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Many of us could benefit from having a personal trainer, whether we are trying to attain some sort of goal or just need the motivation to workout on a regular basis. Future is a new app that connects you with a real live trainer to help you build a plan and keep you accountable. The catch? It’ll cost you more than that monthly gym membership you never use.

When you sign up with Future, you are paired with a certified coach who best fits your goals and personality. To start, you’ll schedule a FaceTime call which will help you get to know your trainer and discuss your goals.

Going forward, your coach builds a new training plan based on your schedule and progress and delivers it every Sunday for the week ahead. They design guided workouts and incorporate the classes or outdoor activities you already love doing. Your coach checks in daily to keep you on track. Can’t work out today? They will reshuffle your schedule. Traveling? They’ll design quick workouts for your hotel room.

As part of signing up for the app, Future will send you everything you need, including an Apple Watch to borrow so you can track your activity for your personal trainer to follow.

The Future app comes with a subscription price of $150 per month. The company is banking on the high price encouraging people to stick with it, so as not to let that amount of cash go to waste. But there’s a one-month money-back guarantee if you find it’s just not for you.

On top of the $150, you don’t need to sign up for a gym membership or buy tons of home equipment. Your workouts incorporate wherever you prefer to exercise and whatever equipment you have available to you — from being at home with no equipment, to being at a gym fully-stocked with the latest gear, and everwhere in-between.

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There’s a new option for off the grid communication. Somewear is a satellite hotspot that lets you send messages and share your location via your phone when you venture into the no service zone, and will be at the ready should you run into an emergency situation.

Somewear connects to your phone via Bluetooth to enable you to communicate via the satellite network. Leveraging the Iridium satellite network, the device offers 100% global coverage in an ultralight (weighs only four ounces), compact form factor that easily fits into your pocket, or on your pack.

Via an app on your phone, Somewear lets you to send text messages, track your location, and even get the latest weather forecast. Through the app, you can text back and forth with any phone number or email in your contact list. Each message includes your location so that your friends and family can keep track of where you are.

The app also enables interval tracking to further help people follow your progress. You can also download maps to use offline to help with navigation.

In partnership with GEOS Worldwide, Somewear offers 24/7 SOS monitoring and an interactive SOS experience with every satellite data subscription.

The Somewear device is waterproof so it won’t matter if it gets rained on. The rechargeable battery will last for up to 1000 messages sent and received.

The Somewear device itself costs $349 and you need to subscribe to a service plan on top of that. Satellite data plans start at $15 per month and much like Garmin, can be paused if you don’t plan on using your device for awhile.

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Looking out over the Dead Sea.

Photo by: Tamara Elliott

Halfway through our ride for the day, we stop to take a quick snack break at the top of a climb, giving everyone a chance to regroup. The support truck pulls up next to us, Arabic music blaring. Our cycling guide, Firas Al-Hmood, gathers a bunch of the men together for an impromptu Jordanian dance lesson. Left foot forward. Left foot back. Step in front. Repeat. Seems simple enough but our slightly uncoordinated group is making a dog’s dinner of it. When in doubt, just shrug your shoulders up and down.

I’m delighted to be back in Jordan for a second time, this trip as part of the AdventureNEXT Near East conference held in Aqaba. Jordan’s place in history, depth of culture, warm hospitality, and sheer beauty of its varied landscapes give the country gravitas as a meaningful travel destination. It offers the perfect blend of adventure, sightseeing, and cultural experience that work together to positively transform anyone who visits. And the tourists have quickly caught on, with numbers steadily growing since my last visit in 2013.

But I’m here to experience more of the country than your average tourist on their one-day tour bus trip to Petra. I’ve signed up with local tour operator Experience Jordan for their Taste of the Jordan Bike Trail adventure before the conference. Over the course of 5 days, we will ride along rocky canyons, over rolling green hills, and through deep red desert sand while exploring the top historical and natural wonders along the way.

Our route flows south from the capital city, Amman, rolling straight down to Aqaba along the Red Sea. Three full days of cycling, with daily distances of 25 to 35 miles, leaves plenty of time for sightseeing. A fully supported trip, a bus transports our luggage each day to the next hotel or Bedouin camp, with the music-at-the-ready, snack-filled, off-road support truck trailing behind us on the bikes.

The Jordan Bike Trail

The Jordan Bike Trail is a 730 kilometer or 454 mile, mixed-surface bike route that crosses the entire length of Jordan. Starting in Um Qais at the north tip of the country, the trail takes in the varied landscapes of Jordan, from olive groves and farms to dramatic rocky canyons and wide open deserts, before finishing along the glamorous shores of the Red Sea.

There are a number of ways to experience the Jordan Bike Trail, from a fully supported trip without the need to carry any gear or reserve accommodation, to a minimalist bikepacking adventure. For this trip, we are going the fully supported route to get a quick taste of the southern section of the trail while taking in some of the most popular sights in the country.

Tour Guides

While they offer all types of adventures across the country, from hiking and biking to more cultural excursions, Experience Jordan is in the perfect position to guide the Jordan Bike Trail as they were instrumental in its creation. As we mill about adjusting our bikes the first morning, I learn that Firas is an Olympic-level triathlete. I instantly start to worry we are in for a bit of a hammerfest until he starts cracking dad jokes — at that moment I know we are going to be fast friends. Also joining us from Experience Jordan are Matt Loveland, founder of the company, Anton Batanov, Cycling Tours Manager, Baraa Alasfar, and our lead guide Jawad Abu Rumman, all knowledgeable about everything Jordan, thoughtful, and incredibly fun to be around.

The Ride

Day 1: Mount Nebo to the Dead Sea

Leaving the traffic choked streets of Amman behind, we head to Mount Nebo and the Memorial Church of Moses. It is said this is the spot where Moses died after looking out over the Promised Land. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Valley, Jericho, Bethlehem, and even the hills of Jerusalem far in the distance. The modern church acts as protector for a variety of colorful 6th century mosaics that depict everything from pastoral and hunting scenes to plants and flowers.

After a quick visit, it is time to hop on the bikes. Even though our ultimate goal for the day is the lowest point on Earth — the Dead Sea at 1,380 feet below sea level — we first have to navigate a multitude of rolling, rocky hills peppered with goats nibbling on thorny shrubs.

We stop for lunch at an overlook above the Dead Sea — from this vantage point, the glimmering sun makes it feel more like the ocean. One thing I’ve quickly come to appreciate about Experience Jordan is their cooperation with local families and communities to provide food and accommodation for their clients when possible. We eagerly tuck into a generous spread made by the shy matriarch of a local Madaba family, where we get our first taste of chicken maqluba. Translated as “upside down”, maqluba includes meat or chicken on the bottom, rice, and spices, all cooked together in one pot. Once ready, the pot is flipped over onto a communal tray and garnished with parsley and nuts.

Belly full and a bit wired from multiple cups of sweet tea, I imagine our scrappy little international peloton as part of the Tour de Jordan during a fast asphalt downhill, complete with full-on police escort into our hotel along the Dead Sea.

No trip to the Dead Sea is official without slathering your entire body in mud and having a float in the briney, mineral-rich waters. I am thankful I am not sunburned as I rub gloopy mud over every exposed bit of skin. We stand like scarecrows on the shore, waiting for the mud to dry to reap its full healing benefits, then gently wade into the cold buoyant water to scrub it all off. According to experts, the Dead Sea is dying rapidly, so who knows how much longer you can experience the novelty of struggling to stay upright as you swim.

Day 2: Dead Sea to Petra

The next morning, we drive up to the Crusader-era Shobak Castle for the start of our ride. Along the way, we stop to peek into the self-proclaimed “smallest hotel in the world,” a VW bug converted into a bedroom. I’m tempted to stay and enjoy a Turkish coffee or two in the unseasonably chilly weather, but we need to get on our bikes for the hilly ride to Petra.

I have a hard time concentrating on the rocky ridge road in front of me as I continue to stare out over the Grand Canyon-like Wadi Arabah — the colorful valley that separates Jordan from Israel. Hard to believe that last trip I was down below in that same valley, hiking through Wadi Ghuweir and stargazing under the warm night sky at Feynan EcoLodge. As we speed by, butterflies fly up out of the wildflowers, delightful and utterly unexpected in an arid country like Jordan.

On a small asphalt climb just off the King’s Highway, I hear a incessant beeping car horn approach from behind. Thinking they want me out of the way, I move as far as I can to the right. I can’t help but smile and laugh as two women, dressed in the conservative jilbab, drive past, arms out the windows, cheering me on. This is why I love Jordan.

Lunch comes again from a local family, accompanied by more bottomless cups of sweet tea. From there, Firas promises us it’s all downhill to Little Petra. I know by now this means there are still a few climbs or “Jordanian flats” in our future.

Our bed for the night is the Ammarin Bedouin camp, nestled amongst the egg-shaped, whitewashed rocks just north of Petra. Even with all the cycling, there is no fear of losing weight on this trip as we are treated to a zarb buffet for dinner. Normally cooked underground, the camp features a clay oven where a mix of meat, rice, onions, potatoes, and carrots are placed, filled with flaming hot coals, and covered. After a few hours, everything is cooked and the meat is fall-apart tender.

Day 3: Exploring Petra

Technically our rest day, we spend the entire day hiking up and down the red sandstone cliffs of Petra, exploring her seemingly endless prehistoric treasures. Even though I’ve seen the Treasury before, I’m awed at the first glimpse of those rose colored windows peeking out from behind the dark canyon walls of the Siq.

After lunch, most of the group head up to the Treasury overlook. As I experienced that perspective during my last trip to Jordan, Matt offers to take me to a little known spot in Petra where tourists rarely, if ever, go. I’m all in.

In our quest to reach the summit of Umm al-Biyara, we pass through a small Bedouin village on the outskirts of the main site, before finding a set of stairs that take you steeply up the side of the mountain. After a good hour-long stairmaster workout, we are rewarded with 360-degree views of Petra all the way over Aaron’s Tomb. Even with gaelforce winds threatening to knock us over, I don’t want to leave.

We begin the long trek back out to Wadi Musa, the town that sits next to Petra, and my thoughts turn to the Nabateans. This once thriving trading center was welcoming of anyone and everyone, and I can’t help but wonder if this is why Jordanians continue to be such a hospitable people today.

Day 4: Petra to Wadi Rum

We awake to a cold, windy, and rainy morning – quite a change from the last time I visited the country. The alternating rain and hail don’t dampen our spirits, however, as we egg each other on to see who can power through the deep sandy sections that indicate we are growing ever closer to Wadi Rum.

We pull into a small village where kids from the local school rush out to give us high fives. Just down from the school, in the middle of seemingly nowhere, sits our lunch spot for the day — a traditional Bedouin tent belonging to Abu Sabbah and his family.

Before entering the tent, Firas first announces our arrival a stone’s throw away. Invited to enter, we sit on cushions in the part of the tent reserved for guests as Abu Sabbah lays out our traditional mansaf lunch — lamb from his own flock cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and spices, served over a bed of rice and bread.

Firas shows us how to eat the meal with our hands, careful to use only the right one. We try to mimic him, grabbing handfuls of lamb and rice, shaping them into a little ball, before popping them in our mouths. I give up and scoop up the delicious mixture with mounds of homemade shrak or thin bread.

And that school with the high-fiving kids? This, we come to learn, is where Abu Sabbah is now able to send his 14(!) children thanks to tourists like us stopping at his tent along the Jordan Bike Trail for food and shelter.

After a harrowing open-bed truck ride at the end of the day, we settle into the Milky Way Camp beneath one of the sandstone islands in the vast red sea of sand. Wadi Rum is one of my favorite places on earth and despite the ever-growing, Instagram-happy crowds, this trip reaffirms it. I don’t know if it’s the rose-colored sandstone mountains that mirror the humps of camels in the foreground, or if it’s the “vast, echoing and God-like” quiet of the desert, but I remain perpetually under her spell. Each time I leave, the place haunts me, pulling me back.

Day 5: Snorkeling the Red Sea

Relaxing on the Red Sea.

Wanting to end the trip on a high note, we join all the Experience Jordan pre-summit adventure groups together for a boat ride on the Red Sea. Nothing but snorkeling, beers, and barbecue are on the agenda.

After a week of adventure, the numerous pools, bars, and five-star luxury showers of the Hyatt Regency Aqaba are very welcome but foreign. I feel instantly out of place in my campfire-smoked clothes and sand-caked hair. As I relax into a gin and tonic next to the pool under the warm Aqaba sun, I can’t help but plan my return to see more of the wild parts of this country on two wheels, the wind in my hair and the desert beneath my feet.

If You Go
One happy bike group.

Photo by: Matt Loveland

Experience Jordan offers a variety of Jordan Bike Trail tours starting at $1,995 per person, excluding flights. There is no need to bring your own bike as they supply Scott Aspect 740 hardtail mountain bikes with 27.5-inch wheels and even a helmet if you don’t want to carry yours to Jordan (I brought my own helmet and pedals).

Getting There

Royal Jordanian offers numerous daily flights from the US direct to Amman, returning from Aqaba via Amman.

Who Should Go?

Anyone who wants a unique experience in Jordan while still taking in the touristic highlights. My ideal way to see a country is on a bike, so this trip was right up my alley. But you don’t need to be an avid mountain biker to enjoy it as the route is not that technical. You just need to be relatively fit and comfortable riding a bike for a few hours a day. And remember, the support truck is always there if you feel tired or not confident enough to tackle any section (or you drank too many Petra Lagers the night before).

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After a completely shitty week for women’s rights here in the US, Rage Yoga has never looked more appealing. More than just a practice, Rage Yoga is an attitude. The idea is to help you get on the right path to becoming centered, confident, and giving zero f*cks. Sounds like just what we need to take on the patriarchy, ladies.

Rage Yoga was started by Canadian Lindsay Istace. She found yoga classes not only a bit intimidating but also a little too serious and serene. Looking for something more fun while still being a great workout and stress reliever, she created Rage Yoga.

Rage Yoga is still yoga but think loud music, war cries or swearing, and the occasional dirty joke. It’s not about being perfect in your poses, but about making you feel strong and empowered and working through what is holding you back. Best of all, there is usually drinks afterwords.

If you live in Calgary, Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, or Dallas, Texas, you are lucky as you can take a Rage Yoga class in person. I can only imagine Rage Yoga is way more fun when shared with a bunch of people. For the rest of us, Lindsay offers a variety of online courses.

The Ferocious Foundations package costs $90 and will get you two or more videos every week for six weeks. The program is designed for beginner to intermediate levels, and will build your strength and balance while giving you the foundations of a kickass at-home practice. And Lindsay promises you will also end up Zen as F*ck!

Sounds perfect to me.

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While it doesn’t feel like it across much of the country — we have rain and snow here in California this week — mountain bike season is nearly upon us. I am fortunate to be able to mountain bike pretty much year round, and had the opportunity to test out some new-for-spring-and-summer mountain bike shorts over the winter. Here are a handful of my favorites.

7Mesh Farside Shorts (pictured top): The new summer-weight Farside Shorts are made from a 4-way stretch fabric that dries fast and feels super soft against your skin. You get two hand pockets plus a rear zippered out-of-the-way-of-pedaling pocket that is big enough for your phone or extra snacks. As with everything 7Mesh, the shorts feature beautiful clean-finish hems with reinforced seams and reflective details. A note on sizing — these shorts are trim fit, so if you normally fall between sizes with 7Mesh, I would order up.

Shredly MTB CURVY: I absolutely love this move from Shredly — making a mountain bike short to fit a wide range of body shapes in sizes. Available in sizes ranging from 4-24, the MTB CURVY shorts use a shaped back panel that offers a relaxed fit through the hips and thighs, with a stretchy yoga-style waistband that is not only super comfortable, but eliminates any chance of gaping in the waist. You still get the same features as the other shorts in the Shredly line, like invisible zipper thigh vents, a side pocket, and two (deep) hand pockets. I got a first look at these at Sea Otter last month and love the feel of the recycled fabric and fun prints.

Wild Rye Freel: With fun prints like Shredly, Wild Rye is another firm mountain bike short favorite. Made from a durable, four-way stretch nylon fabric, the shorts are water-repellant and offer UPF 50 sun protection. A 12-inch inseam provides plenty of coverage for even the rowdiest of rides. Features include front pockets and a storage pocket big enough for your iPhone, sunglasses, or extra snacks. And llamas!

REI Link Double Bike Shorts: With a built in liner that connects via two small strips, these 2-in-1 bike shorts are lightweight for warm weather riding and dry quickly should they get wet. The 2-way stretch outer fabric is treated with a DWR finish to help repel dirt and offers up UPF 50+ sun protection. The waist can be adjusted for the perfect fit and features include two open hand pockets and one zippered pocket at the thigh.

Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Bike Shorts: While not mountain bike specific, these super fun and race ready bike shorts can’t be beat if you prefer to wear lycra on a mountain bike. A slimline but comfortable chamois works with compression and wicking fabric to provide all day on the bike support. Laser-cut hems cut down on any sausage look while silicone leg grippers ensure they don’t ride up. And somewhat of a first for Pearl, they brought out fun new prints for summer. I’ve been wearing these on all kinds of rides this spring — road, mountain, and gravel.

And in case you missed it earlier this year, Lauren Steele talks about her love for Backcountry’s new women’s mountain bike line.

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While I absolutely love to climb, I don’t think I could ever be a big wall climber simply because I would freak out sleeping hundreds of feet up on the side of a wall. A regular portaledge would be hard enough for me to trust (irrational, I know) but an inflatable one might push me over the edge. But for those who love hanging around and want to move faster by drastically reducing their weight load, the G7 POD inflatable portaledge just might be the answer.

The G7 POD is a lightweight (1.5 kilograms or 3.3 pounds), four-season, insulated, inflatable ledge that replaces the traditional single framed portaledge (7.5 kilograms or 16.5 pounds) plus sleeping mat. At 30″ wide x 84″ long, it’s comfortable for almost any size person.

The inflatable structure integrates an adjustable, six-point suspension system that spreads the load to hang rigid from any climbing anchor. Adjustable loops make it easy to level wether you’re on a slab or a vertical wall and as the suspension system is asymmetrical, you can anchor the G7 POD in a corner.

The inflatable portaledge can be hung in a variety of ways. For those times you need some personal space from your climbing partner, hang two G7 PODs in a bunk bed configuration. Another option is to hang two G7 PODs side by side to create a spacious double ledge. The portaledge comes fitted with accessory loops and a pack loop so you can keep everything you need within arms reach.

The G7 POD comes with an inflation bag that doubles as a stuff sack or pillow. The air valve, made by Sea To Summit, can be locked to ensure no accidental opening.

The team is running a Kickstarter campaign to take pre-orders on the inflatable portaledge. For $355 you can get your own G7 POD with delivery expected in November.

You can choose to add a Storm Shelter to your inflatable portaledge order ($575 total) and get the highly breathable, watertight shelter system. The shelter deploys from a stuff sack and is easy to repack when it is time to climb again. A removable door allows it to fit both single and double G7 POD set ups.

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If you haven’t heard of CampoVelo yet, it’s a fun-packed weekend event in Napa Valley that combines food, wine, cycling, and wellness. You can choose to come just for a day or spend the entire three days. Held in April every year, CampoVelo is best described as the Great Cyclist Get Together because everyone at the event simply loves to ride a bike, not to mention eat great food and drink some wine. After all, that’s one of the reasons we ride bikes anyway, right?

The weekend of activity takes place in Calistoga, CA in the heart of Napa Valley. The event brings together famous chefs, wine and beer makers, and even professional athletes to join in the fun and provide inspiration. Chefs like Chris Cosentino, a former professional mountain bike racer and the chef and co-owner of San Francisco’s Cockscomb restaurant; Jackrabbit in Portland, OR; and Acacia House at Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Napa Valley.

Last month, I headed up to Calistoga on a Saturday to take part in the festivities. The day started with a variety of bike rides on offer, including everything from mountain bike rides and fast road rides to a women’s only ride. And these weren’t your average group rides. Fueling stations were located at vineyards and featured gourmet snacks created by the guest chefs, along with a full assortment of fuel by CLIF, the title sponsor of the weekend.

Once back in Calistoga, the afternoon was filled with more food, wine tasting, and culinary demos where you could learn everything from delicious vegan recipes to fuel your training to the importance of salt in the cyclists diet. I had the opportunity to taste my first Impossible Burger. Verdict? It’s good but definitely does not taste like beef.

The highlight of the Saturday schedule was the Speedway event with relay races and other bike activities around the track, including food trucks, beer, wine, and live music. Legendary cyclist Bob Roll was on hand to add color commentary to the entertaining races.

So if you have ever dreamt about riding bikes in Napa, grab some friends and come on out next year. I am planning to convince a bunch of my female cycling friends to come make a girls weekend of it.

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While it may not keep your beer cold, the new LoadOut GoBox from Yeti will not only organize your gear, but also protect it from the extremes of your outdoor adventures. Storing and organizing your gear into a variety of cargo boxes makes it so much easier to simply grab and go on weekends.

Yeti is known for durability and the LoadOut GoBox is no different. Made from the same material as the brand’s coolers, the gear box may not be insulated but is tough enough to withstand serious impact, even in the most extreme conditions.

Similar to the coolers, the gasket, latches, and vent work together to ensure the gear box remains both waterproof and dustproof. So go ahead and leave it out in the rain or throw it in the back of the truck for your desert adventures.

The LoadOut GoBox is designed with versatility in mind. To help with organization, the box is built for nesting and non-slip feet keep your setup high and tight. For internal organization, the cargo box comes with a variety of accessories including the Divider, Caddy, and Pack Attic.

Each LoadOut GoBox measures 20 1/2” × 11 1/8” × 14 5/8” for roughly 30 liters of storage space and weighs 11.8 pounds empty. 

The Yeti LoadOut GoBox comes in three different colors (black, tan, white) and retails for $250. This may be four times the price of a good old-fashioned ActionPacker, but your gear is worth it, right?

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Yesterday, adidas Outdoor announced a new partnership with1Climb, a non-profit organization co-founded by world-renowned climber Kevin Jorgeson. The partnership is dedicated to empowering young people’s lives through the sport of climbing. Ultimately this will enable 1Climb to install 10 new permanent climbing walls in Boys and Girls Clubs across the United States.

For Jorgeson, there has been no greater gift in his own life than being introduced to rock climbing ,“Climbing has enabled the life of my dreams and it all started with that one visit to a gym when I was 9.” On founding 1Climb, “I felt like the opportunities for kids to discover climbing were pretty narrow. Now, instead of hoping the next generation finds climbing, we bring the outdoor sport directly to where they live in the city. Climbing has the ability to change the trajectory of a kid’s life,” said Jorgeson.

As part of their work with the Boys and Girls Clubs, 1Climb creates close relationships with local climbing gyms to help mentor the kids and maintain each wall. Adding to this, Tim Baum, 1Climb’s Executive Director explains, “What makes climbing special is so much more than a climbing wall. It’s the people behind the sport. The community. That’s why our climbing gym partners are such an important part of our programs.”

The 10 new climbing walls will be built in areas of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. This partnership expects to open four new climbing walls by the end of 2019, with the remaining six opening by the end of 2020.

And as today is 5/10, Five Ten is offering 20 percent to 30 percent off of all their shoes. So go and get ’em!

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Just in time for all your summer adventure plans, Oru Kayak launches their first tandem  kayak. Called the Haven, the folding kayak easily converts from a tandem to a single-seater with the switch of a few buckles in order to add a level of versatility.

For those that are already familiar with Oru Kayak folding kayaks, the Haven combines the stability and quick setup of the Beach LT with the performance and speed of the Coast XT. The Beach LT is the kayak I brought with me to tour around Channel Islands National Park off the coast of Southern California (and I loved it). The Haven is Oru Kayak’s most stable boat yet, even while standing.

The Haven is a versatile kayak, making it perfect for couples or families. It easily switches from a two seater to a single seater configuration and back again. In the single seater configuration, there is tons of room for gear for kayak camping and even to bring your dog along. An integrated track system supports accessories including cup holders, fishing rods, and more — it works with any commercial rail system.

When not in use, the kayak folds up into the size of a large portfolio or suitcase so that you can stash it pretty much anywhere: your trunk, closet, boat, garage, van, even under your bed. The Haven can be assembled and disassembled in minutes, and weighs only 40 pounds (it can hold up to 400 pounds).

Like the other kayaks in the Oru Kayak lineup, the Haven is made from a single sheet of 5mm double-layered custom-extruded polypropylene. In other words, it’s bomber. It will handle up to 20,000 fold cycles and a UV-treatment on the plastic keeps it protected from the sun for up to 10 years.

The Oru Kayak Haven tandem folding kayak retails for $1,999 and is available now.

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