|In our December ‘08 magazine issue we’ve announced the winners of our second triennial Readers Choice Awards. Once the votes from our readers and web browsers were received and tallied, we gathered up the winners—ten kayaks, four paddles, four apparel items, two PFDs and three accessories—and gave them a try. Of course we were familiar with a lot of the items. They’d come in for review at some point in recent years. It was interesting from our perspective to see what the winning gear told us about our readers. They’re a pretty discerning lot. The gear selected wasn’t just average equipment designed to appeal to the broadest segment of the market. In a word or two, it wasn’t the cheap stuff. It was high-performance gear that you’d expect to find in the hands of kayakers who are serious about paddling and who are willing to invest in equipment that performs well and that will hold up to years of hard use. I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can be pretty picky about what gear I paddle with, and when I look over the reader’s choices I’d have to say I couldn’t have made better choices myself.
Take a look at our December ‘08 issue to see what gear works best for our readers. You’ll also find a list of the Readers Choice winners for the best kayak shops, tour operators, schools and outfitters.