Ric Burnley
Stormy Kromer offers a lifetime warranty against loss or damage. Lose your hat; they send you a new one free.

At the 2016 Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, gear junkies and gear dealers come together for a massive gear fest. We picked five gear favorites from the first day of the show that kayak anglers must check out.

Stormy Kromer is a great hat and a great story. The original Stormy Kromer hat is the first six panel hat with a fold-down ear flap. The hat comes in wool, cotton, or water resistant waxed cotton. It is the same design as outdoorsman George Kromer invented over 100 years ago. And still made in the USA. The orginal still looks as great and works as well, but the company has updated offerings including a Cruiser floppy hat and a trucker hat. The coolest thing about this cool story is Stormy Kromer will replace your hat whether it is damaged, lost or stolen. Just register the hat’s unique serial number and you get hats for life!

 

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Stormy Kromer added cool new styles to its great original hat.

The Original is white on right, the new Cruizer in waxed cotton in the middle and the Trucker hat on the left.

Another great story and great product comes from Farm to Feet. The North Carolina based premium sock makers source all materials, including packagaing, in the USA. Farm to Feet’s socks are produced in the most advanced factory with the most advanced machinery. They can combine thick padded areas with thin mesh areas and stretchy support areas for the perfect combination of comfort and performance. In addition to sponsoring a BASS tournament angler, they also support the North Carolina Mountain to Coast hiking trail with a special line of hiking socks. We’ve been testing the Blacksburg low-top on the water. The socks keep sand from getting between my water shoes and my feet and causing blisters. Now, they are offering the Blacksburg in a high-top model for more support and sun protection.

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Farm to Feet Blacksburg now in a high-top model.

I use the white ones under my water shoes. Dry fast and keep my feet from abrasion.

Speaking of feet, we discovered Body Glove 3T shoes at OR Demo Day. In the hot sun and on the hot sand, these water shoes kept my feet feeling cool and looking cool. The 3T design fit my toes like a glove with the big and second toe in seperate sleeves a the three smaller toes in one sleeve. The 3T also has a thin neoprene sole that has vents to let out water but keep out sand. More vents in the upper drain more water. The combination of thin sole and gloved toes make the shoes perfect for stand-up fishing. I can feel the deck of the boat and maintain balance without raising my center of gravity. The newest models, Armor and Hero, add cool accents and more support along with bungee laces and a tongue for a shoe that is at home on the water, the beach or the street.

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One tool I use more than any other is my headlamp.

The only headlamp I use is a Petzl. These premium lamps are built to last a lifetime of abuse and perform when needed most. So, I was exicted to see updated and improved lamps at the 2016 OR show. The new line of lamps is just as tough and user friendly as expected, but now they are slimer and lighter. I was really impressed with the Core rechargable battery system that takes 300 cycles and saves the user approximately $1200 in batteries through its life. They even added a safety whistle to the headband just because you want one when you need one. My favorite new Petzl product is the Noctilight case. The semi-hard headlamp case doubles as a lantern that provides defused light and can hang anywhere. I see a million uses for the new line and the lantern on dark mornings and dark nights on the water.

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Petzl’s Noctilight is a case for your headlamp that doubles as a lantern.

Another favorite tool is my SOG Reactor multi-tool. Multi-tools are great on a kayak, but many moving parts rarely last a season. Last year I tested the SOG’s Reactor multi tool with happy results. This light and compact tool has pliers to pull a hook, wire cutters, crimpers, open-assit knife, file to sharpen hooks and a bottle opener. My favorite tool is the flathead and Phillips screwdrivers that seem to have a million uses, especially fixing broken pad eyes on the go. I was surprised that the Reactor made it a whole season of hard fishing. I’m stoked to hear that SOG is adding more compact tools to the line. The new Switch Plier will have pliers that open with the push of a button. I can hold a slippery fish with one hand and open the pliers with the other to pull the hook. Check out SOG’s line to find a multi-tool perfect for your fishing.

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SOG Switch Plier: Fish in one hand, open pliers with the other hand. Keep hooks out of fingers.

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