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Having a SUP on your RV travels is the perfect way to enjoy the pristine lakes, rivers and waterways along the road and at your campsite. The size and shape of rigid paddle boards can be a challenge to pack up and carry on your RV and specialized racks can be expensive.
The best way to carry a SUP on your RV trip is to use an inflatable board. When fully deflated, place your paddle, pump, fin and accessories on the tail and roll up the board from tail to tip. Place the rolled up board in a protective mesh bag or case to prevent any damage during travel. Stow the board and accessories in an external storage compartment with other water resistant items.
Being able to deflate and roll your board up for travel makes it easy to carry in your exterior storage containers. Keeping a board this way also protects it from theft and damage from road debris, wind and weather.
Do I Need a Rack to Carry a Paddleboard on an RV?
If you have a hardboard or would prefer to keep your iSUP inflated for travel you can use a hitch mount RV Kayak rack. Using a bumper mount rack will also work if you have a square tubular rear bumper.
Most discount kayak racks are made for a standard car or SUV roof rack and require easy access to the roof to load and unload. Because there isn’t a rail system on the top of motorhomes or caravans these types of racks won’t work.
Many people modify a hitch mount cargo or bike rack to carry their SUP at the back of their vehicle. If you do plan to keep your paddle board on the outside of your vehicle, lock it up using a lockable tie down strap for security.
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Carrying a Paddleboard on a Truck or SUV
If you use a trailer or fifth wheel for camping, putting a rack on your truck or SUV can be a good option. Most paddle boards are too long for the bed of a pickup truck but using an EZ Hitch load extender provides an easy way to carry your board on the roof.
Mounted vertically, a load extender can support the rear or front of your SUP whether you choose to use it on a rear or front mounted trailer hitch. Hitch extenders are very versitaille for carrying other long loads as well and can be used horizontally to extend the length of your truck bed.
If you’re looking for a more permanent solution that won’t tie up your trailer hitch or require the installation of a front hitch receiver consider a pickup truck ladder rack. Ladder racks are a more stable option and add a nice look to your truck.
The tubular designed racks can hold 800 lbs which is plenty for a few SUPs, kayaks, canoes or small boats. The clever clamp on design doesn’t require any drilling for installation and provides lots of options for tie down locations.
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Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Good?
Inflatable SUPs are made from military grade multi-layered UV resistant PVC that is highly resistant to leaks, holes and other damage. In many cases they are more resistant to being damaged by rocks, branches and pavement because they bounce off of them rather than get scratches and dents like rigid boards do.
When properly inflated SUPs are very stable and easy to balance on for both beginners and experienced paddlers. They are also lightweight making them easier to carry from shore to the water than a traditional hard board.
My kids love piling onto my board around shore and in shallow areas. I remove the main fin to prevent it from getting damaged on any rocks or getting stuck in the sand.
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Are Paddle Boards Hard to Inflate?
Many paddle boards come with a dual action hand pump and adapter hose with the correct fitting for your board. There should be a pressure gauge on the pump to indicate the pressure inside the board as you pump it up. The last couple PSI are the hardest to add!
Alternatively you can use an electric pump connected to the 12 volt outlet on your RV, truck or trailer to inflate the SUP. Most electric pumps won’t fill your board faster but will save you a lot of energy for paddling. Be sure to turn off the pump once your board reaches the recommended pressure so that it doesn’t get damaged.
What Accessories Do I Need For a Paddleboard?
Most iSUP bundles come with the board, a 3-piece height adjustable paddle, ankle leash, hand pump and backpack to carry it all. Additional accessories are available depending on your intended use including:
Life Jacket – Any time you’re doing water sports its a good idea to have a personal flotation device in case of emergency. Many people wear a life vest while paddle boarding and others choose to secure one under the cargo netting.
I use a CO2 waist belt pack for paddle boarding and kayaking because it gives me better freedom of movement and helps me stay cooler. The pack has a handle that needs to be manually pulled before the self inflating happens, you can also blow it up with your mouth.
The downside of a belt is that it will not help in a situation where i am unconscious before hitting the water, but neither would a vest stored under the cargo mesh of my board. Wearing a traditional life vest is the safest option especially when it comes to children and less confident swimmers.
Kayak seats – SUPs are so popular because of their versatility for standing, kneeling, sitting or laying on while enjoying water sports. One of the many accessories people like to use are popup kayak seats because they are easy to clip on to the attachment loops and provide cushioning and support for your back and bottom.
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Other popular accessories include drink holders, fishing rod holders, Action Cam mounts, gear bags, coolers and even sails for traveling down wind. The way you decide to outfit your board will depend how you intend to have fun with it, that’s what makes SUPs the perfect addition to any travel adventure.
Can I Bring a Dog on an Inflatable Paddleboard?
Lots of adventurers bring their pets along for a paddle on their inflatable boards. You’ll want to take a bit of extra care to avoid panic scratching if dogs are trying to climb onto the board from the water but most doggy life jackets have handles on them for this exact reason.
Bringing your pet for a paddle is a much better solution than leaving them in your RV or trailer for the day while you explore the water.
Can A Paddle Board Be Too Big?
A paddle board should be fitted to your size and weight to get the best stability and performance. Most boards are 10-11 feet long and 30-34 inches wide, this size is ideal for anyone under 225lbs.
Longer paddle boards generally move faster and track straighter in the water but aren’t as maneuverable when it comes to turning in the water. Touring or race boards come in lengths up to 12’6” and are available in narrow sizes from 26-30 inches. These are built for speed and sacrifice a little bit on stability.
Wide boards of 32” or more are more stable and don’t rock side to side as much. These are perfect for people over 225 lbs or if you intend to bring a friend or pet along for the ride. The downside of a wider SUP is the higher surface area contacting the water creates more drag and reduces the top speed of the board. Wide boards can also be a bit awkward to carry because you’ll need longer arms to reach the handle.
Carrying a SUP in you RV gives you the best way to have fun on the water while traveling. Whether you decide to bring an inflatable board or hard board, there are lots of different racks and storage solutions to fit your vehicle.
If you’re keeping your paddle board on the outside of your RV or trailer make sure it is securely locked up to prevent it from falling off or being stolen. If you plan to stow it away in an storage bin make sure it is dry and bagged to prevent mold and damage.