Watercraft That Break Down and Blow up for Compact Carry, Ideal for RVers
Camping means different things to different people, but one thing’s for sure: Being out on the water is a high priority for RVers who like to experience the outdoors. Nature just gets right up in your face when you are exploring on the water. You witness things that can’t be seen from a campsite or trail.
The trick for the RV crowd is finding a way to transport that kayak, pontoon boat, stand-up paddleboard or what-have-you when you’re already storing all of your camping supplies. Don’t worry — there are plenty of great options for boating with inflatable, foldable and modular watercraft that make a remarkably small footprint when it’s time to pack.
With so many ways to go these days, we can give you only a sampling from some of the best manufacturers in the business. Peruse these companies’ websites and you’ll discover additional options that may be just right for you.
Aire Tributary Tomcat Tandem
Aire offers a host of inflatables that can be stowed in an RV or tow vehicle, from river rafts to catarafts to stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) and everything in between. Aire’s Tributary Tomcat Tandem is ideal for those looking for a two-person inflatable kayak that’s very stable and has extra room for gear. The Tomcat is surprisingly high-performance with its heavy-duty PVC outer shell, double-topstitched seams, 20-gauge vinyl bladders and superfast drain system. Easy for two to navigate, the kayak also works for a single paddler and a stash of gear.
The hard bottom of the inflatable Aquaglide Columbia Two HB gives it excellent performance, and it’s just as comfortable as a recreational touring kayak. The 6- to 12-psi high-pressure floor is rigid and stable and combines with a removable fin and long waterline for outstanding tracking. Constructed of commercial grade hull material blended with rugged 600-denier polyester, the 400-pound-capacity kayak accommodates up to two paddlers. Front and rear spray guards keep occupants dry, and bungee deck lacing means gear is close at hand.
Hobie Mirage i14T
Hobie manufactures 10 different inflatable kayaks. On top of that Hobie invented the stand up pedalboard, a fascinating hybrid between a SUP and an elliptical machine. The double-scissor action of two underwater fins are powered by the big leg muscles for pedal propulsion rather than just the smaller arm muscles.
Sea Eagle Sport Kayaks
Fast and light, Sea Eagle FastTrack kayaks have a sleek, curved shape and a state-of-the-art NeedleKnife keel. The high-pressure drop-stitch floor provides rigidity to the whole structure (you can even use the kayak as a stand-up paddleboard), making it very responsive to paddle strokes. The 1,000-denier hull material is extremely tough (visit Sea Eagle’s website to see them pound on it with a claw hammer). The rear skeg keeps the kayak headed on course but can be removed for whitewater.
Bergans of Norway Ally
Bergans’ versatile folding canoe comfortably fits a family with two children or two paddlers and plenty of gear. The Ally is wilderness-ready because of its strong and resilient skin and reinforced bottom. The closed-cell foam pad acts as a shock absorber with a slightly flexing hull and offers a high level of buoyancy along with effective thermal insulation. Different hull shapes are available for a variety of conditions — for example, a straight keel for high speeds on flat water and a slight rocker for stability and large payloads on river expeditions.
“The Original Origami kayak,” the Oru Kayak needs no roof rack to be toted around. It folds up like a briefcase and starts at just 20 lbs. Made of durable corrugated plastic, the Oru Kayak comes in five different models made for various water conditions.
Folding Boat K-Pak
The Folding Boat Company’s patented K-Pak design provides a compromise between a rigid hull and an inflatable. By combining the best attributes of both, the K-Pak offers a utilitarian boat that is very comfortable, stable, easy to assemble and weighs only 18 pounds. The boat’s aluminum frame folds inside the outer skin to just 37 inches. It fits into its own backpack, and setup takes about five minutes.
Sea Eagle FoldCat
The patented folding frame of the Sea Eagle FoldCat assembles in a quick five minutes. It provides a full floor for more usable space than in ordinary pontoon fishing boats and a “safety net” to catch dropped gear. For stability, two super-buoyant 16-inch pontoons are spaced widely apart. The motor mount can take up to a 3-horsepower engine. Two 360-degree swivel seats offer plenty of back support, and generous cushions make waiting for the fish more comfortable. Up to four rod holders can be mounted in predrilled holes on two benches.
How would you like a rowboat one day and a sailboat the next? Expandacraft is a modular boat system that allows you to quickly reconfigure from one type of watercraft to another and then break it down for easy storage. Purchase the $100 hull sections separately to build your own craft or buy a ready-made sit-on-top vessel for $750 and up. Kits are available for sailing, rowing, pedal power and more. Each section is 4 feet long and 10 inches at its widest point. The Solo 12 can handle a 240-pound load, while the Tandem 16 can float up to 450 pounds.
The success of Swedish company Point 65˚N’s popular modular kayaks led to development of its stand-up paddleboards. The 11.5-foot Rum Runner is a take-apart SUP with three sections that snap together in seconds and transport easily in an RV or tow vehicle. The displacement hull makes it a fast and straight-tracking board for paddling on flat or choppy water. Rotomolded polyethylene construction provides both strength and impact resistance. The Rum Runner has two built-in cup holders and a carrying capacity of 265 pounds. Each section weighs less than 15 pounds, and the combined weight is less than 36 pounds.
The take-apart Snap Tandem is a high-performance sit-on-top kayak that’s exceptionally easy to store, carry and put together. Made of blow-molded durable polyethylene, the Snap is easy to handle, both in and out of the water. The kayak’s modularity allows it to turn into a solo boat simply by removing the midsection. Add a second midsection, and it’s a triple. The patent-pending Snap-Tap system is strong and comfortable, with grooves and hooks that hold it all together. The kayak has drink holders, contoured foot braces and great back support.