Ocean Paddler Gift Guide
14 Gift Ideas for an Ocean Paddler
If you’re looking for a gift for somebody who likes to paddle on the coast of Maine we’ve got some ideas. This list features as many Maine-made products as possible, and we tried to include a lot of local businesses where you can find these items. Good luck with the gift search!
NAUTICAL CHART OF CASCO BAY (OR ANOTHER BAY)
When it’s too wintery to get on the water it’s a perfect time to pore over a nautical chart and plan next season’s paddling adventures. Every ocean paddler needs a nautical chart for the area they paddle, both for navigation purposes and because they contain tons of useful and interesting information.
We prefer the waterproof version from Maptech, which we sell at our shop during the summer and which can be found for $25 at Hamilton Marine year-round.
Another great option is to give a framed nautical chart like this one that can be hung on the wall instead of strapped to a kayak.
DRY BAG FROM RUGGED SEAS OR NRS
Even if the paddler in your life already has a dry bag, they probably need another. Stuff always gets wet when paddling, and it’s nice to have a variety of dry bags of different sizes for different purposes.
For a local twist on the dry bag you might consider the series of zippered dry bags from Rugged Seas, a Maine-based company that makes their products from recycled lobstering bibs.
We find that many dry bags that are marketed as tough are no match for the barnacle-covered rocks of the Maine coast over the long-term. One exception is the NRS Tuff Sacks that we use at Portland Paddle. We put the Tuff Sacks through many years of heavy use and almost never have issues with leaks.
MEMBERSHIP TO THE MAINE ISLAND TRAIL ASSOCIATION (WITH TRAIL GUIDEBOOK INCLUDED)
The guidebook to the Maine Island Trail is an essential tool for any paddler planning to island-hop on the Maine coast, whether they are undergoing a major expedition or heading out for day trips. The annually-updated guidebook comes free with the $45 membership, so you’ll have something exciting beyond a membership card to present as the gift. By giving a MITA membership you are also supporting an organization that plays a critical role in preserving the island access that makes the Maine coast so terrific for paddling. Click here to purchase a gift MITA membership.
THREE-DAY GUIDED EXPEDITION ON THE MAINE ISLAND TRAIL
Portland Paddle’s guided multi-day trips offer an introduction to kayak camping on the Maine Island Trail for small groups of paddlers with some sea kayaking experience. Our guides take care of all the logistics, provide tasty meals and offer the experience and expertise that’s needed for everyone to have a terrific island-hopping experience. We offer three-day trips on both Casco Bay and Muscongus Bay.
MORE DEEP TROUBLE: SEA KAYAKER’S TRUE STORIES AND THEIR LESSONS
This book offers some sobering lessons for sea kayakers through real-life stories of sea kayaking trips gone wrong. It’s a sequel to the equally worthwhile Deep Trouble. The stories are gripping, informative and potentially life-saving. Any paddler who reads these books is sure to be a bit more cautious at certain moments going forward.
Order More Deep Trouble at any local bookstore, or through Bookshop online.
MERINO WOOL BASELAYER FROM ICEBREAKER
Available at Nomad’s in Portland
warm while constantly being exposed to frigid Maine waters paddlers requires wearing the right materials. Merino wool does an incredible job at retaining warmth when wet, and it has the added bonus of NOT retaining the funky stink that often emanates from damp paddlers. Icebreaker makes some of the most rugged and comfortable merino wool baselayers, and they are available in Portland at Nomad’s Adventure and Active Wear.
HANDHELD VHF MARINE RADIO (AVAILABLE AT HAMILTON MARINE)
Available at Hamilton Marine.
A VHF radio is the most reliable and useful means of communication for paddlers on the water. Most experienced sea kayakers always carry one on their body, so they can immediately call for help if they find themselves in imminent danger. These radios also provide a way to communicate with other boaters, which is especially important in low-visibility conditions.
We suggest a radio that’s both waterproof and floating, and we especially like the Standard Horizon HX300 because it has a USB charging mechanism that’s much easier to use than the charging cradles that many models use. That model is available at Hamilton Marine.
SEAWEED CHRONICLES BY SUSAN SHETTERLY
Available at Longfellow Books and Print Bookstore in Portland.
This book by Maine author Susan Hand Shetterly will give paddlers a deep look at the plant species that lines they shores of the Gulf of Maine and the industry that has boomed in recent years around its harvest. “While examining the life cycle of seaweed and its place in the environment, she tells the stories of the men and women who farm and harvest it—and who are fighting to protect this critical species against forces both natural and man-made.”
GREENLAND PADDLE FROM NANUQ KAYAKS
The paddler you have in mind may already has a paddle, but do they have a Greenland paddle? This is a style of paddle used by the Inuit peoples for thousands of years before the now-default “Euro” paddles were designed. They have become increasingly common in recent years, and many ocean paddlers like to be able to switch between a Euro paddle and a Greenland paddle.
Nanuq Kayaks in Portland carries a variety of Greenland Paddles, including meticulously-crafted wooden paddles built by master paddlemaker Joe O’Blenis and Carbon Kevlar paddles made by Gearlab.
PRIVATE LESSON WITH A PORTLAND PADDLE INSTRUCTOR
If you give somebody this gift you should be aware that you might be giving them a new obsession. We’ve seen countless students in our lessons get hooked on paddling after spending a few hours learning from an expert instructor.
When somebody receives gift voucher for a lesson they can reach out to us anytime to let us know some times when they are available. Then we set them up with an instructor who fits with their goals and interests. All necessary gear is included in the cost. To purchase a gift voucher for a lesson visit this page of our website.
MAINE COAST MAP T-SHIRT OR HOODIE
LIFE BETWEEN THE TIDES
Available at Heritage Seaweed.
Any paddler can learn a lot about the plants and animals they encounter in the intertidal zone from this handy little field guide by leading marine scientists. Find it at Heritage Seaweed, a Portland shop that also has many other ocean-themed products that paddlers could find handy.