There’s little difference between most inflatable touring SUPs—and then there’s Red Paddle Co., the British import that’s cracked the length-to-rigidity code with fused double-layer coating and fiberglass stiffening battens that slide in along the rails of its 12’6″ Voyager ($1,649; redpaddleco.com). Updates for 2021 include shorter twin fins that make loading down this unexpectedly lightweight (24.2-lb) board’s dozen rigging points easier on shore. They also provide better rear stability on the water, paired with an innovative V-hull that keeps the narrower nose breaking water, tracking straight across current.
Keeping feet comfy and connected is key. I paired a .5mm neoprene NRS HydroSkin Wetsock ($29; nrs.com) with the snug and capable Chaco Torrent Pro water shoe ($100; chacos.com) to quickly combat any cold and wet immersion.
The stretchy yet tough 5.11 Range Ready Merino Wool Short Sleeve ($69; 511tactical.com) base dried out fast and (thankfully) resisted odor to do double duty off the river, while a lighter Howler Brothers Gaucho Snapshirt ($89; howlerbros.com), with its vented, mesh-lined back yoke, kept the afternoon sun from overheating.
The waterproof zip-top access of Red Paddle Co.’s SUP Deck Bag ($149; redpaddleco.com) made for quick reaches of daily on-water items, versus camp items stuffed in its 60-liter Waterproof Roll Top Dry Bag ($69; redpaddleco.com).
With extra rigging points and pockets, hydration essentials stowed easy: between a Hydrapak Shape-Shift 3L bladder ($38; hydrapak.com) lashed atop the load, and the Klean Kanteen Insulated TKWide 16oz ($29;
kleankanteen.com), which went from coffee mug to leakproof water bottle, without any lasting campfire flavors.
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