Outdoor Retailer Sneak Peek: Gear for Getting Wet
The best way to beat record high temperatures: spend as much time in the water as possible. Here are a few items to be showcased at the Outdoor Retailer show meant to help enhance your ocean experience.
A speedy rotomolded plastic bodyboat designed for joyriding rivers, oceans and lakes, the Bellyak makes boating a more intimate experience. A tube/wakeboard/kayak mashup, this hand-steered board is designed to be ridden face down on flat or flowing rivers, oceans and lakes, though it works kneeling or sitting as well. The pros: no paddle or spray skirt required, and a quick learning curve. But you may want to add a wetsuit or helmet depending on the temperature, steepness and rockiness of your descent path.
Built in handholds and toe braces help you stay on board, a front rocker helps with speed and maneuvering over river features, and a large front hatch provides plenty of space to store stuff you need to keep dry. For paddlers from 100 to 220 pounds, 5'2" to 6'4"; 32lbs; 8'7" long and 25" wide. Grab your GoPro and go. Available now, $830; bellyak.com.
Don’t give up your shades by dropping them into the murky depths of whatever body of water you’re paddling. In general, sunglasses sink, never to be seen again. The polypro bi-injected wrap around Julbo Wave, however, floats. So drop it in the drink, and all you have to do is reach over and grab it.
Of course, dropping it should never happen. It comes with a snuggable neoprene strap to keep the shades on your head. And it's fully eye-protective: a removable, flexible rim keeps water and wind from coming in the sides. In polarized or Julbo's photochromic, polarized and hydrophobic Octopus lens. Available spring 2013, $90-190; julbousa.com.
OUTDOOR RESEARCH SENSOR COMMAND DRY BAG
Outdoor Research has dabbled in dry bags before, but has never come out with a boat-specific bag to protect your gear. The new Sensor Command Deck Bag mounts quickly and easily, and not just on sea kayaks, but also on stand-up paddleboards, and yes, even Bellyaks. The super-secure mounting system uses locked static cords that are more mountaineering inspired than paddle specific. Outdoor Research says the bag will stay secure, even in the heaviest waves.
The Sensor keeps essential gear close at hand with three pockets—two totally waterproof, one of which has a clear touchscreen top that lets you access electronic maps without danger of dunking your iPad.
A second compartment keeps your clothes sealed and dry while a third compartment offers one-handed access to sunscreen, a water bottle and other okay-to-get-wet essentials.
The tablet case and deck bag are modular—use them together or alone. Attachment to boats and boards is with an extremely secure static-cord system with locks, so it stays stationary on top, even in heavy waves. But for SUPs, you'll need a stick-on deck mount system. Available spring 2013, $159; outdoorresearch.com.
The LifeProof iPhone case protects you from your own antics. Dunk it, drop it, scrape it or assault it in some other manner, and a LifeProof-encased phone should survive.
LifeProof phones have always been waterproof, but they didn’t float until now. (LifeProof made a LifeJacket that slides over its case.) This latest LifeProof accessory surrounds your iPhone in cushy, orange foam that acts as a float if you drop your phone in the water. It's also a bodyguard for your device, providing further protection from falls and scratches from 20 feet or less, as well as a hands-free way to keep track of your phone. When you misplace it, the day-glow orange case makes it a lot easier to spot. Available now, $40; lifeproof.com.
HEADSWEATS EVERYWHERE HAT
If you're on the water, you need a good sun hat. This one is available in traditional brushed cotton with a cotton sweatband (best for on-land activities) or Headsweats light, sweat wicking, UV-protecting fabric with a Coolmax terry sweatband. The Velcro adjustment means one size fits all. Available October 2012, $22-$24; headsweats.com.