Category Archives: Trip Planning

GEAR REVIEW: Paleo Meals To Go

paleo-meals-to-go-banner-logo-vermont-sup

Paleo Meals To Go was born out of love and passion for health and exercise, the spirit of the great outdoors, and advocacy for a holistic, wholesome Paleo lifestyle. We provide the best in class, freeze-dried Paleo meals to those on a path less traveled. Wherever our customers go, Paleo Meals To Go gets them there. With unexplored territories on the horizon, backpacking food that gets back to your roots and to your adventure is our prerogative. We balance experience with passion, providing the ultimate combination of nutrition, taste, and convenience to enhance the journey ahead. ~ https://paleomealstogo.com

Paleo Meals has several options including breakfast, snacks and dinner. They are super easy to make, just pour some hot water in the packets, close it up and wait. Once your meal has rehydrated itself, dig in because these meals are tasty and healthy!

We tried the dinner meals first and were pleasantly surprised by the flavor and quantity. One packet filled us up and tasted great! We’ll definitely be taking these on our next paddle trip to use once our frozen meats are used up. This is the next best thing after a fresh cooked meal!

We are excited to try to the other options Paleo Meals has to offer.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Paleo Meals for free from Paleo Meals To Go as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

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GEAR REVIEW: Electro-Bites Fuel100

Electro-Bites Fuel 100

As any athlete knows, its important to have the energy while your enjoying your outdoor adventures. Throughout my many multi-day paddle adventures all over the East Coast, food and sustaining your energy is the biggest thing to think about. If your on a self-support trip you need to think about not only what food give you the best energy and calories but also how to pack it light and small. Electro-Bites gives you just that, quick and easy energy while keeping it in a small and compact package. It stuffs easily in any dry bag or life jacket pocket for that fast snack when yo start to feel sluggish and tired.

Electro-Bites are designed specifically for endurance athletes to help extend training and improve race performance. Designed as an alternative to the sweet and sticky products currently on the market each 100 calorie pack contains bite sized snacks that are slightly salty in taste.  Electro-Bites contain only the best all-natural ingredients including coconut oil and agave syrup.

In addition to calorie replacement each serving contains 190mg Sodium, 55mg Potassium and 46mg Magnesium.  Using Electro-Bites may reduce or eliminate the need for electrolyte replacement and other nutritional supplements the body needs to perform at the highest level.

Electro-Bites were designed to dissolve easily in a dry mouth and absorb quickly into your system. There is nothing like this on the market.  -electro-bites.com

electro bites Fuel 100 Variety pack vermont sup

The variety pack offers you a great way to try several different flavors in the Fuel100 line up. “We are excited to offer a variety box of Electro-Bites. It’s a great way to sample flavors to see which ones you like best. Each box will contain at least three different flavors.” -electro-bites.com

Simply Salty:

Simply salty is our base flavor on which all the others are built. We’ve always loved this flavor and during trials and testing we found that so did everyone else. It is great to use early on or when you are ready for a more simple flavor. It combines the salty signature of Electro-Bites while letting the lightly sweet agave and coconut come through.

Pumpkin Spice:

Pumpkin Spice started as a seasonal product but due to popular demand, it is here to stay! We have also reformulated the recipe to make it even better.  We have added real pumpkin pie spices – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice to the formula creating a tasty treat that delivers calories, electrolytes and naturopathic benefits.  These Electro-Bites are dusted with ultra fine sea salt for a delightful combination of salt and sweet.

Salty Vinegar:

Salty Vinegar was born from our desire to take a big step away from a sweet flavor profile. Sea salt and vinegar potato chips are one of our favorite cheat foods, but certainly not a great option during racing and training. We developed the next best thing. Our signature formula is lightly dusted with sea salt and powdered distilled white vinegar.

Salty Vanilla:

Reminiscent of a cookie, Salty Vanilla is our most popular flavor.  A dusting of Madagascar vanilla powder, fine sea salt, and a little sugar we’ve created what might be the perfect comfort fuel for a long effort. This is a simply delightful flavor.

Apple Cinnamon:

We took our signature formula and flavored it with natural apple and cinnamon spices. The apple takes the spotlight in these Electro-Bites, with just a hint of cinnamon to enhance the flavor experience. These Electro-Bites are dusted with ultra fine sea salt prior to baking for a delightful combination of salt and sweet.

 

I tried each flavor and I feel the Apple Cinnamon is the best. The Electro-Bites almost dissolve in your mouth and really do have a pleasant salty taste. I’m not a hug fan of the Cliff bars and these will be a great substitution to the typical granola bars on my next trip.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for free from Electro-Bites.com as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

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Updates: First-Ever Solo Transatlantic SUP Expedition

Updates on the First-Ever Solo Transatlantic SUP Expedition Attempt Planned to Launch January 2016. 38-year-old French firefighter planning first-ever solo SUP expedition across Atlantic, Africa to Caribbean


Meet Nicolas Jarossay—38-year-old French paddler, firefighter and soon to be the first person to attempt an unsupported crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, via SUP.

In January 2016, Jarossay plans to paddle 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers) from the northwest coast of Africa to the French island of Martinique in the Caribbean, with only his gear, provisions, a very unique standup paddleboard and a deep, lionhearted sense of adventure. He expects to paddle an average of 33 miles (53 kilometers) each day, estimating the voyage will take a total of roughly 75 days to complete.

Read more about his planned journey on supthemag.com.

The following two updates from Jarrossay’s Facebook page seem to show that his mission was a failure for this season. It looks like he’s had some great innovations in his custom board, but will need to continue to work on his design for a future attempt!

Top left!!! This is it nicolas jarossay raced home this afternoon from the port of praia for the first attempt of the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean In Stand-up paddle and lonely. After spending the night in the bay of praia aboard his boat (moored to a sailboat of a group of French), Nicolas was able to finish taking his marks on board of the new board by being calm in the middle of the water. It’s so serene he raced for his crossing there’s a few minutes and is now almost out of sight of the technical team that had remained in Cape Verde. In the evening, visuals will enrich this information. Thanks to one and all to follow this adventure.

Nick Jarrosay's Transatlantic SUP
Nick Jarrosay’s Transatlantic SUP

Press Release sup transatlantic, Monday, 11 April 2016.
Nicolas took the sea Sunday 10 April by favorable weather conditions. For a reason, which is still undetermined at this stage, the system of rudder has suddenly broken and has exposed the boat through the middle to a flood. The boat capsized. All attempts to put her back afloat are in vain and then more and more exhausting.
The continuing deterioration of the situation (exhaustion, hypothermia, night) has made unfortunately inevitable the outbreak of the distress beacon. The chain of relief could be mobilized in an orderly manner, in a context of great modesty of resources available in Cape Verde, severe technical constraints, and admirable dedication of rescuers. Nicolas is safe and sound.
In collaboration with the embassy of France, he organises itself to regain the hexagon. The analysis of technical reasons that have been an obstacle to this first attempt will soon be committed. Nicolas wishes to express its appreciation to the rescuers, including the coast guard Cape Verdeans.

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FIRST TO CIRCUMNAVIGATE LAKE SUPERIOR ON A SUP

DULUTH, Minnesota – 23 year-old Jared Munch isn’t your average college student. Rather than living carefree and with no responsibilities Jared wanted to experience more. A couple of years ago, Jared decided and committed to circumnavigate Lake Superior by SUP and after two long years of preparations he was the first person ever to do so. The journey covered 1350 miles over 46 days on the lake and was largely a solo and unsupported expedition. To learn more about his expedition over the summer we caught up with Jared to talk about what his experience was like out on the water. Take a look:

Lake Superior is quite the task, what was your motivation in doing this extensive paddle?

I had originally been looking at a study abroad option in Patagonia that was designed specifically for whitewater kayakers. It looked awesome, but it was expensive and wasn’t going to help me with my major (civil engineering). I started looking for other ways to broaden my paddling experience and the idea came to me as soon as I looked out my dormitory window. I remember thinking “Why am I trying to travel hallway around the world to have a cool adventure when I have THAT right in my backyard?” At first I thought paddling around Lake Superior was just a crazy idea. It had never been done before on a SUP. I at least took the dignity of writing the idea on a whiteboard for further considerations. After a month of staring at the whiteboard, I knew that it had to be done. This all occurred almost two years before I actually departed.

lake superior sup adventure
Views of Lake Superior as seen by Jared Munch. | Photos Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
Did you train for this beforehand? What was your training schedule like?

Training? No. That’s for people with time and money haha. My “training” consisted of me frantically scrambling between school and work for the two semesters leading into the summer. I was working anywhere from 30-50 hours a week on top of being a full time college student just to fund my summer adventure. Physically, I wasn’t in tip top shape when I started. I was over prepared mentally though. I spent a lot of time in class 5 whitewater and surfing Lake Superior. I was totally comfortable being out there in some big water. In addition, I had gotten pretty good at making use of little supplies, and just being miserable in general over the last year during my “training”.

How long did it take you?

It depends on how you look at it. To me, it took me two years on planning and squirrelling away money to pull it off. My total number of days actually paddling around the lake was only 46. I left in early May, then returned to Duluth for two weeks to teach whitewater classes and raise more money for the rest of summer. I left again in June and got back at the end of July.

lake superior sup adventure
It wasn’t all easy paddling on Munch’s 46-day expedition. | Photo Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
How far on average would you paddle each day?

Over the summer, including my days off for waiting out the weather, I averaged just under 30 miles/day. My biggest day was 52 miles.

Was your adventure supported or unsupported?

Out of the 1350 miles, 1150 were solo. The other 200 miles were in the company of my dad, brother, and friends. I carried all of my food and gear on the board. I shipped resupplies of food to myself at 150-200 mile intervals.

What gear did you take with you?
  • Board: C4 Waterman Wai Nui
  • Paddles: C4 Waterman Carbon X-Wing, Two-piece sea kayak paddle for heavy headwinds, and a flatwater canoe paddle for beam winds
  • Clothing: NRS farmer John Wetsuit, 7mm booties, semi-dri wear, down jacket, camp clothing
  • Food: Lots of dehydrated food from Camp Chow and lots of Cliff Bars
  • Tent: MSR Carbon reflex
  • Stove: MSR pocket Rocket
  • Others: dry bags, GoPro, first aid kit, small sail for emergency use only, compass, gps, sleeping pad, and my trusty Pillow Pet
lake superior sup adventure
lake superior sup adventure
Gear Shots. | Photos Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
Hardships?

Dealing with the wind was a huge thing for me. Keeping a 14’ board tracking well in a strong beam wind is one thing, but put a bunch of camping gear on it and you will have a much larger problem. Hunger was also a big thing for me. I had no possible way of eating as many calories as I was burning. I lost 15 pounds in the first three weeks. The remoteness was difficult at times, but I mostly enjoyed the thrill of having only myself for any type of support.

Biggest thing you learned after going on this adventure?

Paddling flatwater all day isn’t very fun. You start to hope for some storms and nasty weather just for an ounce of excitement.

lake superior sup adventure
Munch getting the nasty weather that he had hoped for. | Photo Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUP Connect
Would you consider doing it again?

The exact same trip? No. A circumnavigation of the lake was a one and done thing for me. I would feel weird doing it again. There’s kind of a spiritual thing about the lake to me. The memories from the trip are so vivid in my mind that I don’t want to relive them or change anything about them. I’m sure I’ll paddle parts of the shoreline again, or tour to some of the more remote surf breaks that I found, but I will not do another full circle continuously.

Do you have any other SUP adventures planned in the future?

Yes I do. Next spring I will be completing the first descent of the Steel River of Norther Ontario. We’re going to hit it as the snow is melting, which means living in a drysuit for a week and paddling lots of whitewater with camping gear on the board. Very little about the trip will be easy, but that’s what makes it an expedition.

lake superior sup adventure
Munch enjoying his solo time on his 46-day expedition of Lake Superior. | Photos Courtesy: Jared Munch & SUp Connect

We look forward to seeing a lot more expeditions from this young talent and we wish him the best of luck in his endeavors. To see a sneak peak at the documentary that Jared is editing check out the video preview below!

A SUPerior Adventure Teaser from Jared Munch on Vimeo.

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TRIP PREVIEW: Everglades Florida Jan 2016

Just a Taste of the Everglades

We’ve been toying around the idea of paddling in the everglades for about a year now. We were too busy with work to go last year, but we finally got 3 days off to go explore. Without much more planning than loading the paddle boards, camping equipment and food, we made plans to meet our fellow paddlers in Chokoloskee and we headed south.

Erin checking in at the Visitors Center in Everglade City.
Erin checking in at the Visitors Center in Everglade City.

The first night we camped at the Chokoloskee Island Park. We must have had the last campsite in the place, because we just barely squeezed our two cars and tent onto the site. First thing the next morning, we headed over to the Visitor Center in Everglades City to find out what kind of back country permit we could get for just a couple nights. There was nothing within close range available for that night, so we secured a permit for the next night at Pearl Bay Chickee and spent the day meandering down to Flamingo.

Campsite in Flamingo Florida
Campsites at Flamingos campground.

We camped at Flamingo and woke up to pouring down rain. The radar was showing that the rain would stop around noon, so we waited it out. Good thing we didn’t pick a chickee any farther than 3.5 miles. Our original idea was to get out there, make camp and paddle some more. Instead, we played cards in the tent until it stopped raining and then headed straight to the chickee for the night.

everglades florida Hells Bay Canoe Trail Launch
JJ, Erin, Al & Donna at the Hells Bay Canoe Trail Launch

Upon arrival at the Hells Bay Canoe Trail Launch, we unloaded all our gear and set off into the mangrove tunnels. The tunnels were tight and narrow with lots of turns. As we progressed further, it felt like we were just twisting in circles through the maze of mangroves. Some of the turns were so tight, the 16 foot canoe that was with us almost looked pinned amongst the mangroves, and several times the stern person was left dragging through the spider webs that lined the mangrove branches.

Al & Donna maneuvering thru the tight and windy Mangroves.
Al & Donna maneuvering thru the tight and windy Mangroves.

Even though there were many turns, the trail was very well marked with white PVC pipes. A PVC pipe was located at every turn or just about the time you were feeling lost one appeared.

JJ's BIC SUP leading the way thru the well marked paddling trail Florida everglades
JJ’s BIC SUP leading the way thru the well marked paddling trail

As we rounded every corner we anticipated running into a gator, croc, snake or anything, but the cool temperatures kept the critters at bay, in fact all we saw on our paddle was an osprey. Even the bugs thought it was just too cold… so those stories of swallowing mosquitoes while paddling didn’t hold true for us, at least not until dusk.

JJ's BIC SUP leading the way thru the well marked paddling trail
Our first view of Pearl Bay Chickee

After just a few hours of paddling, we spotted our chickee and started unloading. We had reserved just half of the double chickee, but were lucky enough that we were the only ones out that night. The chickee was awesome, it had counters to cook on, a ladder on one side and stairs on the other as well as a handicap sized porta-potty. It was luxurious. Later on, I did read that this was the cadillac of chickees, and the only handicap accessible chickee in the everglades, so i suppose we can’t expect this in the future from the other chickees.

Pearl Bay Chickee everglades florida
SUPs tied up & Hammocks Setup.

We cooked up our dinner of summer sausage, beans and rice. Minutes after our stoves kicked on, a soft-shell turtle appeared out of nowhere. He circled our chickee for hours while trying to coax us to give him our scraps. He clearly had been fed by others in the past. He was fun to watch and as the sun sank down below the water, the mosquitoes came out of hiding. We quickly retreated into the safety of our tents and hammocks. We slept well as the bugs buzzed about and the water lapped at the chickee posts. There is truly nothing better than sleeping out in the middle of nowhere!

Pearl Bay Chickee Sunrise Clouds
Clouds loom as the sun rises over the Everglades

We awoke to some threatening clouds to the west, but decided it was probably just rain. We had a leisurely breakfast of eggs and bagels before packing up and heading back to our vehicles. We slowly made our way back through the mess of mangroves from the day before.

Hells Bay Paddling Trail everglades florida
Car’s packed up after our Everglades paddling trip.

Shortly after loading up our gear, the rain hit and we headed north and back to work. It was a short trip and it felt like we only got a small taste of the everglades. So, if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want more. And guess what, we want more! Stay tuned for the upcoming Everglades, top to bottom expedition, which will include a whole bag of cookies!

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Gear Review: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Lifestraw Personal Water Filter

Vermont SUP Lifestraw personal water filter
Lifestraw Personal Water Filter – Photo Credit: JTJ Photography

I had seen the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter online for several years and had always wondered if it worked. The most important & essential item whenever planning a paddling trip is water. At over 8 pounds per gallon its the heaviest gear you need to bring. While paddling, you have an abundance of water all around you but it’s not safe to drink and can get you very sick if you do so. Upon getting my Lifestraw Personal Water Filter I quickly noticed the lightweight and small footprint of the product made it an easy choice for backpackers and paddlers. We tried out this product in the sunshine state of Florida over the past few weeks and concluded that it’s a great product to have with you in the absence of clean water and as a backup. I will always try to bring as much drinkable water with me as I can hold but this Lifestraw personal water filter offers a backup solution if you run out or something contaminates your water.

 

“LifeStraw is ideal for hiking, backpacking, camping, travel, and emergency preparedness. The straw-style filter design lets you turn up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water into safe drinking water.” -Lifestraw Website

Erin tests the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter on the Chassahowitzka River in Florida.
Erin tests the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter on the Chassahowitzka River in Florida. – Photo Credit: JTJ Photography

We first took the Lifestraw to the Chassahowitzka River in Homosassa Florida. There are many different natural springs pushing out from the Limestone ground, including the crystal clear Seven Sisters Springs, where we stopped to take photos and test it for the first time. The 2 oz. weight and 9 inch size allowed me to keep it right in my Stohlquist PFD zipper pocket.

Lifestraw easily fits into your PFD pocket.
Lifestraw easily fits into your PFD pocket. – Photo Credit: JTJ Photography

Erin, an author and contributor to Vermont SUP, posed for a few photos. “I didn’t think it was working at first but once the Lifestraw was saturated it seemed to flow through at a comfortable rate and I could get several full mouthfuls before I had to take a breath.”

The Weeki Wachee River looks clean but you never know.
The Weeki Wachee River looks clean but you never know. – Photo Credit: JTJ Photography

After using this product multiple times, I’m happy with how it performs. I didn’t get sick from the waters I tested it in, which is always a good thing. For a single use it’s great, easy to store and very lightweight. I wouldn’t notice it if I carried my gear in dry bags around dams or un-runnable rapids. Lifestraw has several other products that would be more suitable for a family camping for longer periods. These other products also say they filter our many viruses that the smaller personal filter doesn’t. I’m glad I have this water filter for our future paddling expeditions. I would recommend it to any adventurer looking to explore the unknown for multiple days if they are unsure of the availability of clean drinking water.

Lifestraw personal water filter
Chassahowitzka River Florida. – Photo Credit: JTJ Photography

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for free from Eartheasy.com as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

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Lake Powell – A Self Support Expedition

DCIM116GOPRO

On September 6th, Mike Tavares & Zach Hughes, Co-Owner and Master Shaper of Badfish SUP, Launched on Lake Powell into what would be an unforgettable self support journey across a great Iconic American Landscape.  Mike and Zack are typically paddling whitewater or surfing somewhere at the coast, but this time, they decided to plan a trip a bit out of the ordinary.  We had been hearing bits and pieces of trip planning over the last few months, but had no idea that they would come back with such amazing imagery and stories from the lawless Lake Powell!

DCIM116GOPRO

Mike chose to take our tried and true 14ft Great Bear Board for its versatilely, ease of paddling, and options for deck rigging.  This was a great option for Mike, as we heard that it treated him very well over the course of 150 miles and variable conditions with about 80 pounds of gear on top!  Zack hand shaped and created his very own self support board named “El Busito,” bringing Badfish creativity to the water!  6 days after launching on the Colorado River, the duo landed at the Glen Canyon Dam.

DCIM168GOPRO

CLICK HERE to read the first person recap of the journey across Lake Powell.

 

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Travel Company with a Paddle board (SUP) Focus

SUP The Winooski 2013 165

Our friends over at SUPConnect.com recently published a great article about a travel company who is focused on Stand Up Paddle Boarders (SUPers).

SAN DIEGO, California – The SUP Travel Company, a travel organization focused solely on providing high-quality vacation package experiences for people who love to stand up paddleboard (a.k.a. SUP) has just launched online.

While it has widely been known within the water sports industry that SUP is the fastest growing water sport in the world, it is just now entering the mainstream travel mindset as beach goers and lake visitors continually see people gliding on the water. “I see definite parallels,” says Wesley Baker, the founder of The SUP Travel Company and veteran SURF industry executive, “to where SUP is now and the surf industry was in the early 80’s when I first entered the surf industry.”

Currently, at launch, SUPHolidays.com has 19 destinations, 7 countries on 4 continents, including tropical locations near the U.S. (Grenada, Mexico and Costa Rica, and, of course, Hawaii) and Europe (Canary Islands, Majorca, and the coast of Spain). We expect in the next six months to add many more destinations around the world that add to the diversity of types of holidays available, and, at all times, a fanatical focus on creating outstanding SUP experiences and, an overall goal of providing wonderful and highly enjoyable, yet relaxing trips.

Read the full article on SUPConnect.com here:

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Paddling Whitewater Basics

Looking for that next adventure on your stand up paddleboard? Try navigating a river! There are a few things you need to know before you paddle your way down just any old river.

First, are there any rapids on the river you want to paddle? What are they like? American Whitewater has a great compilation of most rivers with whitewater sections. Choose a river that is within your ability  level. If in doubt, call a local outfitter. They love to talk about the paddling opportunities around them.

Whitewater SUP Friends

Second, recruit some crazy friends to adventure with you. You should aim to take at least 2 other people with you. Besides being necessary for safety, you want someone there to witness and laugh at your many wipeouts.

Third, make sure you have the proper gear. A durable board, helmet, PFD, paddle and good foot protection are the minimum. You might also want to consider knee pads and/or elbow guards. A releasable leash can also be a good idea if you are worried about your board floating downstream without you after you fall off. Never tie yourself to your board while in moving water unless you have a quick release feature.

Falling Backwards

Fourth, go out and have fun! While on the river you will most definitely run into rocks, get wet and fall in. Check out this great blog post about how to safely fall off your board.

Lastly, take a picture and tell us about your adventure! We want to hear where you went and how you did.

 

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