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Archive for February, 2017

Reading the River: What to Look Out For

February 23rd, 2017 No comments

Any good boater knows that the river has it’s own natural set of red, yellow and green lights as well as danger and do not pass signs. Knowing what these natural features mean and how to understand them, is what makes a good boater a great one. Keep an eye out for specific natural features, or changes in the flow and direction of the water to stay in the know of what obstacles might lie ahead. The following list is a crash course, or rather smooth line tutorial, on what to look out for when you’re on your favorite river or creek.

What to look out for on the river


Strainers are usually pretty easy to spot, but regardless there are times we find ourselves face to face with a branch or limb that’s not so friendly. These are trees, limbs, vines, branches, strange locals or anything else obstructing your line.  Strainers can also be large items submerged, like a log. Debris like tires or trash that unfortunately end up in our rivers need to be watched for to. Like a spaghetti noodle in a strainer that stays in the bowl when you drain the pasta water, that noodle is you in your kayak against an overhanging tree. Not a good spot to be! It’s better to bail out than to get seriously pinned against a dangerous strainer if it comes down to brass tacks.

Upstream and Downstream V’s

Knowing how to spot upstream and downstream V’s can help you out tremendously while on the river. An upstream V is an indication that there’s an obstruction in the river, and the exact location of the V depends on the depth of the obstruction. If the rock or lurking river monster is deeper, the V will be below the actual obstruction as opposed to right on top of it in shallower water. These you want to avoid, as hitting one sideways could cause your boat to flip. Downstream V’s however, usually indicate a safe channel with obstacles on either side. Look for dark current in these downstream V’s, indicating it’s deep enough to run.

The natural lines of the river


Eddies – the friendliest of all natural river features! Eddies are a good place to hang out and grab a snack from your drybag after you just got through some ridiculous rapids and don’t even know how. These areas are where the river current slows and often reverses, and are typically characterized with a circular flow pattern. The best eddies are on the downstream side of an obstruction, typically a big ass rock. They can also be found behind midstream boulders or inside the bend of the river. These “time out” spots are formed anywhere something gets in the river’s way forcing it to slow down or make a turn. Heads up though, in faster moving water “eddy lines” are created where you’ll encounter reverse flow upon entering, so check your line before entering and exiting. Steady Eddy.

Playing in a hole

Recirculating Holes

These can be the do not enter, one way street, and wrong way sign of natural river features. Holes can also be a fun place for kayakers to freestyle and playboat, and have different indicators of whether they’re naughty or nice. A hole is created by water flowing over an obstacle creating a gap that needs to be refilled. The river refills this gap, by folding back on itself and flowing back upstream, creating a continual recirculating flow of water. This article from Canoe & Kayak Magazine has a good breakdown to determine if a hole you’re looking to paddle will either wreck your day or be an awesome play spot.

Playing on the river

Horizon Lines

Not to be confused with a stunning horizon line pool edge, it does mean the same thing essentially. Big drop ahead. Anytime you’re boating and see a natural horizon line on the water, this would be a good time to catch an eddy (since we know what those are and how to catch them now!) and scout what’s ahead especially if you’re unfamiliar with the river. It’s virtually impossible to see what the situation and rapid is like below a horizon line, or if there’s boaters down below.

Mother nature always wants you to have fun and be safe while on the water, so keep an eye out when she’s showing you the way to go or when she’s saying not to do something or you’ll be sorry. Remember to plan ahead, and when in doubt scout it out!



Top 5 Craziest Whitewater Rapids

February 17th, 2017 No comments

By Browning Hemric

Kayakers and boaters alike are always pressing for bigger, faster, and gnarlier whitewater to conquer. Some will travel the globe in search of a new challenge, and there’s nothing like staring down the mouth of a huge rapid you’ve never had the chance to run before. There are some killer rivers here in the good ol’ US of A – as well as globally – that have been run where stories are told and legends are made. The technical aspect, location, obstacles and size of a rapid determine it’s classification. The other factor involved is the fear factor. Scouting out a new rapid can either make you want to carry your boat around it whistling to yourself and choose life for today, or…buckle down and shred through what could be the one of the best runs of your life. The following list is 5 of the top whitewater rapids that are kings in their class.

Read more…

The Indestructable Watershed Zipper Closure

February 2nd, 2017 No comments

When one looks up the definition of the word “dry” as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, this is what they’ll find: “A) free or relatively free from a liquid and especially water <Mix the dry ingredients first.> <as dry as a bone> B) not being in or under water <happy to be on dry land>. Or A) marked by the absence of alcoholic beverages <a dry party> B)  prohibiting the manufacture or distribution of alcoholic beverages <a dry county>. The latter, however, is not the dry we’re referring to. We’re talking about the kind of dry when you pull a cozy hoodie out of your Drybag at the end of the river and put it on you feel like the Snuggle Bear from those fabric softener commercials. The kind of dry that your river map, cell phone, and matches for the campfire are in perfect shape after 13 miles of shredding the gnar kayaking. The folks here at Watershed got real tired of sub-par products, and wet sandwiches, and created the patented Watershed Zipdry Closure. When you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself they say. Here is why our Zipdry Closure is the bomb…or rather bomb and 18 wheeler proof.

Watershed Drybag staying dry

No Rolling Required

Anyone who has used other drybags featuring the rolling technique can understand the frustration. Simply rolling the bag down multiple times does not ensure a watertight seal. It takes forever, and typically once you’ve rolled and “sealed” the bag you realize your phone is sitting on that rock next to your boat… that you left there… that should be in the bag. Ugh. Also, this feature makes it difficult to get what you need quickly, especially sneaky little items that find their way to the bottom of the bag. It’s a production just to get a granola bar. Our bags work like a freezer bag you’d use at home, with multiple levels that grip and lock shut even when submerged and under pressure. The lengthwise opening feature makes it so you can get in and get out quickly and on with your life.

The Chattooga Duffel in the wild

Quality Construction

Bill Nye the Science Guy, or Mr. Wizard – if he’s more your style – would get stoked about the radio frequency welding process used to create the seams. Electromagnetic energy and pressure are used to molecularly combine materials permanently and form the seal. There are no stitches used in the process. This means there aren’t any weak points for the bag to fail, thereby letting river water inside to reek havoc on all your items and belongings that are much more fun when they’re dry. Combine this unique design and construction process with only quality chemically stable polyurethane coated fabrics, and you’ve got a product second-to-none for performance and durability. Just like the fabrics used to make Watershed Drybags, when you’re out there paddling you can’t crack, fade, or lose your flexibility.

Adventurer Tested, Mom Approved

Our loyal followers do all the product testing we need. Like our Russian friends who put our Watershed Torpedo Shotgun Bag through it’s paces:

PS…though we can’t be sure what the lyrics mean, we can only hope it’s saying something like, “Yes! The Americans have it on this one! This drybag is the most badass in all the lands!”

This drybag's zipper lived through an 18 wheeler accidentAnother adventurer of ours sent in this pic of his Colorado DryBag that in an act of God (or just faulty roof rack assembly) flew out of his kayak on the interstate and went toe-to-toe with an 18 wheeler. Sadly, the body of the bag got destroyed, but you can see the zipper feature remained shut throughout the entire hellacious event. Now that’s a true seal!

We created these bags with us in mind, and you are just like us – wanting a quality product that does what it says it does. We strive to create a top-notch Drybag to keep items dry and ready to go no matter what the circumstances. As always have fun, and stay dry out there!