Great Gear to Take your Rafting To the Next Level + GIVEAWAY

This has been a year full of water adventures for our family.  We’ve done everything from paddling on the lake to a 4-day wilderness trip.  Throughout all of this we’ve learned that although it probably won’t make or break your trip, having a few great pieces of gear will make the trip more comfortable and fun for everyone.

Here are a few things that have been game-changers for us, so make sure to check them out

1.  Nikon Coolpix AW 100

We bought this camera in preparation for our Desolation Canyon trip, and don’t know what we did without it.  Honestly, having a camera that is both waterproof and shockproof is a huge deal for us since all of our adventures either involve water, or destructive children.  Yes, there are now lots of waterproof cameras on the market, but after doing lots of research and finally consulting the folks at ShotRockers (who were crazy helpful, and knew a TON), we went with this one.  Now, we can finally get pics of our water adventures and we’re thrilled with it!  Price: $259

2.  Kokatat PFD’s

No piece of gear is more essential on the river than a good pfd.  Not only do you wear it constantly, but your life literally depends on it, so it’s important to buy a really good one.  No, not a good one from target or even Sportsman’s Wearhouse – a good whitewater PFD from a real whitewater company (type III or V).  Plan on spending at least $100 for something quality.
After our trip down Desolation Canyon, Andrew and I both learned that while we had great PFD’s that were comfortable for a day on the water, we needed something better for multi-day trips(our others had stiffer neck bindings and started rubbing after about 2 days).  When we checked out some of the Kokatat PFD”s we realized they could be the answer to our problems!  Here’s what we liked

 Kokatat Maximus PFD
 

This PFD was simply awesome.  It was super adjustable and incredibly comfortable.  Because of the unique adjustment system, it was really easy to get a perfect fit.  The low-profile design made it great for a few hours of rowing, kayaking, or just wrangling the kids int he back of the boat.  Our all-time favorite feature of this was the straps.  They are wide, and set far enough from the neck that they stay put and don’t rub.  Well, even if they did rub, they would still be comfortable since the entire strap is neoprene so it won’t irritate your skin.  Overall, this is probably the best PFD we’ve tried out and we’d recommend it for almost any situation (or the Maximus Prime if you are looking for more rescue features).  Price: around $150 here


Kokatat MsFit PFD

This PFD was made specifically with a woman in mind, which was instantly obvious when I tried it on.  It was such a relief to not have my PFD smashing my chest like crazy any time I tightened it!  It fit comfortably while I was rowing or hanging out it the boat, however, because it isn’t a low-cut design, it did rub a little while I was kayaking (note: if you plan to do a lot of kayaking, get a low-cut or low-float PFD).  Nothing major though as the main way I’d use this is for rafting.  I also LOVED the pocket.  Like “it saved my life on this trip and totally helped me maintain my sanity” kind of love.  I kept a pocket knife, chapstick, sunscreen stick, and 2 pairs of kids sunglasses all in this pocket.  Pretty sure every mom needs more pockets like this one.  The only thing that I didn’t like was the binding on the shoulder straps.  It was stiff (although the rest of the strap was comfortable neoprene) and by day 2, it was starting to rub my neck.  The bottom line?  A great PFD, but better suited to day-trips than longer expeditions.  Price:  about $130 here

 

 

Aquapac 90L Waterproof Upano Duffel

When we saw this bag, it was literally love at first sight.  We’d been searching for a giant bag to carry everyone’s things that wasn’t top-loading so we could access our gear easier.  This is the one.  It’s massive!  Our problem with the typical top-loading dry bag is that it’s impossible to see into them and to get anything out it feels like you have to empty EVERYTHING.  That just doesn’t work when you need to hurry and get out some rain gear for your all the kids.  With this bag, we were able to carry everyone’s clothes (and there were a lot, ‘cuz I HATE cold kids) and all of the other random things we brought along.  We simply put each persons things in a separate little bag, and it was a piece of cake.  The duffel opens right up so I could quickly grab what each kid needed, roll the top back up and have all our gear dry and secure in just a couple of minutes.  This sure beats dumping out 5 peoples dry bags to find hats for everyone!  If you’re going on a multi-day trip, you NEED this bag.  Actually, it would be a perfect duffel for just about any trip, so I guess everyone needs it!  The only downside to a duffel over a top-loading bag is that you can’t stuff it quite as full since the opening is so big.  Don’t worry though, this bag is 90L so you shouldn’t have much need for stuffing!  Price: £110

 

 

ECOROX Speaker by ECOXGEAR

Instantly pump up your trip with your favorite music with the ECOROX speaker.  This is going to blow your mind.  It’s waterproof, shockproof, floats, has a bluetooth speakerphone, and has a 10 hour rechargable battery life.  Can you imagine how awesome your trip will be with this?  Well, let me let me tell you.  Clip the speaker onto your boat, and when you turn it on, it will activate your iPod within your drybag.  All the controls are on top so no need to dig out your music player as you can do everything right from the ECOROX.  Within seconds, your boat is going to be rockin.  Rapids are more energizing, calm stretches are less boring, and everyone is happier.  On our boat, it pretty much turns everything into a giant dance party with kids and adults bouncing all over the place.  The kids begged to keep it on forever and it helped everyone stay happy and smiling even when the little legs were staring to get restless.  Although it doesn’t get amazingly loud (which other boaters will probably thank you for), it’s absolutely perfect for a raft or a group of kayakers.  We’re also big fans of the rechargable battery so we don’t have to ration our battery purchases just to listen to it.  I’m pretty sure this will be coming on all sorts of adventures in our family – it’s AWESOME!  Price: $129

 

Want to win one?  The awesome folks at ECOXGEAR want to give away an ECOROX speaker to one lucky reader.  Yes, one of you is going to have some amazing music-charged adventures with this speaker.  Enter with the Rafflecopter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A special thanks to Kokatat, Aquapac, and ECOXGEAR for providing the gear for this review.  As always these are our honest opinions and are not influenced by any forms of compensation!

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