Air travel with a kayak?

Just curious…has anyone ever checked a kayak on an airplane when going on vacation?

I’m supposed to be going to the carribean end of august and if I thought about checking into bringing my boat. Of course, i’d probably have to bring the smaller ww boat instead of the 16’ touring boat…

Anyone know how this works?

I do it very frequently.

– Last Updated: Jul-21-05 10:48 AM EST –

Last year went to China and Boston by air. The new weight limits make domestic travel by air a pita during winter. I have flewn my kayak to the Philippines, Tokyo, Taiwan, Hawaii and Okinawa.

what kind of boat?
I’d really like to take my 16.5’ tempest with me, but I just dont know how much more difficult it will make the whole travel process… have you ever had any problems? how big of a boat do you fly with?

Feathercraft Khatsalano 17’9"

– Last Updated: Jul-21-05 11:53 AM EST –

Goes into a backpack. Airlines will not take long kayaks due to loading issues. The only problems I have had were 2.5 lbs overweight on my Boston trip. Other than remarks from the agents no problem. Once on a puddle jumper, the airline tried to charge me $200 extra for a 20ib overage. I stood my ground and flew w/o the service charge.

what about the paddle
How do you protect your paddle?

I was thinking about putting some padding around it and duck taping it to the boat if i do check it. I’d also probably want to make sure my travel insurance covers it if it is stolen/damaged.

4 piece paddle
Goes into the backpack with the boat.

where do you get a backpack…
…to fit a 7’10" boat?

A surfboard shop.
Tell the airlines your kayak is a surfboard. Seriously, if you are considering frequent air travel, look into a folding kayak, or a good inflatable like an Aire or Innova.

Try One Of Tom Yost’s Folders…
I think someone travelled and competed in Greenland with one of those.


It might be a lot easier to just rent a boat, and even a MalibuII would be more fun than taking a WW boat on open water.

That is what we do
I have been to StJohn V.I. twice and both times we rented SOTs and had a great time.

They are easy to get on and off which makes for good snorkling where ever you are.



it might not be worth the trouble… just a thought…bringing the boat on our shuttle from the airport would be a whole seperate issue as well…

Rentals - not everywhere…
I thought rentals were a good way to go too until I visted Alaska and discovered there were no rentals on Kodiak Island.

My conclusion is a foldable or inflatable is the best way to go when using public transportation. My inflatable (Stearns IK116) is a one bag solution (boat, 4 piece paddle, pump, & seat) that is well within airline checked bag size & weight limits. The IK116 is no longer made and is at the lower end of the inflatable market but it’s very comfortable to paddle and works well for me.

I Have a Stearns Mad Dog

– Last Updated: Jul-21-05 7:15 PM EST –

I have a 116 and the Mad Dog Gear version. Pretty nice little infaltable rec yaks, but I wouldn't want to take it on open water.

I am looking for a folder because I just bought a Chevy van with a raised roof and racking hard kayaks would be a pain.

This one looks cool, but I like SOTs. Might not be suitable for cold water:

DOES it fly? DOes it fly as well as it paddles?

Do birds land on your foredeck instead of seal pups? Does June join you in the tandem up there?

In between strokes, or when you dallying, do you play the air guitar?

Can you roll? Jeez, what happens if tiy have to do a -is it wet? -exit…???


Do you use a wing to


-Frank in Miami

Took a Helios with me to San Diego
I took an Innova Helios with me on a plane to San Diego for some coastal kayaking. I took a big duffel bag with the boat, rudder kit, pump, life jackets, and 4 piece paddles in it…still checked as luggage under 50 lbs.