Camping and water activities go hand in hand. The open air, outdoors lifestyle of a van dweller is ideally suited to combine boating with their travels around the country. For a number of reason few van dwellers are likely to tote a fishing boat, motor and trailer with them as they travel the highways and byways across the land. Does this mean they must miss out on some of the best scenery out there? Not hardly there are a number of ways to get yourself out on the water. Be it for fishing, or just exercise and sight seeing, boating is readily available to meet your needs and interests.
Kayaks are very popular among the Van Dwelling population. I dare say they are the most popular form of water transport used by this group of avid travelers. Constructed of lightweight plastic material, usually designed to carry one person, a large selection ranging in price from about $300 to $1,000 can be found at your nearest Gander Mountain, or Cabela’s and similar outdoor sporting goods stores.
Canoes are another very popular choice in Van Dwelling water craft. Similar to a Kayak in their long narrow shape, a canoe is an open craft which in most cases will carry two people comfortably. The main difference between the two is the method of paddling. A Kayak’s paddle works the water from both ends. Here again both the canoe and kayak are light weight boats that can be loaded on roof racks, usually by one person. The added drag created by the boat on the roof will be minimal due to their inherent aerodynamic shape.
Inflatable boats offer yet another opportunity to ride the waves of your favorite lake. With quality names like Zodiac
and Sea Eagle easily ordered on the Internet and shipped directly to your location, courtesy of UPS, you can be on the water in a matter of days. Storage is easy as when deflated they bundle up in their own carrying case and take up about as much space as a foot locker. A doable situation in most Van Dwellings.
By the way Sea Eagle also produces an inflatable Kayak giving you the benefit of easy storage in a narrow more maneuverable water craft.
Another water craft that could suit the needs of the Van Dweller is a Port-a-Bote. A collapsible hard sided boat that when stored is only a few inches thick. Easily strapped on the roof of a van or, as they advertise, attached to the side of a motor home or van.
My personal choice among these water craft was the Sea Eagle 10′ Sports Boat. I also purchased a 4hp Yamaha 4 cycle motor to propel my craft. The package has worked out well for me though admittedly if I was living full time in my van it would be hard to loose this much storage space. I have intentions of building a receiver hitch mounted carrier that can house both the motor and stowed boat securely on the back of my van causing me no lose of space on the interior. For quick inflation of the boat I carry a small shop vac which I run off my inverter. In a matter of a few short minutes I can have the boat completely inflated and water ready.
You might think otherwise but an inflatable boat is very stable as the flotation is outside and wider than then passenger compartment. There is no inclination to tip over as would be found in a kayak or canoe.
These are some of the options available to the Van Dweller that wants to include time on the water into their lifestyle. Which best suits your needs depends on what you plan on doing in the way of water activities and how much storage space you have to work with. What ever you do always wear a Personal Floatation Device and expect to go swimming when you least expect it. Stay safe and enjoy the water.