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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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September 02, 2016

PORTA-BOTES ~ Four Fantastic, Foldable, Affordable, Angling/Hunting Boat Models ~ Part II

by Bob Banfelder

Let's continue and thoroughly examine Porta-Botes's Alpha Series construction. What exactly is it made of, and how does it compare to aluminum, fiberglass, hypalon, or PVC materials? Porta-Bote's unique FLEXI-HULL™ is a flexible space-age material that "cooperates" with the water, not counteracts against it. The hull is, again, flexible, not flimsy. The entire craft is unbelievably strong. I'm a careful writer, so I don't use words carelessly. I'll repeat with emphasis: The entire craft is unbelievably strong.

Example: Picture loading one of their four production models with 600-plus pounds of concrete blocks, raising the craft 20 feet above a body of water then dropping the boat! This durability test, depicted in Porta-Bote's colorful brochure, was conducted by Japan's Coast Guard. As a result, Porta-Bote passed with flying colors and is also marketed in Japan. Keep in mind that the new Alpha Series has an integral, foldable one-piece (built-in) transom, unlike their older Genesis Series. In order for the transom to fold, it is hinged. The above test is testimony to the strength of Porta-Bote's patented polypropylene waterproof hinges, too. All four Porta-Bote models (8½ feet, 10 feet 8 inches, 12½ feet, and 14 feet) are constructed of high-impact polypropylene-copolymer. It is an amazingly hard, engineered resin originally developed for use in the aerospace field. This material withstands the abuse that would otherwise render aluminum, fiberglass, hypalon, and PVC inferior by comparison. Polypropylene-copolymer will stand up to jagged rocks, sand, salt, and even acid. Molded-in colors and finish (aside from cosmetic scratches or scrapes caused by severe abuse) remain unaffected. Three standard colors are available: Pearl White, Olive Drab, and Aluminum, which is actually a subdued gray color as pictured throughout with reference to our 10-foot 8-inch Porta-Bote model. Also, a special-order Orange color is available at an additional cost. Come waterfowl season, I'll simply cover the craft (and myself) with a Mossy Oak camouflage netting material.

Also pictured in the brochure, demonstrating Porta-Bote's stability, is one angler, seated, rod held high, fighting a huge fish in the River Seine (France), while the other man, standing, hauls up the massive hundred plus-pound fish high over the gunwale. The freeboard on all four models is, to say the least, generous: 22-inch depth mid-ship referencing the 8½-foot model; 24-inch depth mid-ship referencing the 10-foot 8-inch, 12, and 14-foot models. Flexi-Hull™ provides stability personified and has been endorsed by such magazines as Field & Stream, Hunting, Trailer Life, Small Boat Journal, Practical Sailor, and Alaska Outdoors. Additionally, Porta-Bote is CE certified (Conformité Européene; i.e., European Conformity) by the leading trade association for recreational boaters; specifically, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). These boats are virtually unsinkable as thick foam flotation runs along the entire interior of the vessel, right beneath the gunwale. Even the flexible hull material is buoyant. Porta-Bote guarantees the hull material for 10 years against defects.

Donna and I enjoy all forms of fishing: bait casting, spin casting, and especially fly casting. It's a pleasure to comfortably stand in a Porta-Bote and cast a fly without having to do a balancing act. Referencing other comparably-sized portable watercrafts for the purpose of angling, such as kayaks, canoes, and especially inflatables, Porta-Botes excel because you have lots more room, comfort, and stability. When likened to Porta-Botes, inflatable boats are, in my mind's eye, rendered obsolete.

In the final analysis, pricing, you'll find that in most cases the cost of a Porta-Bote is less than purchasing a quality inflatable boat of even the more costly hypalon material. What more could you ask for? In addition to the options already mentioned, you may choose from a sufficient listing. For example: Back-Saver Swivel Seat, Bimini Porta-Sunshade. For you seafaring salts, you can even sail your Porta-Bote by employing a sail kit (lateen-rigged) on the 10-foot 8-inch, 12½ foot, and 14-foot models. The kit includes all the necessary rigging, materials, and marine hardware: triangular sail, boom, gaff, mast, tiller, leeboards, lanyard, fore-stay halyard, main sheet, blocks, metric bolts, et cetera. The only tools you'll require is a center punch, electric drill [5/16-inch (8mm) drill bit], and a Phillips screwdriver.

Porta-Botes are easily transported any number of ways: simply placed into a station wagon or pickup truck, folded flat upon vehicle rooftops or roof racks then secured with a pair of nylon car-top straps (offered as an accessory option), carried vertically alongside a motorhome with a set of specially designed locking RV mounts (accessory option), conveniently conveyed by sailboat, powerboat, and sea planes, too.

Porta-Bote Accessories

As pictured above, Porta-Bote's necessary accessories take up very little space: three bench seats with hinged brackets, oars and oarlocks, and the necessary hardware. That's it! The other ancillary yet essential items, also shown, include life vests, security cable, and lines, which are seen atop the bow cap for display purpose. I slip the cap and its contents into a boat bag for compact carry. Without even removing our Subaru Outback's luggage cargo cover, note that there would be ample room for a small outboard engine, a mid-size cooler, tons of your fishing gear, clothing, ad infinitum. If you feel that I'm trying to sell you on a Subaru Outback as well as a Porta-Bote, you are correct. Best vehicle that Donna and I have ever owned; best small craft that we have ever owned, too. Period.

When you are ready to set up your Porta-Bote, simply unfold and hold open the boat's beam with the aid of a specially designed 56½ inch x 2½ inch notched wooden slat (included but not shown), insert the two 2 inch-thick x 9½ inch wide, solid, comfortable, heavy-duty plastic bench seats into their brackets; lastly, setting the 42-inch angled bow seat into place. Our 10-foot 8-inch model has six cup holders molded into the seats. Each seat comes with three stainless steel fold-down supports that fit into clips beneath the gunwales and gives the boat its shape. Locking pins ensure that the clips stay firmly in place. A thorough set of step-by-step printed instructions in addition to accompanying pictures make unfolding and folding a Porta-Bote painless. Initially, setup may take some time. However, after you unfold and fold your new boat several times, you should be able to do either procedure in a matter of a few minutes. Everything's easy once you know how. Also, a wearing-in of the hinges, precise seat/bracket placement, and the hull material itself, will all ease up a bit, facilitating the procedure. A good analogy might be to that of breaking in a new pair of shoes. Too, with another person assisting you, it becomes a breeze.

Showing Porta-Bote's Alpha Series foldable transom panels, creating a one-piece integral stern unit

Porta-Bote's Alpha Series transom panels locked securely in place, forming a solid, one-piece integral transom unit and motor mount

Once you take your Porta-Bote out for a ride, you will quickly realize that it is an entity unto itself. The boat neither bounces around like an inflatable, nor does she pound the surface like a rigid craft. What the boat does do, because of its flexible V-entry design, is to dig into that watery surface and go with the flow—quite literally. Flexibility is the operative word. Comfort and stability are the results. Why this boat material, design, extraordinary ride, coupled to its compactness, is not the be-all and end-all for portable boats ranging from 8½ feet to 14 feet is remarkable in itself. Porta-Bote, believe me, is in a class all its own. It is the perfect portable, foldable, affordable, angling/hunting boat.

Our 10-foot 8-inch Porta-Bote Model Set up for Fishing

Porta-Bote's 12½-foot model weighs in at 87 pounds (less the weight of three seats). The hull's beam is 5 feet (same as the 10-foot 8-inch model). The 12½-foot model would most definitely serve as a comfortable, all-around craft for a trio of anglers, not to mention waterfowl shooters come the season. The integrated foldable transom will accommodate up to a 56-pound gas engine as does the 10-foot 8-inch model.

Last in the quartet is Porta Bote's 14-foot model, weighing in at 108 pounds (less the weight of four seats). The hull's beam is 5 feet, the same as both the 10-foot 8-inch and 12½-foot models). The integrated foldable transom will accommodate up to an 89-pound gas engine. This vessel will easily accommodate four outdoorsmen, such as anglers, waterfowl shooters, scuba divers and their equipment, et cetera. For divers, an optional, removable boarding ladder may be attached to the bow for easy entry and egress.

Note: All four models fold to a 4-inch thickness and a 2-foot width. Too, all models can accommodate respective outboard gas engines utilizing a short-shaft length of 15 inches. All four models can accommodate an electric outboard with a shaft length of 30–42 inches.

Let's take a look at the new Alpha series pricing:

8½ ft. Porta-Bote ~ $2,499.
10-ft. 8-in. Porta-Bote ~ $2,699.
12½ ft. Porta-Bote ~ $2,849.
14 ft. Porta-Bote ~ $3,199.

So, what are you waiting for? Check out Porta-Botes online at You'll thank me later.

Bob Banfelder

Award-Winning Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoors Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network
Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo
Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater

Now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

Now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

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