Alex and Nico

The Best Inexpensive Kayaks

Posted by   Alex Macao   |   Categories :   Uncategorized

Kayaking can be a great way to explore waterways of all types.  Since your rowing controls the pace, it can be as relaxing or as grueling as you want it to be.  Before wading into the world of kayaks, it can be useful to learn a bit about the different styles and types available.  With some models available for around $100, you should be able to find a good fit for your planned activities without blowing your budget.

Seating options

Kayaks come in both one- and two-person models.  You can also choose sit-in or sit-on models.  Sit-in models offer a little bit more stability for beginners and can offer more protection from colder and/or windier conditions.

Fishing models

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If you plan to use your kayak for fishing, there are models designed especially for you.  They are among the most stable models available and have extra storage space for stowing your gear and, hopefully, plenty of fish.

Recreational models

If you plan on kayaking your way across mostly calm lakes or slower moving waterways, a recreational model will work well for you.  They’re a great choice for beginners since they offer more stability than more advanced models, though they usually aren’t as maneuverable.

Touring models

Touring kayaks offer better performance, but a little less stability.  They’re designed to handle faster moving water and longer distances much better than their recreational counterparts.

Whitewater models

As you might guess from the name, whitewater kayaks are designed for riding the rapids.  They offer the ultimate level of maneuverability and overall performance, but are the least stable overall, making them a poor choice for beginners.

Inflatable models

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Inflatable models are a great choice for those with limited storage space and for those who want to take their kayaks on camping trips but don’t want to have to tote a rigid kayak along with the rest of their camping gear.  In the past, inflatable kayaks weren’t built much better than inflatable pool toys.  As technology has advanced, the materials used to make inflatables have gotten much more reliable and sturdy enough to handle some of the toughest conditions.  Some inflatable models trade a little bit of performance for easy storage and carrying, but there are more than enough out there that compare favorably to their rigid counterparts that you shouldn’t write them off.  Inflatable models are available in all of the same styles and intended uses as rigid models.  Some have optional metal inserts available for purchase that can add extra stability.  Obviously, this negates some of the easy-carry, easy-stow ability, but can be attractive to some folks.

Considerations for beginners

Generally speaking, the wider a kayak is, the more stability it offers.  A more stable kayak is less likely to tip over.  More stability generally means less maneuverability and performance.  Beginners learning the ropes typically find it beneficial to start with a more stable model.  If you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t be planning on heading to the nearest level 6 rapids anyway, so having a more basic model that’s less likely to land you in the water is the best way to build your skills and your confidence.  These more stable, more basic models are generally the least expensive, which is also great for beginners.  It’s nice to want to jump into a new endeavor head first, but keeping your investment minimal gives you a chance to decide whether you really want to stick with kayaking before sinking too much money into it.  The fact that you’re more likely to run your new kayak into a few obstacles during the learning process is another reason to look for the least expensive viable option.

Understanding the basic differences between kayak models can steer you in the right direction to help this new hobby become a lifelong passion.  It can also help keep you from being overwhelmed by the many different brands, models, and claims of greatness you’ll come across.  Being careful to choose an appropriate model can mean the difference between getting “out there” and enjoying time on the water and having an experience so unpleasant, even frightful, that your investment becomes something else to collect dust in your garage.

Interested to learn more about kayaking — a fun water based activity? Perhaps you’d like more information on the different types of kayaks and brands of kayaks, too? View this page.

November 7, 2016

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Cool Outdoor Adventures in Oregon

Posted by   Alex Macao   |   Categories :   Uncategorized

If you’re searching for fun activities you can enjoy outdoors in nature, check out this list of adventures and find your favorites.

Peak Adventures

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  1. Climb Mount Hood and you’ll have a chance to see a spectacular view! You can join the Mazamas, and go on an organized trip to see this natural beauty.
  2. Try out Mt. Hood Adventure center, and you’ll be offered so many awesome activities. You’ll have options to rent equipment, go on snowmobile adventures, take lessons and much more. They also offer the organization of events, catering and lodging.
  3. Oregon Trail of Dreams will make your family’s experience an unforgettable one. You and your kids can try a short sled dog race, or a marathon that lasts all day.
  4. The Mount Bachelor Ski Resort is a perfect place for snowboarders and skiers. It’s located in the Pacific Northwest and is a very popular area for skiing offering several lifts with high speeds, jumps and rails. In addition to that, there is a Superpipe and over 3,000 feet of slopes.

Trekking

  1. Oregon offers numerous trails for hikers Canyon Creek Meadows, Cascade Head, Silver Falls State Park Loop, Wahkeena Loop Trail and many more!
  2. Ice Lake offers a picturesque landscape with tall peaks and granite ground that surround the timberline pool — a great trekking trail for backpackers.
  3. If you consider rock climbing the ultimate adventure, you should visit the Smith Rock State Park.
  4. If you’re a naturalist and are interested in knowing more, you can join a tour of the Deschutes National Forest. This is a good activity for kids older than ten and adults of course. Experts from Bend Fort Rock Ranger District will tell you about plants, animals, ecology and more.

Water Sports

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  1. One of the favorite spots for those who enjoy kite boarding, windsurfing and paddling is the Columbia River Gorge.
  2. If you love kayaking, Oregon offers great diversity. Whitewater paddlers will find the thrill in over 150 rapids in the Illinois River. Oswald West State Park is the ultimate spot for sea water kayakers, while the Upper Deschutes is the best spot for still water paddlers.
  3. If you want to explore the wilderness and go rafting visit the Rogue River. It’s Oregon’s National Wild and Scenic River.

Fishing and Golfing

  1. Oregon offers fly-fishers an exciting experience at the Deschutes River. You will be able to obtain a permit at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop, and also have a team of experts that will guide you.
  2. If you are looking for an awesome steelhead fly-fishing area, you will find it at the Wallowa River Canyon. Join the Fish Train — they will drop you and other fly fishers off and pick you up on their return.
  3. Central Oregon is among the 50 top destinations for golfers in the entire world. You will be able to choose from 25 different courses.

Biking and Running

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  1. Each September, there is a new biking route ride through Oregon organized by Cycle Oregon. If you are a fan of biking, choose to visit this biking trail that lasts one week.
  2. If you are an expert biker, then this biking route is for you. It has a length of 26.5 miles and goes along the McKenzie River, offering bikers an impressive view of nature. You’ll see Douglas fir forest that is 600 years old, lava flows and beautiful waterfalls.
  3. Runners will enjoy Buford Recreational Areas in Eugene. Trail distances have various lengths and go through oak savannas and wetlands, all the way to Mount Pisgah.
  4. Visit Bend, the town that is now known to be the best in America, for those who love running and hiking combined.

Call of the Wild

  1. Milo McIver State Park is a great place to visit for different outdoor activities and it’s less than an hour away from Portland. You’ll be able to go biking, riding horses, camping and much more.
  2. Visit Crater Lake National Park for a unique experience of exceptional natural beauties. Go for a hike across the Wizard Island, travel by ferry and reach the cone’s summit that has 800 feet!
  3. If you wish to have an adventure that seems as if it was far away from civilization, go to the Owyhee Canyonlands. This is an enormous area of wild nature, rivers, different animal species and is often visited by paddlers, campers, hikers, and thrill seekers.
  4. Nehalem Bay State Park is the place for sea kayakers and crabbers. You’ll also enjoy hiking and horse riding on its beautiful beaches.
  5. The most visited place on the 4th of July is Lakeview. It has a high altitude of 4,800 feet and is the top gliding area.
  6. Steens Mountain Backcountry Byway is 52 miles long and offers camping areas overlooking East Rim, Big Indian Gorge, Wild horse and more.
  7. If you have a free weekend and want to go somewhere special, the Flying M Ranch is an amazing place that offers an overnight Trask Mountain ride with an all-inclusive arrangement.

October 29, 2016

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Tips for Camping in the Cold

Posted by   Alex Macao   |   Categories :   Uncategorized

I enjoy camping off season. Many people believe that camping cannot be a good experience during colder months. This is a common misconception. If you think about it, you can find both positive and negative sides to camping in any weather conditions.

During the summer, you can have all kinds of insects in huge numbers due to high temperatures. So, you need to constantly defend against mosquitoes and ticks. Also, there are lots of people camping during summertime, which can sometimes be annoying as it makes trails and camping areas overcrowded.

During colder months, trails become less crowded and you get better views of the scenery and wildlife. In the fall, all the leaves start changing colors and everything seems to come alive. It’s beautiful. All you need is make some changes when it comes to equipment, clothing, food and shelter, which is not that difficult.

What to wear

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Off-season hiking and camping will be a very enjoyable experience for you if you don’t like heat. You need to adapt to lower temperatures by wearing layered clothes. You’ll need to keep warm when you rest or sit. Also, if you start sweating, you’ll just remove some layers.

It’s best to wear a top with long sleeves made of synthetic material as a first layer, such as long polyester underwear. Over that you can wear a pullover or a vest insulated by fleece. Wear a warm down jacket, which can be replaced with a rain shell jacket if it gets rainy. When I start moving, I usually remove two layers the jacket and fleece vest and wear them again when I rest. You should keep the jacket and vest outside of your backpack so that you can easily wear them again, because you’ll need to take them on and off numerous times throughout a day.

You’ll also need a pair of gloves and a hat that are easily accessible without taking off your backpack, if the strength of wind starts changing. Wear thick woolen socks when the temperatures are low. During the night, it’s best to put on another pair, along with the long bottoms such as pants made of fleece, and a woolen hat. Before you go to sleep, always wear dry clothes. You can put damp stuff at the bag’s bottom so that it can get warmed up during the night.

Where to sleep

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While hiking during colder months, you will plan your activities throughout the day depending on the Sun rising and setting. When it sets, you will most likely stay inside of your tent. Therefore, it’s important to retain the heat inside of the tent, ground pad and sleeping bag. When the outside temperatures are lower, it better to have a smaller tent because your body temperature will heat the tent more easily.

If you are camping during the winter, it’s best to bring a four-season tent compared to a three-season one. Four-season tents are better especially if there is a lot of snow and temperatures are really low. These will make you more comfortable and warm and the only downside is that they are a bit heavier. They have venting panels replaced by solid fabric. Their poles are also stronger, which is beneficial when it’s windy and snowing heavily.

Pay attention when you choose a sleeping bag. There are differences in body’s adaptability to low temperatures. If you get cold easily, then you need to choose an appropriate sleeping bag. If you have an old sleeping bag, you should know that they lose insulation over time and are harder to warm up.

As for the sleeping pan, it has more use than simply covering rocks on the ground. As the ground can take away the heat while you sleep, the sleeping pad is used to prevent it. It’s best to get an air-inflated pad or the one made from foam a well-insulated pad that will protect you from low temperatures. Use a very thick one or take two pads when you go camping during the winter.

What to eat and drink

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When going camping during fall and winter, you’ll need plenty of appetizers in between the main meals. Low temperatures may make you even hungrier. Also, after a hike, it’s good to always have a quick bite. These may include crackers, cheese, ham, olives or anything else that you like. Soups can be great as starters, especially because they can warm you up when you’re resting and start feeling cold.

As for water intake, the fact is that you need more of it in the winter hikes than in the summer. It helps regulate the temperature of your body, as well as hydrate you. In addition to that, it’s harder to notice dehydration when it’s cold, because there is less sweating and thirst. So, drink a lot of water. Also, to prevent your hot beverages from turning cold rapidly, take with you an insulated thermos and mugs.

I’ve learned these things from my own experience camping during fall and winter and I hope these will be helpful to you as well.

October 28, 2016

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About Us:

28e6bb83836c4241be7967e357e3087f-e1477283085902 Hi, we’re Alex and Nicovanta! We’re a married couple living in Portland, Oregon. We love getting out and exploring, climbing, kayaking, and everything Oregon has to offer! Thanks for checking out our blog!

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