I haven’t abandoned the Porta-Bote. The Porta-Bote is great. I even upgraded it this spring by purchasing a well-maintained, used 5HP motor for it, making the Porta-Bote even more awesome. The thing with that boat is that I pretty much need a 12-15 hour day to use it. From the time I get up, til I get it on the car, til I get it to the lake… and on and on… til I’m done and home… my day with the Porta-Bote starts at 7am and then ends up at 9pm. I don’t necessarily mind all that, especially if the weather is right and the fishery adequately productive. But with Lucy at the age she is now, and with Kate home all week, and with having only one car… now is not quite the time to be out of the house on a boat on a Saturday for 12-15 hours this year. But, you know, I can do 4-6 hours easily. That’s where the Excursion 5 raft comes in.
I met my friend K at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at 11am. I hooked the air pump to the car’s 12 volt charger and inflated the boat’s 3 distinct, physically isolated bladders. We had the boat in Darby Creek in pretty much no time, which isn’t too bad considering today was the first time I actually put the whole thing together. We cruised around, took some pics, threw some lures in the water, and generally enjoyed nature as much as two fellows could under blazing sun and near 100Â°F temperatures. My electric trolling motor attached perfectly to the motor mount kit and even the heavy marine batter was easily tucked under under my arm while I navigated up and down the creek. The ride was pretty comfortable, especially considering the whole thing is essentially a huge pillow. The sturdy vinyl material effortlessly made its way up and down the creek with the help of my Minn Kota electric motor. The boat easily could handle 2-3 adults plus 1-2 (< age 10) kids, or about 1,000 lbs of people, however you decide to do it. I'm not exactly eager to ram it into rocks in turbulent water, but as far as something to cruise around on little creeks and ponds and lakes, I'm totally happy with this boat.
As far as time and effort is concerned, I got what I wanted to out of this boat. I took it out of the car at 11am. We were able to inflate it and get everything together without even looking at the manual in no time. We then spent plenty of time on the water, came back, deflated it with the same device that inflated it, and wrapped up our trip by 2:30pm. Not bad — 3.5 hours from the time I took it out of the car til I put it back. Like I sort of indicated — its a heck of a lot easier for me to get out on a river or lake for 4 hours than it is to do so for 12 or 15 hours.
My friend and I used today as an experimental test run before taking it up to the Delaware River Water Gap in August for a fishing trip on the river and camping trip on one of the islands. No doubt, the test was successful. This is a great boat, and today was a great day on the water.