Tiny Boats
March 29, 2016 6:16 PM   Subscribe

I want a tiny boat that fits 2 people, that easily would fit in or on my sedan. Super easy transport, cheap, NOT inflatable*, not motorized, not needing a trailer, the whole deal for under $600 or so (roof rack, etc.).

It's just for floating around a lake this summer.

*If you have an emphatic recommendation for an inflatable, let's hear it I suppose!
posted by little_dog_laughing to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I'll emphatically recommend the Sea Eagle 370. Yes, it's inflatable. But it weighs about 40 pounds, can be handled by one person in its bag or on the water, takes about 7 minutes to go from bag to water, and easily fits in the backseat or trunk of my Ford Focus. It handles pretty decently as long as you're not planning on racing. And the material is quite sturdy if that's the concern with an inflatable.
posted by lharmon at 6:25 PM on March 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seriously, if you want a boat for floating around a lake, I don't know why you wouldn't go inflatable. If it were me, I'd spend $30, yes, $30, for one of these. If it's going to be a long-term hobby, no, but for floating around a lake, $30. Or you could spend hundreds on a solid boat and a rack. But.... $30. Buy 10 of them.

In conclusion, $30.
posted by Huck500 at 6:29 PM on March 29, 2016 [7 favorites]

I love cheap sit on top kayaks like this. Get the foam and strap car topper and you're all set. No need to mess around inflating and they are super durable. You can basically hit up any giant sports store and get something like this. I think our Costco had some too.
posted by advicepig at 6:45 PM on March 29, 2016

I have this tandem kayak that can fit myself, my wife AND our 6 yo. I wouldn't call it tiny (12 ft) but it's a great kayak. You can easily roof it on your sedan with some foam kayak blocks and some straps. The kayak, paddles, life vests, and rack will probably push your budget, though.
posted by gnutron at 7:11 PM on March 29, 2016

Also, as much fun as tandem boats are, we love having two cheap little kayaks for dinky lake trips. We would use foam blocks for one on the roof and fold the seat down and cram the other one through the trunk of our 1995 Honda Accord. We haven't tried this with the Prius C yet.
posted by advicepig at 7:17 PM on March 29, 2016

The 30 $ inflatable is pretty hard to beat - but if you'd rather spend a little bit more (like roughly 100 times more - new but you might find a used one in your price range) you could get a folding kayak. Meets all your criteria with the added benefit of... uh... being pretty cool and elaborate. And foldable. (If you can find a used one for the right price.)
posted by From Bklyn at 9:38 PM on March 29, 2016

I bought a gently-used, low-end Mad River canoe off craigslist for about $250, complete with paddles, vests, foam roof blocks, etc. It's a wholly acceptable vessel for my twee picnic-basket-and-ukulele type paddling needs. You don't mention how you want to be floating around the lake... I like the freedom of movement, upright seating, and openness of a canoe, but perhaps you prefer the snugger, closer-to-the-water, duck's-eye-view of a kayak. Do you hope to stay (mostly) dry in this boat? Envision more of a hiking clothes or a swimwear situation? Do your legs fall asleep easily? Bears some thought.

You've got a few months until summer—I say bookmark a search, check it regularly, and Google-up reviews when something catches your interest. I expect you'll find something well within your budget.
posted by mumkin at 1:27 AM on March 30, 2016

Google monfort dacron boats. I don't know if you can buy one, you may have to make it.
posted by Bruce H. at 1:58 AM on March 30, 2016

We have a couple of the Sea Eagle 370s that lharmon mentioned above. It's very easy to throw two of them, complete with seats, paddles, and air pumps, into any car's trunk, and that's really hard to beat.
posted by mmoncur at 4:10 AM on March 30, 2016

If you just want to float around on a lake, why not try an inflatable raft? Comfier than the two person boats listed above, plus you can face your floating partner (and invite two other friends along). Only $100. And it has cup holders!
posted by ejs at 5:22 AM on March 30, 2016

Craigslist is your friend. I would go with a canoe, but a plastic kayak could also work.

I would not go with any inflatable cheaper than the Sea Eagle. I would not go 100ft offshore in what is basically a pool toy. And allow $25/person for life jackets. Make sure they fit, and go swimming in them at the beginning of the season.

The popular craft at this time is the Stand Up Paddleboard. New they are in the $1000 range. There are inflatable SUPs, which is pretty amazing. So far, I've not seem too many on CL, but you may be able to find a deal. More athletic, less relaxing than a canoe.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:51 AM on March 30, 2016

Let me add a comment about folding boats other than canoes and kayaks. They exist. Amateur designers and builders come up with new ideas all the time, but the only company that I'm aware of that has stayed in business for any length of time is Porta-Bote.
posted by SemiSalt at 7:21 AM on March 30, 2016

Snap kayak

A little ($100) over your budget. They offered me a promo code for 10% off my first purchase, which gets it down closer to your budget. Maybe not The Answer, but perhaps inspiration for what is possible.
posted by Michele in California at 11:55 AM on March 30, 2016

Hannu's boatyard has free plans for tiny wooden boats you make yourself out of plywood.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:24 PM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Costco has a variety of small floaty things, at the stores near me anyway.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:21 PM on March 30, 2016

You can get a Tracker 10 foot aluminum flat-bottomed boat (a type of craft called a "jon boat") for $500 or so. Just go to the nearest Bass Pro Shop and it'll be the smallest rigid boat they have.
posted by w0mbat at 5:32 PM on March 30, 2016

An ocean (sit on top blow molded plastic) kayak has the added benefit of...ocean use. You can probably find a used one at a garage sale. I would recommend one extra piece of gear and that would be a set of wheels. They make these things that are basically luggage trays with wheels, you can slip them under the front of the kayak and move them around like a wheelbarrow (so you don't need to drag it or have 2 people carry it)
posted by WeekendJen at 4:55 AM on March 31, 2016

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