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.
Read on to know more about sheepskin, sheepskin slippers and how to choose the right kind of sheepskin products?
What is Sheepskin? Sheepskin, as the word suggests, is the skin of sheep, lamb or mutton. The skin of these sheep is very soft, warm and is known to be insulating and static-free. These sheepskins are very comfortable to wear and find many uses such as in rugs, coats, and sheepskin slippers.
How is Sheepskin chosen? There are more than 100 different types of sheep. Each produces a different kind of skin. Also depending upon the season, the skin has a different amount of wool on it. In the spring season, lambs and therefore lambskins have soft skin, which has a less amount of wool on it. During the months of July and August the production of wool on the body of the sheep begins to increase and this continues till the end of the year. The sheepskins at the beginning of production are about 1.5 inches to 2 inches thick. The sheepskins during the peak of the wool production period are between 2 inches to 3 inches thick. During the months of December and January, the skin of these sheep is quite thick with wool and can reach a thickness of up to 3 inches or more. Once the skin is removed from the sheep, it is dried and cooled naturally and then cured. For the purposes of curing the sheepskin a special kind of dried salt is used which contains bactericides and fungicides. There are two types of treatments given to the sheepskin. They are: Drum Salting In this procedure the salt and the chemicals are mixed with the skins and they are tumbled together for about 2 hours. Then these skins are stacked on top of each other for about 5 days to let the fluids drain from the skin. Conveyor Salting In this procedure, the skins are laid out flat on a conveyor belt and salt is showered on them. These skins are then folded and stacked on top of each other. This allows for a deeper penetration of the salt into the sheep skins.
What to look for before buying sheepskin products?
One of the main things to look out for before buying sheepskin products is the seed contamination. Seed contamination is a fault on the surface of the sheepskin which is caused by patches of scar tissue which is left behind on the skin of the sheep after a wound caused by seed burrows has healed. This happens during the life of the sheep and the skin patches caused by seed contamination cannot be removed. This patch may fall off and leave holes in the skin itself. The seed contamination patches can range from 'No Visible Seed' to 'Light' or 'Medium' seed to 'Heavy' and 'Burry' seed.
The next thing to consider during the purchasing of sheepskin is to see for shear scars. These are caused when the skins of the sheep are shorn for wool before they are removed. The scars are left behind during the process of shearing them for wool, and have not been allowed or given time to heal.
Another thing to look for is the weathered tip of the wool. Almost all of the wool of the sheep will be weathered by dirt and weather for the first few millimeters. This has to be cleaned and dyed before the sheepskin is sold.
The more tender the sheepskin the more is the possibility that it has been taken off a sheep suffering from a skin disease or lice infestation.
Also, most genuine wool products should have the international woolmark standard.
How to Choose the Right Sheepskin Slippers?
Sheepskin slippers are known to keep feet dry and allow the feet to 'breathe'. They are also very warm. This allows you to wear them without socks.
Once you know how to choose the right sheepskin or how to look for the right sheepskin type, the next logical step is choosing the right kind of sheepskin slippers.
Before buying the sheepskin slippers, you first need to identify if you are going to be wearing them inside the house or outside. If you intend to wear these sheepskin slippers outside the house, then they must have a flexible, sturdy and non-slip sole.
Ideally, the sheepskin slippers must have certain areas like the heel and the toe area reinforced.
Before buying a pair of sheepskin slippers, check for the quality of the sheepskin first.
Then choose a size that fits you well. If you are a size and a half, then ideally choose the next full size. For example, if you are a 6 and ? then go for a size 7 for these slippers.
Usually, these sheepskin slippers will have removable and replaceable insoles.
How to take care of my sheepskin slippers? Sheepskin is not waterproof. Therefore it is essential to use your sheepskin slippers with care, especially in the rainy seasons.
To wash your sheepskin slippers, you can use a mild non-biological detergent. Then hand-wash the slippers and place them in a dry area which is away from direct heat and sunlight.
Do not use any kind of fabric conditioner for sheepskin products.
If you want to retain the original shape and quality of the wool, then be sure to use a wire-dog or a rug brush before and after the drying process.
It is important to note that washing in hot water, bleaching, using a biological detergent, storing in a plastic bag, tumble drying the sheepskin slippers in a washing machine or even drying these slippers on a radiator ? all will destroy your sheepskin slippers.
With all these guidelines in mind, it will now become easier for you to choose the right sheepskin slippers for you and to care for them as well.
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