The Girl Camper Podcast welcomes a new sponsor, Scout Inflatables, makers of the new Scout Inflatables pontoon boat. I had the pleasure of testing out this boat over the weekend and fell in love. I wasn’t really in the market for an inflatable boat but what I did have was an issue transporting my kayak that made me willing to give this a try.
To be honest I think that row boats are a lot of work. When you think about the physics of row boats, it’s a hull that is partially submerged in water and you are the power source that moves it through the water. About every five years I succumb to the allure of renting a row boat and I am never more than 100 feet from the shore before I remember why I don’t like them!! They’re a lot of fun if you are the person in the bow that is lounging back with a shade umbrella and a festive summer drink while someone else rows you around the lake. That was what I was thinking when I heard “inflatable row boat” but I was heartened when I learned there was an option for a small outboard battery or gasoline powered motor and I decided to give it a try.
Last weekend Stephanie Puglusi, co host with her husband Jeremy of the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast and the producer of the Girl Camper Podcast, and I, did a little Girl Camping. We decided to test out the Scout. I was thinking that it would take us about an hour to an hour and a half to take it from box to on the water. It took less than 30 minutes, ten of which were devoted to figuring out the valves for inflating and deflating. Once that was figured out we had the boat in the water fifteen minutes later.
I inflated the pontoons with my Ryobi Air Compressor to the prescribed 70% and then inserted and inflated the floor piece of the boat. The floor piece gives the boat incredible rigidity. After that was inflated the pontoons get finished off. I finished the pontoons with the foot pump that came with it. It provided more pressure than the battery operated one and was so large that it only required five or six compressions to make the pontoons as hard as any wooden or metal boat.
We attached a set of oar extensions that came with it and then the oars themselves. The oars attach to posts which have a screw on top that prevents them from coming off easily. After the oars were in place we slid the aluminum bench seats in place and set off for the water. The boat has a nice pull handle at the bow and both of the rear pontoons have heavy duty easy grip rubber handles. It was easy to tug across the lawn to the launch site and the bottom of the boat is designed with heavy duty vinyl to allow it to be dragged across rocky beaches without being damaged.
The flat bottom design makes the boat very stable when getting in and out of it but also, to my delight, makes it incredibly easy to row. Rather than pushing through water, the design allows it to glide over water. I took a turn around the 22 acre lake without breaking a sweat. I began to see a world of possibilities for RVers with this boat.
- The first big advantage to me is the fact that it is inflatable and fits in a carrying bag that is stored in your RV, backseat or truck bed. That means no towing a trailer or hoisting a heavy kayak above your head onto a roof rack. It also means not having to purchase that additional equipment, maintain it or in NJ, register a trailer with the state and keep current motor vehicle tags on it!
- I also thought that it gave me everything I love about my kayak but more. I love taking my kayak out in the afternoon to look for water fowl and to just troll the shoreline but that’s all I can really do in it. The Scout offers many more options for use.
- I like the idea that the boat can hold two people so its a couple or friend activity if you want it to be.
- It can also carry cargo much easier than the kayak can so if I want to pack a picnic lunch and stop at a shore or island on a lake I can do that.
- I can also add a motor if I want to go further with it than I would be willing to paddle it.
- I do like the option of being able to fish from it as well. It does have an optional guard that can be installed to allow standing and casting from the boat.
- Another option is the duck blind that comes with it that lets you duck hunt, bird watch and use it as a tent for camping when you are done on the water for the day.
- It is far more stable getting in and out of it than a kayak or canoe and once on the water does not rock like a canoe or kayak.
- It can be paddled in the same manner as a kayak, rowed like a row boat (only much easier) or used with a motor.
I was so pleasantly surprised by the easy way the boat inflated and deflated that I am already rethinking my camp sites for the coming year. Last year I stayed at a lot of campgrounds with water access and did not take advantage of the opportunities available at them. I am already planning my adventures for next year to include using this boat. I think it will add so much enjoyment to my RV adventures! Stay tuned on this one. I’m going to get the motor!!