The basics of kayaking - Whitewater kayaking gear: tips on buying a kayak
Buying a whitekayak can be a big investment. Follow these tips to learn how to go about purchasing your own boat.
hasing a whitewater kayak is a big investment. Sure, you may spend a lot of money on rentals throughout the year but that is in small increments. This time you must put down a lot of money all at once. How can you make sure you are buying a kayak that will fit your needs and your budget? Follow this advice and you will be on your way to paddling in your own whitewater kayak.
Whitewater kayaks usually are shorter (less than 8.5 feet in length) than traditional kayaks in order to make them more maneuverable in choppy seas. Whitewater kayaks are shaped with more rounded bottoms, and they have more upturn on the ends. These two structural differences allow whitewater kayaks to better ride through waves and turn easily. Whitewater kayaks are not easy to keep in a straight line because their use mainly is for traveling through choppy whitewater and rapids.
Since whitewater kayaking is becoming more popular, you now can find more "beginning" whitewater kayaks. These boats are built with flatter bottoms and less steep upturns on the ends, making them more stable and less likely to change direction when a paddler places slightly more power on one stroke. While whitewater kayaking relies heavily on speed and maneuverability, these kayaks offer beginners rugged, stable boats that can handle the pressure of whitewater without the potential of being unable to control the boat or flipping upside down.
Nearly all whitewater kayaks are made of plastic. Plastic kayaks are rigid and strong and, therefore, less likely to need a lot of upkeep than fiberglass boats. These durable kayaks can be of very high quality and are usually on the low-end of the price scale. Most manufacturers now use plastic exclusively for non-racing whitewater kayaks. One thing to remember: if you damage a plastic kayak, repairs can be difficult or impossible.
All kayaks have built in storage space you can fill up with gear when you head out for a day trip or a week-long adventure. The amount of storage can determine how long of a trip you can take; this space needs to hold all your camping gear, as well as extra water and food. The size of the storage holes is something to be checked out prior to purchase if you plan to take any large items (such as extra water jugs) with you.
Another consideration is to make sure the cockpit is comfortable for you to sit in for long periods of time. Today many kayaks are built with larger cockpits that allow paddlers to enter and exit the boat without having to squeeze in and out of a tight space. Many cockpits are ergonomically designed so that paddlers can put their legs out at a comfortable position, as well as have room to shift during a whitewater excursion. Comfort should not be overlooked since you often may wish to paddle for hours at a time. If you do not try out the seats to make sure they offer the necessary support and comfort, you could be uncomfortable and unable to paddle efficiently and effectively.
The important thing to do when buying a whitewater kayak is to assess your ability level, make a list of the features you most desire, and determine how much you are willing to spend. Then, take that list with you to a reputable, well-informed retailer. The salesperson should be able to help you find a whitewater kayak that fits your needs, as well as your budget. A final thought on the purchasing process is to make sure you find out the return/exchange policy at the store you purchase your boat at ? many kayak retailers will allow you to ?test drive? your kayak for a limited amount of time in order to make sure you get a boat that satisfies your needs and desires.
Learn how to build an inexpensive sandbox with minimal construction skills.
Building your child's sandbox can be a fulfilling activity. By building it yourself, you get to choose the exact width and length that you would like, and can tailor it to your yard's dimensions more easily. Also, you will mostly likely end up with a much roomier sandbox than if you had bought one from the store.
The first thing you will need to do is decide where you would like the sandbox to be located. You will want to locate it in a spot that gets some shade in the summertime, yet isn't below a tree that will dump bucket loads of leaves into the sandbox, leaving you with mulch as opposed to sand. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to put it in the sun without any consideration of shade. Keep in mind that sandboxes are not especially portable, and wherever you put it, the grass underneath will die. Regardless, you will want to make sure that the ground is level.
Decide which shape sandbox you would like, and how large you would like it to be. If you would like a spacious rectangular sandbox, 2 four-foot boards and 2 six or eight-foot boards work nicely. For a square box, try 4 six or four-foot boards. Keep in mind that if you are watching expenses, the larger the sandbox, the more sand you will need to purchase. It seems obvious, but those bags of sand can really add up and make a dent in your wallet.
You will need:
- Four 1" x 10" boards in the length that you would like. - 8 corner braces - 16 3/4" screws - Plastic tarp in a size sufficient to cover the sandbox - Small roll of plastic sheeting - Sandpaper - Sand
Usually, all of these items can be found at your local home improvement store. It is an added bonus if they sell sand, as it will probably be less expensive to buy it there rather than at your local toy store. Also, you will only have to make one trip! Just make sure that you get enough sand the first time. Think carefully about the kind of sand that you will buy, as "play sand" contains crystalline silica and carries a hazard warning in the state of California. Building sand may not be as pretty, can stain clothes, and may need to have larger particles sifted out, but it may be the safer choice. If you are buying by the truckload, it will also be the cheaper choice. Count on about a yard of sand to fill up the sandbox. This will vary, depending on how deep you want the sand to be and how large you decide to make the sandbox.
First of all, sand the boards. If you'd like, you can stain and varnish them as well, although this is not necessary. Unfinished boards weather nicely, and can give your yard a nice natural look. Make sure that you sand all of the rough edges off, so that little fingers don't get splinters.
Next, put together the boards using two of the braces for each corner. Put one brace near the top of the boards and the other one close to the bottom. After completing all four corners, you will end up with a square or rectangular open box. With a staple gun, staple the plastic sheeting to the bottom of the box, and then trim the excess with a pair of scissors.
Now you are ready to flip the sandbox and move it to the part of the yard you have decided on. Get another person to help you, because the sandbox is not reinforced, and can break at this point. You won't have to worry about the lack of reinforcement once it is filled with sand, but be careful when moving it. Make sure that there are no rocks or other protuberances on the ground where you are going to set it. The plastic, if not punctured, will keep any grass and weeds from growing in the sand.
Now fill the sandbox with sand. Find four heavy but manageable rocks and keep the tarp nearby. The rocks can be used to anchor the tarp when the sandbox is not in use. The tarp is essential if you do not want the sandbox to become a litter box for neighborhood cats. It will keep leaves out of the box as well.
If you like, you can do more with your sandbox. Simply by taking another board that is the same size and screwing it to the edge of the sandbox, facing in, you can make a bench.
Your kids should enjoy the sandbox for years to come. You may want to replace the sand periodically, but this should not be an issue for at least two years. Meanwhile, your children can enjoy the sandbox that you built, and have a more enjoyable experience than being confined to one of the tiny ones offered in the toy stores.
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