Porta-Bote (or Fold-A-Boat)

Porta-bote in action

Porta-bote in action

The RV lifestyle is not going to work unless we can get out on the water. Problem is how to bring all the toys with you when hauling a fifth-wheel. We absolutely have to bring the Harley, and we absolutely have to have a boat. Bob is researching a swivel-trailer that hooks into the frame of the fifth-wheel so we can pull the motorcycle. But pulling a boat in addition to the Harley? Not going to work.

We remembered a funny little boat we saw a few years ago while we were camping in Florida. It is called a Porta-Bote, or Fold-A-Boat. It folds up flat and is the size of a surfboard. We watched the fellow unload and then unfold it. Within a very short time he had it ready to put in the water. We watched in disbelief as he pulled it to the water, put his motor on the mount and then head off down the water. The boat looked sturdy and was moving at an impressive pace. Wow, we thought. We need to check into that thing!

When the boat came back at the end of the day, Bob headed over and quizzed him as to what the heck it was. What a find. The fellow sang high praises. He said that it is made of high impact polypropylene which is an engineered resin originally developed for use in the aerospace field. It is so hard it is resistant to sharp rocks and/or collisions; impervious to sand, salt, and acid. He said it is virtually indestructible as well as being very light weight. He gave us the information we needed to do our research. We soon found that they don’t come on the resale market very often. We kept looking and were excited when we finally found one on Craig’s List last year. It belonged to a widow in Arkansas. She and her husband had only used it a couple of times before he passed away. It is 12’ foot long. (24” wide and 3” thick when folded).  Just what we had decided we wanted as the 8′ and the 10′ seemed to us to be a bit too small and the 14′ too long.

Indian Pass Sunset

Indian Pass Sunset

We took it with us last year to Indian Pass, Florida where we spent the winter. It worked perfectly. We were able to load it on the truck for transport when we had the motor home, but since buying the fifth-wheel we have been in a quandary wondering how the heck we were going to haul it.  The company sells RV mounts so one can put it on the side of the vehicle; or on the roof, but they are $329 (often on sale for $199). Bob was also reluctant to drill holes in the trailer, although if need be he would have done so. Some people load it on top, but even though it folds into the size of a surf board, we hated the idea of driving down the road, not being able to see it and wondering if it blew off or not. It is 12’ long, so we did not think we would be able to get it in the trailer, just because of angles. But…yeah! We were pleasantly surprised when we tried it as it fits easily and lays on the floor without being in the way at all. Problem solved.

Bob and Finnean fishing

Bob and Finnean fishing

It is a great little boat. Despite the flexible floor, it feels very sturdy. Even Finnean (our Westie) feels very safe and secure riding in it. We have a 6 hp motor on it, and although it works fine, we are thinking that a 9 hp would be better. It’s great for fishing. We are thinking about buying the bow ladder that the company sells so we can jump in when we want to go for a swim.

Unfolding it and getting it out on the water takes less than 20 minutes. Here’s how we do it:

8 thoughts on “Porta-Bote (or Fold-A-Boat)

  1. The porta-bote looks like the perfect solution for your boating needs! We tried hauling an inflatable dinghy around for a few years, but it was a pain to inflate and heavy to pull even a short distance to the water. We’re looking at Florida this winter and wondering where you stay in Indian Pass that you could recommend. We have stayed at the St. Joe’s State Park in past years. Lynda
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    • Indian Pass Campground is just down the road from St. Joe’s State Park. We found it the first time when our reservations were for St. Joe’s but when we got there, I did not like it as we have a little dog and the dogs were not allowed on the beach. Plus, we couldn’t see the water from our campsite. So we took a little drive and found Indian Pass. Drive past St. Joe’s, turn right at the Raw Bar and then drive out to the end of the road. (Actually, you can follow the signs for St. Vincent’s Bird Reserve.) Indian Pass is an old family-run campground that has been grandfathered in; it is right on the water and the only rules are “there are no rules!” Which means you can run your dog on the beach, you can have campfires on the beach, etc. The people that stay there have been going for generations. It’s a great spot. You can Google it to find more info.

  2. We had a porta-bote for awhile. But it got to be too much for Jim to handle. He’s a lot older than you guys. So we compromised and we have a boat in Helena, MT and a boat in Apache Junction, AZ – the two places he does the most fishing. He really prefers fishing in Montana but we spend most of the winter in AZ.

    • Winters in Arizona as opposed to Montana seems like a good decision! I can understand if you are going to be in just a couple of spots not wanting to fold and unfold the porta-bote, For us it is perfect! Bob is now designing a compartment for under the fifth-wheel to store and carry it while we travel. We are going to be leaving for Florida at the end of November. Last year it was colder than normal because of the wind that kept blowing and blowing. If the wind picks up again, we may find ourselves heading to Arizona!

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