Hailing from Oregon, guest contributor KM Collins is a geologist gone writer. Discovering she was a freshwater mermaid late in life, she started paddling 10 years ago and has been upping the ante ever since. First as a paddleboarder, then kayaker and finally, recently, buying her first raft. Roller skating, snowboarding and cycling rank among her favorite land-based activities.
While aftermarket accessories provide some amazing add-ons to your inflatable paddle products, there are a few trusty essentials that nearly every paddler needs. Here's a round-up of my favorites.
Dual Action Hand Pump
What is one of the most crucial items when using inflatables? A pump. Aquaglide’s Dual Action Hand Pump is the best and most versatile on the market. Here’s two anecdotes to prove it:
While I was working at a local paddle retailer in Bend, Oregon, the staff would bicker over reserving the Aquaglide dual action pump to check out with inflatable kayaks and paddleboards during their days off. Among the 5-7 other brand name pumps we could choose from, everyone preferred the Aquaglide pump for its burly build, reliable psi gage, heavy duty hose attachment and, of course, it’s dual action setting, allowing for twice the pump power in half the time. Plus, the dual action pump is compatible with most inflatables possessing halkey-roberts type valves (it has two nozzle options).
Recently, I acquired a 14 foot oar raft. Reluctant to invest in a raft pump just yet, I found that the dual action pump could pull off the task of inflating the 5 raft compartments (each compartment is close to the volume of a single paddle board). This pump can even be used on the river while rafting - which is a huge value if you're inflatable paddleboarding or kayaking during a multi-day raft adventure and you don’t want to bring two pumps.
River Crossing Backpack
Don’t overlook the storage container of an inflatable kayak or paddleboard. I have owned many brands of inflatable paddleboards and typically the backpack-style bag they arrive in is really uncomfortable for actual back transport. Most of the time I don’t use these - except with Aquaglide backpacks.
The River Crossing Storage Bag is particularly form fitting to your torso and without rigid framing, it can easily conform to a person's body shape. Instead of a single layer of canvas material with a flimsy draw string, the Aquaglide pack is made with Rugged 600d polyester and has a layer of padding at its core (which makes all the difference in carrying comfort). The full length zipper makes it easy to pack your folded kayak or SUP. I use this as a backpack most often when doing mellow down river floats and I need to walk all my gear a mile or two back to my car. Its padded, adjustable shoulder straps and waist belt mean infinite portability.
The AG Frame Seat is designed for plush comfort while fishing, and comes standard with Blackfoot Angler kayaks. But, it can also be added to any Aquaglide SUP. This seat has a high back, adjustable angles, and high or low seating options.
If you haven't tried a frame seat while paddling, you will be surprised with how much extra power a rigid, high seat will add. Don't forget to utilize a longer paddle for optimum ergonomics!
For true staycation vibes in backyard and hometown waterways, you’ll want a beverage holder on your vessel. How many times have you spilled a can or bottle, simply because there was not a convenient place to set it while paddling - after all this isn’t a hands free sport. Solution - the Aquaglide cupholder. Even better, Aquaglide supplies easy to attach universal mount fittings so the holder can be positioned in a multitude of locations on your watercraft. No more crying over spilled milk.
From the smallest detail (cupholders) to the biggest (pumping up your inflatable), these AG essentials will maximize enjoyment of your craft. Get your kit dialed, and we will see you on the water!