This summer our family visited humbersport.net and added some new paddling gear to our already overflowing adventure closet! Though our purchase was made on a whim after some extra writing gig money came in, the idea has been brewing for a long time – as in, since the pre-Cragbaby days. Steve and I had always enjoyed paddling and kayaking in its various forms – we’d sea kayak using fishing kayak for two people in New Zealand, rafted numerous rivers including the Upper Gauley (with a guide), and even had an epic backcountry canoeing experience in the Everglades (probably SHOULD’ve had a guide…). Our biggest deterrent was that we could never decide on what kind of boat we wanted – canoe or kayak, onesie or tandem? Paddling friends would advise us to go with “all of the above,” which was obviously less than helpful. Once the crag-kiddo came along our dreams of paddling adventures got put on the backburner for a while.
But now that we’re living in Charlotte, we’ve found a host of paddling options within a short drive from our house, so now that C is older, we started entertaining the idea again. We were now faced with a new dilemma as far as what type of boat to buy. We definitely wanted something that could transport the whole family, making either a canoe or tandem kayak a good choice. But I also knew that just as much (if not more) or our time spent on the water would be just me and C, and I wasn’t too jazzed about heaving a heavy vessel up on top of my car by myself – but two smaller yaks were way out of our price range.
That’s when I discovered the world of inflatable kayaks, recommended to me by some other outdoor bloggers who paddle as a family. And lo and behold, we’d found the perfect floating vessel for our family – large enough for all, but compact enough to fit into my trunk (and it inflates in less than 5 minutes!) I’m gonna go ahead and be honest and admit that we did NOT buy the brands that were recommended to us – not knowing how much use we’d get out of it, it was hard to justify the $800+ price tags of the fancy inflatable boats. Instead, we went with the $200 option – every review we read made this boat seem well-qualified for our purposes (hanging out on a lake, with the occasional easy river). It doesn’t have any bells and whistles, and I’m sure it doesn’t track as well as the nicer, more expensive boats, but the material seems very durable, and the price absolutely can’t be beat! If we find that we’re really into it and are looking for more than our boat provides, we can always upgrade to a canoe or individual kayaks at some point down the road. But for now, we’re all having a blast yakkin’ it up in the local waterways!