Have boat will travel. But which boat?
Rafts, tenders and belly boats, sea kayaks, sit-ons and Canadian canoes – all inflatable and packing into a suitcase. Having a portable and easy-to-deploy watercraft in your RV has never been easier and so no surprise for many of us nomadic folk they have become a do-not-leave-home-without addition to our list of tools and toys.
Modern inflatable boats are moderately priced – you can get an entry-level one for under a $1000 – they require next to no maintenance and take up little storage room. But once out and inflated, they open up a whole new layer of geography to explore: rivers and lakes, lagoons, estuaries, sheltered coastlines and, if you’re more experience and adventurous, the not-so-sheltered seaside as well. All of which begs the question: just which kind of inflatable boat should you get for your RV?
Ready to upgrade my old rubber boat – big and unwieldy by the standards of latest inflatables which can be backpacked around and taken into an aircraft as cabin baggage – I asked that big question at Incept Marine, a family business operating out of small farming town of Taihape. Since 1989 Incept have been making an impressively full range of inflatable boats, from huge expedition-grade rafts ready for the Himalayan rivers, to kayaks and canoes for the sea and rivers and the shallows where the kids can safely splash about and play Titanic. The company has made the name for itself the hard way: not by cutting corners, using off-shore labour and offering budget deals but by innovation and quality. Their boats are still made in New Zealand, and tested on local waters, like the Rangitikei which has cut a deep and spectacular canyon through the papa country around Taihape. Their boats may not be the cheapest ones around but, as the company owners the Booth family will tell you with home-grown pride, when you buy an Incept boat, you’re buying the best there is.
“You ask which boat?” said Martin Straka, the sales manager at Incept. “You really need to turn this question around and ask yourself what kind of things you want to do with it.” Some soul searching is required first. Do you mainly fish from the boat or do you want to play in whitewater? Alone or with a partner or friends? To be used mainly for day trips or multi-day cruises? Do you need a performance vessel to handle any water anywhere or just something to float about on a sunny day and read? “These are all critical questions to answer to yourself first,” Martin concluded, “because there is no one boat that can do it all. But whatever you want to do, we have the right boat for it.” Continue reading