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Tag Archives: Kayak

Staff Gear Favorites: Part 3

Your favorite piece of gear can be like a good friend. You might only see it a few times each year, but it can feel like no time has passed. RRT’s staff has many gear favorites; here are some pieces in particular that have won our affection year after year.

Liquidlogic's Braaap is a staff gear favorite, perfect for running whitewater.

Courtesy of Bart Steen

Sam – Liquidlogic – Braaap

Since the summer of 2016, the Liquidlogic Braaap has been my go-to boat of choice for all things whitewater. Whether you are learning to roll or running your favorite Class V, the Braaap is the right choice. I have run the hardest rapids on my resume and made my happiest memories on the river while paddling this boat. The whitewater boat design and innovation has dramatically changed since the Braaap first came out, however I still find myself wanting another.

The outfitting Liquidlogic uses inside the boat makes for a comfortable ride sunup to sundown and provides comfort walking to and from the river with a boat resting on your shoulder. The design of the Braaap feels sporty, fast, and nimble but provides the volume to manage steep creeks. My favorite rivers for the Braaap are ones with high volumes of water; notably, the Kern River when snow is melting or the Gauley River when the dam is releasing. While living in Asheville, NC I found myself buying boats from Liquidlogic, as they’re designed by paddlers that ran the same rivers as me. If you see me at RRT, please ask about the Braaap and its more playful counterpart, the Party Braaap. 

*Although not a stock item, RRT is happy to order the Braaap or other whitewater kayaks for you given advance notice. Contact a staff member for details.

Karoline's gear favorite is Rab's Electron Pro down jacket.


Karoline – Rab – Electron Pro

A love letter to my Electron:

Dear Electron, Thank you for keeping me warm. Through cold bonfires, brisk hikes, and cold days at the crag, you are always there for me. You are truly a cozy little cocoon of happiness. XOXO


Karoline's favorite gear is Rab's ultra-packable Electron Pro down jacket.

Rab’s Electron Pro down jacket packs down to the size of a small house cat.

Perry – Rab – Microlight Alpine

On the streets or on the trail, the Rab Microlight Alpine is the first piece out of my closet. Its 700-fill down keeps me toasty when needed, and compacts down small when not. With a wind-resistant and ripstop outer material, this is the only layer I need until the rain starts.


Joe C – Rab – Ascendor Light Pants

What if I told you there are men’s pants that feel like yoga pants but look like normal hiking pants? Well, there are: the Ascendor Light pants by Rab. They are so lightweight, it hardly feels like you’re wearing any pants at all! They also come in some fantastic colors. I love using these pants for hiking or climbing because they are lightweight and breathable. It is so easy to move in them you can land the heel hook that makes no sense at all but definitely looks badass. These pants are worth the money and you definitely won’t regret buying them.

Joe's favorite gear are his Ascendor Light pants from Rab.

Rab’s Ascendor Light pants offer the breathability, flexibility, and comfort needed for the gnarliest heel hooks.

All Around Pick – Nemo- Tensor

Incredibly, our staff each selected a different item for their favorite piece of gear. Their favorites covered everything from boats to a poop shovel, but surprisingly enough, a sleeping pad wasn’t listed. That isn’t because we don’t enjoy comfort or because we don’t love what we use. It might just be because we can pretty much all agree on one favorite: Nemo’s Tensor. Fully inflatable, lightweight, and above-average comfortable, the Tensor has been an all-around staff favorite for years.

Perfect for backpacking trips with its small pack size and minimal weight, it’s also been a favorite on packrafting and canoeing excursions. It’s held up to the rigors of the Pacific Crest Trail and was the pad of choice for a staff trip to Alaska. Whether you choose a long or wide version for extra comfort or the insulated pad for frigid nights, the Tensor series will surely meet your demands just as it’s pleased our staff.



These gear favorites have pleased our staff for years of adventures. Odds are, they’ll soon become your favorite too.

Six Steps to Buying your First Kayak

Finding the kayak of your dreams is intimidating and challenging. Before taking the leap and making that huge investment, you should be sure you’re getting exactly what you want. These six steps to buying your first kayak will make your decision easier.

Step one:

Define your ideal experience. This is often the first question we’ll ask on the sales floor and will consequently eliminate the majority of boats. Imagine your perfect day on the water. Do you have a fishing pole, a whitewater helmet, a canine companion, or a cooler of snacks? Your answer is the start to making it happen. When you know what your goals are, we can show you the kayaks best suited for that purpose and explore what sets them apart. Buying your first kayak should make that ideal experience a reality every time you hit the water. Visit our website to browse available options.

Step two:

Learn the ins and outs of kayak design and features. Each boat is built with a specific paddler or body of water in mind. Looking at the length, width, hull style, cockpit style, weight, and rocker of a kayak tell us its ideal use. Wider boats offer stability, longer boats better tracking, shorter boats maneuverability, and higher rocker profiles perform better in rough water. Talking to experienced paddlers can help you understand the differences between each and pinpoint your favorite few styles. At this point you’ve defined the shape, functionality, and features of kayak models, and it’s time to take the next step.

Step three:

Before buying your first kayak, try out different models on the water. Maybe you have your choice narrowed down, but an online review from somebody with the screen name “” doesn’t have you convinced. Now it is time to compare models side by side. Get the peace of mind you need by trying those models with someone there to teach you the differences. Testing different boats allows you to be confident in your decision and put experience behind the statistics. Specialty retailers like RRT can give you this opportunity either by appointment or at public events.

Step four:

Make the commitment.  At this point, your research has paid off and there is nothing to hold you back from an endless summer of fun! Get the kayak that you love the most and bring that dream day on the water to life. The more you enjoy it, the more you’ll use it, and the more you use it, the better life will be.

Step five:

Get paired up with the right accessories. Car racks, paddles, and life jackets are best purchased with or after the kayak purchase. You’ll need to be paired up with a paddle of appropriate length, decided by your boat’s width and your height. When selecting a paddle, remember that the longer you anticipate being on the water, the more important lightweight, carbon paddles are. Life jackets differ depending on your paddling angle, seat structure, and intended use. Lastly, select your rooftop kayak carrier based off the best loading method for you, your car, and your kayak of choice.

Step six:

Most importantly, be safe. Understand water levels, wear a properly fitting PFD, and understand any equipment requirements before you go out. Be familiar with your route, launch and take-out points, and underwater hazards. Having someone knowledgeable show you the ropes will take a whole lot of stress off your plate. For example, have someone show you the proper way to tie your kayak down before driving away or how to roll your kayak if things go awry. Visit our Little Miami River safety blog or check out the Coast Guard safety checklist.  For more resources local to Cincinnati check our our resource page here.


by: Bryan Wolf

The Ohio River Way Paddlefest

Let’s Paddle
The Largest Paddling Event in the Midwest
Written by: Bryan Wolf

This weekend it is happening again, a tradition like no other, Paddlefest. OK, so I totally stole that slogan, but for almost everyone that walks down the boat ramp Saturday morning they feel it is exactly that. Paddlefest has a huge sense of tradition behind it. The entire event continues to grow with 2,200 paddlers simultaneously on the river in 2012. Paddlefest hasn’t just captured the local paddling community though. It also includes two days of events and celebrations before a boat even hits water.

I think this is one of the most understated and most missed opportunities in the tri-state. The week kicks off with an amazing opportunity for tri-state kids. The Kids Adventure Expo is a free to the public event at Coney Island the Thursday before Paddlefest. This year’s expo sets up 4 villages: “Let’s Move”, “Let’s Explore”, “Let’s Splash”, and “Let’s be Green”. Events like this change not only our community outlook but also our world’s future.

Friday night takes a 180 degree turn and turns up the speakers. A free concert featuring acts like “Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band” and “Jake Speed and the Freddies” promises to please. Both food and beverage are available featuring delicious local brews from Mt. Carmel Brewing Co. The event draws several local specialty shops with goods available and there is a Gear Swap for cheap finds on used gear. RRT sets up a booth and donates the grand prize for the raffle, a brand new Liquid Logic kayak! Hamilton County Parks brings in a climbing wall and Camp Joy utilizes a climbing tree.

The mist is barely lifted off of the Ohio when the first boat hits Saturday morning. People have traveled from afar, many from several states over for the event. Once everyone hits the water, it is an 8 mile float from Coney Island to Sawyer Point. You might be thinking, “Why is there so much passion for a slow Ohio River paddle?” Well, I’ve got to be honest; the Ohio does not have a single rapid, there is not a single cove or stream on this section to float down, the water as we all know is anything but pristine and I have yet to see any whale or puffin splashing around. All that aside, I have a blast each and every year!

PaddlefestI get the same sensation during Paddlefest as I do from a big race. You are surrounded by people with a common cause and purpose. You also are physically exerting yourself, perhaps not to the limit but to the point of bonding. You are all equal and together, you are no longer strangers, but partners in a grand event that may near 2,500 strong this year. Looking far in both directions and all you can see are colorful kayaks sprawled across the Ohio River. We are after all in the paddle capital of the U.S.A.

Go out to the Ohio River this weekend, tip your head back and let the sun warm your face, relax, and appreciate the life force that a river provides. Thank you to the Ohio River Paddlefest and the Green Umbrella for all you do to share our resources for opportunity in exploring and protecting what we have.

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