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Top Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals for Paddlers 2021

For a lot of reasons, this has been a confusing fall. You certainly don’t need us to go into why, but we can all agree that getting out on the water can make most things better. Many of us are already in or heading into a season where we have to stop doing and start dreaming, but sometimes the preparation and dreaming are just as good as that one, still moment in time when you first leave contact with the shore.

And, let’s face it, most paddlers are also gear heads. We have our favorite paddle, sure, but we also have things to fix or replace or improve, or things we want to share with others. Everyone who goes out on the water appreciates a thoughtful gift from someone who understands their passion. Most of us can’t resist a good deal for ourselves, either.

So for Black Friday this year, we’ve spent more time than ever before finding things that aren’t just good deals, but are worth having. Items that contribute to making your voyage safer, smoother, less painful or just more fun. You won’t be surprised to hear that there are still shortages in some categories—we consider any discount at all on a good product in those a win. After looking through thousands of paddling products from 11 different Black Friday sales, here are our picks.

Boats and Boards

A whole new boat might not be your first thought for a holiday gift, but a quality, affordable entry-level canoe or kayak is a wonderful thing to give to a beginner or better, a kid who’s shown interest. If it’s within your means, though, there’s no nicer thing for someone you really care about.

Paddles

If you’ve shopped for them in the last year or two, you may have found that paddle availability was affected by materials shortages. That seems to be easing up, but they’re still backordered in some places, so if you need one you might want to grab it when you can.

Clothing and Shoes

We’ve gone toward the functional end of the spectrum this year, sometimes very functional. Blame one cold, cold afternoon we once spent in the Winooski River poking ice floes away. Dry, and warm is safe. And happy. And did we mention warm?

    PFDs and Safety Equipment

    We’ve said it before: Almost all of us who aren’t professional guides neglect their PFDs. We’ve been as guilty as anyone. Oh, it’s just a warm, shallow-water stream, we can stand up if something goes wrong. Because no one ever hit their head on anything, or ever didn’t drink enough on a hot day, or got tangled in a line. If you’re too cheap/overconfident/boneheaded not to do it for yourself, do it for someone you love. Or at least the poor deputy sheriff who has to fish you out from under a dock.

    Accessories

    Let’s be philosophical for a moment, because there’s an interesting tension between manufacturers and paddlers that plays out here. They are trying to make equipment that appeals to a whole bunch of people, but our needs and preferences are often so individual that finding the right fit is hard. Look for the intersections, the transience where the one meets the other.

    Electronics and GPS

    Choose your electronics carefully. They’re heavy, and can be fragile and for some of us, detract from the experience. At the same time, they can make your life safer and easier, and the best stuff is there for you when you need it. Of course, if you’re out in the Keys after bonefish in on a 12-foot sit-on-top, I heartily encourage you to install a complete weather station and Simrad radome.

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