Hiking With an Inflatable Paddle Board: The Complete Guide

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Got your hiking boots? Check

Water? Check

Inflatable Paddle Board? What?

One of the best things about having an inflatable paddle board is that you can take it on hikes!

Below I will show you what to look for and what gear to bring with you when hiking with an inflatable paddle board

Gear to Bring With You When Hiking With an Inflatable Paddle Board

A lot of this will depend on how long of a hike you will be doing. But for the purpose of this article we will be going over a day hike. We talk more about multi-day hikes in our paddle board camping article. 

  • Lots of Water
  • A good amount of food
  • Hiking boots
  • Paddle Board
  • Backpack that fits board and above
  • Paddle
  • Single chamber hand pump
  • Map/ Compass if you are in backcountry
  • Clothing that fits the weather
  • Bathing Suit

One of the few times I advize a single chamber pump is when hiking. While these pumps may take you a bit longer to get going than double chambered , they take up much less room which means more room to fit the important stuff!

What Kind of Backpack Should I Bring?

The most obvious answer would be one that can fit your paddle board. But there are several other things to consider. Paddle board bags are often a bit baggier than regular backpacks which means that items fit a bit more loosely inside as opposed to a bigger hiking bag. 

One of the first things I look for is a bag that has a good amount of padding on the back and shoulder straps. Things like hip and chest straps are an added bonus as well. 

There are many paddle board bags that can do the job. Some of my favorites for hiking include the Atoll 11 Paddle Board

These days many SUP manufacturers like to include wheels on the bags. While I personally love these innovations, they are useless when it comes to hiking all terrain situations. They also add more weight than needed. 

What Kind of Paddle Board Should I Get for Hiking?

Derek Maneuvering Atoll

When looking for a good hiking paddle board one of the first things that you should look at is the weight and size of the SUP. The longer the SUP length the more paddle board you are carrying. Our personal favorite for hiking is the Atoll 11 Paddle Board due to its lightweight yet durable constriction. On Top of that it only weighs 21 lbs. 

There are more lightweight and compact models specific for traveling like the iRocker Ultra All Around 10 and the Nixy Huntington Ultra Compact boards. These boards fold in half lengthwise which makes them more compact than most other paddle boards. Oftentimes these boards have smaller bags that come with the package as well. 

Where Can I Take My Inflatable Paddle Board Hiking?

Almost anywhere where there is water! One of the things I would look out for is water advisories such as E.Coli advisories. Also be wary of calm water rivers that turn into white water. Take a look at where the waterway you are going to ends up and plan accordingly.  

How Long Do Inflatable Paddle Boards Last? 

How long an inflatable board will last will depend on the boards construction. Better construction usually means a higher price tag, but if you look at how long the board can last, its well worth it! Some things you can do to increase the life of your boards are:

  • Rinse it down after each use
  • Follow proper folding instructions
  • Keep the board out of the sun
  • Deflate the board every once and a while
  • Don’t drag your board on the ground

We go into much more detail with this question in our How Long Do Inflatable Paddle Boards Last article.

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Hey, My name is Derek Lenze and I'm the owner of Inflatable SUP Authority. I've had over 20 years experience with watersports and over 10 years of various paddle boarding experience. My new-found passion is bringing my stand up paddle boaring knowledge in an explainable and actionable way all the while giving you my unbiased takes.

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