Setting the scene
I made a resolution at the start of 2019. And that was to travel as much as possible throughout the year. Some of it was necessary (work-related engagements), the rest was simply based on the pure joy of exploring and spending time with friends around the world. After spending 8 weeks in Australia during the earlier part of the year, and having to lug around my NRS SUP and paddling gear, part of me looked forward to going on the next trip with just a backpack and nothing else. However, the new TRAK 2.0 entered my life soon after and changed everything.
Why the TRAK 2.0?
I first came across TRAK kayaks a couple years ago while looking for a foldable kayak that satisfies my criteria for touring and sturdiness, as well as lightness and portability. Living in a tiny Berlin apartment, there is simply no way for me to store a kayak anywhere. And my general adventure-seeking self also wanted to kayak in other places around the world without constantly having to think about the logistics of getting my hands on one whenever I needed it on my travels. (Seriously, what good is a 6m kayak to you when you’re in Florida, and your kayak is waiting for action back home in Berlin?)
I had also just recently gotten back from working as a kayak guide in Australia doing day tours, multi-day tours and expeditions, and generally spent plenty of time in all kinds of different kayaks. Besides the actual kayaking and paddle experience I’d gained on that job, I’ve also learnt an alternative name for the trade: kayak carrier. And I couldn’t wait to have my own gear and make that part more suitable for my needs as a 5’5’’ petite lady.
Enter the TRAK 2.0 – a recently launched kickstarter campaign for a revolutionary spin on the portable kayak. While the concept is new, the company isn’t. They’ve been making portable performance kayaks since 2006. And I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one! I loved the versatility, the choice of materials, and the packability and storability it promised. Another absolute selling point for me was the community of everyone involved. The creators were not just trying to build a great kayak, but also truly trying to engage and build a platform for kayakers to advance their skills. I was hooked.
In April 2019, it finally happened. The TRAK 2.0 made its way to my doorstep and into my hands. And with it came a world of adventure. After unboxing it, setting it up, and taking it for the initial test run, it became clear early on that I would miss out not bringing it along on my already planned trips for the rest of the year and finally doing what I always wanted to do in the first place – travel with a kayak.
Traveling with the TRAK 2.0
To say that it was a learning experience would be an understatement. Unlike most of the TRAK travelers I’ve met and heard of so far, this was not an expedition where I was going to pack my things, travel to a destination, paddle, then pack everything up again to come back home. No – this was a 5-month trip through 4 countries with the aim of seizing as many opportunities as I can along the way to go for a paddle. “Crazy”, my friends called me; “Crazy”, I thought. But the thought also made me really happy. And that’s what matters, right?
After countless flights, train rides, car rentals, Uber rides, hotels, Airbnb and campgrounds, I’ve definitely picked up many little tips and nuggets of wisdom along the way about traveling with the TRAK 2.0 kayak.
Packing for weight restrictions
I’m going to kick things off by first setting the stage. As I previously mentioned, my travels were not simply for pure enjoyment and kayaking fun, but also for work-related meetings, events, and day-to-day life. So generally speaking, I needed a bag of clothes, laptop and work stuff, and gear for camping etc. besides just the kayak and related gear. In retrospect, I can see how just weighing every individual item of the TRAK 2.0 at the start would have totally benefitted me and saved me so much packing time with the trial and errors. However, when you do it enough, you kind of figure out how to optimize your packing instinctively to stay within limits – I do recommend a little weighing scale, however. It has definitely saved me from potential headaches at airports and check-in counters.
For your convenience here are the weights of every item in my TRAK 2.0 bag that I brought:
- Frame: 5kg
- Carbon ribs (all together): 1.3kg
- Cockpit seat: 1.35kg
- Cockpit frame: 1.9kg
- Pumps (each): 0.8kg
- Skin: 6.4kg
- Floatation bags: 1.3kg
- Travel backpack: 1.25kg
- Sea sock: 0.8kg
- Spray skirt: 0.5kg
- Paddel: 0.6kg
- Deck bag: 0.4kg
- Safety gear (rope, lubricants, sponge, pump, paddle float): 1.2kg
- Astral Blue Jacket: 1kg
I’ll share more on this blog series about traveling with a foldable kayak, from flying with it, to setup and teardown, and other in-depth tricks I picked up along the way and helpful things to consider.
And lastly, if you’re interested in learning more about the TRAK 2.0 I’ve been talking about, you may find out more here and even use the code BEWATER1418 for a discount on your new gear. They also provide tours and skills progression camps, and have a big community blog going on with more information about living and kayaking with the TRAK 2.0. I highly recommend you to check those resources out as well!