Ideal for long-distance paddles and multi-day SUP tours, today’s best touring paddle boards offer an unmatched blend of speed, stability, and maximum glide performance…
While the majority of people are still opting for the added stability of an all-around paddle board, inflatable touring SUPs have increased in popularity over the last few seasons as more paddlers are discovering the exciting world of SUP tours, camping, and overnight expeditions.
In this freshly-updated 2020 inflatable touring SUP buyer’s guide, we’ll compare our top-picks for this year, share some tips on exactly what to look for in a touring iSUP, and answer some commonly asked questions.
Best Touring Paddle Board Comparison Chart
Top-Rated Touring iSUP Reviews
BLACKFIN Model V
The largest and most stable inflatable touring SUP on our list, the BLACKFIN Model V was introduced last season and it offers a large number of premium features at an extremely affordable price point. Measuring 12’6” x 32” x 6” and weighing in at 27 pounds, the full-featured Model V packs 237 liters of volume and can capably haul all of your gear, your SUP pup, or small children (be sure to check out our guide on water safety for kids).
The latest iSUP in iROCKER SUP’s premium BLACKFIN line, the Model V features a new triple-layer, composite PVC construction for max durability, stiffness, and reduced weight. As with the popular Model X and Model XL boards which were introduced in 2018, the Model V also includes carbon fiber rail reinforcements for increased rigidity and protection to one of the areas most vulnerable to damage.
With front and rear bungee storage areas, a GoPro accessory mount, and safety grab handles at the nose and tail for the kiddos, the BLACKFIN Model V offers more features than any other touring stand up paddle board we’ve reviewed to date. In addition to iROCKER’s rock-solid 2-year warranty, the board also comes with an adjustable carbon fiber paddle, wheeled travel backpack, premium dual-chamber pump, safety leash, and repair kit.
For more details on this board, check out our in-depth BLACKFIN Model V review.
THURSO SURF Expedition
Newly updated this season, THURSO’s Expedition is another one of this year’s best touring paddle boards for the money. The shortest of our favorite touring iSUPs this season, the Expedition measures 11’6” x 30” x 6” and it weighs in at 28 pounds. Since launching their popular line of inflatable SUPs just a few short years ago, THURSO SURF has quickly gained a reputation for producing feature-rich paddle boards at affordable price points. The new Expedition touring SUP has been completely upgraded with a fresh new design, enhanced features, and a greatly improved SUP accessory bundle.
Featuring the company’s hallmark wood grain graphic appearance, the THURSO Expedition is one of the best-looking inflatables that we’ve reviewed this year. With dual bungee cargo areas at the nose and tail as well as a brand new paddle holder along the rail, this SUP makes it easy to secure all of your gear while you’re out exploring.
The Expedition comes with an upgraded carbon fiber shaft paddle, wheeled roller carrying bag, dual-action pump, ankle leash, and repair kit. It’s also backed by THURSO’s generous 2-year warranty and the company has a well-deserved reputation for providing one of the best customer service experiences in the SUP industry.
Read our full-length THURSO SURF Expedition review to learn more about the latest version of this popular inflatable touring paddle board.
The third SUP touring board that we’re recommending this season is the revamped Manhattan from NIXY SUP. We liked the first version of the Manhattan and the latest model is even better, with a large number of improvements to both the board and included accessory package. The lightest iSUP on our list, the 22-pound NIXY Manhattan G3 is the best touring SUP for those who want an ultra-lightweight board that doesn’t skimp on quality or features. Constructed with the company’s double-layer FUSIONtech technology, the Manhattan measures 12’6” x 30” x 6” and offers excellent rigidity and tracking performance. This is one of the fastest touring SUP boards we’ve reviewed and enjoyable to paddle long distances with.
Located at the nose and tail are dual SUP bungee areas for securing your camping gear, dry bags, and other paddle board accessories. Like the Model V, the Manhattan also has carbon fiber rail inserts for increased rigidity and we love the fact that NIXY positioned the inflation valve at the nose, making it easier to get a more compact fold when deflating and packing the board up.
In addition to making some big upgrades to the board itself, NIXY also improved the SUP accessory bundle that comes with the new Manhattan. This year, the board includes a premium wheeled roller backpack, 3-piece fiberglass paddle, high-capacity dual-chamber pump, shoulder carrying strap, safety leash, and iSUP repair kit.
To get the scoop on this fun board, please see our detailed NIXY Manhattan review.
SUP Touring FAQs
Recommended SUP Touring Gear
When it comes to SUP touring, it's critical to understand that having the right gear is also important. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of SUP touring gear, the following accessories are a great starting point if you’re just getting involved with this exciting aspect of the sport:
- SUP Cooler – Capable of keeping food and drinks cold for extended periods, a good cooler is one of the first things we recommend to SUP touring newcomers.
- Waterproof Belt Pack – A piece of gear that’s worth its weight in gold, a waterproof fanny pack will keep your electronics and valuables bone dry and conveniently within arms reach at all times.
- Dry Bag – A high-quality waterproof backpack or dry bag duffel will keep changes of clothes, towels, and other gear safe and dry, regardless of the conditions. We highly recommend YETI’s Panga waterproof backpack with its easy-to-access zipper design and airtight seal.
- PFD – When it comes to paddleboarding in general, it should go without saying that a SUP PFD or life jacket is always a must-have accessory. Whether you’re embarking on a challenging SUP tour or just going out for a quick paddle, don’t leave shore without it.
While most people who are looking to buy an inflatable paddle board will continue to choose an all-around SUP because of the increased stability and overall versatility, touring SUPs are becoming more popular as our sport continues to evolve. Preferred for long-distance paddles and multi-day SUP tours, inflatable touring paddle boards are fast, fun, and can transport a ton of gear. If you're serious about taking your paddling adventures to the next level, each of this year's recommended touring boards will help you to do just that.