment! 
  • Gift Cards to a local outfitter, or gift card to your paddler's favorite place to dine before or after being on the water! 
  • A Trip - Surprise your paddler with a planned paddling adventure.  Using a great guide book like, oh let me think, Paddling Southern Maine, you could choose a trip or two where you and your favorite paddler get to have a great day.  (I know it will feel like paddling season is a long way away, but it is a thoughtful gift!) OR give a Paddling Punch Card that you could make that would promise your loved one that you will join them on a few paddles.  Maybe something like this: 
Of course if you are going for the most elaborate Christmas Gift for the paddler in your life you may want to consider....

***** A NEW kayak, Canoe, or SUP
That would be nice, right?!  I am not going to lie... I have enough kayaks.. but I did joke with Santa to say that I love my new Loon 126 so much that perhaps he would want to bring me a yellow one, just to have another amazing boat for when I take people with me...  Of course this is a VERY expensive gift... I would recommend going to local outfitters that know their stuff like Shaker Hill Outdoors, Sebago Trails Paddling, and SEASPRAY as well as LLBean!

However you spend your holidays, I hope they are filled with JOY, PEACE, and LOVE!!! 
*Image from Zazzle