When planning for an RV trip, there are times that you would like to take along more than you can carry or tow. For example, do you pull a box trailer full of gear or a towed vehicle? If you tow a car, what about your boat? Should you hitch your boat to the back of your toad or cargo trailer? (I have seen this done – not recommended!)
A company in Mountain View, CA, called Porta-Bote, has been making a solution to this dilemma for quite a few years. The Porta-Bote is a personal watercraft that folds into a thin shape that you can place atop a passenger car or truck or carry on a bracket attached to the side of your RV. On arrival, the boat can be unfolded and prepared to go in the water in a matter of minutes. (Porta-Bote claims 4 minutes. For me, it’s more like 15. But the newest Porta-Bote has a new hull and transom design, which likely speeds the process.)
So, how do you carry it down the road?
I have owned a Porta-Bote for many years and have found it a great addition to the mobile equipment inventory. I’ve carried the Porta-Bote on the car and SUV top, and have hung it on the side of my Class C motorhome. The Porta-Bote can be used either as a rowboat or powered by a small outboard motor. I have a collection of small outboard motors, ranging in size from 1.5 horsepower to 2.5 horsepower. Believe it or not, these small-output outboards propel the Porta-Bote along just fine.
I was attracted to the small carry profile and was also impressed by the company’s claim that it is unsinkable due to the buoyancy of the design’s resin hull and hinges. I have tested this claim and can tell you that owing to the rugged, lightweight polypropylene copolymer hull material, this boat is virtually puncture-proof and will not sink, even if full of water or capsized. Both intentionally and unintentionally, I have done my best to flip and overturn the Porta-Bote, and it won’t budge.
The Porta-Bote is available in sizes ranging from 8- to 14-foot lengths. The 14-foot model can accommodate five people.
The Porta-Bote keel draft is minuscule, allowing the boat to operate, the company says, in as little as four inches of water. The shallow draft makes it ideal for ponds, creeks, and rivers – anywhere you may find a place to put in. Stand-up casting or netting of fish is easy due to the stability of the vessel. See it in action here.
Pricing for the four Porta-Bote models:
8’9” – $2,299
10’ – $2,499
12’ – $2,599
14’ – $2,859
A set of mounting brackets for carrying the boat on your RV sells for $219, and the company provides detailed instructions for installing the mounting hardware on your coach.
Another popular accessory is the Porta-Dolly, a mini trailer for rolling the boat from the RV to the water.
Visit the Porta-Bote website here.