When we lived in coastal Texas, we always had a boat or kayaks for fishing so when we retired and knew we would be traveling in our truck camper we needed a new plan. The kayaks weren’t an option because we wanted solar panels and an extra storage unit on top of the camper.
At a Houston boat show we saw the fold up Porta-Bote and it was a eureka moment. We evaluated several inflatable options of boats and kayaks but the fold-up boat was the winner. It took over a year planning how we would carry it, the motor, and the seats etc.
We purchased a 12′ Porta-Bote which is 7″ thick and weighs 78 lbs. When set up, it has a beam of 60″, a capacity of over 600#, and can carry 4 people. It is very stable, virtually indestructible, and rides great. We did purchase the brackets for mounting it on the outside of the camper and the wheels so we could easily pull it by hand to whatever water we were near.
After we solved how to carry the boat,
we needed to come-up with a way to carry the 6 hp, 4-
stroke Suzuki motor. After days of moving the motor to different places on the truck and
the camper we settled on mounting the motor to the ladder on the back of the camper.
We didn’t want the weight of the motor on the ladder while we were driving
and our TC ladder is hinged so the ladder can be folded up to
allow access to the generator. To support the weight of the motor on the bumper, we welded two pieces of ¼ steel to make a platform
for the skag to rest on. (Thanks to my friend Rick for the ideas, help and welding.) Then we bolted the steel plate into the rear bumper and added a
piece of tire tread to help cushion the motor. Next we added two steel bars to the plate
and the lower part of the ladder to make sure the ladder did not move/fold up while
driving. Lastly we took some channel bar and cut it to fit the ladder and mounted it high
enough so that the motor would rest on the steel plate and be held in place by the channel
bar. Everything was primed (2x) and painted. To help hold the motor in place and ensure
it doesn’t fall off while driving I measured and cut two pieces of plastic coated stainless
steel wire, made loops on each end so that a lock could be added to the cable.
I marked the place the motors skag sits on the tire tread and after 17 months of traveling it has never moved.
We love having a way to get out and explore on the water. Also, we get a TON of questions every time we pull in near a lake and set up.