Going Rogue in the Karma RG

Multi-day trips are a big deal in the Pacific Northwest. It’s as if every paddler here has done at least one. Multi-day trips were more of a sea kayaking thing while I was living in the Southeast, but even those rarely extended beyond two days. It wasn’t often that I’d hear about someone doing a self-support trip in their kayak (aside from the Grand Canyon). Trips like the Grand Canyon, Middle Fork of the Salmon, Rogue River, Snake River, Main Salmon, and more are part of everyday conversation with paddlers in the PNW.

 

The Jackson Kayak Karma RG. I have owned this kayak for a couple of years now and had not yet taken it on a multi-day trip, one of the primary use cases for the RG. I bought it for whitewater downriver racing and rock gardening, but I find this kayak to be a wonderful kayak for multi-day whitewater trips. Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I expect to get a whole lot more use out of this kayak.

 

Storage. The Karma RG features a back hatch with a semi-dry bulkhead allowing for quick access and easy packing of multi-day gear. It was easy to pack a full tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, food, water, and extra clothes in the stern of the boat. Having the bow deck lines made it easy to carry a breakdown paddle without taking up too much space in the back of the boat. I was able to pack everything I needed for the trip to stay safe and comfortable without using the extra space behind the front bulkhead. This gave me plenty of confidence to pursue longer multi-day trips in the Karma RG. Having the decklines also made it easy to bring a deck bag for my map, permit, and snacks.

Suns out, guns out. I miss the warm, sunny days while paddling in the southeast. Paddling the Rogue River during the summer offered a combination of warm air and water temperatures. I was able to shed my dry suit and just wear a thin layer to protect my pale skin from the sun rays. The Rogue River offers beautiful views, fun side hikes, and plenty of riverside camping. A couple of my favorite experiences included observing a black bear and her cubs, soaking in the views in Mule Creek Canyon, and hiking to and experiencing a natural waterslide.

Maneuverability. Rainie Falls is a tricky rapid. I decided to take the middle line which is a sequence of tight drops and would test the agility of the Karma RG. The Karma RG performed wonderfully, but on one of the drops I decided to plug it instead of boof it and probably found the one piton rock on the entire river. It was a moment like this that made me appreciate two of the Karma RG’s safety features, the Uni Shock bulkhead system and being easy to roll. I didn’t feel a thing even though I pitoned hard enough to cause a dimple in the bow of my boat and I was able to roll up with ease in a very tight area. This may have been a different situation if I were in some of those hybrid kayaks with footpegs instead of bulkheads.

The skeg. The Rogue River features miles of flatwater and the skeg on the Karma RG comes in handy to keep the kayak tracking forward. It is super easy to deploy and retract while paddling, which was I greatly appreciated while paddling through the surging eddy lines and boils of the rapids of Mule Creek Canyon.

Convenience and comfort. Like the skeg, everything on the Jackson Kayak Karma RG is easily adjustable. I could easily adjust the back band between sections of flat water and whitewater. It was also just as easy to adjust the Uni Shock bulkhead system to tighten up for more control or loosen to relax a bit.

The Karma RG is a great all-around kayak for all sorts of adventures. Whether you’re looking for a kayak to take to the lake, surf waves, traverse rock gardens, compete in a race, or navigate whitewater rapids, the Karma RG can help you to have the once-in-a-lifetime experiences on the water that inspire you. It’s easy to paddle, easy to roll, and easy to pack for multi-day trips like the Rogue River. See you on the water!

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