Table Tennis, Anyone?

The warmer months of spring and summer are great for a game of tennis outside. But what do you do when the temperatures drop and the snow starts falling? You bring the tennis inside with table tennis!
 
A report by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association shows that people of all ages enjoy playing table tennis, and it continues to maintain its popularity. It can even be a great way to get physical activity for everyone in the home! And you don’t have to be an experienced athlete to play.
 
You don’t have to give up tennis in the winter! Get yourself and your family a table tennis table at Dunham’s Sports so you can keep the fun going all year long.
“Table tennis is a great recreational sport for all ages and skill levels and is perfect for the upcoming winter months when you want an indoor activity that really heats things up,” said Nick Martin of Escalade Sports.
 
Find the Table for You
 
Escalade Sports offers its line of Prince tables at Dunham’s Sports, with all new options for this season. You can find options with different table thickness, apron thickness, leg size and wheel size. And there are plenty of options to fit your preference! Prince tables also have a mode so that you can play on your own.
 
“Table tennis is great for families that are looking for an alternative activity to video games and TV that gets kids up and moving and interacting with one another,” said Martin.
 
One new model available at Dunham’s is the Prince Evolution. This is the most premium model offered at Dunham’s. It has a 1-inch black top, a 2.5-inch steel apron, 2-inch steel legs and 5-inch rubber wheels. It also has a storage tray for balls and paddles. The Prince Fusion Elite also offers paddle and ball storage, along with a 0.75-inch black top, a 2-inch steel apron, 2-inch steel legs and 3-inch wheels.
 
Also available is the Prince Sport. This table features a 0.5-inch black top, 0.75-inch metal apron, 1-inch legs and 2-inch wheels with locks. The Prince Champ is also new. It has paddle and ball storage, a 0.625-inch top, a 1.5-inch metal apron, 1.5-inch metal legs and 2-inch wheels.
 
If you live in a climate where you can be comfortable outside in the winter—or you just really love the snow!—you can check out the Prince Element Outdoor, with a composite aluminum tabletop suitable for any weather. This model also has a metal apron, 1.5-inch legs, 4-inch wheels with locks and an all-weather net and post. The wheels are durable so the table can be moved over different terrains.
 
“All of the Prince table tennis tables in the Dunham’s line would be great for a family home,” said Martin. “This line offers a range of performance characteristic to fit any family’s budget.”
 
To go with your Prince table, you can pick up new balls and paddles at Dunham’s as well!
 
Don’t let the winter blues get you down. Get going with a table tennis table at Dunham’s Sports!
 
-Fun For All Ages
 
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Got two Paddles… Where’s the Creek?

Summer is all about getting physical activity while enjoying the beauty and pleasure of the outdoors. One great way to get your exercise and experience the beauty of Mother Nature is to go canoeing.
 
Mark Palinsky, of Old Town Canoe and Kayak Co., said that families should consider what kind of canoe trip they want before they head out. Does your family want a long trip or short one? He said that making a decision about how long the trip will be is probably the most important decision to make. If your family is new to canoeing and not used to camping, start with a day trip and work your way toward weekend adventures.
 
You should also consider how experienced everyone in your family or travel party is when it comes to canoeing. It is important to look for bodies of water that will match up with the skill level of everyone involved. That way, no one gets left out of the fun! Palinsky suggests that beginners and families stay away from rivers that have class-numbered rapids, as the weather and other factors can increase a river’s class at any time. Canoeing a river that is out of your skill level could be very dangerous.
 
One other word of advice from Palinsky—buy an extra paddle. It’s a $20 investment that could save your whole trip!
 
Noel Basque of Pelican International Inc., also said families should consider the skill level of their group. Trips of just a few hours would be more appropriate for beginners. The proper equipment, including life vests, an extra paddle, water, food, and rain gear, is also a must. Camping gear and waterproof bags should be brought as well if you are in for a longer trip.
 
“Paddling is a great family adventure,” Basque said. “Beginners should always do short paddles first to get used to the canoe and to assure that they are comfortable in their abilities.”
 
There are guides you can check out to see what to expect from certain rivers. Check a bookstore or look online for guides related to your travel destination’s canoeing opportunities. You certainly will not have to travel far to find a suitable canoeing spot. There are popular canoe destinations in every corner of the country!
 
“Rivers don’t have to be big or long to be pleasurable for an afternoon,” Palinsky said. “Almost all states have some good water.”
 
Basque suggests www.americancanoe.org to find more information on rivers and lakes in your area. He says there are spots to canoe all over the U.S.A. You just have to go out and find them!
 
You could also go to travel sites such as TripAdvisor to seek out canoeing destinations. Senior Public Relations Specialist at TripAdvisor Julie Cassetina suggests looking at TripAdvisor’s Inspiration page where you can filter your destination with keywords such as “adventure.” Get just what you want out of your canoeing trip.
 
Cassetina also suggests looking for the TripAdvisor Forums. There you can find Destination Experts. These Destination Experts are well versed in the areas they represent and they can help guide you to the best canoeing wherever you are headed.
 
What better way to make the most of a canoe trip this summer than to get some new equipment? Or perhaps you are buying an additional canoe to add to your fleet. Either way, you’re in luck! Old Town and Pelican canoes are available at Dunham’s.
 
The Saranac 146 is one of Old Town’s most popular canoes and made in the United States. It features seats with high backrests, has a center seat that can fit one adult or two small children and offers molded-in rod, drink holders and storage compartments. Molded-in carrying handles are located on the bow and stern of the canoe. To top it all off, the Saranac 146 is available for an affordable price.
 
“The Saranac is a light, affordable and, most importantly, comfortable stable canoe for recreational paddling,” Palinsky said.
 
You can find the Pelican 15.5 at Dunham’s, which features three molded bench seats, vertical rod holders and drink holders. It even offers the convenience of hull and stern carrying handles.
 
Don’t get stuck up a creek without a paddle. Head to your local Dunham’s Sports, and find canoe equipment that works great for you and your entire family!
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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Taking on the Great Outdoors

While some outdoor sports are relaxing, others are invigorating. Tramping through the woods, hunting wild game, paddling upstream — they’re all activities that not only entertain but get your heart rate up as well. Let’s take a look at some activities geared toward the more adventurous outdoor types among us, along with some tailor-made gift ideas. 
 
Dashing Through the Snow
 
Snowshoeing is America’s fastest growing winter sport. That’s not surprising, since this odd and ancient footgear, which can resemble an oversized tennis racket, is a great way to venture forth into places where others don’t dare tread. That means getting away from the crowd and enjoying nature at its most pristine.
 
Snowshoes are as old as recorded history itself, going back all the way to about 4000 B.C. or earlier, and first coming to this continent with Asian adventurers who crossed the Bering Strait and settled in Alaska — long before Europeans got the bug to travel.
 
So how difficult is snowshoeing? Can you walk? If the answer is yes, then you can snowshoe. At its most basic, the sport involves nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other with snowshoes on your feet. But in truth, efficient snowshoeing does require a technique that is somewhat different than walking in ordinary shoes. When walking in snowshoes, it’s best to lift each shoe a bit and slide the inner edge over the inner edge of the other shoe. If the shoes don’t overlap a bit when you stride, you’ll be forced to walk with a bowlegged gate that can be taxing.
 
While ancient snowshoes were made from wood and leather, most of today’s snowshoes are made with aluminum, plastic and various synthetic materials. But the idea is the same: the snowshoe gives walkers a big footprint, so they won’t quickly sink into the snow. Because snowshoes distribute body weight over a large area, even soft snow can provide adequate support for walking.
 
The health benefits of snowshoeing are multiple. First, it’s good aerobic exercise that can keep your heart rate up for an extended period of time. What’s more, it improves leg muscle tone, and if trekking poles are used, it can improve upper body fitness as well.
 
Bill LaPierre of Yukon Charlie’s, a major supplier of high quality snowshoe equipment, recommends using poles, since they can help you remain stable and upright on challenging terrain, while reducing the burden on your knees. Dunham’s carries a wide range of Yukon Charlie’s snowshoe gear.
 
Snowshoes are available in a variety of lengths and widths. The larger snowshoes are for bigger people and more difficult conditions. Children’s sizes are also available. In addition to various sizes, snowshoes come in a range of styles, each designed for a particular type of hiking. Aerobic or running snowshoes are small and light and are not meant for wilderness hiking. Recreational snowshoes are larger than the aerobic models, and are great for moderate walks. Mountaineering snowshoes are the largest. They usually have a long tail and are meant for long-distance trips and serious hill climbing.  A Dunham’s sales consultant can help you choose the size and type of snowshoe that’s right for you and every member of your family. 
 
Hoofing It
 
Most winter sports require some heavy-duty foot protection. And while some, such as skiing, call for purpose-built footwear, for many activities a pair of high-quality insulated boots can keep you warm and on the move. In fact, for those whose idea of great winter sport is a hike through the woods on a snowy day, boots and warm clothing are all the equipment that’s necessary. Of course a good boot is essential gear for hunters as well.
 
Winter hikes are an activity that the entire family can enjoy. Because only minimal gear is needed, it won’t break the bank. Hunting has also become more of a family activity in recent years, as parents strive to teach their offspring the value of self-sufficiency, while experiencing the joys of outdoor activity and skill development.
 
While a variety of boots that claim to be waterproof and insulated are available, not all are created equal. Nothing ruins a nice afternoon hike or a winter hunting trip faster than cold feet. Dunham’s carries several types of heavy-duty insulated boots that can keep your tootsies warm in the most severe conditions.
 
For men, the Rocky Jasper Trac Insulated Pac Boot is a superb choice. With a polar-trac outsole for great grip, a removable three-ply liner, 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, and guaranteed waterproof construction, this boot is ready to take on old-man winter.
 
The Itasca Snowbird Boot is a popular choice for the ladies. This heavy-duty insulated boot is great for hunting and other winter activities. Dunham’s also carries boots for the kids. Ask your sales representative to help you find the winter footwear that’s right for your outdoor activities. 
 
Safe, Not Sorry
 
While most hunters think of gear in terms of what they’ll be taking out to the field, a good gun safe is a critical piece of equipment for every hunter.
 
Gun ownership carries with it a measure of responsibility. In the home, the only safe weapon is one that is stored in such a way that it can’t be accessed by an intruder or curious child. And the best way to ensure that your guns are secure is to lock them in a safe. Of course, a good safe has other uses as well, such as the storage of precious metals, jewelry, cash, and important documents.
 
A small safe is okay for cash and handguns, but for long-gun hunting weapons, a fairly large safe is necessary. However, many modern safes are designed to economize space by allowing for alternate rows of barrel up and barrel down storage.
 
Plan carefully before choosing a safe. Consider possible future needs as well as current requirements. Fire and water protection should also enter into your decision. ETL ratings are an assurance of fire protection, but waterproofing can be important as well, particularly if you live in a flood zone. Your Dunham’s representative can help you decide what kind of safe best meets your requirements.
 
Among Dunham’s most popular safes is the Stack-On Elite Gun Convertible Fire Safe. With storage for up to 24 long guns, the safe features reinforced steel doors and five large live-action locking bolts. An additional three solid-steel dead bolts secure the hinge side of the door. It’s a safe that will protect your weapons and provide peace of mind.
 
 Paddle the Day Away
 
Kayaking is a water sport the entire family can enjoy. Few outdoor sports offer as big a return in fun for as small an investment. And because kayaks are light and compact, they’re easy to store and transport.  
 
While kayaks are well suited to hunting and fishing, they’re now used primarily for recreational boating. And in comparison to other watercraft, kayaks are a bargain. For example, KL Industries eight- and ten-foot Water Quest Kayaks are very stable and come with padded seats and storage. And they’re available at Dunham’s.
 
Other very affordable choices are the Pelican Ultimate 100 and Escape 100 kayaks. These boats turn and track with the best of them, yet they’re stable and easy to paddle. Ask your Dunham’s sales representative to help you choose the kayak that’s best matched to your needs.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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KAYAK — TO WHERE THE FISH ARE

Fishing from kayaks has exploded in popularity over the past decade, and for good reason. These small personal watercraft offer several advantages to the angler over conventional boats — no need for a boat launch, no noisy motor to scare the fish, and a nimbleness that lets you get into those tight spots where fish like to hide and where typical fishing boats won’t fit.
 
It’s Personal
 
It would be hard to find a more personal outdoor activity than paddling a single-seat kayak (two- and four-seat kayaks are also available). You propel yourself and go exactly where you want to go, which gives you the freedom to escape the crowds and find nature on your own terms.
 
That personal character of a kayak is something to keep in mind when buying one.
 
You will be spending a lot of time in (or on) it, so be sure it fits you and you are completely comfortable. Lucian Gazel runs a kayak fishing guide service on the Great Lakes, and he says you can do that without actually putting a kayak in the water. “In the store, you can sit in the kayak, get a paddle and move your arms and you can tell right away if you’re too restricted or if you have a good fit.”
 
Your individual needs go beyond just how the kayak fits, however. Where you will use the kayak and where you will fish are also important. If you’ll primarily fish in open water — large lakes — then stability may be more important. If you’ll spend most of your time on rivers and smaller lakes, then mobility and nimbleness may be bigger priorities.
 
Accessorizing Your Kayak
 
While kayaks are able to go where conventional fishing boats can’t, their relative smaller size means a whole different strategy on carrying your fishing “stuff.” Space is at a premium, and you have to carefully plan how you’ll carry rods, reels, tackle, bait and all the other gear you can just throw into a fishing boat.
 
So, what do you need and where do you put it? The experts agree that the key is to start slow. “I wouldn’t buy any kind of fishing accessory for a kayak until I’ve had the kayak in the water at least 3 or 4 times,” says Gazel. “The mistake kayak rookies often make is they put their rod holder in a place that interferes with their paddling. The problem is, once you’ve drilled that hole, you’re pretty well stuck with it.”
 
There are numerous accessories for the kayak angler — rod holders, storage for bait and fish, tackle boxes, running lights, anchors, drift chutes, seatbacks, paddle keepers, fish finders — the list goes on and on.
 
Kayak veterans say newcomers should keep things simple, at least at first. All you really need is a rod holder. Then, after a few trips you can adapt your kayak fishing gear to your own experiences. There’s plenty of time to stock up on your “toys.”
 
Catching Fish from a Kayak
 
Kayaks give you a built-in advantage of “stealth” fishing, and the ability to go just about anywhere the fish are. Still, there are different techniques for fishing from a kayak.
 
Trolling — Just as with a conventional boat, but you can troll in tighter areas. You drift with the current or paddle, dragging a lure or bait.
 
Drifting — You can drift in the general direction of a structure. Put away your paddle and use a rudder to steer.
 
Side Saddle — From a sit-on-top kayak, this is an excellent technique in shallow water where you can see bottom. You can control the kayak without a paddle, using your feet to “walk” across the bottom.
 
Poling and Standing — Standing lets you see down in the water for excellent sight-casting. Obviously, this takes a very stable craft in calm waters. You can use a pole to propel yourself.
 
Fly Fishing — Easier in a sit-inside kayak, because you’ve got a perfect place to store a stripped fly line.
 
Wade Fishing — You can anchor the kayak, or you can tie yourself to it with a bowline.
 
Once you’ve fished from a kayak, you may never go back to the “old” way. And you may also find you spend plenty of time in your kayak without a fishing rod, simply enjoying nature.
 
CHOOSING A KAYAK PADDLE
 
Choosing the right paddle is very important — you’re going to be using that paddle virtually every moment you’re in the kayak. Lucian Gazel’s advice is simple: “Buy the most expensive paddle you can afford.”
 
3 Paddle Characteristics
 
Blade Length and Shape
 
A wider blade has more surface area and can provide more acceleration, but will also require more effort. Feathered blades have the blades turned at an angle to one another (rather than parallel). This allows a more efficient stroke as the blade that is not in the water is leading into the wind with its narrow edge instead of the flat side, for less wind resistance. However, additional wrist turning is required, so a compromise for novice paddlers is a collapsible paddle that can be adjusted for feathered or unfeathered use.
 
A spooned paddle has a curled or cupped face that increases the power of a stroke, while a dihedral paddle has a type of tapered nose in the middle of the face that helps direct water around the paddle.
 
Shaft Length and Shape
 
Length is important based on your size, the size of the kayak and the paddle effort desired. While most paddle shafts are straight, there are several bent-shaft models that may increase a paddler’s comfort as well as provide for a stronger, more efficient stroke.
 
Materials
 
The materials used to construct the paddle will determine its weight, durability and flexibility. Paddles may be made of fiberglass, plastic, aluminum, graphite, Kevlar, carbon or good-old-fashioned wood. Each type has its own feel as to weight and flex. Where you kayak is also important. If you primarily use rivers, streams and small lakes, you are more likely to run into rocks, trees and other debris, so durability is more important than if you primarily kayak in open water.
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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Four Thousand Years Old, Getting Better Every Day

The kayak may be one of the world’s oldest watercrafts, but the latest designs show a lot of fresh thinking.
 
Kayaking is one of today’s fastest growing recreational activities, but the kayak is not a new concept. The first kayaks were built over 4,000 years ago by some of the first inhabitants of North America — indigenous residents of the Arctic region. Made of animal skins and driftwood, these early boats were ideal transportation for a hunter who wished to navigate frigid waterways in search of dinner.
 
A wide variety of kayaks are available today, and thanks to many years of development and advanced design techniques, the venerable watercraft is now a superb way for one or more adventurers to explore the world’s waters.
 
Recreational Kayaking
 
While kayaks are still used for fishing or hunting, recreational paddling has become the most popular activity of kayak enthusiasts, and boats designed specifically for that role are widely available. Recreational kayaks provide go-anywhere freedom, and because they move almost silently, they are a comfortable fit in a wilderness environment.
 
According to Mark Palinsky of Old Town Kayaks, today’s recreational kayaks are engineered with plenty of stability and gear capacity. Made of tough space-age plastics and easy to control, recreational kayaks are well suited to leisurely exploration of lakes and rivers. Because modern kayaks are roomy and provide easy entry and exit, the sport imposes no boundaries. Kayaking is enjoyed by young and old alike, and unlike most recreational activities, men and women participate in equal numbers.
 
The most common type of recreational kayak is the 10- to 14-foot sit-in design, where a single occupant sits in a comfortable padded seat that is positioned below the kayak’s deck. According to Lisa Senecal of Pelican International, sit-in kayaks are more popular than sit-on-top designs, because the paddler is better protected from spray. That makes a difference when the water is uncomfortably cold.
 
Today’s better recreational kayaks are equipped with a number of hatches for stowing equipment,  bulkheads that can help keep compartments dry, handles for carrying the kayak, adjustable foot braces, thigh pads, and perhaps even a cup holder for your favorite beverage.
 
Variations on a Theme
 
While recreational kayaks are today’s best sellers, other types are available as well.
 
Whitewater kayaks are specialized watercraft, and you’ve probably seen them shooting the rapids on television.Short and maneuverable, they work best when pushed by a fast-moving stream. Because whitewater kayaking can be challenging, it requires training and preparation.
 
Touring kayaks are another configuration. Very long and less maneuverable than a recreational kayak, they are capable of higher speed on open water. Touring kayaks are usually about 16 feet or more in length and can rapidly cover a lot of water, so they’re a great choice for a long trip across a bay or large lake. Many are designed for two or three occupants and include plenty of gear-stowage room. Some touring kayaks have rudders to assist in control and an upturned bow to deflect waves. At rest, they are generally not as stable as recreational kayaks.
 
Kayaks designed for fishing are lightweight and extremely stable. They can include features like rod holders, mounts for electronic gear, a means of securing the paddle, and an anchor system.
 
Sit-on-top kayaks are exactly what the name suggests. Rather than sitting within the hull, the paddler sits on top of the hull. Because this raises the center of gravity, sit-on-top kayaks are wider than traditional kayaks in order to gain stability. They are popular with scuba divers who want to easily get in and out of the water. They are also the choice of some fishermen, who like the freedom of movement that this kayak provides. The latest designs are almost unsinkable and are a great choice for those who want to play on and in the water.
 
Inflatable Kayaks are usually made of hypalon, polyvinyl chloride, or polyurethane-coated cloth. Because they can be deflated and folded, they are easily carried to a destination. A pump is required for inflation. Electric pumps that connect to a vehicle’s electrical system are a common choice.
 
What’s New?
 
“The kayak market is beginning to see the emergence of recreational kayaks that are slightly modified so that they can be used as touring kayaks for longer trips,” said Pelican’s Lisa Senecal. She added that people are increasingly looking for increased comfort in the way of padded ergonomically designed seats, dry storage and bulkheads that form watertight compartments.
 
Old Town’s Palinsky said that improved water-resistant hatches are featured on some newer kayaks. For example, his company recently introduced a Quick Seal hatch design on its Dirigo series kayaks. The hatch features gasket technology that is very resistant to water.
 
Kayaking Paddles
 
Kayak paddles are made in a variety of styles and of various materials, including aluminum, plastic, fiberglass and carbon fiber. Aluminum paddle shafts with plastic blades are light and inexpensive, and are a popular choice. Carbon fiber paddles are rigid and lightweight, but they are expensive. While not as light or rigid as carbon paddles, fiberglass paddles are also very high quality, and they can be more affordable.
 
Many paddles offer blade-angle adjustment. Varying the angle can change the amount of effort required to pull the blade through the water.
 
Kayaking Accessories
 
As the popularity of kayaking grew, the list of accessories expanded, but some are more necessary than others. For example, a personal flotation device, or PFD, is an absolute requirement. In addition, most kayakers don’t want to be without a dry bag — a watertight sack that protects your cargo if water enters the hatch. Fishing-related accessories are quite popular. Among these are swivel rod holders and anchor kits that will adapt a recreational kayak for angling.  Other available extras include carry straps, seat cushions, tie-down devices, worktables and more.
 
Paddle to that Special Place
 
It doesn’t take a large investment or a lot of skill to enjoy kayaking. Perhaps that’s why the sport has grown so rapidly. A kayak on your favorite lake or stream gives you freedom to wander that most other types of watercraft can’t match. So strap those kayaks to the roof of your car and head off to the great outdoors. That special place awaits you.
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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