On the Go: Transporting Inflatable Boards and Kayaks
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: SEAN MURPHY
We all love going out on the water with our various watercrafts, but real talk: transporting and storing them is a huge pain in the ass. Luckily for you, BOTE has spent the past several years developing the world’s best inflatable stand up paddle boards, and even more recently the best inflatable kayak, the LONO.
Here at BOTE, we always stick to the design principle that “we build gear for us” and during our adventures in product design, prototyping, and testing, we find that we travel A LOT and end up in places that require boards and kayaks to fit in tight spaces. Mode of transportation is also ever-changing. Airplanes, boats, cars, trucks, or mule... we never know what we are gonna hop into (or on the back of)!!
For this, there’s really only one reliable solution: inflatables. We’ve patented, tested and perfected our Aero Technology so that our inflatable paddle boards and inflatable kayaks can go from storage bag to fully functional watercraft in less than five minutes. Yeah, we know it sounds insane, but it’s also incredibly cool.
Seriously, if you want to know how to transport a paddle board or kayak in the easiest possible way — whether you’re heading to Nashville, the Caribbean or the remote Canadian wilderness — then you’ve got to get to know BOTE inflatable paddle boards and kayaks. Here’s why they make such amazing travel companions:
- They’re Compact — These babies aren’t bulky until you get to where you want them to be. They’re a breeze to transport in the wheeled travel bag and then easily transform into a fully functional kayak or standup paddle board in minutes.
- They’re Durable — Just because they’re portable doesn’t mean they’re flimsy. Our inflatable watercrafts are constructed from military-grade PVC that’s extremely durable and long-lasting. That means you can put them through the wringer on all your adventures, from baggage claim to whitewater excursion.
- They’re All-Modes-Friendly — Planes, trains, automobiles. Your BOTE goes too. In fact, our inflatable paddle boards and kayaks are specifically designed to be easy to take along as a piece of checked baggage without any crazy extra fees. They’re also small enough that they fit in the trunk or truck bed.
- They’re Full-Featured — When you travel for water adventures, you know that the gear can pile up fast. Our products are uniquely designed to hold all the basics and keep your load self-contained. Cooler, bucket, paddles, rod holders — there’s a spot for it all.
Where to Take Your Inflatable Watercraft
Over the years, some of our most memorable places our Aero paddle boards and kayaks have gone include:
Favorite “Off the Beaten Path” Destination
Flying with inflatable paddle boards is the ONLY way to go. Our inflatable boards and kayaks can be taken on most US domestic flights as checked luggage. The standard weight limit is 50 pounds. Between 51 and 70 pounds is $100 per bag. But once you get over 70 pounds, things can get really expensive. BOTE’s inflatable paddle boards and kayaks packed travel bags weight ranges from 42 to 70 pounds depending on which platform you choose, helping keep travel expenses reasonable.
Favorite Exotic Destination
Ambergris Caye, Belize
The crystal clear waters, pristine jungle landscapes and a variety of fish species make Belize a world renowned destination for fisherman and adventurers the world over. In cooperation with Cayo Frances Farm and Fly, BOTE has constructed a two bedroom, one bathroom cottage right in the middle of some of the best fishing grounds Belize has to offer. Surrounded by miles of untouched shallows and lagoons teaming with sought after game fish, specifically permit, bonefish and tarpon, BOTE stand-up paddleboards are the perfect watercraft to explore and fish the protected waters surrounding the camp.
“Belize is a paddler’s paradise. It’s simply hard to get to other than by flying. Once I discovered BOTE’s inflatable paddle boards, I knew I had to make the trip with one in tow. Flight to Belize City, puddle hopper to Ambergris Caye, golf cart ride from San Pedro Airport — it made it with no issue. Damn, I’m glad I found these!”
Favorite Vacation Destination
This destination is close to home for the BOTE crew, with the headquarters located just a few miles down the street from 30A. This 24-mile stretch of highway boasts some of the most beautiful white sand beaches along the Gulf Coast. We recommend renting a house with the family and spending a week to explore, but don’t forget your inflatable paddle board or kayak! No matter where you stay on 30A, you will find rare dune lakes, crystal clear Gulf waters and creeks to paddle and fish.
Some of our favorite spots are Grayton Beach and Seaside because there are so many places to paddle and you can get to them by bike. Don't worry about choosing between paddling and biking, your inflatable board can go with you on your Pedego bike.
Favorite Camping Destination
Catalina Island, California
Catalina Island’s 52 miles of coastline invite exploration and kayaking. Although you'll arrive by ferry, paddling around the island is what you'll want to do. Beginners discover the ease of paddling along the leeward side of the island and more experienced paddlers can challenge themselves with longer expeditions.
The best part is that, from your vantage point standing upright looking down into the water, you see everything. While this might seem merely incidental, it’s actually what makes stand up paddle boarding such a great way to observe the action below the surface. It’s common to see bright orange Garibaldi and numerous other types of fish. Once you paddle outside the harbor, dolphins and harbor seals are in range, and just might pay you a visit.
Favorite “Adrenaline Junkie” Destination
Green River, Utah
Flowing from Wyoming to Colorado, the Green River is a 730-mile winding watershed in the middle of the western wilderness. White water rapids and ripping winds are not uncommon on the Green River, making your watercraft one of your most important pieces of gear. One added bonus to the portability of BOTE’s inflatables: they are durable as hell.
You can paddle inflatable paddle boards while fly fishing for trout along the way. Put in at the base of the Flaming Gorge dam and head downriver for a multi-day excursion to experience some of the most beautiful scenery, big trout, fierce winds and intimidating rapids you may ever come across. Just don’t forget your PFD, leash and helmet!
Favorite City Destination
People really enjoy paddling in cities, quite frankly it can sometimes be more charming than nature (think Amsterdam or New York). But there are a lot of people who don’t have the luxury of a full four-car garage or the use of a large vehicle. Inflatable paddle boards can easily fit into the trunk of a midsize or even compact car, and they can also be stored in a closet in your apartment. Hell, you can even call an Uber, toss your board in the back and have them drop you off at the dock! Now, you no longer have to wait for that annual beach or lake trip to go paddling.
Nashville is nestled in the rolling hills of the Cumberland Plateau and is in close proximity to many beautiful rivers and streams.
Favorite Sightseeing Destination
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Antelope Canyon is world-renowned for its incredible slot canyon, but few have seen it from the water. The paddle begins at Lake Powell — a crystal blue lake surrounded by giant rock walls. Eventually, you will turn into Antelope Canyon and see the beautiful red cliffs surrounding you. The further you paddle through the deep canyon, the walls begin to narrow — a space fit for only paddlers.
Inflatable paddle boards also allow people to paddle remote destinations accessible by foot. Most of our inflatable boards fit in a backpack, so the paddler can hike the distance needed to get to that “hard to reach” spot that only they know about.