My experiences with different boats on 3-9 month Expeditions !
For a short trip you can use almost any boat!
I use my boats / kayaks for many month on a trip, not just a few weeks! It's obvious that I have completely different demands on the workmanship and quality of the materials used than a recreational paddler who only uses his boat a few days or weeks a year. I can't buy spare parts on the way if I'm out in the bush!
If it has to be small
A folding boat or a Tri/Catamaran
For long expeditions I can only recommend two boats with a clear conscience:
But only as used boats, because NEW they are absolutely overpriced and not worth the money!
I think the Feathercraft K2 is the best folding kayak for expeditions !
The extremely good old Nautiraid Grand-Raid II is unfortunately no longer usable with the current bad materials and the new design...
Many manufacturers now use TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), simply to save costs, they always say you save weight, but that is not the real reason ...
TPU is very hard to repair on the way!
I would only use Hypalon or good old PVC in a reasonable thickness!
I have not used canoes for a long time, because a folding boat is superior to a canoe in every way!
The exception are the big load canoes, which are powered by an engine!
Klepper Aerius 1 Expedition
The 1 Klepper is not a bad boat, but unfortunately the quality of the materials used is very poor and it is too small for trips of more than 2 months.
If you are a masochist, you can use it for more than 2 months...
It's a boat for short trips. I wouldn't do it again for long expeditions, it's just too cramped, but there are always some masochists who like it!
I was really disappointed with the quality of the hypalon, the keel strips came loose and after 3500km on the Yukon the hypalon was covered in scuffs and scratches!
The boat goes through the waves like a submarine, unfortunately nothing has ever changed because Klepper are far too arrogant to correct their own mistakes...
Unfortunately bad Hypalon material and absolutely overpriced as a new boat!
As a used boat for short trips its OK!
Klepper Aerius II Quattro XT
This boat completely disappointed me.
Low payload, far less than the Feathercraft K 2 or Nautiraid Grand Raid 520.
The confusing name "capsize tube" on the Quattro's extra air tubes does not protect the boat BEFORE capsizing. It only protects the boat AFTER capsizing, when the residual buoyancy of the extra tubes prevents the boat from completely filling and sinking.
So you can save a lot of money and just get the standard version. The extra tubes just take up space in the boat and offer no real safety in the event of a capsize...
Despite the additional original Klepper impregnation, the cotton skin lets water through!
If it rains for a long time, the upper deck will soak up the water, increasing the weight of the boat enormously, and the interior will become damp, a real stalactite cave, and if you're unlucky, it can start to mould!
When the waves are high, the boat goes through them like a submarine. It is always an extremely wet ride!
After about 3500km on the Yukon River the boat had a lot of scratches in the hypalon skin. Also the keel strips had come loose!
The only thing I liked about the boat were the deck hatches, a great thing!
The sturdy wooden frame is also a great thing, although it did start to rot a little!
Very poor Hypalon quality and totally overpriced as a new boat!
But as a used boat OK!
I have heard that Klepper is now produced by Wayland in Poland. If this is true, then new Kleppers are finally finished for me, because the extremely high purchase price is no longer justified!
Nautiraid Grand Raid II 520 Expedition
My recommendation for the Yukon !
But only one until year of construction 2003 !
With this Grand Raid I paddled the Yukon River 2x full length, about 6500 km
The boat was always dry. It floats very nicely on the waves, so a great dry ride, much better than the Klepper!
The Hypalon looks thinner but is much more durable than the Klepper. After almost 6500 km on the Yukon River it had only one tiny scratch! The keel strips were all still attached to the boat, the wooden frame was still NEW after over 7000 km!
That's what I call QUALITY!
A small tip, double the size of the rudder and the boat is much easier to steer. (This applies to all folding boats!). I had mine made in stainless steel.
A very good boat, not as good as the Feathercraft K-2 but a bit cheaper!
Unfortunately the prices have doubled in the last few years, I paid 2300 DM, today it is over 4000 Euro!
Extremely good boat, with very high payload, outstanding quality and handling, next to the Feathercraft K-2 the best expedition folding boat!
Unfortunately, this only applies to Nautiraid boats built up to 2003, after that they are just fake packages, as I found out very painfully on my 2011 expedition...
Nautiraid Grand Raid II Expedition 540
The largest of the Nautiraid folding boats!
Unfortunately it is not as good as the Grand Raid II 520 Expedition.
The geometry and the materials have changed a lot. It has nothing to do with the good Grand Raid 520 until 2003...
The lifeline was glued to the deck with cheap rubber clips. These clips were loosened when the boat was first assembled!
Such a thing is a dangerous joke on an expedition boat. It cannot be used as a guying point, so attaching luggage to the boat is out of the question!
Thanks to the very good advice of Ralf Schwarzbach (not Nautiraid!) I now have proper D-rings on the boat! At the top of the picture you can see the difference.
As the original panniers for the Nautiraid Grand Raid 540 are made of extremely thin and fragile nylon material, which already gets holes during normal handling, I have had robust custom-made panniers made of robust cotton fabric
These sturdy packing bags will now be able to survive being transported in an aeroplane as well!
Why Nautiraid use cheap nylon bags and call them "EXPEDITIONS BOATS" is beyond me.
The Nautiraid Grand Raid 540 II Expedition as it comes out of the factory has nothing to do with the old Grand Raid 520 II Expedition...
The rudder blade is much too small for rivers, the deck fittings are a joke, so you have to fit real deck fittings like I did!
What an impertinence on the part of Nautiraid to deceive people like that and to sell an "expedition" boat that is not an expedition boat!
Which is really dangerous!
For the high (and absolutely exorbitant) purchase price, the boat should be completely Hypalon, not a cheap Hypalon-PVC deception package with glued on cheap deck fittings that do not even deserve the name!
I strongly advise anyone not to buy a Nautiraid folding kayak for "real" expeditions.
The days when these boats were extremely good (around 2003) are sadly over and the service from Nautiraid is an absolute joke.
I had to wait months for a simple spraydeck and was sent the wrong one twice! This spraydeck does not deserve the name, it let litres of water through, BRAVO Nautiraid ...
Obviously they do not use their own boats, otherwise they would never produce such rubbish!
The Nautiraid Grand Raid 540 II was the worst folding boat I ever used on my travels and it is way overpriced!
I will certainly never use Nautiraid boats again!
The absolute dream - folding boat !
The K-2 floats beautifully on the waves, the whole boat fits into one rucksack, finally a folding boat made for extreme expeditions with extreme loads !
All materials are the best!
The Rolls-Royce of kayaks, unfortunately also extremely expensive, but worth every cent...
The BEST FOLDING BOAT on the world market, better than any other folding boat!
Klepper AERIUS II Basic
An old used Klepper AERIUS IIer Basic with PVC skin makes the most sense to me!
Cheap to buy, good quality, very easy to modify for your own needs.
In short, the ideal, affordable folding kayak for expeditions !
For a fraction of the totally exaggerated new price, you can get the BEST FOLDING BOAT for little money!
Then there are the Pouch boats and some Russian boats and the Polish Wayland. However, ALL of these boats cannot compete with the above in terms of quality...
Delphin 110/2 Motorfaltboot-Trimaran
As a trimaran it is a great expedition boat, but it would be much better with a Hypalon skin. The only weak points are the PVC and the original roof, which I replaced with a higher cotton one with windows.
As a trimaran, a 5 horsepower engine is sufficient for the Yukon River. But a 10-15 hp engine is better if you want to go up the side rivers.
In any case, take a 4-stroke engine - better for the environment and better for your wallet.
With small restrictions a very good boat!
Do-it-yourself motor trimaran
The trimaran consisted of an aluminium-titanium frame with two 4.60 x 0.40m side tubes. An inflatable canoe was used in the centre. The tubes and the canoe were made of Hypalon.There were no problems with this material. For propulsion I used a 5 hp 4-stroke engine. More would not have been necessary with this boat.
The only weakness was that it didn't have a closed top.
The boat was safe on the water even in waves of 1.80 m in height!
A very good expedition boat!
My recommendation for a Yukon expedition.
There is no better way to enjoy the Yukon! This catamaran was the best (affordable) boat on my expeditions so far!
The catamaran was powered by a Yamaha 9.9 hp 4 stroke with extra long shaft.
This was perfectly adequate and economical.
The cabin was ok, but I would change the shape next time.
Unfortunately SPREU have changed their catamaran tubes.
They now weigh 32 kg each instead of 22 kg each, which is a big problem in an aircraft!
SPREU tubes are out of the question for the future, as they can no longer be (affordably) transported by air!
The absolutely best way to travel the Yukon River and other big rivers !
The deck was not made of wood as in 2006, but of aluminium chequer plate and the superstructure of balsa/epoxy!
In short, it was a much more robust catamaran than the one we had in 2006, but it was a very expensive version!
Mokai Jet Kajak
My dinghy of the C-Dory 22, it is a 6 hp jet kayak a "MOKAI". Unfortunately it can only be used as a dinghy due to its small storage space. Its advantage is its extremely low fuel consumption!
Nice boat, but not for expeditions, if only as a dinghy !
C-Dory 22 Cruiser
The boat was SUPER, but the cost astronomical!
The fuel consumption of a boat like this, even with a 75 hp engine, is just crazy. On an expedition, many thousands of litres of petrol go through ....
A major expedition with a boat like this will quickly reach astronomical levels...
As practical and comfortable as such a boat may be, it is simply a horror from an economic and ecological point of view!
But man, I still miss my ORCA ...
Sorry, but these kind of boats are really not for big rivers or lakes...
They are meant for fast flowing waters and on big rivers or lakes they are a real nuisance !
This is incomprehensible to me, because the Grabner company should also be aware of the 32 kg flight baggage regulations ...
There have been people who have gone down the Yukon to the coast with a Grabner. But I would never use such a boat, because I know the advantages of a real expedition boat!
A little tip on the side, a folding boat can be easily driven with a canoe Bendshaft paddle.
Especially with one made of carbon (329g)!
Even with double paddles I would only use carbon paddles. The Ergo version from Lettmann is very good.
In 2015 I wanted to build an expedition boat again, but in 2016 I decided to sell it because it is an economic and ecological disaster.
I don't want to burn thousands of litres of petrol on the way...
Continue with: Foodstuff
Only those who risk going too far, will discover how far they can go!
Expedition in USA, Alaska & Canada, Scandinavia with folding boat, motorboat, catamaran, motorcycle, off-road vehicle, bicycle ...