In this guide, we will be showing you the best touring paddle boards for different uses and price ranges.
When looking at these best touring paddle board lists it’s best to remind yourself that there is no “best touring sup”. But rather the best touring SUP that is suited to you and your budget, experience, height/weight, and water conditions near your area.
As a result, we’ve added models that should fit most modest budget ranges, including boards that I have either tested or have done extensive research on.
Without further ado let’s get into the reviews!
Table of Contents
(Click Below to Jump to each section)
- Best Touring SUPs
- Touring Board Buyer Considerations
- Things to Remember When Going on a Touring Excursion
Best Touring Paddle Boards
Best Inflatable Touring Paddle Boards List
- Red Paddle Voyager 13’2” – (Top Pick)
- Starboard Touring Deluxe – (Long Distance Pick)
- Red Paddle 12’6” Sport – (All Around/ Touring Hybrid Pick)
- Gili Meno 12’6” – (Affordable Touring Pick)
- Nixy Monterey – (On-Board Accessories Pick)
- Sea Eagle Needle Nose 12’6” – (Most Customization)
- Atoll 11’ – (Durability Pick)
In this list, we have what we believe is a comprehensive list of touring paddle boards for paddlers of all experience ranges and budgets.
We put what we felt were the best-rated touring SUPs at the top of the list. Followed by SUP boards that can be used for touring but also other uses that can accommodate those folks who want an all-in-one kind of board that still have a bit of give and go.
1. Red Paddle Voyager 13’2” Touring SUP
- Dimensions: 13’2” X 30” X 5.90”
- Materials: MSL Fusion Technology
- Weight: 30.09 Lbs
- Maximum Capacity: 330 Lbs
Why is it a Good Touring Pick?
The Red Paddle Voyager 13’2” is a great touring pick that is packed with innovative features that help the board track and glide with greater ease than the vast majority of touring boards out there. The details are all in the in-house construction that Red Paddle is able to oversee from top to bottom.
While the price tag may be no joke, Red Paddle’s 0.08% return rate should not be snuffed at. So for those who have some experience in touring, or are looking to get an inflatable touring paddle board that lasts a long time. The Voyager is a solid pick thanks to its 5-year warranty on manufacturing defects. It was rated as our top touring pick in our Best Inflatable Paddle Boards Section
The Voyager 13’2” SUP is one of the best boards on this list for a variety of conditions thanks to its V hull and RSS stiffening battens which we will explain below. The board’s nose is designed is inspired by sea kayak hulls. This gives you better tracking at the first point of contact while allowing the board to cut through the wake as opposed to the nose riding completely over it adding further instability in the water.
The Boards 13’2” frame makes it a perfect in-between-sized performance board for most sized paddlers.
Better yet, with this model, you can load it up with a decent amount of gear and still have solid on-water performance of up to about 330 lbs onboard. You can stash gear at the front of the board as well as the rear where the D rings are featured.
Board Features and Design
For those of you who wonder what the bigger price tag provides. It’s the fact that you have a board that has many similarities to a hard-touring board in terms of the board’s glide and stiffness. This is thanks mainly to two innovations. The V Hull and the RSS Stiffening battens slide into the sides.
The V-Hull as Red Paddle puts it breaks the surface tension of the water at the first point of contact. This helps the board feel like it’s on rails thanks to this innovation as well as the 13’2” board frame. It also expends less effort while paddling long distances. And really, isn’t that the whole purpose of touring paddle boards?
Red Paddles patented RSS battens allow an already stiff board to add some more rigidity. Red Paddle estimates it adds a value of up to 40% more rigidity, which is pretty big! This also helps the glide and speed of the board as it won’t sag as long as it’s in about the 18 PSI range.
The board materials, as mentioned above are also all designed in-house which means this is as top-of-the-line as you will get for an inflatable touring model. This is thanks to Red Paddle’s MSL fusion technology which scraps the gluing process and fuses two layers of PVC together in their own private facility. In other words, it’s made in the UK and is not outsourced to China. The specialized process of making these boards is 72 hours which is almost 8 times longer than most other inflatable SUPs.
- Some of the best design practices in the industry with this company
- 5 Year Warranty
- V Hull and RSS Battens make this SUP have a close performance to hard touring boards
- ATB bag is one of the better quality bags we’ve seen that comes with SUPs
- 13’2” is a great in-between size that will fit most touring paddlers’ needs
- The board will have great on-water performance, even when loaded up with gear
- The price that comes with the design practices definitely is not cheap
- Does not come with a paddle
2. Starboard Touring Deluxe
- Dimensions: 14’ X 30” X 6”
- Materials: Deluxe Single Chamber/ Deluxe Double Chamber Woven Fusion
- Weight: 23.6/ 28.6 Lbs
- Maximum Capacity: 265 Lbs
Why is it a Good Touring Pick?
The Starboard Touring Deluxe is a great pick for those who want a serious performing board that takes less effort per stroke to paddle. Starboard is specifically known for its performance hard touring/ racing boards so it has put a lot of its knowledge of touring into this inflatable line.
We give you two options to pick. The Deluxe double chamber and the Single chamber. As you can guess the main difference between the two is the construction. The double chamber will offer more rigidity and a 2nd layer of coverage in case one fails. There is no right or wrong answer here but more preference.
The Starboard Touring Deluxe board offers a pointed nose that is able to cut through the water with more ease compared to touring SUPs with more of a rounded nose. The 14’ feet not only gives you more room on the board but also provides a slender frame that provides the SUP with better tracking and glide.
The 30” also allows the SUP to be relatively stable for most paddlers that have a degree of paddling experience. This SUP has good initial acceleration due to its lightweight build which allows you to get going quicker in the water.
One of the features I like about this board is the fact that they have a kick pad at the back for pivot turns. Maneuvering a 14’ board instantly can take a bit of work due to its longer length so it’s good that this feature is included to give you the option of quicker decisive turning.
Board Features and Design
The 14’ touring board by Starboard may not have as many of the fancy innovations as the Red Paddle Voyager. But many of the innovations come down from the construction of the board.
Starboard uses a mechanical bond which uses heat instead of glue to seal their rails. Glue as we all know does not hold forever. So this mechanical bond that Starboard has not only greatly reduces manufacturing and human error but also allows the board to be more durable against bumps from rocks. Typically the seams along the rails are where the majority of the inflatable paddle board leaks will be.
Another feature that this SUP has is the rail edge tail which helps keep a clean flow of water off the back of the SUP. This won’t be the biggest difference maker by any means but it will be noticeable as you put on more consecutive miles and be able to go just that extra bit farther.
Truthfully if you are looking for the best inflatable touring SUPs from a raw tracking/ glide perspective then Red Paddle or Starboard will be your best bet due to the amount of control they have in construction and design processes. This allows them to test new features in facilities and add them to the board instead of going back and forth with designs in China.
- In terms of touring, it will be one of the best-designed inflatable touring boards
- Features kick pad which aids in quicker pivot turns
- 14’ slender frame will glide with ease for longer distances
- The nose is more pointed than many touring models allowing it to cut through some small chop/ waves
- Features Go pro mount on the nose to document journeys.
- The board is more pricey
- The bag seems basic for the price point, but it could use more pockets
3. Red Paddle 12’6” Sport
- Dimensions: 12’6” X 30” X 5.90”
- Materials: MSL Fusion Technology
- Weight: 26.12 Lbs
- Maximum Capacity: 265 Lbs
Why is it a Good Touring Pick?
The Red Paddle Sport 12’6 is a great board for those who want an in-between of an All-Around board and a classified “Touring board”. Unlike many inflatable touring boards, you can jump on and paddle this SUP as a beginner. The learning curve may be a bit more steep compared to an all-around SUP but this is a great board for those who want a paddle board to grow with their skill set.
This specific model is more touring-oriented due to the board’s dimensions. If you are a beginner and want to start off on something a bit more stable I would recommend the 11’3” Sport as it has 2 inches more width and a thinner board thickness that allows you to be closer to the water.
The Red Paddle Sport has a lot of the characteristics of a touring board. For one it has a more pointed nose and squared-up tail that features better glide while being a bit more maneuverable compared to the Voyager 13’2” or the Starboard Touring SUP.
One customer’s review really stood out to me which I thought was a good point of comparison.
“I am a competitive paddle and bought this board to complement my 10’ Surfer and 12’6” Voyager. I took it for its test ride on Ullswater in flat conditions and I am very happy with the performance. Inflated well under 10 minutes, it held its line, glided very nicely and was easy to make it run at a decent stroke-rate. I had my 45 lb border collie on the front without much of a change in handling or glide. The shape is decidedly more “dagger” like than the Voyager and it runs differently as a result, less like a Land Rover Discovery and more like a Porsche Cayenne. I feel it would be easy to take gear for a 1-2 nighter light expedition, perhaps even with the dog.”– Zolt (Verified Red Paddle Customer)
Board Features and Design
While this board may not have as many cutting-edge designs as the Voyager 13’2” it still comes with a few noteworthy features. For one, you get the Speed tail which offers a rubberized edge located at the very edge which helps release the water from the tail in a more efficient manner. While this won’t make the board eons faster it is the little details like this that add up.
The Sport comes with RSS battens which help add more rigidity to the side rails which allows the board to be even stiffer and therefore more hydrodynamic at the bottom with little flex/drag. The Board also has a US Fin box spec which gives this board more possibilities in terms of fins to experiment with. We always prefer to see touring boards have US Finbox style fins as opposed to proprietary systems due to the fact that you can buy fins from both SUP and surfboard manufacturers that have the same “US Finbox” designation.
- Has a lot of classic touring specifications all the while being easier to learn on
- Great for most skill levels
- This is about as much of an in-between of a touring and all-around board as you can get
- Two textured deck pad gives you more grip at the tail for more advanced maneuvers
- Has US Fin Box designation
- I wish they included the V-Hull specifically on this model
- There should be more D rings on the back of the board to make this a better board to haul more gear with
4. Gili Meno 12’6” Touring Board
- Dimensions: 12’6” X 31” X 6”
- Materials: Fusion Dual Layer Technology
- Weight: 24 Lbs
- Maximum Capacity: 300 Lbs
Why is it a Good Touring Pick?
The Gili Meno 12’6” deviates from the original Meno line-up in that it has more touring-worthy characteristics. Starting at its pointed 12’6” frame that can cut through the water down to its squared-off tail. It’s 31” width also makes the board feel more stable than some of the performance picks above.
The Meno 12’6” has a 300 lb maximum capacity (intermediate to advanced paddler can go heavier) which means you can also load the board up with a decent amount of gear and accessories thanks to its 5 rows of deck webbing. Like the Monterey, the Meno can also have brackets for thinks like rods, cup holders, and action cameras thanks to its 4 action mounts located where both front and rear bungees meet the deck padding.
The Meno 12’6” may not have the same detail and quality of resources as our top 3 performance picks but it is a more affordable option that will be better than just about any All Around Board. The pointed nose allows them to displace water on each side more efficiently. This is particularly handy with chop where the SUP has a tendency to smack into them, creating more rocking as opposed to slicing through them.
The Meno 12’6” can be an excellent cost-efficient option for beginners who don’t want to pay a premium for a touring SUP while having some extra stability under their feet. It’s 31” may not be the widest on the list but it will provide more primary stability (board staying stable in flat water) than many Touring specific SUPs with more compatibility to other SUP activities.
Board Features and Design
We’ve already talked a bit about Meno’s pointed design and how it can be a pretty solid board for most experience levels. In a way, this board mixes the best of both worlds between the Red Paddle boards and the Nixy Monterey. It offers 4 action mounts that you can use to mount rods, go pro cams, or even cell phones.
The board also features 4 free D rings on the sides for a kayak seat. This is a pretty underrated feature in my mind considering touring is an activity where you are on the water for long periods of time. When your feet start to get numb you can place the kayak seat down and add a kayak conversion paddle to the existing SUP paddle. It should be noted that these are sold separately.
Gili, like the Red Paddle SUPs, has a two-textured deck pad where not only does it have diamond grooving at the back for grip, but it also features a stomp pad which gives you much greater control of the SUP when you are doing pivot/ Step-back turns.
- Great Board for most skill levels due to its 31” width
- Can hold a good amount of cargo
- Lots of customization options for a touring-specific SUP
- The stomp pad and diamond-grooved deck pad in the back is great for learning pivot turns
- Comes with 3 different kinds of fins which is something almost unheard of in the industry
- They don’t get too much into detail with the board’s fusion process
- Could come in more designs and styles
5. Nixy Monterey (On-Board Accessories Pick)
- Dimensions: 11’6” X 34” X 6”
- Materials: Woven Drop Stitch Fusion layering
- Weight: 25 Lbs
- Maximum Capacity: 400 Lbs
Why is it a Good Touring Pick?
You may be curious why I included the Monterey SUP over the Manhattan or Manhattan Plus. No disrespect to either of those two models as they are great touring specific boards. However, I wanted to include a board that I had more experience with and something that can offer folks a SUP that wants to go beyond the “touring” designation.
The Monterey G4 won’t be the fastest model on this list by any means due to its more rounded shape. But it will be one of the best for carrying a lot of gear and accessories with you! And let’s face it, sometimes you have items that can’t just fit in the bungee lacing areas.
In my testing, I found that the Monterey was a seriously overlooked board. For one it’s glide/ speed was actually surprising for a board of its dimensions. Its tracking was also most impressive as I counted about 10 strokes per side before I had to switch sides.
The one thing that really stood out with the Monterey was its stability. Seriously, this thing feels like you are paddling on a tank when you are standing up. And while stability may not matter as much for experienced paddlers who can paddle narrower boards. It’s seriously important for those starting off. And because of that the Monterey can be used for a lot of purposes outside of touring. Things such as:
- Paddling with Dogs/ Kids
- Using it as a kayak hybrid
Board Features and Design
Another area where the Monterey shines is its features. In Fact, it’s one of the most feature-rich boards I’ve come across. For one the board features 10 M8 action mounts which allow you to add phone holders, navigation lights (a must for night paddling), rod holders, and camera mounts. It also has 2 Scotty mounts on the back that can be used for a fishing rack to add even more rods to.
The Monterey has taken some inspiration from Bluefin in that it has a double chamber inside of it. This makes the board extra rigid which functions for two methods.
- It adds an extra degree of stiffness and gives the board some extra capacity
- It’s an extra layer of safety in case one of the bladders leaks while on the water
There can also be some arguments against it such as it gives the board more “fail points” due to the fact that you had to cut the inside layer of the board and stitch the bladder to it. Either way, I’ve had this board for around 6 months so far and have had no issues with this construction thus far.
- One of the most stable SUPs I’ve paddled
- For those who like a lot of customization, this is a great choice
- There is little bend due to the double chamber construction
- Nixy always has some of the best accessories included in the game
- Board has a lot of storage potential for overnight trips
- Will be considerably slower compared to the top 3 picks
- This board can be difficult to fold back down
6. Sea Eagle Needle Nose 12’6”
- Dimensions: 12’6” X 29” X 6”
- Materials: 1100 Decitex Reinforced Drop Stitch
- Weight: 30 Lbs
- Maximum Capacity: 224 Lbs
Why is it a Good Touring Pick?
The Sea Eagle Needle Nose is a great option for those who want to customize their SUP package to their own customized needs. Sea Eagle, unlike most SUP companies, offers customized packages based on your budget range for all of their products including SUP packages. You can choose:
- Start-Up Package: Board, paddle, Electric Pump, Manual pump, bag and repair kit
- Deluxe Package: Board, paddle, Blow-Up Seat, Kayak Paddle, Electric Pump, Manual pump, bag, and repair kit
- Pro Package: Board, paddle, Tall Back Seat, AB40 Kayak Paddle, Electric Pump, Manual pump, bag, and repair kit
- Electric Pump Package: Board, Carbon paddle, Electric Pump, Manual pump, bag, and repair kit
- Swivel Seat Fishing Rig Package: Board, paddle, Swivel Seat, AB40 Kayak Paddle, Electric Pump, Manual pump, bag, and repair kit
- QuikRow Package: Rowing Kit with paddles, Rod Holders, SUP Paddle, Electric Pump, Manual Pump, Repair Kit, Bag
Touring boards are meant to have pointy noses to cut through the water. The Needle Nose takes this to the extreme thanks to its patented needle nose design which is the sharpest displacement nose on this list. This nose design creates less drag at the first point of contact with the water which gives you better tracking and a smoother glide.
For those who want further tracking/ glide per stroke check out the 14’ NeedleNose SUP which will have a higher maximum capacity for more gear as well thanks to its bigger surface area. The 12’6” Needle Nose will be an easier board to maneuver through.
Board Features and Design
One of the things I really like about this SUP is the fact that it has a full-length deck pad that is actually rather well thought out. The decals feature an arrow that can be used as a guide as to where to stand on the SUP. The further forward on the arrow point you go the more the nose gets planted into the water. While further back will be a more stable position to paddle from.
Of course, we have to talk a bit more in-depth about the different packages that are included with this SUP. One thing I really appreciate about Sea Eagle is the fact that their packages come with a lot of different options including even having a swivel seat or full onboard rowing package. In my personal opinion, this may not be the best SUP to fish on due to its thinner width but the seat certainly helps things.
The rowing package is interesting as it allows this board to be transformed into a completely different usage. Instead of joining the local rowing club just get this SUP with the rowing package! You will have a choice between a stand-up paddle board or a full rowing machine for a good full-body workout!
- Needle Nose design has to be one of the most efficient displacement hull designs
- Lots of unique and different packages for different budgets offered
- All packages now come with an Electric SUP pump which is very useful
- Can use arrow as a standing guide
- The slide in Skeg should be US Finbox which will be stronger and allow more customization
- The board is 30 lbs in weight so that’s something to keep in mind
- Not a lot of storage room on SUP with only 2 rows of bungee deck webbing
7. Atoll 11’ SUP
- Dimensions: 11’ X 32” X 6”
- Materials: Machine Laminated Dual PVC Layer
- Weight: 21 Lbs
- Maximum Capacity: 315 Lbs (Tested to over 500 Lbs)
Why is it a Good Touring Pick?
In my mind, this is classified more as an All-Around board with touring capabilities. But for those who are on a smaller budget, it’s a pretty good pick that can glide sufficiently while giving you lots of options in terms of carrying capacity.
The Atoll 11 is also a great touring pick because the whole package is a lighter weight than many touring packages out there. This is mainly due to the stripped-down features of the Atoll 11 which makes it 21 lbs. The bag is also pretty comfortable to wear including a minimal single-chambered pump which makes it possible to hike longer distances to get to your paddling sweet spot.
One of the biggest strengths of the Atoll 11 is the fact that it is a super stable board. Meaning it’s ideal for all skill levels but particularly beginners who may not have a firm footing on paddle boards just yet. I had my friend try it out after using a cheaper no-name brand and he was absolutely shocked by the board’s stability. As he would say “It was a night and day difference between this SUP and my old one”.
In terms of touring the glide and tracking a good. Now obviously it won’t be able to perform as well as the longer 12’4” to 14’ boards on this list. But in comparison to other all-around boards, it’s glide and tracking were sufficient. I’ve taken this board through a few longer day paddles and I never felt an issue with the board’s glide and speed, especially when compared to other all-around SUPs.
Where this SUP will have a big advantage compared to some of the other longer touring paddle boards on the list will be maneuverability. The shorter length and the US Fin box will allow you to navigate shallower and tighter waterways with relative ease.
Board Features and Design
The Atoll 11 is relatively stripped back when you compare it to other all-around or touring hybrid boards on the market. And in our mind, that’s part of their appeal! The board features 8 free D rings on the back which is great for creating your own bungee system for those bigger items like camping bags, backpacks, and even coolers.
The board also has a large expansive deck pad that features diamond-grooved deck padding which in my experience is the grippiest. The front 3 rows of bungee deck webbing are also good for packing medium-sized items. Although the deck webbing is a bit spaced out meaning its design is not ideal for smaller items like water bottles in my personal experience.
- Very stable for all skill levels
- This SUP is a great value in terms of quality to pricing
- A lot of options for onboard storage, especially in the back
- The deck pad is wide, expansive, and grippy
- It’s hard for me to consider this a true touring board due to its wider width and shorter length
- The tracking on this board will never be as good as longer SUPs on this list
Inflatable Touring Board Buyer Considerations
Below are some considerations that should be included when looking at a good inflatable touring board. We’ve vetted all of the boards on this list against these considerations.
Types of Touring Boards
Touring boards come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and uses. While many of you may think of a touring board as the SUP with the pointy nose and the squared-up tail, there actually is more to it than that.
The very basic definition of a touring board would be a board that is able to paddle longer distances. But within those longer-distance paddles, each individual has their own unique set of needs. Those needs include
- What is Your Experience level?: As you get more experienced with paddle boards you will probably start going towards thinner and longer high-performance boards. Starting out you will want something wider within the 30 -34” range. I find many people make the mistake of saying “I want the fast pointy touring board!” in the beginning only to have trouble balancing on it because they overestimated their experience level.
- Are You Using the Board Just For Performance Paddling?: Getting more specialty boards like the Voyager 13’2” or the Starboard Touring board is great for speed, tracking, and covering vast distances with ease. But they won’t be as great of a pick for activities like recreational paddling with friends that use all-around boards, fishing, yoga, etc. In that case, you may want something with more all-around capabilities like the Atoll 11 or the Nixy Monterey.
- What is your Budget?: If you want to spend money on a very well-made and designed touring board you will be spending upwards of over $900 or more. Premium boards that are designed in-house will cost over $1300 and more. As you get into the lower price point you start going more into All Around territory. Boards like the Atoll 11 won’t be meant specifically for touring but they can be a better option for your price point and what you want to spend.
To put it very simply. The longer and thinner the board is the better it will track. You can put all the fancy extra features marketed for better tracking that you want but the length and width of the board will be the main factors in determining tracking ability.
Features like Red Paddle’s V Hull will definitely aid in helping increase the tracking ability of the board but it won’t be the main factor that helps the board stay in a straight line.
From our list, the best tracking boards will undoubtedly be the Starboard Touring SUP and Voyager 13’2” due to their longer and narrower 14-13’ length profiles and their 30” widths.
Speed of the Touring Board
Speed or also known as glide is important in a touring board because it helps you cover a greater amount of distance compared to an all-around board.
The main factors that will determine speed will be the planning hull of the board, the length, and the width. It’s the same theory as tracking. Less surface area touching the water = a faster board.
The amount of bend the board has when you are standing on it has a big determining factor as well. Boards with less bend will be made of a strong custom or fusion layering of PVC and can include such features as Stiffening battens, double chambers, or even stringers on some models.
A higher PSI will also help achieve this which means the water has an equal amount of surface area to flow under instead of a bump in the middle of the board that drags as you paddle along.
Stability of a Touring Board
What’s the point of even having a touring board if you keep falling in the water every 5 minutes?
When looking at a touring board you have to be honest with yourself as to what your skill level is. Wider boards will create a bit more drag in the water but they will be more stable for you to paddle. Of course, a big determining factor of this is your size and weight.
So if you are of a smaller frame and you are starting out look for a 30 – 32” wide board. If you are bigger/ heavier look at 32 -34” starting out.
More experienced paddlers with a smaller frame can go all the way from 26” – 30” while larger experienced paddlers can go into the 28”-30” range. For those who are bigger, you should also be looking at a longer board. Usually between 12’6” and 14’ is the sweet spot for touring.
If there is one thing that touring boards are not made for, its maneuverability. So if this is important to you look at an 11 -12’6” board to suit your paddling environment.
Touring boards often have to dance a fine line between the importance of having gear on the front and back of the board vs using that space to have a kick pad. Kick pads make quick maneuvers like pivot turns much easier because of the extra leverage and control they give your back foot when you stomp down.
So look at your paddling environment and decide if it’s more important to have more gear or have access to a kick pad to do those quick decisive pivot turns.
Speaking of adding more gear to your SUP the maximum capacity that the board holds can be one of the most important things to think of. Especially if you want to get into overnight touring.
Because you are paddling for a long distance you need to think about not just the board holding you but also the gear you are bringing! A good little hack to do is weigh yourself and then each bag of gear you are planning to bring and total the weight up. Directly compare that number to touring boards’ maximum capacities.
Touring boards meant for speed tend to have a lower maximum capacity due to the thinner dimensions of the board. These are meant more for day touring and sprinting which means they put less emphasis on the gear you are bringing. Usually, the maximum capacity of these boards will be between 200-300 Lbs. An example of this is the Starboard 14’ board which favors the displacement hull.
Overnight or Camping touring boards will have wider dimensions and will be meant less for speed and more for carrying items. These boards usually have more bungee storage available to strap down more gear. The maximum capacity for these boards ranges from 300- 400 lbs. Boards like the Atoll 11 and Nixy Monterey are great examples of this that have a rounder nose and tail.
Touring SUP Weight
One thing that’s often overlooked with touring boards is weight. It’s often a factor that’s overlooked until you receive the board and realize you have to haul it all the way to the water or even further!
Thankfully inflatable SUP technology is getting more and more innovative resulting in lighter-weight boards and smaller packages. Heck, Red Paddle just released the Compact 12’ which is one of the first touring spec boards that can be folded in half lengthwise to be put in a smaller bag for less space!
Most of the boards on this list will be in the mid-20 lbs to 30 lb board weights. This means these boards are best to carry by car and have a short carrying trip to the shoreline. Now if you are having to hike a good amount of distance it might make more sense to sacrifice a bit of the touring aspects and get a lighter board like the 21 lb Atoll 11’ to carry around with you.
The onboard features that your inflatable touring SUP will have will depend on what your purpose is.
If you are looking to gain more speed and have as smooth a ride as possible you will be looking for things like a pointed or V Hull nose, some sort of rail stiffening technology like RSS battens or an extra bladder, and some bungee deck lining to fit medium to smaller items.
For longer trips, you want a board that will pack more gear. Things like extra D rings, deck bungees, paddle holders, and action/ Scotty mounts are all things to look for when you plan to load up your board.
Things to Remember When Going on a Touring Excursion
Chances are some of you will be new to this whole touring thing. So below I’ve added some helpful tips for you to have a safe and fun touring excursion. For a full guide on SUP touring check out our guide.
When going on a longer touring excursion it’s best to know the lay of the land so to speak. Have a map or Google maps handy and scout out the area that you are planning to tour. Here is the order of planning.
- Manually check out/ Scout the area and note good rest spots.
- When in the area talk to locals and get their input on the area you are planning to paddle
- Have a backup plan readily available to you. Things don’t always go according to plan, especially when it comes to tides and wind so choose an alternate route in case any of the above elements don’t cooperate.
- Pack everything the night prior. This is a good guide on what to pack for SUP touring excursions. Safety gear is a must!
- Before heading out check the weather forecast. Check what the conditions are like, how much wind there is, and the water temperature. In an ideal world, you will want conditions that have low wind, some cloud cover, and water temperatures that are well above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are doing some ocean touring it’s important to check your tide tables as well as time your rest stops for when there’s the most tidal movement.
Bring an Experienced Friend
It’s very important to bring an experienced friend with you if you are just starting out. They can provide you with real-life experience and tips that you would never even think of on your own. Who knows, having them there may even save your life either at the location or down the road when you attempt SUP touring by yourself.
Its always more fun to share your adventure with someone who has the same amount of passion for paddle boarding as you do!
A LifeVest or PFD
On average 80% of drowning deaths could have been avoided if the paddler was wearing a PFD. With touring it’s even more important because there will be times when you may be further away from shore.
If you are a strong swimmer then you can use a Belt PFD. If you are not confident in your swimming abilities then use a Life Vest that has a good amount of arm movement.
To get some ideas, check out our Best Paddle Board Life Jackets guide.
A SUP Leash
Thankfully most SUP packages will come with a leash. So no excuses here!
SUP leashes are handy because if worn properly you will easily be able to get back onto your board without worrying that wind/currents/tides will drag it away from you.
In most environments coiled leashes are okay. The only area I would advise not having a coiled leash is white water river environments where it can get easily snagged. Also if you are in coastal surf conditions get a straight leash to lessen the risk of the board being sprung back and hitting you.
Water and Food/ Snacks
This is a touring must and something where it’s better to overpack rather than under pack. Your body needs 64 ounces of water everyday. When you are out on the water all day, the combination of the sun and multiple hours of paddling will force you to drink more.
EarthRiver SUP has a good guide on how much water you should drink when paddle boarding.
To make the most of your energy you will want to bring something nutritional with you. According to Jen Fuller, you should be using a 2:1 carbs to proteins ratio when out on the water so that you can control your blood sugar.
A Strong Lightweight Paddle
There’s a reason why brands like Red Paddle do not include a paddle with their SUP packages. This is because they know that paddles are a very preference-based item for a paddler to have.
“In the beginning, you may snuff at getting a $150 + carbon paddle. But as you extend your touring trips further and further and you spend more time on the board you begin to see the importance of having a lightweight paddle with you.– Editors Notes
In my experience if you are on the water for more than 3 hours at a time and you are out frequently it makes a lot of sense to get a carbon paddle. “
I’m a big advocate of using drybags for SUP trips as they are not very expensive and can save your equipment from getting waterlogged and therefore ruined. The size and amount of drybags you bring with you will depend on the duration of your SUP trip.
Check out our Approved Paddle Board Drybags here.
This can mean both hard or soft coolers depending on the duration of your SUP excursion and how much room you have to strap it down. Many people like to strap hard coolers onto the back D rings of the board so that they have a spot to sit while paddling.
If you want to pack alcoholic beverages, that’s up to you. Although in many places like the United States and Canada, you can get a BUI (Boating Under the Influence) for drinking and operating a small water craft. Which is what a paddle board falls into.
My advice is to pack plenty of water in that cooler regardless of whatever else is inside it. You need to stay hydrated while out on the water to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
For our Top Rated SUP Coolers see this article.
A Means of Communication
If you are in a populated area that has cell phone reception then you won’t need more than a phone. It’s best to test this out beforehand with a little scouting trip on the road before going out to paddle.
If you are not in an area that has reception, it’s best to get a handheld VHF radio. A handheld VHF radio will allow you to have direct contact with a water governing body like the USCG (US Coast Guard). See here for further instructions on what a VHF radio is and how to use it.
Touring Paddle Board FAQ’s
Below are some common touring SUP faqs that I hear or are asked.
So What’s The Best Touring Paddle Board?
The best touring paddle board is the Red Paddle Voyager 13’2” SUP. It is rated the best due to its detailed inhouse construction which takes 72 hours to build. The Voyager also has plenty of innovations attached to the board like the RSS Stiffening Rail Battens, the revolutionary V Hull, and its hydrodynamic speed tail.
What’s The Difference Between A Touring SUP And An All Around SUP?
The difference between a touring board and an all around paddle board is the shape and the dimensions of the board. Touring boards tend to be thinner at 26 – 31” wide and 14 ‘-11’6” long. Touring SUPs also feature a pointed displacement hull which means it has a narrower nose used to cut through waves and chop.
All Around boards tend to be 32”-36” wide and between 10’ and 12’ in length. They are more stable and are a better pick for beginners to start off on.
How Long Should My Touring Paddle Be?
A Touring paddle should be about 9-12” higher than your height. So if you are 6’ then your paddle should be 81-84” long. Its best to test out the different paddle heights for what is most comfortable for you as everyones paddling stride differs because we have different strengths and weaknesses in our bodies.
What Wind Speed Is Too Much For An Inflatable SUP?
As a rule of thumb, you should stay off the water if the winds are above 15 mph or 24 kph. If you are a beginner you should not be out in winds that are above 10 mph or 16 kph.
Can You SUP Tour All Year Round?
Yes, you can do SUP touring all year round. But you need to be prepared with the right equipment, experience, and safety skills to tackle paddling in cold water conditions. You need to layer your clothing correctly, properly read the conditions and go with a friend for safety reasons.
For a full guide on Winter Paddle Boarding Tips check out our guide.
How Far Out To Sea Can You Paddle Board?
You can go out to up to 300 meters in the sea legally. We recommend that you have a lot of SUP experience and are properly trained in safety and rescue techniques before even considering attempting this.