The Flying Kayak

Hunting, Fishing, Rambling, and Complete Outdoor Hilarity

Category: Gear Review

Gear Review Opportunity: Lightload Towels

Before beginning, I’d like to apologize for this review being -ages- late. Thanks to me moving away for a job just prior to recieving these towels, I wasn’t able to give them a try until recently. 

Most fisherman like to keep a towel nearby when out on the water. They prove useful for anything from wiping away sweat to safely handling a fish prior to release. However, there is usually a minor inconvenience when dealing with towels: They’re rather bulky.

It appears that Lightload Towels has solved that issue. They make a towel that comes packed and stored about the size of a half-dollar. Upon recieving these towels my first impression was just how small it was. I was skeptical to see exactly how big the towel was once unfolded. I have visions of it unfolding and being about 4 inches across.


Boy was I wrong.

Once I added a bit of water, the towel unfolded to become deceptively large. A full 12×12 towel was now sitting in front of me.

Personally, I really like to have a towel around when I’m in the kayak. It makes handling fish quite a bit easier. So I took it with me on an afternoon mullet snatching trip.

It worked like a charm. No rips. No slipping. Just exactly what I’d expect out of a towel, but MUCH easier to store on the kayak. The towels are very absorbent and by the end of the fishing trip, the little towel reeked of mullet slime. Just as advertised, I was able to throw it into the wash and it came out good as new.

Design:
The biggest thing these towels have going for them is their size. They would be perfect to bring on a hike or jog since they literally fit inside your pocket. The 12×12 towel is just the right size for anything you might need to do with a similar sized towel. The towels are tough, but not -that- tough. I’m very rough on my gear and knowing that, I decided to give the towels a little strength test.

Yes, that’s my finger going through the towel

They proved to be pretty durable, but it didn’t take too much effort to rip it. I wouldn’t suggest trying to rub paint off of your car with one, but for what they’re designed to do, they’re plenty strong.

Function: 
They do exactly what a towel is supposed to do: Absorb liquid and dry things off. They work perfectly for this and being washable means that they can be used again and again.

Pros: 
Very light
Fold up to be very small
– Extremely absorbent
– Washable
– Cheap ($2.75 for two of them)

Cons: 
– Not quite as durable as your every day towel

The Amazing Five Star Rating System: 

***** = Five Stars (The be all-end all greatest thing that I cannot go without. Best thing next to sliced bread and pockets on jeans. I simply must have it with me)

****   = Four Stars (An absolutely great product. Something that does its job and serves its purpose in my arsenal of gear. Almost always carry it with me)

***     = Three Stars (An average product. Something that I can function in life without. It has its usefulness at times, but is often unneeded or is of relatively poor design)

**       = Two Stars (A poor product. Something that either makes my life more difficult, gets in my way, or succeeds in giving me ulcers. Likes to break and finds itself gathering dust on my shelf)

*         = One Star (A terrible product. Something that serves no purpose and doesn’t even do what it’s supposed to do. Often too large to be flushed down the toilet and renders itself a waste of time, space, and money)

Lightload Towels:  ***** – Five Stars


These towels are -perfect- for someone who wants to carry a towel with them, but doesn’t want the hassle of carrying around a normal sized one. They fit great into a hunting backpack, tackle box, and even your pocket. The fact that they’re washable makes them even better and allows me to just about always have a fresh clean one with me on the kayak. Even though they aren’t as durable as a normal towel, it would take quite a bit of abuse before one became thoroughly destroyed. And after all that, they’re remarkably cheap to replace. The Lightload Towel is definitely something I’ll carry with me from now on when I enter the field.

The Lightload Towels featured in this gear review were given to me at no cost through the efforts of the Outdoor Blogger Network in exchange for an honest product review. All ideas expressed within this review are my own personal thoughts and opinions of the product and I received no compensation for the review. Any reviews featured on The Flying Kayak are my honest and unbiased opinions. If one has any questions or concerns regarding the review or product at hand, please feel free to contact me through the ‘contact’ page at the top of the website. 

Gear Review: Plano Guide Series Waterproof Boxes

 As an avid kayak fisherman, I’ve noticed that there are a few things that are always constant. Things such as: the wind’s tendency to -always- blow in your face, or the fact that the kayak seems to put on 30 lbs after a long day’s paddle. Another constant is the fact that most everything carried on the kayak will get wet at some point. Sure some things might not always get wet, but give it enough time and it will eventually get soaked. This is why I was extremely excited to try out Plano’s Guide Series waterproof boxes.
The boxes come in several different sizes, each with their own color. I was able to try out both the smallest (1449) and largest (1470) of the Guide Series waterproof boxes. Upon receiving the boxes, my first thought was: “What on earth am I going to put in these?”. The small box (1449) is absolutely tiny. I mean -really- small. So small, in fact, that I can just barely fit my wallet into it with no room to spare. Compared to other guys, my wallet isn’t even that big. Yes, it’s been known to throw my back out if I sit on it for too long, and no, it’s not thick from money (no way). I’d say it resembles that of a small brick, rather than the cinder block that I see other guys carry. Regardless, I need at least my fishing license with me and I don’t want to search through my wallet to take it out every time I fish. Without the wallet, the box is just the right size to fit my phone or keys; both of which need to stay dry. It wasn’t until my girlfriend purchased an iphone that I realized what this box was designed for…
Perfect fit. Go figure. Seems I’m behind the technology curve.
I had the opposite problem with the larger box. I honestly wondered what in the world I needed to keep dry that was -that- big. After some thought, I figured that a very elaborate first aid kit would be perfect. A survival kit would be nice too. However, those thing would need to wait until hunting season comes along. I was, after all, testing the boxes out on the kayak. I finally decided that a fresh change of clothes would be something to put in the box. Yes, I know there’s no point to take a change of clothes out on the kayak with you. I can always leave it in the truck and change when I get back. But I really needed something to fill it that needed to stay dry.
The next question I thought of was “Where am I going to store this on the kayak?”. I immediately remembered the hatch located just in front of the seat. To my dismay, the small box didn’t fit.
Instead, I put it in a zipper pocket on the back of the seat.
The large box fit perfectly inside one of the hatches in the kayak. I felt this was a good place because my kayak has a nasty habit of letting water in. What better place to test it out?
Now I came to the part I -really- cared about. Are the boxes actually waterproof? I was pleased (and relieved) to find that they are. I took both of them out on the kayak with me in the Gulf and found their contents to still be dry after a full day of paddling and having waves over the bow. To add, I tested see if they floated. I did this by (*gulp*) throwing the box with my wallet inside into the Gulf. To my relief, not only did it stay dry, but it floated. I think that the only way for the boxes to sink is if one put a block of lead inside….or maybe really heavy keys.
The only other thing I really cared about with the boxes was their durability. The boxes are made of plastic so at first, I was rather skeptical. I was pleased to find, however, that the boxes were quite durable. The smallest one is so small that it is VERY strong. It would take quite a lot to break it. It was the larger one that I worried about. I worried that with the increased lid and frame size the durability would decrease.
I’m very rough on my gear and durability is often a deciding factor for me. I was therefore shocked to discover that after a full day of dragging the boxes around with me, I hadn’t even dropped them. That’s right. No dropping, running over, or even stepping on. I realized that in order to really give it a fair review, something needed to be done.
So I dropped the largest box. On purpose. On concrete. On the corner of a step. And…
It lived. It was still water tight and would keep its contents dry. I feel that it is important to note that these boxes aren’t made to be submerged very deep. But for keeping things dry on a kayak, in the rain, or whatever it is you’re doing, they do their job quite well.
Design
The boxes are made from very sturdy plastic and come with a plastic latch with a metal hinge (the 1470 has two latches). One side of the box has a place to attach a lanyard. On the inside of the boxes are rubber mats to keep things that like to slide in place. Also, the underside of each box has four rubber pads so that the box itself doesn’t slide around. Finally, each box comes with two rubber stoppers that fit into two padlock holes. I’m unsure as to why there’s a need for a padlock. It seems as though if someone wanted inside the box, they could get in. 
Function
The boxes do what they’re supposed to do which is keep things dry. They also protect items with their sturdiness and even float assuming you aren’t putting an anchor in one.
Pros
          Very sturdy
          Keep things dry
          Rubber parts keep items from sliding around
          Clear plastic to see inside and ensure to leaks
Cons
          The 1449 is almost too small to serve a purpose
          Difficult to find a proper place on the kayak
The Amazing Five Star Rating System: 

***** = Five Stars (The be all-end all greatest thing that I cannot go without. Best thing next to sliced bread and pockets on jeans. I simply must have it with me)

****   = Four Stars (An absolutely great product. Something that does its job and serves its purpose in my arsenal of gear. Almost always carry it with me)

***     = Three Stars (An average product. Something that I can function in life without. It has its usefulness at times, but is often unneeded or is of relatively poor design)

**       = Two Stars (A poor product. Something that either makes my life more difficult, gets in my way, or succeeds in giving me ulcers. Likes to break and finds itself gathering dust on my shelf)

*         = One Star (A terrible product. Something that serves no purpose and doesn’t even do what it’s supposed to do. Often too large to be flushed down the toilet and renders itself a waste of time, space, and money)

Plano Guide Series Waterproof Boxes: ***** – Five Stars
I gave Plano’s Guide Series Waterproof Boxes five stars because they do what they’re supposed to do: keep things dry and protect them. The only negative thing I really have to say about the boxes is that the 1449 is too small for my liking. I can only fit one item inside of it and I can’t think of many situations where one –only- needs their wallet, or their keys, or their phone. Usually, one needs to keep multiple items dry. I would therefore suggest the medium sized box (1460 or 1450). There was also the issue of the 1449 not fitting inside my kayak hatch, but that’s something out of the manufacturer’s control. After all, it may fit inside a different kayak’s hatch. Overall, the Guide Series Waterproof Boxes are a great item if you’re looking to keep things dry and protect them.
The Plano Guide Series Waterproof Boxes featured in this gear review were given to me at no cost through the efforts of the Outdoor Blogger Network in exchange for an honest product review. All ideas expressed within this review are my own personal thoughts and opinions of the product and I received no compensation for the review. Any reviews featured on The Flying Kayak are my honest and unbiased opinions. If one has any questions or concerns regarding the review or product at hand, please feel free to contact me through the ‘contact’ page at the top of the website.  

Gear Review: Baker Magnum “T” Hookouts

For years, every time I pull in a toothy or unwanted fish, I reach for my Baker hookouts. The little tool has always been reliable at removing hooks and keeping my fingers safely out of the way. This is why I was extremely excited to receive and review the new Magnum “T” Hookouts from Baker.


The hookouts advertise a 20 inch reach and a large, easy to use handle. The purpose of these hookouts are to quickly and efficiently remove hooks from a fish with minimal damage. Soon after receiving the hookouts, I took them kayak fishing with me.

I tend to saltwater fish MUCH more than freshwater fish and I feel as though carrying hookouts is a necessity since a large majority of the fish that I pull into the kayak with me tend to have a nice set of chompers. My first test was a speckled trout that I caught on a topwater plug. The plug had two treble hooks that buried themselves deeply in the fish’s mouth. I grabbed the Magnum “T” and started trying to pry the lure free. I soon discovered, however, that the hookouts had some trouble removing the treble hooks. I eventually got the lure loose and released the fish, but it wasn’t without some difficulty. This is where I think it is important to note the design of the Magnum “T”.

Front Shot

Side Shot

The locking ‘hook’ on the end of the hookouts appears to be designed for the removal of single hooks. This is because when one locks the hookouts onto a hook, they are designed to twist, reverse the angle of the hook, and remove it. The problem with treble hooks is that often one has more than one point of the treble hook in the fish. If this is the case, reversing the hook angle is almost impossible since the hook is lodged in two crossing angles. However, once only one of the points remains in the fish, the hookouts do their job quite effectively and remove the hook entirely.

Later in the day, I began throwing soft plastics around in hopes of catching trout, flounder, or redfish. To my dismay, I started catching croakers. The first croaker that I pulled into the boat, I grabbed, began to pry the hook free with my hands, and then felt a sharp pain in my fingers. Turns out the dumb little fish which I assumed was harmless, cut my fingers with his gill plate. It wasn’t a bad cut, but resembled something like a paper cut. Not wishing to have this happen again, I started using my Magnum “T” hookouts again. This time, the hookouts performed perfectly. The single hook design of my soft plastic lure made it easy to grab the hook and quickly remove it. And yes, it was rather difficult to film/photograph while removing the hook.

The next day I took the hookouts with me again and was lucky enough to actually catch some toothy critters. 

Blacktip Shark

 I discovered after catching a few sharks, that the hookouts work best when the fish is actually hooked in the mouth. Foul hooked fish create a whole new set of challenges when removing the hook. The fact sharks also have such thick skin made things difficult anyways.

Removing the hook from a bluefish

Design: The Magnum “T” Hookouts from Baker are very well designed. The long reach keeps one well away from sharp teeth or fins. The squeeze trigger also works perfectly and locks in the hook very well. However, they don’t float (whoops) and one must be careful not to stab themselves with the sharp tip (at least us clumsy people).

Function: The hookouts do exactly what they say they’ll do which is remove hooks from fish safely. As stated earlier though, they work best with single hooks, not treble hooks. Once the hook is locked it’s just a simple twist of the wrist and the fish is free. I also noticed that it can often be challenging to lock onto a hook when using artificials/lures as the lure body can get in the way.

Pros: 
– Long reach keeps one safe from teeth
– Easy to use trigger system locks hooks quite easily
– Stainless steel design ensures no rusting
– Easy hook removal once hook is locked
– Minimal damage to fish for catch and release fishing

Cons: 
– Doesn’t float
– Has a tough time with treble hooks
– Often difficult to lock onto the hook when fishing with lures/artificials.

The Amazing Five Star Rating System: 

***** = Five Stars (The be all-end all greatest thing that I cannot go without. Best thing next to sliced bread and pockets on jeans. I simply must have it with me)

****   = Four Stars (An absolutely great product. Something that does it’s job and serves it’s purpose in my arsenal of gear. Almost always carry it with me)

***     = Three Stars (An average product. Something that I can function in life without. It has its usefulness at times, but is often unneeded or is of relatively poor design)

**       = Two Stars (A poor product. Something that either makes my life more difficult, gets in my way, or succeeds in giving me ulcers. Likes to break and finds itself gathering dust on my shelf)

*         = One Star (A terrible product. Something that serves no purpose and doesn’t even do what it’s supposed to do. Often too large to be flushed down the toilet and renders itself a waste of time, space, and money)

Baker Magnum “T” Hookouts: **** – Four Stars

I gave the Baker Magnum “T” Hookouts four (4) stars because it did exactly what it was designed to do: Safely remove hooks from fish for catch and release purposes. The product is of a very sound design and it functions quite well. The reason it did not receive a full five (5) stars is that it is difficult to remove treble hooks from fish, sometimes hard to lock onto a hook with a lure, and sinks like a stone if dropped in the water. This product would be absolutely -perfect- for removing hooks while bait fishing with single hooks. Whether it’s offshore for snapper and grouper, or inshore for trout and reds, if one bait fishes with a single hook, there will be no problems safely removing the hook. It is for this reason, that the hookouts received four (4) stars and not three (3). The Baker Magnum “T” Hookout is a product that I will definitely carry with me in the future, especially when I go on offshore snapper fishing trips where it is often necessary to safely release undersized fish.

The Baker Magnum “T” Hookouts featured in this gear review was given to me at no cost through the efforts of the Outdoor Blogger Network in exchange for an honest product review. All ideas expressed within this review are my own personal thoughts and opinions of the product and I received no compensation for the review. Any reviews featured on Outdoor Adventures my honest and unbiased opinions. If one has any questions or concerns regarding the review or product at hand, please feel free to contact me through the ‘contact’ page at the top of the website.

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