Presenting the best gear for getting wet in the Rockies
The Predator’s shell features high-impact Ralvek thermoplastic for stiffness and safety, while a closed-cell waterproof foam liner dissipates impacts. The lid’s rear adjustor dials in fit, as does a pad kit for customizing.
Liquidlogic Speedloader Throwbag
A throw rope is the best way to pull a swimmer to safety. But you only get one shot before you have to spend valuable time re-stuffing the rope. Liquidlogic’s solution, the Speedloader, is a three-sided throw bag whose tripod effect makes re-filling the rope easy.
Kokatat’s Ronin Pro
This PFD’s trimmed-down profile and internal harness provide a comfortable, secure fit, while shoulder, spine and side protection offer cushioning no matter how bad the thrashing. Plus, it comes with a quick release chest harness for towing your comrades— and/or their gear—back to safety. Best yet: it’s made from GAIA PVC-free foam, meaning it’s as green as the waterways you’re swimming.
$215 ($158 without rescue vest); kokatat.com
While traditional cape-style dog vests ride atop the back, pulling the hind quarters up, the underDOG’s chest buoyancy sinks the hind quarters into a more effective swim motion and allow Fido’s head to ride higher.
Clockwise from top left
Dagger Axis (10.5 or 12.0)
Schizo on whether you want to tour or run whitewater? Satisfy both paddling personalities at once with this cross-over kayak suitable for flatwater and eaasy rapids. An open cockpit and stable hull appeal to beginners, while intermediates will enjoy its maneuverability and speed.
C4 Waterman iSUP Sub Vector 9-3
This inflatable stand-up paddleboard, brings a taste of California to Colorado. Complete with pump and travel bag, the 9’3”, 21-pound board comes with progressive rocker, making it perfect for river surfing. Vinyl thruster fins keep you on track and a deck pad prevents slipping.
Jackson Kayaks All-Star
The All-Star fires on all cylinders. The boat’s 5’10” length helps it maneuver and spin, while improvements to the hull aid speed and control. For more advanced paddlers, the wedge-shaped deck means bigger aerial loops. It also offers better outfitting, including new hip pads and a narrower knee position.
AIRE Tributary Sawtooth II
This 51-pound, two-person craft is perfect for day trips or overnighters. You’ll make speed and avoid the squiggles thanks to a removable skeg, and a load capacity of 460 pounds means there’s room for the dog, rib-eyes and fireside libations. Best yet, when you’re back at the car simply roll it up for easy, out-of-the-way storage back home.
ADRIFT: A river trip is one of the best wilderness experiences around (especially for families)—but a raft is a daunting investment. So rent one at Alpenglow in Golden (303-277-0133; alpenglowcolorado.com). They also rent easy-to-enjoy sit-on-tops and duckies.