Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Pakboats Serve the “Minimalist” Approach of this Airstream Couple

©Bert Gildart: Don and Nancy Dennis are self-described minimalists, part of the reason they drive a Toyota and use it to tow a 20-foot Airstream Safari Travel Trailer. Into this setup they have everything for extended trips, such as one they’re now on.

Assembling Pakboat is Easy

Assembling Pakboat is Easy

But the gear they have in this minimalist setup is astounding. Inside their Toyota are two compact bags containing sea-worthy kayaks, meaning that what they can do with those bags is impressive.

We met Don and Nancy last week in Glacier National Park’s Apgar campground (See: Hiking the Highline ), a waypoint for them on their way to Alaska. In turn, the trip is part of a year-long adventure, which will include stops along the West Coast, and eventually, an excursion into Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Both are recently retired, Don as a research forester and Nancy from a career in outdoor sales and marketing.


But as I write, they’re on the ALCAN , and they plan to visit a whole host of places in Alaska to include Denali National Park . They love kayaking, and when they originally sat down to line out their year, they were determined to include all the gear that so helps to make an adventure.

Because Nancy had worked in the outdoor industry, she was familiar with collapsible kayaks, but which brand to select was the dilemma. Many days of research later and they settled on PAKBOATS , a company that makes collapsible kayaks and canoes.

They selected kayaks, and the wonder of all their vessels is that they can be dismantled and then be folded into a size that can be loaded on a plane as a piece of baggage–or, loaded into the back of a small Toyota pickup. Disassembled, the “pack kayak” stores in a 35″x17″x13″ bag.

And the beauty is that once you assembled and disassembled them a time or two, they go together very quickly.


As I watched the couple assemble the kayaks Nancy and Don explained that the reason for their lightness is that they are make of a heavy-duty synthetic canvas coated with high-abrasion-resistance PVC. Skins for PAKBOATS have reinforcement strips welded on under all longitudinal rods for even better abrasion resistance.

Sea worthy PAKBOATS on Glacier's Lake McDonald

Sea worthy PAKBOATS on Glacier's Lake McDonald

The rods create the frame and they assemble much like you would a multi-roomed tent. Poles are numbed, but you still must assemble them a time or two before you can do so with any speed. Nancy and Don said the first time they assembled their kayaks, it took them about 45 minutes. Now, they’ve got it down to about 20.

But if space is a problem, the time required to learn assembly techniques is more than worth the effort. PAKBOATS have been used in virtually all parts of the world and on virtually all types of waters. Because they have thwarts around the upper edges, they are extraordinarily stable, meaning they’ll work for fishing, and for some fairly wild river floating.

Ready again to stow

Ready again to stow

Looking them up on the web, I learn that adventurers have used PAKBOATS all over the world including such places as Maine’s Penobscot Bay, Belize, and oceans off the coast of Oregon.


Because Don and Nancy’s PAKBOATs have a higher profile than our kayaks, I thought forward progress might be retarded, and though they are not quite as fast as our low-profile kayaks, still, they responded quickly on Glacier’s Lake McDonald.

Bottom line, if you’ve got a space problem, PAKBOATS might provide the solution for you. Certainly, they have for this recently retired couple-and they just might work next year for us. If all works out, Janie and I will be duplicating Don and Nancy’s trip and will be stopping at many of the beautiful lakes along the ALCAN as well as along some of the great rivers and lakes in Alaska.

PREVIOUS POST ON KAYAKING: Wreck of the Francisco Morazan

2 Responses to “Pakboats Serve the “Minimalist” Approach of this Airstream Couple”

  1. Caryl Purdue Says:

    Hi Bert,

    I have been enjoying your blog for awhile. Thanks for writing it. But a Toyota pulling a 20 ft. Safari? How do they make that work weight wise? Which Toyota?


  2. Bert Says:

    I think, Caryl, that they’re pulling it with a Toyota Tundra, and though I don’t know the specifics of how it works, I’ve seen the Tundra in actual magazine ads–and in the ads I looked at most closely–they’re towing an Airstream. Right now Don and Nancy are on the ALCAN in Canada, and when they have e-mail connectivity again, I see if they can’t provide more details.
    Thanks for the comment! Bert

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