I’ve been lucky to have spent a lot my time wandering around exploring the outdoors, often times for extended periods of time before coming back from walkabouts. If there is one thing I’ve learned during these travels, it is that no matter what the method of travel, the less you carry directly correlates with how much you will enjoy, or not enjoy, the experience. Weight is your enemy. You may find yourself in the midst of some exotic scene of natural wonder but if you’re exhausted from carrying a huge pack for days to get there you’ll be too tired to care.
Kayak camping is my preferred method of exploration. I can carry much more gear comfortably, and move faster than I could by hiking. Kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and many smaller sized watercraft designed for individuals are such a great way to see much more of what rivers, lakes, swamps and coastlines have to offer. I am able to discover areas that I simply could not have otherwise reached if I were in a motorized boat. Smaller craft draft less water, allowing access to shallower waters, and are perfect for exploring skinny water too wide for bigger boats. I’ve been through cypress swamps, drowned forests, downed tree infested canals and skinny spring runs that I would never have been able to reach otherwise.
Sport anglers too are finding out more and more that fishing kayaks give them much more water to cast than powerboats. Anglers can reach hidden waters seldom disturbed by other people, giving them much better odds of catching a trophy fish. In many cases I’ve seen fishermen pulling a canoe or kayak over downed trees to access a hidden pond or lake, or simply getting out and dragging their boat around a deadfall and continuing downriver to a place bass boaters cannot follow. The low weight makes it all possible.
And maybe my favorite thing about smaller boats (such as this Ultraskiff) is the ease of transporting them to and from the water. Less weight often means simply car topping you boat, or tossing it into the bed of a pick-up truck. There is none of the need for an expensive boat trailer with smaller watercraft.
Whether out for a day hike on a park trail or out following a meandering river, carrying less weight means you can carry more of yourself during your times spent outside. That means more time spent enjoying your time and less time working hard at having a good time. Carry less, wander more.