My experiences with different boats on 3-9 month Expeditions !
For a short trip you can use just about any boat !
It's clear that I have completely different demands on the workmanship and quality of the materials used than a leisure paddler who only uses his boat for a few days or weeks a year. I can't purchase spare parts on the way when I'm somewhere in the bush ...
If it has to be small then a folding boat or a Tri/Catamaran
Unfortunately the quality of the folding boats has dropped rapidly in the last years ! No comparison to the good folding boats you got until 2003 !
For folding boats I can only recommend two boats with a clear conscience for long expeditions:
A Feathercraft K-2 or (old) Klepper II !
Both, however, only as used boats, because NEW they are unfortunately absolutely overpriced and not worth the money!
Whereby I consider the Feathercraft K2 to be the best folding boat for expeditions !
The extremely good old Nautiraid Grand-Raid II is unfortunately no longer usable with the current bad materials and in the new design...
Many manufacturers now use TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), simply to save costs, it is always said you save weight, but that is not the real reason ....
TPU is very bad to repair on the way!
I would only use Hypalon or the good old PVC in reasonable material thickness !
I have not used canoes for a long time, because a folding boat is superior to a canoe in all respects! Exception are the big load canoes, which are driven however with an engine!
Klepper Aerius 1 Expedition
The 1er Klepper is not a bad boat but unfortunately has considerable quality deficiencies in the used material and it is too small for tours over 2 months. If you are a masochist then you can also use it for more than 2 months...
It's a boat for short trips. Long expeditions, for months I wouldn't do it again, it's just a too cramped, but there are always some masochists who like it!
The quality of the Hypalon really disappointed me, the keel strips came loose and the Hypalon was after 3500Km on the Yukon covered with quirks and scratches !
The boat goes through the waves like a submarine, unfortunately nothing has never changed because Klepper is much too arrogant to correct her own mistakes ...
Unfortunately bad Hypalon material and absolutely overpriced as a new boat !
As used boat for short tours OK!
Klepper Aerius II Quattro XT
This boat has disappointed me completely.
Low payload, far less than Feathercraft K 2 or Nautiraid Grand Raid 520.
The irritating designation "capsize tube" of the additional air tubes of the Quattro does not protect the boat BEFORE, but only AFTER capsizing, when the residual buoyancy of the additional tubes prevents the boat from completely fulling and sinking. So you can save yourself a lot of money and just get the normal version. The additional tubes only take up space in the boat and offer no real safety when capsizing ...
The cotton skin let water through despite additional original Klepper impregnation !
With longer rain the upper deck sucks itself with water and increases thereby the weight of the boat enormously and the interior becomes moist, a true dripstone cave and if one has bad luck it can begin to mold!
At high waves the boat passes like a submarine through the waves, so always an extremely wet ride!
The boat had after approx. 3500Km on the Yukon River many severe quirks and scratches in the hypalon skin, the keel strips had also come loose !
The only thing I liked about the boat were the deck hatches, a great thing! Also the stable wooden frame is great, although it started to rotten !
Very bad Hypalon quality and absolutely overpriced as a new boat !
But as used boat OK !
I've heard that Klepper is now produced by Wayland in Poland, if that's true, then new Kleppers are finally done for me, because that doesn't justify the extremely high purchase price anymore!
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 in full length approx. 6500 Km
The boat was always dry. It floats very nicely on the waves, so a great dry ride, far better than Klepper!
The Hypalon looks thinner, but is much more durable than the Klepper. After almost 6500 km on the Yukon River it had only a tiny scratch! The keel strips were all still firmly at the boat, the wooden frame still like NEW after over 7000 km! That's what I call QUALITY !
Small tip, double the rudder size and the boat can be steered much better. ( This applies to all folding boats ! ). I had mine made of 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 years, I had still 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 is only true for Nautiraid boats built up to 2003, after that they are only cheating packages, I had to experience this on my 2011 expedition very painfully ...
Nautiraid Grand Raid II Expedition 540
The biggest of the Nautiraid folding boats !
Unfortunately it is not nearly as good as the Grand Raid II 520 expedition.
The geometry and the materials have been changed considerably and it has nothing to do with the good Grand Raid 520 till 2003 anymore ....
The life line was glued to the deck with cheap rubber mounts. These brackets were loosened already with the first construction of the boat!
Such a thing is on an expedition boat a dangerous joke.Such a fastening cannot be used as a guying point, so a fastening of luggage on the boat is out of the question !
Thanks to the extremely good advice of Ralf Schwarzbach ( Not Nautiraid ! ) I now have reasonable D-rings on the boat ! At the top of the picture you can see the difference.
Since the original panniers of 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 robust packing bags now also survive the transport in the plane!
Why Nautiraid uses cheap nylon sacks and that with there "EXPEDITIONS BOATS" is really incomprehensible to me.
The Nautiraid Grand Raid 540 II Expedition as it comes from the factory has unfortunately nothing to do with the old Grand Raid 520 II Expedition...
The rudder blade is much too small for rivers, the deck attachments are a joke, so you have to attach real deck attachments just like i did !
An impertinence of Nautiraid to fool people like that and sell an expedition boat that isn't one! Which is really dangerous !
For the high (and absolutely exorbitant) purchase prices, the boat should be completely made of Hypalon and not a cheap Hypalon-PVC deceptive package with glued on cheap deck mounts, which do not even deserve there name!
I strongly advise everyone not to buy a Nautiraid folding boat for "real" expeditions.
The times when these boats were extremely good (approx. until 2003) are unfortunately past, besides, the service of Nautiraid is an absolute joke.
I had to wait months for a simple spraydeck and 2 x the wrong one was sent to me ! This spraydeck does not deserve the name, it let liters of water through, BRAVO Nautiraid ...
Apparently they do not drive their own boats, because otherwise they would never produce such a crap!
At short notice:
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 swims great on the waves, the whole boat fits in only one packsack, finally a folding boat which is made for extreme expeditions with extreme payload !
All materials are the finest!
The Rolls-Royce of the folding boats, unfortunately also extremely expensive, but worth an cent...
The BEST FOLDING BOAT on the world market, better than any other folding boat !
Unfortunately the boat is no longer produced, very sad...
If you can get a good used one, grap it !
Klepper AERIUS II Basic
An old used Klepper AERIUS IIer Basic with PVC skin makes the most sense for me !
Cheap to buy, good quality very easy to rebuild for his own needs. In short, the ideal, affordable folding boat for expeditions !
To get the BEST FOLDING BOAT for little money, for a fraction of the completely exaggerated new price !
Then there are Pouch boats and some Russian boats and the Polish Wayland which however ALL cannot keep up with the above mentioned boats in terms of quality yet...
.....or there are even worse !
Delphin 110/2 Motorfaltboot-Trimaran
As a trimaran a great boat for expeditions, 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 one made of cotton with windows.
As a trimaran a 5 hp engine is enough for the Yukon River. But if you also want to drive up the side rivers it better be a 10-15 hp engine !
In any case take a 4-stroke better for the environment and 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.
In the middle an inflatable canoe was used. The tubes and the canoe were made of Hypalon.
There were no problems with this material. As 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 even safe in 1.80 m waves on the water !
A very good expedition boat!
My recommendation for a Yukon expedition.
There is no better way to enjoy the Yukon! This catamaran was so far the best (affordable) boat on my expeditions!
The catamaran was powered by a 9,9 hp 4 stroke with extra long shaft from Yamaha. That was completely sufficient and economical in consumption. The cabin was ok, but I would change the shape next time.
Unfortunately the company SPREU changed their catamaran tubes, they no longer weigh 22 kg per tube, but 32 kg which is a big problem in the plane!
SPREU tubes unfortunately are out of the question in the future because they can no longer be ( affordable ) transported in the plane !
The absolutely best way to travel the Yukon River and other big rivers !
The deck was not made of wood like 2006, but out of aluminium chequer plate and the superstructure was made of balsa / epoxy !
In short, it was a much more robust catamaran than the one from 2006, but a very expensive version!
Mokai Jet Kajak
My dinghy of the C-Dory 22, it is a 6 hp jet kayak a "MOKAI". Unfortunately, due to its small storage space, it can ONLY be used as a dinghy. Plus point is the extremely low fuel consumption!
Nice boat, but not for expeditions, if only as a dinghy !
C-Dory 22 Cruiser
The boat was absolutely SUPER, but the costs were astronomical !
The fuel consumption of such a boat is simply crazy even with a 75 hp engine. On an expedition, many thousands of liters of gasoline go through ....
A larger expedition with such a boat goes fast into astronomical amounts...
As practical and comfortable as such a boat is, it is simply a horror economically and ecologically!
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 !
To me incomprehensible, because also Grabner should know of the 32 kg flight baggage regulations ...
There were people with the Grabner on the Yukon all the way to the coast, but I would never use such 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)!
Try it out ...
Also with double paddles I would only use carbon paddles, very good are these in the Ergo version e.g. from Lettmann !
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 consume thousands of litres of petrol on the way ...
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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 ...