Howdy, y’all. Well, it’s about that time of year when you all need to start thinking about what gifts to get for a paddler in your life for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Winter Solstice. I know what you’re thinking, what you should probably be doing is buying them clothes that don’t have holes in them or maybe getting them a gift card to City Market so they will eat more than just Ramen and PBR next summer. Lets be real though, the number one expense of a true dirtbag paddler is gear. The car may not work 100%, but that raft, kayak, or SUP is ready to charge at a moment’s notice.

Obviously not all of us can afford to buy our loved ones the boat of their dreams, but there are plenty of great small gift ideas out there. Things that say, “Honey, I am trying to support your life choices.” Or, “Son, I don’t know why I paid for your college so you could live in a van, but you may as well be well equipped.” Or, “My loving wife, I thought I’d be buying you skirts made of cotton, not a neoprene Kevlar blend, but here you go.”

So for those of you who may not understand paddling, and want to get that special someone a gift, here is CKS’s Top Ten Gifts For A Paddler under $100 bucks:

NRS Cam Straps: Seriously, if you have never been to the Arkansas Valley, you may not understand the endless uses of these little wonders from NRS. They can be used to haul gear on a roof rack, rig a raft nice and tight for expeditions, as a clothesline in camp, as a sturdy and reliable leash for that dog that they undoubtedly own, or even just as a fashionable belt for holding up those Carhartts. $4.00 – $7.75

FCS Poncho: You know what is a great gift? Not getting cited for indecent exposure at the put in or take out. This may have never happened to anyone I know, but lets be honest, sometimes the whole using-your-car-doors-as-a-changing-room gets old. So get your loved one a poncho. It is simple; just throw it on over your suit and change next to your car without giving the parking lot a show. Made of soft terry cloth, it’s a comfy and practical gift. $58.95

Whitewater of The Southern Rockies: This is a quintessential example of something every paddler wants, but doesn’t want to pay for. (If you want proof, our shop copy looks like someone took it to Vietnam.) Affectionately referred to by some as “The Bible,” it is a full color guidebook to whitewater in the Four Corners and Wyoming. This is the one and done book for a paddler living in the high rockies. Best of all it’s a book, so you are giving the power of knowledge. $49.95

The Astral Rassler Wet Shoe:River people like things simple and multi-useable. That is pretty much the definition of the Astral Rassler. Here in the Arkansas Valley, you can spot these on raft guides in Browns Canyon, kayakers in Pine Creek, SUP surfers on the Staircase Wave, or on The Midland Hiking Trails, bikes around town, and the bars on E. Main. They are made with a synthetic upper to dry quickly and have a stealth rubber sole to grip anything. They look good, too, and come in a sweet black and green color scheme. $119.95

NRS Purest Duffel: You would not believe the amount of times in a summer someone comes in the shop to ask us if a piece of gear has been turned in because it flew out of the back of their truck. I give you a simple solution: a solid gear bag. Made to fit all their essentials, aside from a paddle, the top half is mesh to allow its contents to breathe. It’s a great way to make sure all of their gear makes it from home to the river and back again. $49.95

Sink the Stink: Have you ever smelled a river bootie? Well you don’t want to. EVER! Oddly enough, something that completely surrounds the human foot, gets wet often in a river, and then sits in the back of a vehicle tends to take on its own unique odor. Sink The Stink is made to deodorize river gear and all you need is a bucket and some water. Do everyone a favor with this one. $10.95

Pelican Micro Cases: A simple gift for anyone who spends a lot of time on the water. Great for stashing electronics, keys, first aid, and herbal supplements. Really, anything you need to keep dry. They come in a variety of dimensions. $17.95 – $33.50

NRS Rescue Bag: Even if the paddler in your life already has one, these are still a great gift (especially if Clinton was still in office when they got their current one). UV degradation and time still mean you have to retire the best of throw bags. After all, this is safety equipment. This is a solid bag, good for any discipline and will make a great contribution to any paddler’s gear stash. If all else fails, they make a great clothesline. $54.95

CKS Branded Apparel: We have an ample amount of items that tell their friends, “I am a person of discerning tastes”. Perfect for every occasion, we have CKS T’s, hoodies, and hats which are great to wear to christmas parties, surf sessions, weddings, and Phish concerts. Your loved one will be the best dressed at any put in. $15.00 to $35.00

CKS Gift Card: The easiest gift to get any paddler. Allow them to pick their favorite piece of gear or put some money toward a new boat or board. Nobody says no to a CKS gift card. Heck, we work here and still want one! $10.00 – $∞

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