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Stow Away an Inflatable Kayak in Your RV

| Updated Jul 21, 2015

In a few weeks we will start a six-week trip to the western United States, so we have been discussing how to pack a kayak in our Roadtrek RV.

The last time we drove west we saw lakes and calm rivers that we would have loved to paddle if only we had a boat. Ingenious Class B sailors have found ways to stow a single person kayak on top and even in a special rack on the side of their camper. We saw one rig with a short rigid kayak mounted vertically on the rear. But we already have a cellular phone amplifier mounted on the rear of our camper and it whacks trees from time to time. Our Roadtrek is 8 ft 3 inches tall, and any decent kayak would be sticking up many feet above the camper.

We have a wonderful 17-foot whitewater canoe. It is worthless for flat waters, since it will not track straight. Our worst experience was trying to paddle that canoe across a lake – it was a tremendously frustrating time. We needed something made for flat water. And something we could carry in our Roadtrek. That limited us to inflatable boats. Inflatable kayaks have been around awhile, but they have a reputation of being slow and clumsy. We didn't want something that was like trying to paddle our river canoe across a lake!

Sea Eagle 385The boat that kept coming up in our investigation was the Sea Eagle FastTrack 385 (currently $1,119 at Amazon). It can be used as a single or double seat boat. It is 12.5 feet long, weighs 32 pounds, and will carry 635 pounds. It got excellent ratings by users for the type of paddling we wanted to do. It was reasonably quick and it tracked straight!  We were concerned about the sturdiness of an inflatable watercraft; wouldn't it puncture on the rocks? How bulky would it be when deflated? Aren't kayaks tippy compared to regular canoes?

Boarding Sea Eagle 385We found a good deal after we learned that a Sea Eagle 385 would pack down into a bundle approximately 24″ x 18″ and the paddles would pull apart in sections that we could easily stow. The Sea Eagle arrived and we inflated it in the living room with a high capacity pump you work with your foot.  It was easy and did not take long.  The neat thing is that with the rock solid flat floor, you can stand up in this thing. It was nothing like the inflatable boats we've seen in the past.

We launched our brand new Sea Eagle 385 in a quiet lagoon in a nearby park.  It was not tippy, it would be difficult to roll this boat.  The inflatable seats were comfortable.  We were used to our 17-foot canoe, but found it easy to adapt to double paddles. The vessel is robust, not at all delicate. The inflatable keel and a skeg — a sort fixed rudder — allows straight tracking. When we finished the maiden voyage we dried the Sea Eagle with a towel and packed it away. For easy immediate use we can belt the deflated kayak in the third seat. It also will fit in our StowAway box on the rear of our camper along with our PFD vests when we head west for our big fall trip.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2015-07-21

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

3 Responses to “Stow Away an Inflatable Kayak in Your RV”

September 24, 2015at9:08 pm, Berbno1 said:

Thanks again RedRover! Based on this review, we ordered the 385FT-Pro from Sea Eagle. We love it. We have a canoe and two sea kayaks, but didn’t relish the expense of carrier and drilling in the roof of our 95C-210P. We will never be caught w/o a boat, regardless which car we are driving. Additionally, while inflated, it slips easily into the RT. Only glitch is that I can’t figure out how to get it to 8″ as advertised, so store between driver and passenger seat, instead of under bed.

July 27, 2015at12:45 pm, Kevin said:

Highly recommended. I have had a Sea Eagle kayak for 5 years and I love it. It easily fits in my RV and is easy for me to carry by myself. I have taken it in many lakes, rivers, and even the ocean. I always bring my dog along kayaking and have absolutely no concern about doggy claws causing a leak. These kayaks are very well made.

July 25, 2015at10:15 pm, Marty N Donnas Roadtrek said:

I have been entertaining the idea of purchasing that very kayak. I’m glad to hear the positive reviews. Happy boating !

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