Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Toys For My Canoe Trips

Today's society is rife with technology. You can either dismiss
it, or take advantage of it. Occasionally I do the latter
- like GoPro's Hero Video Camera.

I love canoeing, that is pretty obvious. But I also love some of the opportunities that come with being "the crazy canoe guy" - as a work colleague aptly puts it. Sometimes I look for opportunities or things that can benefit me on canoe trips, and other times, fortuitous opportunities or things come my way because of what I do. Either way, it is both enjoyable and rewarding to discover new things, and in return share these things or experiences with my readers.

Much like the Eureka Singlis/Dualis air mattress that I'm trying out this year, I will also be using/testing some other products, one of them being a reflector oven. I'm not much of a baker both in the bush or at home, but I have made bannock bread on previous canoe trips and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Which self-respecting canoeist hasn't? Anyhow, one of my paddling partners this year, Anita, was a baker by trade years ago and of course a light bulb went off in my head. Now of course, glowing coals in a fire pit doesn't exactly equate to a commercial convection oven, but I put the challenge to her. I have to admit, there isn't much equal to freshly baked bread on a trip, so I hope to exploit...(Oops, did I say that?!!)..I MEANT 'utilitze' her skills to see what interesting things we can bake and come up with.

Light and compact (when folded), this reflector oven shouldn't be
much of a burden on trips. Especially considering
the great pay offs it is capable of!

I've owned an Outback Oven for many years and have had some good results, but I've heard even better things from using reflector ovens. A couple years back at the MEC Paddlefest, I was introduced to Rob Stevens, who was showcasing several beautifully handcrafted products, including a cedar canvas canoe. But what I recall was a reflector oven he had that was imported from Sweden. After a quick search (Got to love the Internet!) I found the oven and contacted the owner about whether he was interested in showcasing his product. Surprisingly, I was then contacted by Rob, as he is responsible for distributing the ovens in Canada, and soon found the reflector oven waiting for me at home!

Now that I have it, its time to put it to good use. Anita has got a chance to 'play' with the oven, has already purchased a lightweight baking pan and is presently mixing/testing some secret ingredients together for its first official test. (I have been sworn to secrecy from revealing the ingredients as my life may be in danger - just joking!) Well, during the course of this year, follow along and let's see what interesting things we bake up. I will selflessly volunteer my stomach and subject my body to all those extra calories to let you know how the baked goods taste and share with you our experiences. Guaranteed to have lots of pictures and hopefully some videos to share as well.

I know its a teaser, but that's all I can give for now. You'll have
to wait until I'm given the green light before
I spill the beans!

Secondly, I have gotten an unique opportunity to try/test a prototype paddle that is not on the market yet. Even though I already have a partnership with Bending Branches, in a round about way, Russ Schroeder, who is in charge of advertising at Rapid Media recommended me to the Marketing Director of Bending Branches when he was looking for some avid paddlers to test this new paddle out. So after a few emails, I was sent this pre-production model to field test and provide feedback. I can't give much more details, but this is one sweet paddle. When all is said and done, and this paddle makes its grand entrance into the paddling world, I will for certain provide information and pictures. I'm also looking forward to getting one myself!

Lastly, some of you may recall my blog last fall when I went on a solo trip in Algonquin and missed a great opportunity to get photos of moose. As my camera was dropped off at the end of the portage, I was obviously left without anything to capture the ungulate experience. I vowed not to get myself into that situation again. I am not a big fan of point and shoot cameras, but they do offer some advantages I can't get from my dSLR. The main reason being that they are compact and can be kept with me at all times without getting in the way. So, I finally went out and purchased a couple of them. The first one is a Canon Elph 300 HS, a small 12 mega pixel camera that can also record 1080p high definition video. The second one is the Pentax W90, which like the first is 12 mega pixels, records 720p high def video, and most importantly is waterproof.

One of two compact point & shoot cameras that I will have with
me at all times. No more excuses for missed photos!

Many times I have missed opportunities to take photos in conditions that would guarantee the demise of any dSLR, but not any more. Since I have covered all the grounds now, there really shouldn't be any more excuses to miss those "once in a lifetime" photos (and video). Lastly, to round out these expensive purchases, I also got a GoPro Hero Camera to record video. These are compact waterproof hi-def video recorders that can be placed in the most unusual places to record amazing/unique footages. So with all this extra gear, my trip weight will surely increase, (sigh) but hopefully I will have more to share with all of you!

Ok, so enough babbling. Time to get out paddling and put my
money where my mouth is!


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