Inflatable stand up paddle boards are by far easier to travel with than any other type of SUP. And these days, now more than ever, people are looking for fun and adventurous activities that are within driving distance of their homes.
Inflatable paddle boards are perfect for throwing in your car for a family trip to the lake, a river, or the ocean.
iSUP vs. Rigid SUP for Travel
It’s not even close, inflatables are way easier to travel with than a traditional rigid paddle board. Now, you can travel with a rigid, but it’s a lot harder. With a rigid, you have to have a large truck bed that you can place the SUP in, our you have to attach it to the roof of your vehicle.
Either way, you must place your rigid paddle board in specially designed SUP travel bag, which of course is not cheap. Your bag will need to be well padded to protect your board for dings and dents. And your rigid will still require a lot of roof, either in the back of a truck or, on top of a vehicle.
If you strap your SUP to the top of your vehicle, you’ll need to buy roof racks, which are another expense. And no matter how well you strap the SUP to the roof of your vehicle, you’ll always be nervous that it’s not strapped down tight enough. And even when it is, it creates wind drag on your car, and you want to drive a slower speeds.
If you compare this to an inflatable paddle board, there is almost no reason to get a traditional SUP. With an inflatable, all you have to do is have room in your car for a backpack, and that’s it. It’s so simple and convenient to throw an iSUP into your car as you head on vacation to the lake or the beach. And it’s also a lot cheaper.
Inflatables are Extremely Tough
Inflatable stand up paddle boards are made from military grade PVC materials. They often use double layer drop stich technology, and then apply proprietary adhesives. These boards do not fall apart. The are designed to be inflated and deflated many times, and to stand up to the abuses of a lot of UV exposure from the sun, as well as corrosion from saltwater.
Inflatables are built tough so you don’t have to baby them like a rigid. If you wind pushes you and you bang into a boat dock at the lake, it’s no big deal. If you’re walking with your iSUP from the house to the water, and you bang it into the side of the garage, it’s no big deal. If you’re on the water, and another SUP accidently bangs into your board (which happens all to often), it’s not a big deal.
Also, if you are ever going to take a paddle board into a river that has any type of fast-moving water, and definitely even the smallest bit of white water, it has to be an inflatable. You would never take a rigid onto a river with rocks and white water because it’s guaranteed that you’d severely damage the board.
There are SUP designed specifically for use on white water and they are all inflatables. For an inflatable, hitting a rock is no big deal, for a rigid, if you hit a rock, you may have to purchase a new board.
If you’ve ever thought about going on a paddleboard surf trip, you probably didn’t think of packing up a traditional hard board and taking it to the airport and entrusting it with the baggage handlers to get your board to your destination in one piece. Flying is simple with iSUPs, it’s just another piece of luggage.
Most inflatables come with a backpack that you can deflate and store the SUP in. Some of these backpacks even have wheels so you can pull your backpack behind you on long walks through the airport. It’s simple to check your SUP backpack because it’s the size of any other normal luggage bag.
Another advantage is the baggage fees. You’re iSUP bag will be treated as a normal piece of luggage and depending on the airline you fly, you’ll either get to check it for free, or you will have a normal luggage fee charged.
Have you ever looked at the prices for checking a surfboard? They’re not cheap, it’s very expensive. And this added cost does not mean that the baggage handlers will treat your board with any extra care.
You can go here if you want to see an example of United Airlines baggage fees for surfboards and paddleboards: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/baggage/sports-equipment.html
ISUPs are the only SUPs that you want to fly with.
Storage is Super Easy
As mentioned above, an iSUP packs down into the size of a backpack. How cool is that? A board that is ten to twelve feet long, that is so big you can do yoga on it, shrinks down to the size of a backpack?
This means it’s perfect for travel. Not only is it easy to take in a car, or on a plane, it’s also easy to take into a hostel, a hotel room, or while visiting a friend or family member who live near the beach.
The bag that the inflatable comes with, is also how it should be stored for long term storage like over the winter. An inflatable paddle board is a great idea for someone that lives in an apartment because it takes up so little room.
Inflatable paddle boards generally weigh somewhere in the range of 27 to 32 lbs, which is not bad. You can easily carry that much on your back as a backpack, and it’s almost nothing to pull that much weight behind you if your SUP bag has wheels.
The maximum weight for checked baggage at most airlines is 50 pounds. You won’t have to worry about being anywhere near that limit with your SUP bag.
And if you are the adventurous type, that is willing to hike to a remote lake or river, you’ll be able to throw the SUP on your back and hike with no problem.
There are a ton of reasons why inflatable stand up paddle boards are great for traveling. But, they’re not just good for traveling, inflatables sell way more than rigids. Many people prefer to have an inflatable even if they never take it on trips.
Either way, whether you travel with your board or not, there’s a ton of fun to be had with an inflatable paddle board.
An inflatable, deflates, and squishes down