Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The Halkett boat, designed by Lieutenant Peter Halkett during the 1840's, was lightweight and inflatable and primarily used for Canadian exploration.  The main idea behind the boat is that it was light enough to be carried over difficult terrain but tough enough to be used in extreme conditions (i.e. the Canadian Artic).

The first design was a one man boat, aka the boat-cloak, made of macintosh india-rubber cloth.  When deflated the boat could be worn as a waterproof cloak, the oar became a walking stick, and the sail could be used as an umbrella.

Halkett later designed a larger two-man version that folded into a knapsack. Similar to the first design it had multiple uses.  When deflated the boat served as a waterproof blanket to allow the users to camp on wet ground.  Unfortunately, the boat-cloak was never commercially successful and there's only one original Halkett boat left in existence.

Fast forward to the 21st century and the "packraft" is really making waves with the outdoors/adventure crowd.  Check out the product line by Alpacka rafts and you will see some striking similarities.  I know my future includes owning a packraft!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Last Friday I drove up to Waitsfield, VT with some cycling buddies for some dirt road riding in the Sugarbush area.  That night we met up with some local cyclists for dinner at the Reservoir followed by a round of drinks at a great brew pub called the Alchemist.  If you make it to the Alchemist try the Heretic...delicious.

Saturday we did a 68 mile loop with 80% dirt roads and climbed the Roxbury and Rochester gaps.  That night we had dinner at the original Flatbread Kitchen.  Wine and pizza aplenty.  Sunday we did an easy 30 miler so we could head back to Northwest CT at a decent hour.  Therefore, we had enough time to stop at the Harpoon Brewery on the way home.  Great weekend!

One of the guys in my group took some photos and put together a short video.  Thanks Brent!