Inflatable paddle boards have a big advantage over hard boards in that they are easier to carry and travel with. That said, if you’re new to paddleboarding, you may not yet know all of the tricks of the trade. Below, we give you lots of tips on how to transport an inflatable SUP…
1. How to Carry an Inflatable SUP in a Backpack:
First of all, you can carry your paddleboard in a large SUP backpack. Many inflatable boards include these heavy duty carriers, so you don’t have to go out and buy one separately.
These backpacks come in handy for traveling on planes, hiking to remote locations or using public transportation.
You can also use them to transport your board down to the waterfront from your car, since they can be easier to carry rolled up than inflated as a 10 of 12 foot long SUP.
Note: Backpacks typically can also hold your paddle, air pump, leash, fins and other paddling gear (in addition to your SUP).
2. Transporting an Inflatable SUP on a Roof Rack/Truck Bed:
If you have a large vehicle, like an SUV, truck or van, you may be able to transport your SUP fully inflated. Therefore, you don’t have to pump up your SUP when you get to the water.
For example, some people lay their SUPs in the bed of their trucks and secure the board with tie down straps or ratcheting straps. Simply load your inflatable into your truck like you would a hard foam or fiberglass board.
And if you’re driving a short distance in your town to a lake, river or bay, you may be able to strap the SUP to roof racks on your vehicle. That said, I don’t suggest this for longer distances or highway driving.
Note: Another advantage that inflatable SUPs have over their hard-shell counterparts is that you can “lock” them in your car. In other words, you can deflate them and stick them in your vehicle if you decide to stop somewhere for lunch, etc… Therefore, you don’t have to worry about it getting stolen.
3. What to Look for in a Travel SUP:
When you shop for a travel SUP, here are some features to look for:
- Lightweight: Some paddleboards weigh less than others. In addition, a 10-foot board will weigh less than a 12.5 foot board – and less weight means easier carrying.
- Backpack: Get an SUP package that includes a heavy-duty carry backpack. Not only can they hold all of your gear in a compact manner, but you can conveniently carry it hands-free on your back.
- Accessories: Get an SUP that comes with “travel-ready” accessories, like a paddle that dis-assembles into small sections and fins that you can remove for easy packing.
Popular Inflatable Paddle Boards for Traveling:
- Bluefin Cruise: This board is lightweight, durable and you can get it in a shorter 10’8″ length. In addition, it comes with a carrying backpack, removable fins, a compact paddle and an optional kayak seat.
- iRocker Nautical: The 10′ Nautical SUP includes all of the great travel features of the Bluefin above. However, it does not include a kayak seat.
- ROC Inflatable SUP: Just like the boards above, the ROC comes travel-ready. The main difference is that it costs less, so it’s more budget friendly. That said, you get a lower-quality paddle, a slower air pump and very basic SUP features.