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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nelson


Over this past summer, I bought an Intex Excursion 5 man inflatable raft from Amazon. Right out of the box it’s a great little boat.

After I few times out I started to get some ideas. Why couldn’t I have a pleasure craft for a fraction of the cost? And some portability because who wants to pay the high slip fees in the city. Being from Minnesota and those beautiful 10,000 lakes, I’ve been around boats all my childhood and I had the urge to get back out on the water with some style.

After a some planning, I set out to do just that. Build a boat that had style, was portable (the boat itself can fit in a standard car trunk) and versatile.

I started out with the floor by building a 3 part floating system to avoid pinching when afloat that lays on 1″ pvc piping on top of the ribbed original floor. (shown above is the first stage of the build).

The 2nd stage was building a 32″ x 20″ box that houses the power center of the boat. Inside the box fits a marine battery to power the 40 lbs thrust Minnekota trolling motor, a 200 watt stereo amp, (2) 6 1/2″ marine speakers, cigarette lighter for powering devices, digital voltage meter and wiring for a 5 w solar panel for a constant trickle charging to the battery.

I’ve got a few more modifications to make and over the winter, I’m going to build a collapsible canopy to replace the Pirate flag that you see above, along with lights and maybe new seats. You’ll see this rig next summer at the Waterfront Blues festival. Now taking reservations for a seat.

We’ve had this out in the Willamette river and various lakes in Portland and she moves pretty good. Every time I take it out it seems to draw a small crowd and all kinds of questions. I’m planning a portaging trip on the Sandy River before the full swing of Fall. I’ll post more pics later.


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