Best Inflatable Paddle Board for Van Life 2023
Roxie

Roxie

Best Inflatable Paddle Board for Van Life 2023: Top Picks and Buying Guide

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best inflatable paddle board for Van life 2023

If you’re a fan of van life, you know that having the right gear can make all the difference. Whether you’re a seasoned paddle boarder or just starting out, having a stand up paddle board(SUP) that’s perfect for van life can help you make the most of your adventures. But with so many options on the market, it can be tough to know where to start.

If you love the water a paddle board is a super versatile toy to have with you. They can be great exercise, you can take your dog for a float with you, you can do yoga, you can take a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise. I absolutely love paddle boarding, but I have never tried surfing, I’m more of a slow and steady kind of gal.

When choosing an SUP board for van life, there are a few key factors to consider. Portability is a must, as you’ll need to be able to easily transport your board from one location to another. Durability is also important, as you’ll want one that can withstand the wear and tear of travel and outdoor use. And of course, you’ll want one that’s fun and easy to use, whether you’re exploring calm lakes or riding the waves at the beach.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the SUPs for van life, considering factors like portability, durability, and overall performance. Whether you’re a solo traveller or hitting the road with a group of friends, we’ll help you find the perfect board to make the most of your van life adventures.

Factors to Consider

When choosing the best paddle board for van life, there are several factors to consider. These include type, size, weight, and material. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors:

Board Type

The type of paddle board you choose will depend on your needs and preferences. There are three main types: all-around, touring, and inflatable. All-around boards are great for beginners and can be used in a variety of conditions. Touring style are designed for longer trips and are more streamlined for faster paddling. Inflatables are easy to transport and store, making them a popular choice for van life.

Board Size

The size of your SUP board will depend on your weight, skill level, and intended use. Generally, larger types are more stable and easier to balance on, while smaller types are more maneuverable and better for surfing. Make sure to choose a type that can support your weight and is appropriate for your skill level.

Board Weight

The weight of your paddle board is important if you plan on transporting it in your van. All-around styles are typically heavier than touring or inflatable styles, so keep this in mind when making your decision. If you plan on carrying yours for long distances, a lighter type may be more suitable.

Board Material

The material of your SUP will affect its durability, weight, and performance. Common materials include fibreglass, foam, and inflatable PVC. Fibreglass boards are lightweight and durable but can be expensive. Foam boards are more affordable and great for beginners, but may not last as long. Inflatable PVC boards are easy to transport and store, but may not perform as well as fibreglass or foam boards.

Inflatable Versus Hard/Rigid Paddle Board

When it comes to choosing the best paddle board for van life, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether to go with a blowup or a hard board. Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences before making a decision.

Inflatable Paddle Boards

Inflatable paddle boards, or iSUPs, have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their portability and convenience. They are made of durable PVC material and can be inflated and deflated for easy transport and storage. They are also typically more affordable than hard boards. Sounds perfect for van life or anyone wanting any type of portability.

One of the main advantages of an iSUP is its portability. Because it can be deflated and rolled up, it takes up very little space in your van and can be easily transported to and from the water. Additionally, iSUPs are generally more forgiving than hard or rigid types, making them a good choice for beginners or those who plan to use their board in choppy or unpredictable water conditions.

However, there are also some downsides to consider. Inflatable SUPs are typically slower and less stable than hard SUPs, which can make them less suitable for certain activities like racing or surfing. They also require more effort to paddle, as the board tends to flex and bend with each stroke.

Hard or Rigid SUP

Hard/Rigid, on the other hand, are made of solid materials like fibreglass, carbon fibre, or wood. They are typically faster and more stable than iSUPs, making them a good choice for more advanced paddlers or those who use them for specific activities like racing or surfing.

One of the main advantages of a hard SUP is its speed and stability. Because it doesn’t flex or bend like an iSUP, it can move through the water more efficiently and with greater control. Additionally, hard boards tend to have a longer lifespan than iSUPs and can withstand more wear and tear over time.

However, hard SUPs are also more expensive and less portable than iSUPs. They require a roof rack or other transportation system to move them to and from the water, and they take up more space in your van when not in use. Additionally, they can be more difficult to maneuver in choppy water conditions, which may make them less suitable for beginners.

Are Inflatable SUP Good for Beginners?

If you’re new to paddleboarding, you may be wondering whether a ‘blow up’ SUP is a good choice for you. The answer is yes, and here’s why:

Portability: Inflatable SUPs are incredibly portable and easy to transport, which makes them perfect for van life. They can be deflated and packed away in a backpack, taking up minimal space in your van or car.

Stability: blow-up SUPs are generally less stable than hard boards, but they are still a great choice for beginners. They have a wider base and are less likely to tip over, making it easier to maintain your balance.

Durability: Inflatable SUPs are made from durable materials that can withstand wear and tear, making them a great choice for beginners who may be more likely to damage a hard board.

Cost: blow up SUPs are generally less expensive than hard boards, which makes them a great choice for beginners who may not want to invest a lot of money in a new hobby.

Overall, iSUPs are a great choice for beginners who are looking for a portable, stable, durable, and affordable option. With the right inflatable SUP, you can enjoy paddle-boarding wherever and whenever you want, whether you’re on the lake, river, or ocean.

What is the smallest inflatable paddle board?

When it comes to choosing a paddle-board for van life, size and portability are key factors to consider. Inflatable SUP are a great option for those with limited storage space, as they can be deflated and packed away when not in use.

The smallest inflatable sup board on the market is the iRocker Cruiser 10’6″. At just 20 pounds, it’s incredibly lightweight and easy to transport. The board measures 10 feet 6 inches long, 33 inches wide, and 6 inches thick when fully inflated, making it a great option for both beginners and experienced paddlers.

Despite its small size, the iRocker Cruiser is incredibly durable and can support up to 400 pounds. It’s made from military-grade PVC material and features a non-slip deck pad, making it a great option for those who want a reliable and stable paddle board.

In addition to its small size, the iRocker Cruiser also comes with a backpack carrying case, a dual-action hand pump, and a three-piece fibreglass paddle. This makes it easy to take on the go and set up wherever you want to paddle.

What are the most popular brands of SUP?

When it comes to choosing a iSUP, there are many brands to choose from. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Red Paddle Co: SupZoom are Known for their innovative designs and high-quality construction, Red Paddle Co offers a range of inflatable SUPs that are perfect for van life. Their boards are lightweight, durable, and easy to transport.
  • Boardworks: Boardworks offers a variety of SUPs for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced paddlers. Their boards are known for their stability, speed, and maneuverability.
  • Naish: Naish is a well-respected brand in the SUP world, offering a range of boards for all types of paddling, including touring, racing, and surfing. Their brands is known for their high-performance and durability.
  • BIC Sport: BIC Sport is a popular brand that offers a wide range of affordable SUPs. Their brand is known for stability and ease of use, making them a great choice for beginners.

Other popular brands include Isle, Tower, and Starboard. When choosing a paddle board, it’s important to consider your skill level, the type of paddling you’ll be doing, and your budget. By doing your research and choosing a reputable brand, you can ensure that you’ll get a high-quality adult float that will last for years to come.

Best Inflatable Paddle Board For Van life 2023

Kokopelli Chasm-Lite

The new, Kokopelli Chasm-Lite Stand-Up Paddleboard is the lightest and most packable SUP on the market, condensing down to the size of small sleeping bag and weighing in at an ultralight 12.9lb. It’s the new go-to board for all your adventures. The board, paddle, pump, and bag are under 20lbs and can fly with you as a carry on. This is the lightest and most compact board I was able to find. I’m rating this best inflatable paddle board for Van life 2023 based completely on size and weight.

  • Weight: 12.9lbs
  • Length: 10′
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Rider Weight: 300bs
  • Warranty: lifetime limited warranty, 30 day returns
  • Shipping: Free over $500
  • Indluded Accessories: Phone case, carry bag, kayak conversion, dual action pump, smart lock fins
  • Price March 31, 2023: 799-1199 USD

Bluefin Cruise

If you’re looking for a versatile SUP that’s perfect for van life, the Bluefin Cruise is a great option. Comes with a carry bag and a Kayak conversion kit. The Bluefin Cruise is made from high-quality materials that are designed to last, so you can enjoy paddling for years to come. Comes in three sizes, the 15 is designed for tandem use. . Has a dual action pump that fills on the up and the downward stroke. When you have hand pumped a paddleboard you will appreciate this feature. It’s worth noting that I often have some discount coupons for Bluefin just join my email list to gain access.

  • Weight: 14.4kg/31.74lbs, 15.8kg/34.83lbs, 12.2kg/46.74lbs
  • Length: 10.8, 12, 15
  • Thickness: 16cm/6.3″
  • Rider Weight: 3330lbs
  • Warranty: 5 Year manufacturer, 6 month free shipping on return
  • Indluded Accessories: Phone case, carry bag, kayak conversion, dual action pump, smart lock fins
  • Price March 31, 2023: 799-1199 USD

Bote HD Aero

Another great option for van life is Bote HD Aero. This board is designed for stability and versatility, making it perfect for beginners and van lifers. It’s lightweight and easy to transport, so you can take it with you wherever you go. The Bote HD Aero is made from high-quality materials that are designed to withstand the elements, so you can enjoy it in any condition. Bote has a pattented rac system that transforms the board into a fishing platform (sold seperately). Some great features are the paddle sheath so you can float or fish without loosing your paddle, a magnepod drink holder, kula cooler compatible. Probably the most versatile of all the boards we looked at.

  • Weight: 30lbs
  • Length: 11.6″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Rider Weight: 315lbs
  • Warranty: 2 year manufacturer, 30 day guarantee
  • Indluded Accessories: Rac receivers, paddle sheath, repair kit, pump, travel bag
  • Shipping: free
  • Price March 31, 2023: $1099USD

Atoll 11

If you’re looking for a paddle board that’s designed for performance, Atoll 11 is a great option at a great price point. It’s available in two different sizes. The Atoll 11 is also designed to be fast and maneuverable, so you can take on any challenge. It’s made from high-quality materials that are designed to last, so you can enjoy paddling for years to come. It also has the dual action pump and a fin box that will allow for most after market fins. As someone who has lost a fin, take it from me, that is a big plus! 6 Colours available.

  • Weight: 21lbs
  • Length: 9′ or 11′
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Rider Weight: 315lbs
  • Warranty: 2 year warrant60 day return
  • Shipping: Free
  • Indluded Accessories: Leash, dual action pump, carry bag with zippered pouch.
  • Price March 31, 2023: sale $500.99USD

SupZoom Shark

If you’re looking for really cool designs and graphics at a really great price point Supzoom might be the brand for you. When it comes to all bodies of water and paddlers of all skill levels, we think it’s better to offer a round inflatable paddleboard for you to cater your for the best paddling experience out of anywhere.
This shark-style all-round inflatable paddle board adopts the golden size of 10’6”. It combines the advantages of stability, speed, durability, portability, fashion, etc., suitable for all levels of paddlers.

  • Weight: 12.8kg/28lbs
  • Length: 10’6″
  • Warranty: 5 year manufacturer, 30 day return
  • Indluded Accessories: backpack, dual action pump, repair kit, waterproof bag, carry strap, paddle hold device
  • Shipping: Free
  • Rider Weight: 308lbs
  • Price March 31, 2023: $569

When it comes to choosing the best iSUP for van life, there are a lot of factors to consider. You’ll want to choose one that’s lightweight and easy to transport, but also stable and easy to maneuver. You’ll also want to choose one that’s made from high-quality materials that are designed to last. By choosing one of these top brands, you can enjoy paddling wherever your van takes you.

Best SUP Board Brands Under $500

When it comes to finding the best iSUP for van life, you don’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of great options available for under $500. Here are some of the top brands to consider:

Costco often carries a couple of brands under 500$, but they sell fast. I have purchased the Body Glove and have been quite happy with it. They tend to sell out at my local Costco, so get it early in the season. Right now they have the Body Glove and the Hyperlite.

Hyperlite Elevation

Currently on sale at Costco and they really have the best return and exchange policy if you’re a member, that is why we pay the big bucks! This item is only available at Costco and it comes with a 12v Electric pump, use your chassis battery! It has a quick-release fin but that makes me nervous as I’ve lost a fin before. This paddleboard is extremely light weight, easy to carry and weighs only 18 lbs. fully inflated. Use the shoulder strap or carry handle to simply transport this SUP down to the water’s edge and take flight on the Elevation

  • Weight: 18lbs
  • Length: 10’2″
  • Warranty: Costco tends to be the most accepting of any company
  • Indluded Accessories: backpack, 12v pump, repair kit, dry bag,
  • Shipping: Free
  • Rider Weight: 320lbs
  • Price March 31, 2023: $299USD

iRocker Nautical

This board is designed for those who want a lightweight, economical option. It provides above average maneuverability as well as ideal stability and speed. This versatile board can be used for a range of fun activities like paddling around the lake, doing SUP yoga, cruising with a dog or small children, and more! The Nautical has a lower weight limit.

  • Weight: 20lbs
  • Length: 10’6″
  • Warranty: 3 year manufacturer, 45 day return
  • Indluded Accessories: backpack, dual action pump, repair kit,
  • Shipping: Free
  • Rider Weight: 240lbs
  • Price March 31, 2023: $299

Gili Air

The GILI AIR is an excellent go-anywhere paddle board which performs well in all conditions. A great SUP for beginner and intermediate paddlers. The Gili has the handy paddle holder we have seen on some of the higher priced brands. It also has three action mounds for fishing rods, cameras, cup holders and other items.

  • Weight: 19lbs
  • Length: 10’6″
  • Warranty: 2 year manufacturer, 60 day return
  • Indluded Accessories: backpack, dual action pump, repair kit, waterproof bag, carry strap, paddle hold device, action mounts
  • Shipping: Free
  • Rider Weight: 280bs
  • Price March 31, 2023: $400

When choosing a iSUP for van life, it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences. Think about factors such as size, weight, and ease of transportation. By doing your research and comparing different brands and models, you can find the perfect paddle board for your van life adventures without breaking the bank.
In my opinion best inflatable paddle board for Van life 2023, unless you’re looking for something super skilled for white water use or competition, I think the Kokopelli Chasm-Lite makes the mot sense for van life. It’s super light, super compact, a bit more than I’m comfortable spending, but I already own 2 paddle boards.

What is the life expectancy of an inflatable paddle board?

One of the biggest concerns for anyone investing in an inflatable SUP is how long it will last. The good news is that with proper care and maintenance, an inflatable paddle board can last for many years. However, the life expectancy of an inflatable paddle board can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the board, frequency of use, and how well it is stored and maintained.

The average lifespan of an inflatable paddle board is between 3 to 5 years, but this can be extended with proper care. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance and storage to ensure the board lasts as long as possible.

One of the most important factors in the life expectancy of an inflatable paddle board is how well it is stored. When not in the water, the board should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help prevent the material from breaking down and becoming brittle over time. It is also important to keep the board clean and free from dirt and debris, which can cause damage to the material.

In addition to proper storage, regular maintenance is also important for extending the life of an inflatable paddle board. This includes checking for any signs of wear and tear, such as punctures or leaks, and repairing them promptly. It is also important to properly inflate the board before each use and to release any excess air after use to prevent damage to the seams and material.

Overall, the life expectancy of an iSUP can vary depending on several factors, but with proper care and maintenance, it can last for many years. By following the manufacturer’s instructions for storage and maintenance, you can ensure that your inflatable paddle board lasts as long as possible.

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Durable?

One of the main concerns that people have when it comes to iSUP is their durability. After all, they are made of PVC material and are filled with air, which seems like it could be easily punctured or damaged. However, modern inflatable paddle boards are designed to be incredibly durable and resistant to damage.

Most inflatable paddle boards are made from high-quality PVC material that is designed to be resistant to scratches, punctures, and tears. In addition, many manufacturers utilize drop-stitch technology, which involves thousands of tiny threads that connect the top and bottom layers of the board. This creates a much stronger and sturdier board that can withstand a lot of wear and tear.

Of course, as with any piece of equipment, there is always the potential for damage. However, inflatable paddle boards are designed to be easily repaired in the event of a puncture or tear. Most come with a repair kit that includes patches and glue that can be used to fix any damage. In addition, many manufacturers offer warranties that cover any defects or damage that may occur.

Overall, inflatable paddle boards are a great choice for anyone who wants a durable and portable option for their van life adventures. With the right care and maintenance, they can last for many years and provide endless hours of fun on the water.

How can you fix a damaged inflatable paddle board?

While iSUPs are durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear, accidents can happen. If you notice a puncture or tear in your inflatable paddle board, don’t panic. Here are a few steps you can take to fix the damage:

  • Locate the puncture or tear: The first step is to locate the damaged area. Inflate the paddle board and listen for any hissing sounds or feel for any escaping air.
  • Clean the area: Once you have located the damaged area, clean it thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or a specialized cleaning solution. This will ensure that the patch adheres properly.
  • Apply the patch: Apply a patch to the damaged area using a high-quality PVC patch kit. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and allow the patch to dry completely before using the paddle board again.

If the damage is more severe, you may need to take your SUP to a professional repair shop. They will have the necessary tools and expertise to fix the damage properly.

It’s important to note that prevention is the best way to avoid damage to your inflatable paddle board. Always store it properly, avoid dragging it on rough surfaces, and be careful when transporting it.

Care and Maintenance of your SUP

Proper care and maintenance of your stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is crucial to ensure its longevity and performance. Here are a few tips to keep your board in top shape:

  • After each ride, rinse it with fresh water to remove any saltwater, sand, or debris that may have accumulated on it. Use a mild soap if necessary, but avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the surface.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Prolonged exposure to heat and UV radiation can cause the board to warp or delaminate.
  • Avoid dragging it across rough surfaces or dropping it on hard ground. Use a protective cover or bag or wagon to transport it safely.
  • Inspect regularly for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks, dents, or soft spots. Repair any minor damage promptly to prevent it from getting worse.
  • Apply a coat of wax or other protective coating to the surface to prevent scratches and UV damage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your SUP in excellent condition and enjoy many years of paddling adventures.

Recommended Accessories and Storage

When it comes to paddle boarding for van life or camping, having the right accessories and storage can make all the difference. Here are a few recommended items to consider:

1. Paddle Board Roof Rack

Buy in Canada

Buy in United States

A roof rack is a must-have accessory for any van lifer looking to transport their paddle board safely and securely. There are a variety of roof rack options available, including soft racks and hard racks, so be sure to choose one that is compatible with your vehicle and board.

2. Paddle Board Bag

Buy in Canada

Buy in United States

A carry bag is a great investment for protecting your board during transportation and storage. Look for a bag with reinforced padding and durable materials to ensure your board stays safe and secure. Many paddle boards come with a bag. Every brand I looked at comes with a bag. If you lost yours this might be a great replacement, make sure to check your measurements.

3. Ankle Leash/Paddle Leash

Buy in Canada

Buy in United States

A leash is an essential safety accessory that attaches to your ankle and the board, keeping you connected in case of a fall. Be sure to choose a leash that is appropriate for your board and the conditions you’ll be paddling in. Most come with a leash.

Buy in Canada

Buy in United States

If you have ever watched your paddle float away, you will wish you either bought a board with a paddle holder or that you purchased a paddle leash to keep track of your goodies!

4. Waterproof Phone Case

Buy in Canada

Buy in United States

When you’re out on the water, it’s important to keep your phone protected from water damage. A waterproof phone case is a simple and affordable solution that will give you peace of mind while you’re paddling. How else will we confidently get those amazing Instagram photos!

5. Dry Bag

Buy in Canada

Buy in United States

A dry bag is a great storage solution for keeping your personal items dry and protected while you’re out on the water. Look for a bag with a waterproof seal and durable materials to ensure your belongings stay safe and dry.

6. Wagon

Buy in Canada

Buy in United States

When I took my paddle board to Mexico for the first time I really wished I had a wagon to carry it down to the beach. I’m not getting any younger and my board can be a little heavy to carry long distances. Even from the parking lot is a challenge for me. I purchased this wagon from Amazon, and I have never regretted having it.

Conclusion – The Best Inflatable Paddle Board For Van Life 2023

I bought my first iSUP from Costco, the only drawback to the first one I bought was the locking system on the fin. I have lost the fin off of it and was lucky enough to find it again. I received my second SUP, a gift from my Mom, Thanks MOM! It was also from Costco and the thing I don’t like about it is the fins are attached and it makes it hard to roll up and store. So for me, it’s about the fins. It’s easy enough to find an iSUP that has locking fins, I’d recommend that over attached if storage is a premium.

When it comes to choosing the best beach toys for van life, there are several factors to consider. The size, weight, and durability of the SUP are all important, as well as the ease of transport and storage. In this article, we have reviewed some of the top iSUPs for van life, and have highlighted the pros and cons of each one.

Ultimately, the best SUP for your van life will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize portability and price, the inflatable Hyperlite from Costco is the lightest and the cheapest. If you want a board that is versatile and has some great accessory options, the Bluefin Cruise with the kayak conversion is a good choice. Ultimately the smallest stored and lightest of all the iSUPs I looked at was the Kokopelli Chasm-Lite.

Regardless of which paddle board you choose, investing in a high-quality board will ensure that you have a fun and safe experience on the water. Happy paddling! For you safety-conscious outdoor enthusiasts we did a blog post about the most compact folding helmets, you can read it here!

What do you prefer Stand Up Paddle Board or Kayak? Comment below.

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