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PaddleXaminer's Summer 2021 Gear Guide

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Summer is here and it’s time to get outdoors and on the water! Temperatures are heating up across the American West, COVID-19 cases are receding in regions with high vaccination rates, and there is no better way to make up for the lost summer of 2020 than to start planning an adventure or two. To that end, we’ve assembled a diverse list of useful items to help you make the most of your summer.

Shelta Hats and Amphibious Technical Apparel

Simply put, Shelta Hats are the ultimate hat for performance driven sun protection on or off the water. Available in five unique styles encompassing a range of brim widths, there has been a Shelta Hat on my head for every paddling and hiking session I’ve undertaken since 2016. I frequently wear a bright orange Raptor V2 model when paddling my surfski, a desert camouflage Condor when hiking, and love my bright orange Seahawk for its all around versatility in any occasion. In 2020, Shelta added a range of amphibious technical shirts which are every bit as good as the fantastic hats from which they are descended. Available with or without a hood, the UPF 50+ shirts come in five color options and are packed full of features you will not find elsewhere.

Nomad Cooking Kit

Born in the mountainous region of Savoie, France in a region where the Alps straddle the border with Italy, the Nomad Cooking Kit from Opinel is a must-have luxury kit for discerning adventurers seeking a touch of sophistication. The entire kit of a cutting board, serrated knife, corkscrew, folding peeler, and wiping cloth takes up no more than 8” x 5” and weighs just 14 oz. The Nomad Cooking Kit will easily fit inside a backpack or drybag to accompany you wherever life’s travels may take you.

Dry See Bandages

Active adventurers often collect an assortment of nicks and cuts during the course of their time outdoors. What is often missing is a reliable method of patching yourself up and continuing with the confidence that your wound is fully covered and protected. Enter Dry See Bandages. The waterproof adhesive bandages have an integrated liquid indicating gauze which confirms the integrity of the bandage while you get back on the water and continue on your way. The unique indicator runs the perimeter of the bandage and in the center point over the wound, so you can easily determine if your bandage has been compromised. Dry See Bandages are a must have for any adventurer.

The Campo

Is it a hammock, a poncho, a shelter, or a tarp? With the Campo, the answer is simple. All of the above! Weighing in at a mere 1.05 lbs, the Campo measures 7’5” x 4’7” of ultra water resistant fabric with a durable DWR finish. Complete with rugged YKK waterproof zippers, a hideaway poncho hood, and multiple utility loops to enhance the Campo’s multi-functionality, this is the Swiss Army Knife of minimalistic outdoor adventure gear. The Campo is compact enough to fit inside a drybag and secured on a paddle craft and will easily fit inside a daypack for terrestrial adventures ashore. Perfect for sticking in your gear bag when heading to your next paddling event or excursion.

iLive Waterproof Wireless Speaker

Waterproof Bluetooth speakers are a fantastic accompaniment for paddlers and the iLive Waterproof Fabric Wireless Speaker is a solid option for summer. Measuring 2.56 x 2.56 x 3.54 inches, the little conical speaker is compact yet delivers incredible sound. It also has an integrated microphone so you can receive phone calls without accessing your phone. If you are looking for a reliable, compact waterproof speaker, this little guy is the one for you.

Bivo One Water Bottle

The Bivo One water bottle was originally designed for cyclists as a stainless steel bottle with a gravity flow rate. In other words, the Bivo One is the same shape and style as a traditional plastic bike bottle, but made of long lasting, environmentally-friendly stainless steel. The high-flow sports nozzle is incredibly easy to use. So much so, you’ll wonder why this bottle wasn’t invented sooner. The bottle will easily fit in your paddle craft’s water bottle holder or under the bungees. All that is needed is your beverage of choice and you’re ready to go.

16oz Stainless Steel Insulated Tumbler from Pirani

Billed as the “last party cup you will ever need”, Pirani’s stainless steel insulated tumblers are one of the most impressive new additions to the sustainable drinkware market we’ve seen in a long time. While the majority of the industry has been focused on sustainable options to replace single use plastic bottles, Pirani has found a niche in fabricating a fantastic sustainable alternative for the ubiquitous red plastic party cup. I’ll be honest, I use my Pirani cup every day. It is that good. Hot beverages, cold beverages, or the occasional beer or cocktail (hint, hint!), this is one cup you’ll hold onto for years to come. Each Pirani cup comes with a well designed lid that securely fits inside the cup and they are stackable, should you decide to go all in and order a bunch!

Vaikobi VXP Life Jacket

No gear guide for paddlers would be complete without at least one item from Vaikobi and while the VXP life jacket has been around for a little while now, it is easily my most used piece of paddling gear. The Vaikobi VXP life jacket is lightweight, has an integrated hydration sleeve, large front pouch pocket, and adjustable side straps to fit any paddler. The Vaikobi VXP is available in five color options so you can paddle with confidence knowing you are highly visible and outfitted with one of the paddling industry’s very best.

Bollé’s Bolt 2.0 Sunglasses

Nothing says summertime like a new pair of sunglasses! Sunglasses are undoubtedly a key fashion accessory and when selecting your next pair I recommend taking a look at the Bolt 2.0 from Bollé. Available in a range of colors and lens options, I went with a pair equipped with Bollé’s Phantom lens technology. The Phantom photochromic lenses provide 100% UV protection and outstanding optical clarity in all situations. This translates into a very comfortable experience for your eyes on the water, regardless of the light conditions. The lenses are also constructed with Bollé’s anti-fog treatment and are the only sunglasses I’ve worn that do not fog up when paddling my fire engine red Nelo surfski.

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