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Ultimate Set-Up: Paddleboarding


Expedition-worthy paddle gear.

By Tim Neville | Photo by Dave Cox

Board: Developed in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the Hala Nass 12’6” Racing & Touring Inflatable Board is narrow at 31 inches wide, but stable at six inches thick. This gives the board more flotation and stiffness than a standard four-inch model. Strap down supplies with D-rings on the deck. The board deflates and rolls up into a pack shape for hands-free portages and, unlike fiberglass, rebounds well from run-ins with rocks. A simple patch kit can handle repairs. $1,439; halagear.com 

Paddle: The Kialoa Insanity Carbon Travel paddle keeps the efficiency factor high with an oversized carbon blade that’s 91 inches square and cocked back 10 degrees for crisp, aggressive propulsion. $270; kialoa.com

Dry Bag: Sea to Summit’s 35-liter Big River Tapered Dry Bag keeps the water out of your sandwiches and other critical gear. Abrasion-resistant nylon, double-stitched taped seams, and a Hypalon roll top closure offer extra security. $55; seatosummit.com 

PFD: The MsFit Tour PFD by Kokatat has adjustable, padded shoulders, wide-cut neck and shoulder openings for easy movement, and pockets for holding snacks and gear. $150

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Shelter: Avoid the impossible task of finding flat, dry ground when it comes time to pitch a tent. Instead, hang a Hennessy Hammock between trees. The Explorer Ultralite Asym offers a rain fly, bug net, straps, and bread loaf-sized stuff sack. 2 lb, 2 oz; $260; hennessyhammock.com

Footwear: Standing on a tippy board inches off the water requires superglue-grip soles mated to quick-drying mesh uppers. The Chacos OutCross deliver with a protective rubber toecap and a Vibram outsole with slashes down the center lugs for ultimate wet deck traction. $120

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Shirt: Sun, heat, and biting bugs are the bane of paddlers everywhere. Minimize the damage with the ExOfficio BugsAway Chas’r long-sleeve shirt. Insect repellent fabric keep mosquitos, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and other biters away for up to 70 washes. The cotton-polyester blend dries quickly and offers 30+ UPF sun protection. $50

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Jacket: The First Ascent BC Ultralight Jacket is a windproof/waterproof shell that weighs just 10 measly ounces. Venting chest pockets keep you cool. A flexible spandex blend won’t hinder your movements. $300; eddiebauer.com 

Shorts: Bluesmiths Spartan shorts are made with stretchy, durable Schoeller fabric offering 30-factor sun protection—the same fiber is coated in silver to ward off stink. Should you fall from your board, an attached elastic loop hidden inside a back pocket holds your paddle by the handle so you can use both arms to swim. $175; bluesmiths.com

Helmet: Kayakers brush rocks from a sitting position. Whitewater paddelboarders fall from standing height, accelerating on the way down. Look for a low-profile ski helmet that meets multisport safety standards. POC’s Receptor+ works for skiing, snowboarding, biking, and water sports. $220

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From the Early Summer 2014 issue.

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