How do two paddleboards get to the Florida Keys?

How do two paddleboards get to the Florida Keys?

Very thoughtfully!

For one thing, one doesn’t just strap an 11.5’ and a 10’ board on top of a Class C RV like one would strap surfboards onto a vehicle. Add in two kayaks coming along for the kids and you can begin to see the logistical problems.

AndyPaddleboard

We can’t do this all the way to the Keys!

Andy investigated many options, the most feasible seemed to be a vertical solution via a flat rack mounted on the back of the RV, similar to those used to transport a wheelchair behind a vehicle. While this would work for the kayaks, the problem was that at the height the rack had to be mounted on the RV, the 11.5’ board was still soaring almost 5 feet past the RV roof-line! No bueno.

The next option was a side-mount for the paddleboards and the rack-in-the-back for the kayaks. But why do both? Ok, how about a small light kayak trailer to be pulled behind the RV? Surely this could be modified for paddleboards too. This was investigated and ruled out for cost-efficiency. So back to the side and back rack idea?

But, it’s not just getting them there…. It’s also keeping them safe once they arrive. Like at night, when everyone is asleep. Or when we’re away from the campsite eating conch fritters.

Andy assured me, there are locks made so the boards and the kayaks can be locked onto the racks. Hmm… as my Daddy used to say, “Locks are made for honest people.” Forgive me, rack-lock-makers, but I still don’t think I’d sleep easy with our very portable water toys out on display 24/7.

So Andy investigated modifying a flat trailer, in essence building not only a rack system but a cover for it as well that could be locked up. He wanted something short in height that could be stored in our garage, as this would also be the place we would store the paddleboards when we weren’t using them.

We went and looked at flat trailers, and Andy described our issues to the salesman, who promptly informed us that a closed-in trailer like those used for motorcycles could be ordered just a foot shorter in height than the usual. No price difference.

paddleboardtrailer

Soon-to-be Paddleboard trailer!

After a little mental math, we realized that the cost of customizing a flat-bed trailer and ordering the ready-made were almost the same. Plus we would no longer have the ordeal of doing the job ourselves, a simple rack system would be easy to install in the finished trailer. Besides, it would give us extra room to pack and store some things that would be nice to bring along. We’re pretty minimalist in what we pack, and the RV storage is adequate but doesn’t stretch to include extras. So the trailer was ordered, and the 3 week wait for it to be delivered began…..

We waited 3 weeks but you’ll see it here tomorrow and watch as we begin to prepare the inside! Sign up for the email list at the top of the page to get updates on our progress!

Comments

  1. Over the years I’ve known a lot of people who RV-mainly for dog shows . As I read through your latest update all I could think of was why don’t you investigate the cost of renting paddleboards when you are down there…so I am curious…did you and then rule it out? Of course at this point it’s a dead issue…just wondering though.
    Also have you factored in the potential cost of parking the trailer at the RV park? As a rule if you trailer something behind your RV then you have to pay for two site rental spaces.
    The devils advocate lives in Odessa

    • tropicmom says:

      We already have the paddleboards for one thing, but yes, we did play with the idea of leaving ours home and renting once we got there. Thing is, either you rent them and use them right there near the rental spot, or you still have to transport them anyway! Additionally, our site is literally steps from the water, as most are in the Keys, we’ll be using the SUPs at least once a day, every day we’re there.

      We also looked into the size and vehicle allowances for the park. Your RV and a towed vehicle are considered “one” vehicle, and this one allows two vehicles in any case, before requiring extra vehicles to be parked in overflow parking. The sites there are very long (deep) and space will not be an issue.

      The trailer isn’t just for this Keys trip either. With our love of beaches and water, we intend to bring them along more often than not!

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