Review: The Dream Kayak Setup

From the leader in ergonomically advanced paddles, the Adventure Technologies AT4 River offers a natural wrist position, improved control, and larger blades on this new piece to maximize stroke and reduce flutter each time you pull it through the water. The AT4 is the best in its class when considering strength, weight, and performance, and definitely performs well in small creeks and pushy water where every stroke counts. At a price that will be hard to match, the AT4 is a no-brainer. $179; Available at Northern Lights Trading Company.

When comfort and safety on the river are paramount, the WRSI Paddling Helmet is a solid industry favorite for whitewater enthusiasts. It uses a patented retention system to keep your head comfortable and safe, and is a must-have for anyone playing in whitewater. The multiple-impact design is built from a durable outer shell, and features an energy-displacing inner shell plus energy-absorbing foam between each layer and your head. Available at Northern Lights Trading Company. $85;

For the boater who likes to run rivers and play at every spot along the way, the Wavesport Fuse delivers the best of both worlds. This kayak features the forgiving feel of a standard river runner while still allowing a loose, playful hull like that of a freestyle boat. With a volume distribution that lends itself to a comfortable and controllable boat on rivers and waves alike, this no-nonsense design gives the average kayaker the gift of needing just one boat in the quiver. Available at Northern Lights Trading Company. $995;

One of the most durable whitewater skirts available, the Snapdragon EXP Armortex series skirt is the top whitewater skirt from a company that takes pride in producing only the best. For paddlers who place high demands on their equipment, this skirt is made with 4mm Armortex neoprene, rim guard reinforcement, heavy-duty shock cord, and optional implosion bar. Out on the water, the EXP Armortex skirt is all you need. Available at Northern Lights Trading Company. $199;

Designed for creek boaters, guides, and river professionals using low-riding freedom of movement, the Extrasport Pro Creeker is the obvious choice for whitewater folks who need it all in their PFDs. In addition to all the amenities, this vest is downright cozy, fits a multitude of body types with minimal adjustment, and is a U.S. Coast Guard–approved rescuer's belt. If you are a person who spares nothing when it comes to river safety, the Pro Creeker is all you need. Available at Bob Ward’s. $199;

The Immersion Research Comp LX dry top features ergonomic cut and seaming for a comfortable, mobile fit while paddling. Using taped rather than sewn seams, IR can put fewer holes in the fabric, resulting in a dryer top. This four-season top has latex wrist and neck gaskets, durable wrist closures, and an adjustable waistband. There’s even a zippered semi-dry pocket on the front chest. Every detail was considered when making the Comp LX, and with that, IR has created the ideal top to keep you dry and happy while out on the river. Don’t get wet without one. Available at Northern Lights Trading Company. $315;