BOTE Zeppelin Aero 10’ Inflatable Kayak – Easy To Use
BOTE Zeppelin Aero 10’ Inflatable Kayak – Easy To Use
To kick off the summer, I was able to test out the BOTE Zeppelin Aero 10’ Inflatable Kayak. A 10’ recreational kayak this is big on features, but small in size, this single-seater 10-foot kayak packs down to an incredibly small footprint so you can take your kayak anywhere with you.
It includes all of the beloved features of its big brother model, including bungees, Rac receivers, MAGENPOD capabilities to keep your coolers secure, and a self-draining hull. When you purchase your BOTE Zeppelin Aero 10’ Inflatable Kayak, it will come with (1) 6” Removable Aero Center Fin, (1) Pair of Slide-In Aero Rac Receivers, (1) Aero Repair Kit, (1) Hand Pump and (1) Travel Bag – all you need to have a heck of a time on the water!
Before we hop into my favorite aspects of this specific Kayak, let’s quickly take a trip down AOTD memory lane so you can understand why BOTE is so special to me!
I have always grown up loving any & all water activities. My dad (and now brother) are really into fishing, so I remember so many fond childhood memories being out in the “Honey Holes” – small ponds & lakes near our house – paddling around on the canoe or kayak as we tried to catch Sunnies & Bass.
The corresponding memory to paddling around the Honey Holes, was watching my dad try to muscle the canoe or kayak on top of the Honda Pilot, with a homemade roof rack of PVC pipes & deconstructed pool noodles. I was always amazed watching him get that heavy-as-heck canoe on top of the car, and even the kayaks, which are more nimble in size, was still quite a feat lugging it on top of the vehicle.
Not to mention the need for some type of roof rack contraption in order to prevent damage to the car. Looking back, it made me realize how the watersport industry – no matter how fun it is to be floating as one with the water – is not inclusive to all because of the limitations it takes to purchase the equipment, transport the equipment, and then also store the equipment.
My first exposure to the inflatable water sport industry was while I was in college at the University of Oregon. I remember one afternoon laying on the dock at Dexter Lake (our athlete safe-haven that was the best escape from the hustle & bustle of college-athletics), watching a few students roll down the hill with what looked like those iconic green air mattresses (you know, the one from Lindsey Lohan’s The Parent Trap?).
Apparently it was one of the first “models” of inflatable paddle boards. And let’s just say it did not go well. I watched (probably with a grin on my face) as these kids were struggling to stand up on the half-pancaking air-mattress-trying-to-pass-as-a-paddleboard, not being able to bear their weight. That’s when my skepticism of inflatable water-sports started.
Fast forward a few years, peak COVID times, and all I am hearing is how nobody could get their hands on inflatable kayaks due to such an increase in demand. Remembering Dexter Lake, I was wearily listening to family members raving about these. Eventually, I finally tested out my Aunt & Uncle’s inflatable SUP, and low & behold, it held my weight and was my gateway into the inflatable watercraft industry.
BOTE Zeppelin Aero 10’ Inflatable Kayak Review
So when the opportunity to test out BOTE’s Kayak came around, I eagerly jumped on it! And I will say – I was absolutely blown away by the high-quality materials BOTE uses to construct their watercraft, their diverse inventory of all shapes, sizes, models, and products that bring the easy-going water lifestyle to life. But even more so, I have fallen in love with how BOTE has helped to solve the problem that I did not even realize we battled as a kid, showing that watersports could now be inclusive to all!
In 2008, BOTE was born out of Destin, FL. Corey Cooper and his family knew a life centered around the water. Learning about paddle boarding, they realized a space in the industry that was calling their name. As Corey puts it:
“I wanted a board that was stable enough to fish from, yet paddled efficiently. A board that could hold a cooler for my beer… that was simple, fresh and fit our lifestyle. A board that virtually anybody at any age could paddle with ease. It needed the capabilities of a boat, with the simplicity of a board. And it needed to look good … really good!”
And with that, a leap of faith, and a mission that drove forward this family, BOTE was born. BOTE’s mission is simple:
“Stand Apart through industry-shaping innovation, fresh ideas and simplicity to create a product that defines a lifestyle.”
With the mission to redefine a lifestyle & provide access and opportunity to enjoy all that the water brings you to any potential user, let’s get back to the review. Here were some things that stuck out most to me about the Bote Zeppelin Aero 10’ Inflatable Kayak:
- Puts the Fun in (Fun)ctional: As you blow up this specific kayak model, you’ll notice it is actually two boats that slide inside of each other to create this surprisingly sturdy kayak. With the attached seat, you can think of this as an ocean kayak where you are sitting on-top of the board vs. inside the boat. I was nervous this would lead to instability & higher risk of toppling over, but I was definitely wrong with this assumption. Despite some serious wake from fellow jet skiers & motorboats, the kayak handled it like a champ without me ever feeling like I’d wobble in. This would make it ideal for fishing, moving around, or having another kid or dog on the boat with you.
- High Quality, User-Friendly: Immediately you could tell the superiority of materials BOTE uses for their products. You could tell the material could stand up to the rugged debris you would run into in the rivers or on the shore-line in lakes, which is something I did not feel as comfortable about with my other inflatable water sport products. Additionally BOTE has excellent customer service and provides great resources for proper Maintenance & Care of your BOTE products so they will last for all of your adventures!
- Compact & Portable: Although the Kayak bag still probably weighs close to 40-50 lbs when stuffed with the kayak, paddle, fins, and hand-pump, the compact backpack design allows you to throw it on your back while feeling comfortable carrying that load to the water. It can easily fit in the back of a compact car or sedan, without the need for excessive trunk space or additional roof-rack capabilities. It also can store easily in the bottom of a closet, allowing you to have one less piece of outdoor gear double as interior decorating!
The only feedback I would provide for BOTE is I wish they made the travel bag another 2” bigger. Although they are going for the “ultra-compact” style, once you take the Kayak out of the bag & use it on the water, it was very challenging to get it back into the bag after deflating the Kayak.
I did finally get the kayak back into the carrier bag (after a comical 15 minute fight of me vs. the bag & kayak that a family watching in the distance probably thought was the best entertainment that evening). One potential solution to this is paying the extra money to get the AeroPump Auto Electric Pump II that plugs into your car.
I used the hand-held pump to inflate the kayak, but then had to rely on manually deflating, which probably resulted in not all of the air being fully deflated. After testing out one of their Stand-Up Paddleboards (check out that review as well on Engearment.com), which I had access to the electrical pump, I definitely think it is worth the extra investment to make your experience that much better!
Overall, though, I have been thrilled with my experience with BOTE’s products, and if you are in the market for a kayak to fish, paddle or simply float around with on these summer days, I highly, highly recommend the BOTE Zeppelin Aero 10’ Inflatable Kayak! It exceeded my expectations, and I am excited to see where else it takes me on my water AOTDs moving forward! Happy adventuring!
Growing up in Massachusetts, Devan has been an athlete all her life. Starting at the age of 4 as a competitive gymnast, she learned quickly the joy that comes from hard work, determination, and a jammed packed schedule. Eventually, gymnastics led to competitive lacrosse, which resulted in her growing some wings and going to the PNW to pursue a DI College Lacrosse opportunity at the University of Oregon.
On the single off-day each week, she quickly learned to see Mother Earth as her playground and wanted to use every second of free time to find chase AOTDs (Adventures of the Days). These AOTDs were the inspiration for her blog Dabbling in Traveling & youtube channel.
From waterfalls, to snow covered mountains, to sand dune hikes – one thing was certain, something always went awry on these AOTDs. But hey, memories were always made! Not only was UO an incredible college experience, Oregon sparked her love for the outdoors & traveling across the country for games helped introduce her to Colorado in 2014. Staring up at the Flatirons on CU Boulder’s campus, she knew one day she would call Colorado home!
After returning to the east coast upon graduation, Devan’s heart never stopped longing to live in Colorado one day. But luckily the pandemic brought a newfound acceptance for remote work and in Nov. 2021 her dream came true!
By day, Devan is a Product Manager at Capital One. By afternoon, she is a personal trainer, coaching group Crossfit classes at Axistence Athletics (the best Adventure gym you will ever find!). By evening, she pours her heart into nonprofit work, specifically focused on driving sustainable change in Haiti through the Brace for Impact 46 organization (Fun fact – she has been traveling to Haiti since 2015, accumulating 7 trips and 7 months of living down there!).
Brace for Impact works in Northern Haiti to provide sustainable, multifaceted approaches to support child development, education, medical care, job development, and implementation of clean water & sanitation across the community, which touches 40,000 people each day! (Want to learn more? Check out their website www.braceforimpact46.com )
As her friends would tell you (despite trying) Devan does not slow down and is always trying to fit AOTDs into each open moment. Whether it be hiking, paddleboarding, road-biking, running, Crossfitting, weight-lifting, snowboarding or simply exploring different parts of CO with her favorite furry friend Bailey, it’s safe to say Devan has found her “Home” here in Colorado!
Fun fact – Devan had reconstructive hip surgery in 2016 (actually called a Periacetabular Osteotomy… but that’s a tongue twister), where doctors said she may never run or walk again. After a 22 month recovery period, she proved doctors wrong and uses that motivation to encourage everyone she interacts with to truly treat movement as a gift and to never take it for granted. With that being said, to keep her body active, she needs to make sure her gear can support her so she can remain #PAOStrong!
Devan is excited to join the Engearment team!