Monday, October 8, 2007

Instaboat - my foldable dinghy

So as mentioned in the 'Fishing with Steve' post... I've been looking at different options for portable boats. As an urbanite, I don't have space to park a boat/trailer. I live very close to the river & have wanted something portable to take on fishing/camping trips or just when I get the itch.

Inflatables looked like the best option for me - but still somewhat of a pain to inflate/deflate every time you take them out. A guy at work told me about 'folding boats' - and after some googling they seemed like a good choice. They seemed to perform well, assemble/fold easy, and weigh about the same as inflatables (~70lbs).

The two companies I found were Porta-bote & Instaboat. Both products were hard to find a dealer for. Porta-bote (based in Mountain View, CA) had kind of a cheesy website without easily available info on how to buy it. Instaboat's (based in french Canada) website led me to Camping World in Rocklin, CA... so off I went to pick it up. It was kind of expensive ($999), but worth it for what I needed & Instaboat also accepts a small outboard engine for when I get one.

I strapped the folded boat on top of my car-rack with two nylon kayak straps from REI, and it seemed to ride pretty snug on the freeway drive home. I stopped by the river to try it out. The first time putting it together was a little slow as I figured it out... but overall pretty easy. It would have been easier with two people to help load/unload it onto the car rack. The main quirk putting it together was that the metal latches used to lock down the pieces didn't fit perfectly without some finagling... and one of them bent a bit trying to get the latch in. Overall, I'm not too worried about the thing holding together in the water. I took it in the water & it worked just fine (no leaks!) - like any fishing boat I imagine. However, it is kind of lightweight, so seemed to shift to & fro a bit.

Next installment of 'Fishing with Steve' may have a motor involved!

8 comments:

Steve V said...

Somebody from Portabote left a spam-comment on my blog. I deleted it.

Steve V said...

Update: I bought a 40lb thrust Minn Kota trolling motor for $160 at Walmart & it works pretty well with the Instaboat.

John Zimmerlee said...

Now that you have had it a while, how is it holding up?

Still impressed?
Would you recommend it?

John Zimmerlee
jpz@bellsouth.net

Steve V said...

I haven't had a chance to take it out a whole lot. I'd say this is a great boat if you live near water, don't have any space for a real boat, and usually go out with two people.

I have been going out by myself... which just makes unloading/loading/folding the boat a bit effort intensive.

The only complaint I have with the boat is that the latches don't fit perfectly... so takes a bit of extra care to get the pieces locked in tight. All in all - the thing works good & I don't feel like it will fall apart on me.

Steve V said...

Porta-bote has spammed this blog entry twice now.

I recommend against Porta-Bote because spammers suck. They obviously can't count on good reveiws so need to pollute people's blogs with spam.

Cumulus said...

Hi from Cape Town, South Africa. I imported two Instaboats from Canada some years back, and found them to be brilliant, they went well with a small motor and with oars. (I never had a problem with latches). Unfortunately I sent them to Uganda and never saw them again. Brilliant boats!

Steph said...

Hello, bought my Instaboat last march with a 2.5HP Mercury forestroke engine, the engine itself is only 35lbs. I went twice fishing on a small lake at the reserve Rouge-Matawin with a electric 32lbs motor, it was realy smooth and calm, trout was abondant...Went on the St-Laurence river and Lake of two Montainsfor pike, no problem, realy stable...

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