NewsIdaho Back Roads


River gear is in short supply because of COVID-19

Posted at 4:09 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 18:09:55-04

BOISE, Idaho — "The global supply chain is broken and by broken I mean it is shattered," said Bryan Dingel of NRS in Moscow, Idaho. "There is no wizard behind the curtain that knows what’s going on."

It's an issue the outdoor industry is facing right from river gear, to camping equipment and bikes, but Idaho is known as the whitewater state.

Northwest River Supply has helped people get the gear they need to enjoy Idaho rivers for nearly 50 years, but they have several items that are out of stock including most of their raft frames.

"We manufacture our frames in Moscow but the aluminum is extruded in Taiwan, the ingots come from Thailand and the box sight comes from Dubai," said Dingel. "It's a global supply chain and it just takes one thing to slow everything down."

The pandemic has affected different parts of the world in different ways and currently, there is a bottleneck of ships waiting their turn to unload in California.

"You and I could talk for hours on why this has happened," said Dingel. "Factories have shut down, shipping lanes shuttered but some segments of the economy things have gone absolutely ballistic and that’s the outdoor sector."

So with demand at an all-time high and a struggling supply chain Idaho River Sports in Boise has been on the phone for months working to secure whatever gear they can find.

"It has been a real challenge chasing product and finding gear," said Stan Colby at Idaho River Sports. "We have never had anything like this and never expected it, outdoor gear was always easy to get but those days are gone."

But thanks to their persistence Idaho River Sports does have a good collection of river gear on their shelves, they just got a shipment of boats and they will continue to rent paddleboards, kayaks and rafts this summer.

However, Idaho River Sports doesn't believe their boats and gear will stay on the shelves long and they advise people who need gear to get it sooner rather than later.

“If you are thinking about getting on the water this summer you should be in here now because by June you might not be able to find anything to float on, said Colby.

Outfitters like Idaho River Sports have already placed their orders with companies like NRS to secure gear for 2022, but it isn't likely that they will be able to get more gear during the summer.