I was considering a small packable boat, something I could easily transport by air, train, bus or car. At the same time, this would have to be a reliable vessel capable of pulling me through the moderately rough seas and whitewater. Finally, the boat would have to be big enough to accommodate everything required for up to a month of independent travel.
Considering the above requirements and the air travel restrictions, the only feasible choice was a packable kayak. I had traveled extensively in foldable kayaks with rigid frames, and they would have been my first choice. However, the models tough enough to handle an extended wilderness trip and rough waters had the frame elements longer than permitted in the standard check-in luggage, requiring paying oversize luggage fees. A more suitable alternative was an inflatable kayak. After some research, I had settled on an Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible -- the largest kayak in the company's line-up of inflatable boats, incorporating some rigid elements to improve the shape and the performance. The West Marine - branded version of this kayak was on sale, with some optional accessories already included. All in all, my total expenses for this kayak, including additional accessories and taxes, were well below US$1,000.
The other pieces of equipment that I had taken with me for testing included a kayaking WindPaddle Adventure Sail, a Brunton flexible solar panel SolarRoll 4.5 with car chargers for various rechargeable batteries, and a camping Sierra Zip Stove.
At the end, all my belongings, including the kayak and a three-week supply of food, fit into four check-in size and weight bags, plus a carry on with the camera equipment and the electronics.
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