Porta-Bote Tests And Reviews By International
Click on each Porta-Bote review for some “eye-opening” tests
….Total Score: 9.0 + TT Innovation Award!
Introduction: Boats come in all sizes, shapes, and sizes…but among all the portable watercrafts available today, nothing quite compares to the Porta-Bote. This unique, one of the kind, boat folds up to a surfboard size and becomes a fully functional row or powerboat on the water when fully expanded. While some people are skeptical about how well a fold up craft can perform, we found the Porta-Bote delivered respectable hydrodynamics, solid stability, and most of all…was extremely portable and effortless to employ.
About Porta-Bote: After a very successful career in the publishing field, Porta-Bote’s CEO Sandy Kaye bought the rights of the folding boat design in 1973 and has driven the business by redesigning the boat to be more efficient, introducing new accessories, and much more. The Porta-Bote design was actually created in 1969 by Sandy’s friend. The original concept was a good one, but unfortunately the first design didn’t interest many outdoor enthusiasts. It was double ended, like a canoe. A lot of re-engineering by the man himself, and the Porta-Bote had the right design and features to garner worldwide sales.
A deep entry V-hull provides good hydrodynamics in the water. The picture to the right shows the floor that’s flexible and yet stable
Impressions: The first time I saw a Porta-Bote in person was during a trip to the Eastern Sierras. Trout fishing and testing gear in a remote lake where the dock held a series of aluminum rental boats and at the end of the line up was a Porta-Bote. I didn’t get to see one folded up until I visited Porta-Bote and met the mastermind himself. Sandy showed me the boat as it was opened up, and right there he taught me how to disassemble it in a few quick minutes. Needless to say, I was quite eager to learn more about the design and whether this boat could fit the needs of anglers.
The Design: In 1969 the Porta-Bote was born. The portability concept was always there, but the overall hull design and shape was somewhat different. The “original” watercraft was a double ended boat, where there was no bow and stern, just two bows. In this design, the folding boat didn’t have good stability as there was less surface area that supported the boat. Soon after Sandy took over the business, a redesign was put in place immediately. Sandy re-engineered the Porta-Bote as we see today, having a bow and a stern. The new innovative boat now has a wide beam for much stability, and it has the ability to mount an electric or gas powered motor, bringing the Porta-Bote to a whole new level in terms of application and of course the ability to fish from it.
A question that many of you might ask is how can a boat be folded not just once, but many times, still have seams strong enough to never leak. This exact information has remained a secret for a long time and will continue to be this way. What I do know is that this technique is used in the aerospace industry and that this technique involves the complex welding of the 4 pieces together via staple wires and appears to have some type of sealant material injected in-between the panels. Whatever this exact welding method is, it does a magnificent job at holding the Porta-Bote together.
Accessories: The Porta-Botes are designed to fit the needs of many types of outdoorsmen by providing accessories per application. For anglers there are a few items that are worth mentioning such as the bow trolling motor mount, oars, bimini sun top, and the dolly for easy transportation.
Stability: The stability of the 10′ Porta-Bote Genesis IV is actually quite impressive on the water. Even with the Flexi-hull, both Zander and I were able to stand up and fish at the same time. Because only the bow section of the 10′ model has a deep V, the rest of the boat is fairly flat with a beam of 5 feet across. The wide beam gives the watercraft much more surface area to float on and provides the stability that I welcome especially when standing up and tossing lures.
Because the hull is constructed out of a copolymer Polypropylene, it takes impact from waves and wakes from other boaters very well. The Flexi-hull absorbs the impact softy, minimizing any roll or instability you might feel such as in an aluminum boat. The design results in an easier and comfortable ride, no pounding waves like a stiff hull, and the feel of stability as you move about the water.
Safety: How safe is the Porta-Bote? Virtually unsinkable. The Porta-Bote has been designed to stay afloat and leveled even when filled with water. Polypropylene alone is already buoyant, and with the addition of the inner-side foam material and foam filled seats plus transom allows even greater floatation. For anglers who don’t like to fish on inflatables fearing they will get a hook in it, well, the Porta-Bote will not have this problem. In addition to the boat being unsinkable, its stability is good and while we fished standing up, we felt completely safe in both calm and open waters.
Durability: Before I explain how durable our Porta-Bote test unit is, I would like to share with you what applications the hull material Polypropylene is used for in today’s products. Many of you see and touch this type of material daily. This thermoplastic is used to make car bumpers, fibers for carpeting, bullet proof vests, refrigerator doors, bottle caps, bottles, medical products, fishing tackle boxes, and much more. Because a buffered Copolymer Polypropylene is highly resistant to extreme temperatures and chemical harm, has excellent moisture barrier properties, and good fatigue resistance, it is the perfect material in which to compose the Porta-Bote.
Now that we know more about the hull material, let’s see how it did during our on the water tests. The Porta-Bote’s hull, 1/4″ thick, and took on zero damage as we stepped on it from both interior and exterior, landed it on various rough surfaces, and during transport on top of an SUV. With a hull like this, you won’t have to worry about dropping lures inside the boat nor having any problems when the lure runs up the side of the Porta-Bote.
The Porta-Bote is completely covered with a ultraviolet inhibitor to prevent any damage from the sun’s harmful rays. To further add protection to the Porta-Bote Genesis, each edge is fitted with a rub rail that will take the brunt of the damage especially when landing.
With the Porta-Dolly, anglers can transport all their gear in one trip
Portability: This watercraft wasn’t named Porta-Bote for nothing. The boat is extremely portable and very easy to store. The Porta-Bote Genesis can be folded down to a surfboard size of only 4 inches (11cm) thick! When folded the Porta-Bote 10′ model can fit on top of sedans, trucks, SUV’s, jeeps, RV’s, planes, and other boats. We transported the test unit on the roof racks of a 4Runner, tied on with ropes, and we were off in minutes to our fishing location. The boat and the foam filled seats are also light enough for one person to haul around, either loading, storing, or bringing it down to the launch area. Speaking of launching, one can purchase the Porta-Dolly that hooks onto the side of the boat, and in seconds you are wheeling your way to and from the water with all your fishing tackle and motor in one trip.
Comfort: The Porta-Bote is pretty much a shell made of Polypropylene. Since the hull gives some flex, standing up on it will not cause much fatigue because it’s almost like standing on a spring as the floor of the boat will absorb any shock, making it especially easy on the knees. The only addition we would like to see are padded seats. Right now the seats are molded out of hard plastic and sitting down on them all day can be tiring. Some people actually modify their rig by adding a captain style chairs with a backrest which provides much better ergonomics while seated.
Warranty: Not many boats, especially portable ones, come with such a advantageous warranty like the one Porta-Bote offers. Because this boat is extremely durable and the Polypropylene is virtually bulletproof, Porta-Bote provides a prorata 10 year limited warranty on the hull and hinges. Most small boats offer only a 2 – 3 year limited warranty.