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Are you looking for an especially small and lightweight inflatable stand up paddle board for adventures off the beaten path? There aren’t many options that stand out from the crowd, but we’ve found what we think is the best compact travel paddle board for 2021…
Before diving into the details, we should explain what we mean by a compact or ultra-compact travel SUP and how that differs from normal inflatable SUPs. Good inflatable paddle boards — the top rated SUPs you see on this site — already have the advantage of being lightweight and compact compared to their hard SUP brethren. Almost all of them weigh less than 50 pounds, including their accessories, and fit in a travel backpack that meets the dimensional requirements for checked luggage of most airlines. That means they are already quite portal and easy to travel with by plane or car.
Why Buy A Compact Travel Paddle Board?
So when might you need an ultralight and ultracompact SUP? Since the backpack is significantly shorter this might, for instance, be for paddle boarders who want to be able to more easily transport their board on a motorcycle, moped, or public transportation. This category could also appeal to paddlers looking to hike their SUPs in long distances in to remote bodies of water.
How is A Compact Travel SUP Different?
Most of the changes to a compact travel board set up are related to making the package pack up as small as possible so that it can fit in a much smaller backpack. First off, this typically means that the travel paddle comes in four pieces instead of three, so that each section is shorter.
The biggest change, however, is to the paddle board itself. Hardware like the carry handle, inflation valve, and fins are moved off the centerline of the board. This allows the board to be folded in half lengthwise once it’s deflated before its rolled up making for a much more compact (and shorter) roll.
Typically this means a compact SUP will go with a two-side fin setup rather than a single center fin or three fin thruster setup.
Travel SUP Comparison Chart
NIXY Huntington G4 Ultracompact
|9'6" x 32" x 6"|
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Best Compact Travel Paddle Boards for 2021
NIXY Huntington G4 Ultra Compact
9’6″ x 32″ 6″
Availability: US, Canada
The NIXY Huntington G4 Ultra Compact is the compact travel version of NIXY’s more standard Huntington SUP. At 9’6″ long and 32 inches wide, the Huntington surprises with its stability for its size while staying quite nimble. Since it lacks a center fin, opting instead for two side fins, it has a lively maneuverability that allows you to put the board anywhere yet still be able to track straight with only a moderate use of control strokes. Most importantly this all feels incredibly fun, rather than like work.
The Huntington Ultra Compact is pleasingly light at 18.75 pounds, largely thanks to its adoption of fusion woven drop stitch construction. This same construction technology, along with carbon fiber side rails ensure the board is both stiff and durable when inflated yet more supple to roll up easily when deflated.
The front and rear bungee cargo areas are adjustable and removable just like on NIXY’s regular boards and it comes outfitted with 14x D-rings, 3x action mounts, and 3x carry handles. The biggest difference from their other boards, as mentioned above, is that the inflation valve and carry handles have been offset from the centerline. In addition, there is a channel down the middle of the EVA foam deck pad to facilitate folding the board in half before rolling it up to fit in the smaller travel backpack.
For accessories, the NIXY Huntington G4 Ultra Compact comes with an excellent four-piece carbon hybrid paddle (comparable to NIXY’s three-piece paddle included with their other SUPs) and a specially travel backpack that measures 26 inches tall by 20 inches wide by 11.5 inches deep. It’s well constructed out of heavy duty material and has a good assortment of pockets. The shoulder and waist straps are adjustable and moderately padded. The rest of the accessories are the same included with all of NIXY’s SUPs: a three-stage pump, 10 foot coiled leash, and repair kit.
Bottom Line: If your paddle boarding needs require the lightest board possible in the smallest backpack possible, then the NIXY Huntington G4 Ultra Compact is a no-brainer.
Those looking for a lightweight board but who prefer a center fin and aren’t as concerned with the small backpack might prefer the sibling board, the NIXY Huntington G4.