I’ve only ever tried stand up paddle-boarding once, and I loved it. I say stand up, that bit failed, but that didn’t take away from the experience. It’s definitely something I want to do again. In this guest post Jason tells us why inflatable SUPs are perfect for backpackers.
You’ve made it: Planet Earth is before you — endless adventures wait behind every bush, forest, and mountain.
But what exactly will you do on your next backpacking adventure?
While spontaneity is always a good policy, everyone knows the importance of being prepared for adventurous treks.
When it comes to gear, there are the well-known essentials such as sleeping bags, comfortable quick-dry clothing, and ultra-reliable backpacks. But there’s another item you may have never thought of that can take your next backpacking adventure to an entirely new level. An inflatable stand up paddle board (SUP).
Yes, that’s a mouthful. But iSUPs have been exploding in popularity over the past several years. This is because they’re portable, lightweight, versatile, and so much fun!
For an “outside the box” backpacker who is looking to add another item to their ever-expanding essential gear list — an inflatable SUP might just be the ticket. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why…
The Ultimate In Portability
It’s called backpacking for a reason: fit whatever you can into that trusty old pack and you’re off to explore!
On the shortlist of items you can take with you, however, you quickly realise how many things are simply too large, heavy, or cumbersome. Especially when it comes to the non-essentials.
Surf board? No way.
Kayak? Yeah right.
But an inflatable stand up paddle board is the perfect choice for any backpacking nomad who is seeking a portable and compact “toy” that’s a ton of fun.
First of all, iSUPs are inflatable. Using either a hand pump or electric pump, you can inflate and deflate an inflatable paddle board with ease in just a few short minutes.
Secondly, once deflated an inflatable SUP can be rolled up and stored away, taking up minimal space. Generally, the footprint of a rolled up iSUP is similar to a sleeping bag. Plus they easily fit into the trunk or backseat of a taxi, on the back of a scooter, and just about anywhere else you can imagine.
Thirdly, inflatable paddle boards can be stored away in a backpack with room left over for your paddle, leash, pump, and important safety accessories. In just a few minutes, you can neatly pack everything up, throw your pack over your shoulder and be on your way.
For those who are serious about exploring off the beaten path lakes and rivers, an inflatable SUP is the perfect thing to bring along.
Lightweight And Easy To Handle
These days, inflatable paddle boards are lighter than ever — a result of breakthroughs in new materials, designs, and manufacturing processes.
Unlike heavier hard SUPs, inflatables are ultra-convenient and easy to handle. Depending on the model, iSUPs typically weigh as little as 15 pounds and go up to approximately 30 pounds on the high end. This is something that even the most weight-averse travellers can deal with.
Can Be Stashed In The Smallest Of Places
Storage is everything when it comes to backpacking. An inflatable paddle board can be conveniently stashed in the smallest of spaces. Under a bed, in the closet, or behind a door. An iSUP can quickly “disappear”, even in the smallest of hotel rooms or hostels.
Additionally, many boards these days include a backpack for convenient transport and storage.
Built To Withstand The Harshest Of Conditions
One thing you’ll never have to worry about with an inflatable SUP is being too rough on them. These things are designed for the outdoors and built to withstand even the harshest of conditions.
Some of the more well-built models such as the new BLACKFIN Model X are next level when it comes to durability, incorporating multiple layers of military-grade materials, carbon fiber reinforced rails, and bombproof hardware. The end result is essentially an indestructible board that offers the feel and rigidity of a hard board in a convenient, travel-friendly package.
A New World Of Exciting Places To Explore
The beauty of inflatable SUPs is that they open up a whole new world of mind-blowing spots for you to explore — all from the convenience of a simple backpack.
Inflatable paddle boards can be checked with your luggage and flown all over the world. This gives you unprecedented access to amazing experiences that would otherwise be inaccessible. Also, if you’re a travel photographer or simply enjoy documenting your adventures, an inflatable SUP will allow you to capture your surroundings from a breathtaking new perspective.
So What Are You Waiting For?
As you can see, there are many great reasons why inflatable paddle boards are an excellent option for the backpacking lifestyle. They’re portable, compact, and easy to take with you wherever you go.
Made from lightweight yet highly durable materials, an iSUP is one tough and packable piece of gear that you’ll definitely want to bring along on all of your future backpacking adventures.
Jason is an avid world traveller and lifelong watersport enthusiast. Currently he is residing in Panama with his wife and two small children. He is also the lead editor of InflatableBoarder.com, a leading online publisher of inflatable paddle board reviews. If you have SUP-related questions or simply need assistance choosing the right board, Jason can be contacted through his website or on Instagram.