1. Nova Craft Canoe Co. Fox 14’
This new 14-foot solo canoe in Nova Craft’s dependable TuffStuff weighs in at a respectable 43 pounds. It is also available in fiberglass, Blue Steel, aramid and Aramid Lite which can shed up to seven more pounds. It’s symmetrical low-profile hull design gives it a fair advantage against blustery winds.
A generous 32-inch beam and impressive weight capacity of 550 lbs would allow packing enough gear for a fortnight of solo adventures. Nova Craft created the Fox 14 with soloers who prefer to use kayak paddles in mind, although sitting on the ash and laced traditional seat a canoe paddle works just fine. If you’re heading further than misty mornings off the cottage dock get yourself one of Nova Craft’s removable yokes and be free to wander anywhere.
$1,399-$3,249 | www.novacraft.com
2. Klymit Splash 25
A fully waterproof 25-liter pack that only weighs 21 ounces. Sounds more like I’m describing a drybag doesn’t it? Well, I am—kind of. This is no ordinary drybag. The Spash 25 backpack straps house an integrated hand pump that fills Klymit’s Airframe Suspension adding padding in air chambers for back support. Welded seams and a roll-top design creates durable and airtight waterproofing.
With 25-liters of room the Splash will hold a tent or hammock, dehydrated food for a weekend, all of your clothing, first aid kit, compact tools, headlamp and a pocket stove. There is also the freedom to strap extra gear to the exterior. The only thing we’d note is the handle and the air tube are placed close to one together so that when I’d reach for the bag behind me, I’d almost always pull on the inflation tube releasing it from its fixture.
$99.95 | www.klymit.com
3. Grey Owl Cherry Chieftain Paddle
A Grey Owl classic for deep water paddling that is suitable for solo or tandem paddling. This solid cherry paddle with a football-style grip can be finished in your choice of high-gloss exterior polyurethane or boiled linseed oil, like ours. Available from 52-inches all the way up to 68-inches for the smallest to largest members of your clan. Quickly becoming a favorite of mine, I find myself reaching for this paddle whether I’m headed to the lake to test boats, or on weekend getaways.
$120-$124 | www.greyowlpaddles.com
4. MSR Trail Lite Duo System Cook Set
Don’t let the word Duo fool you. The Trail Lite Duo System Cook Set from MSR is perfect for solo paddlers too. The entire system weighs a mere 613 grams and the pot’s two-liter capacity can heat enough water for both your dehydrated meals and coffee. MSR has included their Trail Lite pot with an innovative ceramic, non-stick coating for ease of cleaning while keeping the ounces down.
The Trail Lite Duo also includes a strainer lid, two insulated mugs and two deep-dish bowls.
Afraid you won’t use the second mug and bowl? Waste not. The spare, easy to hold mug is great to store soap, utensils and lighters. The other held my coffee, tea and enough sugar to get me through three days of paddling.
$85 | www.msrgear.com
5. Katadyn BeFree
Water Filtration System 0.5L
Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System is a filtration system that requires no pump or additional bottle. Just fill it up and wet your whistle. Easily collapsible, this 59 gram half-liter membrane can tide you over for a quick fix, or it can be used to fill your Nalgene bottle. A winner of the 2017 ISPO Gold Awards for outstanding product innovation in the outdoors segment, the BeFree filter has a lifespan of up to 1,000 liters and is easily cleaned by simply shaking water in the flask or swooshing the exposed filter in clear water.
$40 | www.katadyn.com
6. Optimus Crux Lite
Similar to its predecessor, the Crux, Optimus made the Crux Lite 11 grams lighter by re-moving the mechanism that allowed the original Crux burner to fold parallel with the base. With a burn time of 90 minutes at maximum output from a 230-gram canister and a respectable three-minute boil time per liter of water, this stove is worth way more than its weight in rehydrated food. I liked the serrated pot supports and the precision control valve simmered the flame down to prevent burning my steel-cut oats. You can buy the Crux Lite on its own or as the complete 272 gram Optimus’ Terra Solo Cook System.
$40 | www.optimusstoves.com
7. Sea to Summit
Single Ultralight Hammock
At eight-and-a-half feet long and four-feet wide, I couldn’t complain about room for my five-foot three-inch frame inside the Sea to Summit Single Ultralight Hammock. Another thing I couldn’t possibly be upset about is the fact the hammock weighs only 5.4 ounces, less than its six-ounce suspension straps.
With the tree protectors, the entire kit weighs only 16.2 ounces. This sucker can hold 300 pounds and its webbing loop is triple bar-tacked ensuring long-term durability for more swing time. The built-in compression sack will hold the suspension straps, sold separately. Tree protectors, tarp and bug netting is included at less than the price and weight of a single person tent.
$135 | www.seatosummit.com