Browsing Tag


The Lowdown


May 7, 2015

Over 133 years ago, the Duluth Pack brand and product was born, raised and established to be the USA’s oldest canvas and leather bag and pack making company. However, the story of Duluth Pack could not have reached the masses that it has without all of you. Thank you, thank you – very, very much! For all of your support, loyalty and following we are hosting a Duluth Pack Facebook Giveaway involving a Bending Branches paddle and Duluth Pack goodies that work for both men and women on our Facebook Page! Click HERE to access the Duluth Pack Facebook Page.

The Duluth Pack Giveaway on Facebook consists of a Duluth Pack tote, the original yummy Crapola granola mix, a grey cozy beanie, a delicious bag of Whole Bean Duluth Pack Paddler’s Blend java (there is vanilla hazelnut, rum and caramel – tastebud heaven!) and a Bending Branches paddle – whoa, that’s a whole lot you of goodness wrapped up in one giveaway! wow, do we wish we could enter!

Don’t wait too long to enter for it! This giveaway ends this Friday at midnight central time.

Good luck friends, we wish you the best of luck!

– From your friends at Duluth Pack

Techniques & Advice, The Lowdown

How to repair your damaged Kevlar canoe

November 11, 2011
Portage trail at LIttle Indian Sioux

Your fancy Kevlar canoe found a rock and there is now a three-inch Kevlar baring gash in your boat. Or how about this one? Your wonderful, canvas Duluth Pack snuggles nicely in the canoe, but your buddy dropped his external frame hiking pack and left a quarter-sized ding in your hull. Accidents are bound to happen, and everybody finds a rock sooner or later, it is a fact of paddling in Minnesota.

The thought of repairing that high-tech Kevlar boat may seem daunting, but simple repairs are completely within the realm of the do-it-yourself Boatwright. However, if you wrapped your ride around a rock, and it resembles something closer to a crumpled hanky than to a canoe I recommend taking it to an expert.

Here is a rough guide of the steps I would use to repair Kevlar boats at the outfitter.

  1. Find a resin repair kit Click here, check with an outfitter or call your original boat manufacturer. Short of finding a repair kit with all the pieces check out West Systems and their 105 resin combined with their 205 hardener. Through West you can also track down the fiberglass cloth and the cheesecloth you are going to use for your repair. Add a comment in the box below and I can forward you a repair list and links to the sites.
  2. Assess the damage to the boat. Light scratches are something you are going to have to live with if you paddle Kevlar. Damage so severe that is changes the shape of the boat will have to be handled by an expert. The repair I can help you with are the minor scratches and dings where Kevlar cloth is showing.
  3. Prep the area. Clean around the damaged area so there is no mud or scum where you are going to lay down resin. Use some sand paper to rough up the area, maybe 60 or 80 grit. The goal here is to give the resin something to hold onto.
  4. Cut your fiberglass cloth and cheesecloth to cover the area. Don’t skimp here, for gashes where Kevlar shows go at minimum one inch on either side of the scratch. For circular dings double the size of the dinged area.
  5. For the remainder of the repair: if you are inside, make it a WELL-VENTILATED AREA, and WEAR A MASK. If you are outside, most people like the mask as a precaution.
  6. Mix your resin. Follow the instructions on the label; it takes very little hardener or catalyst to get this reaction going. Good mixing canisters to use are those plastic deli containers you can throw away when done. My favorite brush to use was the one-inch foam brush, cheap and easy to pitch when done. OK, now you have about 15 to 20 minutes to work, so don’t mix more than you can apply in 15 or 20 minutes.
  7. Repair the area. Apply a light coat of resin to the area, lay down your fiberglass cloth, and gently cover the fiberglass with another coat of resin. For deep dings that occur on the inner hull where you have Kevlar, then foam, then Kevlar. Take a few strands of fiberglass, ball it up, and place into the hole with resin on it. Then lay down your fiberglass cloth, and apply more resin. For holes that have gone all the way through the hull use fiberglass cloth and perform your repair on both sides of the hull.
  8. Apply your cheesecloth, and gently flatten with nearly dry brush. For large repaired areas this is a must, it will help keep air bubbles to a minimum and really help smooth the resin as it dries.
  9. Sand to prepare for second coat. When the resin has hardened, meaning you can’t easily push your thumbnail into it, remove the cheesecloth and sand with about a 150 or 200 grit sandpaper. If there are a large number of imperfections in your repair area use the lower grit. Now clean the area again, and let dry.
  10. Mix second batch of resin and apply. Shouldn’t need the cheesecloth this time provided it goes on nice and smooth, but if you have doubts apply more.
  11. Let dry again, and lightly sand with 200 grit or higher sand paper.
  12. If you have questions about this process, or would like more information on tools, tricks, or techniques leave me a comment below. And as I wrote earlier, if the damage on your boat is more than a simple ding or scratch bring in an expert for a consultation. There are Kevlar magicians out there who can make your boat look good as new.
Gear Talk, The Lowdown

Bending Branches debuts their new Black Pearl carbon fiber paddle

August 11, 2011
The new carbon fiber paddle from Bending Branches

Hard charging, performance-touring paddlers are going to love the new Black Pearl carbon fiber canoe paddle from Bending Branches. Made from high tech materials and coming in at just 14 ounces this paddle will be a great addition for your lightweight Kevlar canoe. The company recently debuted the new Black Pearl paddle at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, 2011.

American made Bending Branches (BB) was founded in 1982 by whitewater paddlers Dale Kicker and Ron Hultman. By building composite paddles with Kevlar tip guards, which became known as rock guards, they revolutionized the industry and changed paddling forever. This small, privately held company in Wisconsin has built more than one million paddles for canoeists and kayakers.

The Black Pearl was built as an answer to Bending Branches customers who own and paddle high-end canoes built of Kevlar or carbon fiber. They wanted a lightweight, strong paddle to match well with their lightweight boat. The Black Pearl gives them the ability to partner a high tech touring paddle with their high tech boat.

It starts with a carbon fiber touring blade paired with a carbon fiber composite shaft, a very stiff, light combination. The paddle is topped off with a carbon grip built to fit the paddlers’ hand. Dale Kicker has said he believes it to be the most comfortable grip they have built. At 14 ounces this paddle possesses an extremely high strength to weight ratio, and with the large touring blade it is maximum efficiency on the canoe trail.

This paddle will be ideal for the canoeist who likes to have the newest, fastest technology in their hands. And, has been waiting for a high-end paddle to pair with their high-end boat for outstanding performance touring.

Grab one of these paddles today, get your canoe pack out of the garage, and be ready for the Boundary Waters tomorrow. And don’t forget one for you bowman, too.

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