Owning an inflatable paddle board offers a convenient way to access any waterway you wish to explore. Not only is an inflated board easy to carry to the water's edge but it can also be rolled up for travel and inflated upon arrival at your destination. This article outlines the various methods for transporting your inflatable paddle board from your home to your paddling spot and discusses the pros and cons of each approach.
The most common methods of transporting an inflatable SUP include:
Transporting your rolled-up inflatable SUP in its storage bag or backpack provides protection for the board and makes it easy to lift and move. If you have limited storage space, the board will likely be stored folded up, making it convenient to place the entire kit in your car and set it up once you arrive at your paddling location.
The primary advantage of this method is the ease of fitting the rolled board in the trunk or back seat of a car. However, the downside is the time required to inflate and deflate the board each time you use it. If you plan to inflate and deflate your board frequently, an electric SUP pump is highly recommended to save effort.
If you have room to store your paddle board inflated, you can keep it blown up, eliminating the need to inflate and deflate it each time you use it. An already inflated board can be transported on top of your vehicle, ideally secured with SUP tie-down straps to a roof rack, crossbars, or luggage rails.
This approach has several advantages, including saving the effort of inflating and deflating the board. Upon arrival, simply loosen the straps, remove the board from the rack, and you're ready to go. Additionally, carrying the board on your vehicle's roof frees up interior space for passengers and other cargo.
If using this method, periodically check the straps during your trip to ensure they remain secure.
For pickup trucks with open beds, transporting an inflated board requires careful securing. Place the board in the truck bed at a slant, with the nose positioned as far down and forward as possible, allowing the tail to extend beyond the hatch. Since the board won't be fully contained, secure it with straps, depending on your truck's tie-down points. A flag or ribbon may be needed for visibility if the board extends significantly out the back.
While most passenger cars are too small for this method, some vehicles may accommodate an inflated SUP inside. In some cases, you may get the board to fit by sliding its nose between the front seats and utilizing front-of-vehicle space. This approach saves time strapping or inflating the board, protects it from the elements, and avoids wind drag that can reduce gas mileage.
Be mindful of temperature increases in the vehicle, as this can raise the pressure inside the board and potentially cause damage. Consider parking in the shade, leaving windows open, and reducing the board's pressure to prevent issues.
Trailers are typically used to transport multiple boards, such as rental fleets or school sets. Kayak trailers can also accommodate paddle boards, with multiple boards stackable on each arm using alternating nose-to-tail orientation.
SUP trailers can be open or closed—open trailers offer easier loading, while closed trailers provide greater security and protection. Regardless of the type, ensure your vehicle has a trailer hitch and sufficient towing capacity.
Regardless of your chosen transport method, follow best practices to prevent board damage—avoid contact with hard surfaces, don't overtighten straps, and protect vulnerable edges during transport.
Transporting your inflatable SUP can be accomplished in a variety of ways, depending on your vehicle, storage space, and personal preferences. Whether you choose to carry it in a travel bag, strap it to your car's roof, secure it in a pickup truck bed, place it inside your vehicle, or stack it on a trailer with multiple boards, always prioritize the safety and protection of your SUP to ensure its longevity.
By weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each method, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Ultimately, the right transportation method will enhance your paddle boarding adventures, making them more enjoyable and hassle-free, and allowing you to focus on the excitement of exploring the water on your SUP.
Pumped Up SUP is an online store specializing in high-performance inflatable stand up paddle boards and accessories. We're always happy to answer your questions - just give us a call at 1-877-777-1769.
Check out our 2023 Inflatable Paddle Board Buying Guide or A Beginner's Guide To Choosing A Paddle Board where we further discuss board uses and shapes, features and accessories that are essential to your SUP experience.
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