Backpacker Kayak Demos

2017 Backpacker Kayak Demo Dates

The best way to decide which kayak is right for you is to try it out on the water!  The Backpacker offers opportunities to “try before you buy” in and around our Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana locations.  Our knowledgeable team will show you each kayak’s particular features and get you on the water to try out for yourself!  For the anglers, we have our Hobie and Wilderness Systems fishing team members attend many of our dates to share their love for catching BIG fish in little boats!
Brands represented are Hobie, Wilderness Systems, Perception, KC Kayaks, Mad River Canoe, YOLO, and Dagger!  We always have over a dozen models to try but please contact us to make sure your requested model will be available.
All times and dates are subject to change due to in-climate weather.
Check out full details by visiting the Backpacker Events page or see all dates below!
2/19  LSU Lakes 12-2
3/4  Chicot State Park South Landing 10am-2pm
3/11 LSU Lakes “Intro to Kayak Fishing” class starts at 8:30…On Water demo is 12-2
4/8 Sugar Mill Pond 10-2
4/15 LSU Lakes 10-2
5/13 Sugar Mill Pond 10/2
5/20 LSU Lakes 10-2
6/10 Sugar Mill Pond 10-2
6/17 LSU Lakes 10-2
7/8 Sugar Mill Pond 10-2
7/15 LSU Lakes 10-2
8/5 LSU Lakes 10-2
8/12 Sugar Mill Pond 10-2
9/9 Sugar Mill Pond 10-2
9/16 LSU Lakes 10-2
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#BACKPACKERPHOTO CONTEST IS BACK!

JacksonTeamBackpacker

WE WANT TO SEE YOUR PICTURES FROM WHEN YOU #GEAUXOUTTHERE!!

Have you ever purchased gear from The Backpacker?  Well now you can use your gear to win a $500 GIFT CARD!! This February submit a picture of yourself using gear from The Backpacker on Instagram and your photo will be entered to win a $500 Gift Card!!  Multiple photos can be entered.  ANYTHING BACKPACKER GEAR COUNTS**!  Show us your adventures!  Skiing, Snowboarding, Hammock days, hiking, exercising, paddling, kayak fishing, or ANYTHING RELATED to BACKPACKER OUTDOORS gear counts!

To enter the Instagram #BackpackerPhotoContest, post your picture using Backpacker Gear on Instagram* and include these 3 tags –

@backpackeroutdoors #geauxoutthere #backpackerphotocontest

The winner may be chosen based upon combination of factors including but not limited to originality, likes, shares, and whether or not you applied the tags as stated above**.

TIPS for increasing your chances to WIN:

  • Your Instagram account needs to be visible our judges.  Private accounts may be difficult to see.
  • Be original & make it about the outdoors
  • Make sure you get “@backpackeroutdoors #backpackerphotocontest #geauxoutthere”  all into your post.  This could make or break the winning decision.
  • Email customerservice@backpackeroutdoors.com a link to your post and a copy of your picture to ensure that our judges can see your post.

The winner will be announced on Friday March 3RD!

*IMAGES POSTED TO PRIVATE ACCOUNTS MAY NOT BE SEEN BY OUR JUDGES, SO BE SURE TO CHANGE YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS ON INSTAGRAM IF YOU WANT TO WIN!

**The Backpacker withholds the right to make final determination of winner.

*** Photos of an offensive nature or depicting dangerous acts will not be considered.  All photos must be submitted by midnight on Tuesday February 28, 2017.  

2017 Camo Hobie Outback

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By: Eric Fey

In my mind, the Hobie Pro Angler 14 is the ultimate fishing kayak. I have been fishing one for a couple of years now and the arrival of the Mirage Drive 180 was sure to improve the performance of this kayak.  With the arrival of this new Drive system came the 2017 line of Hobie kayaks.  In addition to the new drive, the Pro Angler and Outback would be offered in a camo version.  Aside from looking cool, the camo model had some upgrades on each model.  Once I found out that the new Camo Outback would be equipped with turbo fins and a larger sailing rudder, I made the decision to swap over from the PA and give the Outback a try for the upcoming year.  I was able to take to the waters of Delacroix, LA recently to try out the new kayak.  The following review is comprised of my opinion of the new model having only fished it one time.

 

2017 Camo Hobie Outback with 180 Mirage Drive

Home Storage

Unlike the Pro Angler, there isn’t much flat space on the bottom of the Outback hull. I normally store my kayaks on a set of saw horses with towels to soften the contacting surfaces.  On the Pro Angler, the surface is flat and therefore very stable.  The Outback however, has a rounded midsection of the hull that forces the hull to lean one way or the other.  I was able to solve the issue by using a strap on the front and back to anchor the kayak to the horses.  No biggy.  The Outback is noticeably lighter than the PA so getting it up onto the horses and down from them was a bit easier.  Another option would be to build a cradle out of PVC and 2×4’s.  Instructions for build are online and easy to find.  Or, you could purchase the Hobie cradles, but they are a little pricey.

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Transport

The Outback is approximately 2 feet shorter than the PA. I no longer need to use a truck hitch bed extender when hauling the kayak.  Again, the kayak does not sit flush in the bed and I highly recommend building a cheap cradle to help it out.  This will make it much easier to tie down without any wiggling.  Once again, the Outback is lighter and easier to load and unload without any assistance.  I cannot stress enough the importance of having a cart of some sort.  The cart will take the kayak to and from the water.  If you intend to fish alone, a cart is a necessity.  This is just as true with the Outback as it was with the PA.

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Launching/Picking Up

I did not notice much difference when launching the Outback. I use the same method of carting it down to the water, lifting the back and letting the cart fall from the rear scuppers, then pushing the kayak into the water.  Since the Outback is a little lighter, I give the edge to the Outback when launching and picking up.

Speed

When it comes to speed, the Outback is a clear winner…..maybe. Here is the problem.  I can say definitely that the 2017 Outback is faster than the 2016 Pro Angler.  But the drives are different.  The 2017 Pro Angler may be just as fast but I can say without a doubt that the 2017 Outback FLIES!!!  Without having actually measured the speed, I would be comfortable saying that it could be 2-3 mph faster.  It makes sense that the Outback would be faster.  It is lighter, sleeker, and therefore has less drag.  Keep in mind that I was using turbo fins since they came with the camo version of the Outback.

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Layout/Storage

The PA is a clear winner for layout and storage in my eyes. In fact, this was my biggest complaint about the Outback platform.  There are no in hull rod holder which I have come to love.  There is very little in hull storage in the front hatch and even less in the middle circular hatch.  The back of the kayak is much smaller than the PA and could barely hold my 35 qt Yeti and Hobie cart.  I would be much better served with a soft sided cooler on this kayak.  I know plenty of anglers that have solved this issue and rig milk crates and fashion extra PVC rod holders.  I am into keeping my kayaks simple and basic so this type of solution doesn’t appeal to me.  I did however like the forward facing rod holders on the Outback.  While sight fishing it was nice to have my rod at the ready and in front of me for when I spot fish.

Stability

I found no issue with the stability of this kayak. I fish nearly all day from the standing position.  I never once fell like I was at risk for going overboard.  The PA is more stable as you would expect, but the Outback was plenty stable enough.  There is nothing more to say on stability other than don’t let the size or shape of this kayak scare you out of standing.

Control/Steering

Being that the Outback is a smaller kayak, it obviously handles a bit better than the PA. Turning is more responsive, at least with the sailing rudder.  One thing that did surprise me was that the Outback seemed to track better than the PA as well.  When I took it out, the wind was blowing pretty good (10-12mph).  On the way back to the launch around noon, I was traveling North-Northwest into a Northeast wind.  I rarely had to make any adjustments to my rudder to stay on course.  This may be because it has a lower profile than the PA and therefore catches less wind.  I am not sure, but it was noticeable.  One HUGE benefit to the Outback is its paddle-abilityishness when the fins are locked up to the bottom of the hull.  Often when I am sight fishing, I pick up the fins and use my paddle to push pole or paddle across the flats.  The Outback was very easy to propel from the standing position.  This alone almost entirely makes it a more pleasant kayak to sight fish reds from.

Options/Aesthetics

The PA is rigger friendly. You can attach almost anything that you could want without putting unnecessary holes in the hull.  This is not the case with the Outback.  Both kayaks look really sharp but the Outback is seriously lacking in modular rigging options.  Again, many people have no issue tearing into their brand new hull.  I am always a little more hesitant.  That being said, it is more than possible to rig the Outback anyway that you could ever want if you have the stomach for it.  I find the circular hatch in the middle of the Outback next to useless and would seriously consider changing it out to the rectangular hatch.  It is worth noting one more time that the Camo version of the Outback comes with extras which in my mind, more than justify the extra $150.  One of those options is the Turbo fins on the new Mirage Drive.  The other is the larger sailing rudder.  Aside from these two extras, you also get a sweet camo paint job.

New Mirage Drive with Reverse

I will start off by saying that even if you never use the reverse feature, it seems like Hobie has found a way to make the Mirage Drive perform even better. The new drive seems faster and feels like it requires less effort.  Once again, I am comparing a 2017 Outback to a 2016 PA, but I will make an effort to get in a new PA soon.  Now, on to the reverse function.  For the first part of the day I found it difficult to switch the drive into reverse.  Or rather I thought it was difficult.  It turns out that in the water you cannot hear the audible “click” of the drive spinning around, WHICH IS A GOOD THING!  Quiet is always better.  But, since I was expecting to hear it, I wasn’t recognizing when the drive was flipping.  Once I came to that realization, it seemed quite easy to engage the reverse.  Once the fins were locked in, you have the benefit of full power, full speed reverse.  This drive is capable of pushing the kayak in reverse at unnecessary speeds.  When you are in super skinny water, you will not be able to reverse the fins.  They need to be in almost a full upright position to switch.  I did find that because of the reverse, I did not have a need to anchor all day.  In fact, I think that I will fish without an anchor for a while to see if this holds true.  If for any reason it doesn’t I have a PowerPole Micro ready to fill that gap.  All in all, I really like the new drive and cannot wait to see if it is more rugged than the last model.  Previously I had a bad habit of bending the fin masts.  I am told that the new masts are stronger and less prone to bending.

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Both the Pro Angler and Outback are industry leading kayaks and you really can’t go wrong with either. If I was forced to choose one, I would most likely choose the Pro Angler with the reversible Mirage Drive.  That being said, I loved the Outback and look forward to fishing from it this year.  Who knows, maybe my opinion will change.  As of now I just like the in hull rod storage and overall layout of the PA a little better.  I encourage anyone who might be interested in checking out these kayaks to visit The Backpacker or give them a call.  They can get you into both of these models so that you can try for yourself.

#BackpackerPhotoContest – October 2016

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WE WANT TO SEE YOUR OUTDOORS PICTURES!!

Have you ever purchased gear from The Backpacker?  Well now you can use your gear to win a $500 GIFT CARD!! This October submit a picture of yourself using gear from The Backpacker on Instagram and your photo will be entered to win a $500 Gift Card!!  Multiple photos can be entered.  ANYTHING BACKPACKER GEAR COUNTS**!  Show us your adventures!  Hammock days, hiking, exercising, skiing, paddling, kayak fishing, or ANYTHING RELATED to BACKPACKER OUTDOORS counts!

To enter the Instagram #BackpackerPhotoContest, post your picture using Backpacker Gear on Instagram* and include these 3 tags –

@backpackeroutdoors #geauxoutthere #backpackerphotocontest

The winner may be chosen based upon combination of factors including but not limited to originality, likes, shares, and whether or not you applied the tags as stated above**.

TIPS for increasing your chances to WIN:

  • Your Instagram account needs to be visible our judges.  Private accounts may be difficult to see.
  • Be original & make it about the outdoors
  • Make sure you get “@backpackeroutdoors #backpackerphotocontest #geauxoutthere”  all into your post.  This could make or break the winning decision.
  • Email customerservice@backpackeroutdoors.com a link to your post and a copy of your picture to ensure that our judges can see your post.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday November 2nd!

*Because images may not be easily found when posted to a private account, the best way for us to see your photo is to email it to customerservice@backpackeroutdoors.com.

**The Backpacker withholds the right to make final determination of winner.

*** Photos of an offensive nature or depicting dangerous acts will not be considered.  Winner will be chosen after midnight on Monday October 31.  

Backpacker Lafayette

What’s new at Backpacker Lafayette

Fall is just around the corner for South Louisiana and for our Backpacker Lafayette store that means tailgating at ULL, kayak fishing at Cypremory Point,  and getting ready for ski season!

New product is arriving daily including Columbia and Patagonia!

The all new Yeti Flip is here! Perfect for your kayak!

 

New prints in Patagonia Snap T!

 

We have the largest selection of Patagonia trucker caps around!

 

Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Vest and zips.

 

Show your pride with Louisiana Local tees!

 

Scarves from Toad&Co and prAna are great Fall looks!

 

We offer free accessory installs on all kayak purchases including Marine Mat decking kits!

 

Fall Olukai shoes and boots are here!

 

The Brooks Ghost is perfect for running the new trails!

 

We have new styles but you know we’ll sell out soon!

 

Darn Tough socks just arrived!

 

Stay dry and look good!

 

We’re now a Thule dealer! Let us help you find the right fit to carry all of your gear!

 

Who’s ready for ULL tailgating? We are!

 

This Osprey pack fits in your pocket!

 

No need to be cold and wet when you have a TNF Triclimate!

 

The North Face Venture rain jackets are great all year long.

 

We have Wind Pouch, the super popular inflatable, treeless hammock!

 

Did you know that prAna guarantees you’ll LOVE their pants? Try our best-selling Stretch Zion and you’ll know why!

 

Burton means ski season isn’t far off!
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Work day at BREC Comite Trail

This past Sunday,  Tyler, Susie, and Walter from our Baton Rouge store helped get the BREC Comite park bike trails back in shape after the historic floods from August submerged much of the trails.  The work day was led by BRAMBA (Baton Rouge Area Mountain Bike Association) who maintains the trails year round.  

Some portions of the trails remain impassable by bike so proceed with caution if you plan on visiting the park this Fall.


The BREC Comite Park has over a dozen miles of fast and hard riding trails that are frequented by mountain bikers, runners, and hikers.  The beautiful natural area is a maze of low land hardwood trees and swampy areas that is home to many bird, reptiles, and small mammals.  


The trail is open 7 days a week sun up to sun down and is connected to it’s sister park, BREC Hooper Rd park and its 6 miles of trails at the back of the Sharon Hills neighborhood.

Both parks are a 15 minutes drive from Backpacker Baton Rouge.

Backpacker 42nd Birthday Sale September 17th

The Backpacker is celebrating our 42nd year of bringing South Louisiana to the slopes and we’re celebrating with a HUGE sale!

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The Backpacker opened in September 1974 at the North Gates of LSU where Highland Coffees now resides.  Our founder, Dale Mathews, had been bringing his friends from LSU skiing, camping and hiking in the mountains of Colorado and now they needed a great place to buy their own gear!

We are unloading our Winter Warehouse for our Birthday Sale! Buy one Clearance Item at 50% OFF and get a second Clearance Item FREE!!! (Thats right!) Saturday and Sunday ONLY!! You don’t want to miss this sale!!

Choose from a huge selection of clearance apparel and footwear at 50% OFF and get another clearance item FREE!*

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*Selected free clearance item must be less than or equal to original retail price of 50% OFF item.

Backpacker Flood Relief Final

Backpacker raises $17,000 to support Habitat for Humanity Louisiana Flood Relief Efforts

Local outdoor store, The Backpacker, raises over $17,000 for Habitat for Humanity flood relief and rebuilding efforts.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana-September 3, 2016.  Local outdoors store, The Backpacker organized a garage sale style “gear sale” on Saturday to raise funds for the ongoing Louisiana flood relief efforts.  Remembering the support offered by their vendors after Hurricane Katrina, The Backpacker staff began requesting donations of clothing, food, and medical kits shortly after the more recent Louisiana Flooding began to unfold.  Though some items arrived immediately and were distributed to shelters and directly to neighborhoods in Denham Springs, it was another week before apparel from brands such as Patagonia and The North Face began showing up and by this point many shelters were no longer accepting clothing donations.

After hearing stories of the difficulty many organizations faced in distributing the overwhelming amount of clothing donations after Hurricane Katrina, Backpacker General Manager Tyler Hicks had the idea of turning the items into cash.  “We were blown away that our vendors from around the country were willing to send us thousands of dollars worth of brand new high quality merchandise, no questions asked and this was at the beginning when the floods were barely getting any national media attention.  We felt like we had an obligation and opportunity to do something special and not just dump these items in donation boxes that were already overflowing.  We were already fans of the normal work Habitat does throughout the year, so when we heard they were helping strip flooded homes for those in need, we knew they were a great candidate for our support.”

A goal of $5000 was set but the donated merchandise kept coming.  “Throughout the week leading up to the event, we kept receiving another 6-8 boxes a day, each containing around 100 items.  We started wondering pretty quickly whether we had set our goal too low,” stated Hicks.

Shortly after the start of the Backpacker $5000 Flood Relief Gear Sale, a line of people 50 long formed to check out and didn’t dissipate for over an hour.  The $5000 goal was reached within the first hour and by the time the day ended, over 2000 items had been purchased raising a grand total of over $17,000.

The Backpacker plans to make equal donations of half of the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge and Habitat for Humanity of Lafayette.

Companies sending merchandise to support the flood relief efforts included Patagonia, The North Face, Fayettechill, Mountain Khakis, Toad & Co, Goal Zero, Pearl Frog, Guy Harvey, Darn Tough, Adventure Medical Kit, Osprey, Howler Bros, AO Coolers and Tasc.

Backpacker Flood Relief Sale Backpacker Flood Relief Final

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The Backpacker #WinRideTheBull Photo Contest!

The world’s largest kayak fishing tournament, Ride the Bull 7, is on August 27th, 2016!  

To celebrate, The Backpacker is sponsoring an Instagram photo contest with a grand prize of a Wilderness Systems Thresher fishing kayak!

 

WE WANT TO SEE YOUR RIDE THE BULL PICTURES!!

Anything Ride the Bull counts!   Show us how you pre-fish to prepare for Ride the Bull.  Do you have pictures from a previous Ride the Bull?  How do you rig your gear or your boat for Ride the Bull?  Who are you taking to Ride the Bull?  How do you plan to use your winnings?  Multiple photos can be entered.  ANYTHING “RIDE THE BULL” COUNTS**!

To enter the #WinRideTheBull photo contest, post your Ride the Bull picture on Instagram* and include these 3 tags @backpackeroutdoors,  #backpackerphotocontest and #winridethebull.  Winner will be chosen based upon combination of factors including originality, likes, shares, and whether or not you applied the tags as stated above**.

TIPS for increasing your chances to WIN:

  • Your Instagram account needs to be visible our judges.  Private accounts may be difficult to see.
  • Be original!
  • Make sure you get “@backpackeroutdoors #winridethebull #backpackerphotocontest” all into your post.  This could make or break the winning decision.
  • Email customerservice@backpackeroutdoors.com a link to your post and a copy of your picture to ensure that our judges can see your post.

Winner will be announced at awards ceremony for Ride the Bull 7 in Grand Isle, Louisiana on August 27.  Need not be present to win.

*Because images may not be easily found when posted to a private account, the best way for us to see your photo is to email it to customerservice@backpackeroutdoors.com.

**The Backpacker withholds the right to make final determination of winner.

*** Photos of an offensive nature or depicting dangerous acts will not be considered.  Winner will be chosen at Ride the Bull closing ceremonies.