Gearing Up: 2004 Summer Boat Guide

Up the Creek Without a Problem

Field & Stream Online Editors

1. Camp Paddle Arrow
The Arrow is a beautiful new wide-blade paddle made of cedar and basswood, with a durable Lexan tip (no more chipping or splitting). It weighs about 20 ounces, and its angled surface maximizes the amount of water moved with each stroke, increasing performance. $70; 607-967-8755; www.camppaddle.com

**2. River Ridge Hibernet **
This full-size net is 24x25 inches, wide enough for big fish, with a 60-inch overall length. But the whole thing collapses into a tough nylon tube when not in use. It also doubles as an auxiliary paddle-a canoe blade threads onto the shaft. $90; 507-288-2750; www.riverridgecustomcanoes.com

3. Harmony Sea Passage Paddle
Kayaking on big water with strong currents calls for a paddle that can generate enough thrust. The Sea Passage's new oval grip fills your hands securely, giving you better leverage and control. But this aluminum two-piece is lightweight, so your arms won't get fatigued from lifting. $100; 800-591-2282; www.harmonygear.com

4. Voyageur Dry Flex
There's no life without water, but it'll kill your cellphone. Voyageur's line of dry bags cushions small electronics with a dense, protective foam that also floats if dropped overboard. $24; www.voyageur-gear.com

5. Ritchie Kayaker K-TD.2 Compass
The K-TD.2 compass mounts right on top of your kayak, and with the 23/4-inch high-visibility blue direct-read dial you can easily get your bearing at a glance. $45 (mount, $27); 781-826-5131; www.ritchienavigation.com

6. CAMELBAK Catalyst
Made for runners, this new hydration system is worn on the small of your back. It should also work perfectly for canoers or sit-on-top kayakers. When filled, it isn't so bulky that it will bother your balance or paddling, and you can easily hop out to wade fish with it on. About the size of a large crappie, the Catalyst holds 28 ounces. _$38; 800-767-8725; www.camelbak.com _

7. Sospenders Chest Pack
Boaters often don't wear life jackets for a simple reason: They're bulky and restrictive. That's why Sospenders created slim, forget-they're-on PFDs. Try the new Sport Series Chest Pack with pockets. They can be rigged to inflate automatically or manually. _$90; 800-858-5876; www.sospenders.com _