Bote Traveller Aero
Most of the time when you’re talking about Bote iSUPs, you might be thinking about a board that’s loaded with features and probably used for fishing from all of its available add-ons. And while that’s certainly true with the Traveller Aero, this is also Bote’s best performing iSUP in areas other than just finishing.
- Fastest iSUP in the lineup
- Large amount of available deck space
- Ample storage space
- Better than average weight capacity
- Stability can be an issue
- Heavy board
- Included accessories less than premium
[ez-toc]It’s long, it’s sleek — it’s dangerously fast. Combined with many of the features of the other Bote iSUPs, you have yourself a unique board that is meant to take you places quickly and far away. If you’re the kind of person that’s looking for a quality-built touring board for long trips on the water, be sure to see what makes the Bote Traveller Aero worth your attention.
|12′6″||30″||6″||275 lbs||30 lbs|
As previously mentioned, Bote is known more for their add-ons and additional accessories. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see an iSUP on their lineup so focused on performance. This is by far the fastest iSUP to bear the Bote name and it truly glides on the water. Due to its length and the design of the nose, it can even handle reasonable amounts of choppy water with no major issues.
The biggest issue comes from its stability. In order to make this as quick as possible, not only did they extend the length, but they made this a very thin board, coming in at just 30”. While we wouldn’t consider that radically thin, it still may present some issues for rider without a fair amount of experience on an iSUP.
Since this is such a long board, remember that it may be a little difficult to make turns when compared to shorter boards. But remember that this is to be expected of any board of this length and that there are a few things that the Traveller does to compensate for that, mostly with the fin setup.
Compared to many of its sister SUPs, the Traveller Aero has a lot less going on both on and around the deck. For all intents and purposes, this is one of the most “normal” Bote iSUP after the Breeze Aero, though with a few extras.
Regardless of brands, one of the first things we like to see are 3 grab handles. The center is to carry over land while the front and back handles are for moving the board through the water or connect a leash or even attach to a dock. Most boards have 2 handles without a back handle which isn’t optimal since if you’re dragging your board on the beach, you might damage the fins if you’re pulling from the front. Thankfully, this wouldn’t be an issue with the Traveller Aero.
One of the things that sets this line of iSUPS apart from most others are the accessory integration systems. On this board specifically, there are 2 attachment points toward the back of the deck. We’ll get into some of the available accessories later in this review. Beyond what you can purchase from Bote directly, you can use the points to attach a GoPro, rod holder or even a fish finder.
Just forward of the attachment points you’ll find 2 cooler tie downs. Essentially, these are just free D-rings that have been reinforced to allow you to have a heavier cooler on the deck without having to worry about it slipping and sliding around. Along the both sides there are attachment points for their Travelink strap.
As with most Bote iSUPS, they give you multiple options for color schemes. In this case you have Native — which is has more of a lime green theme to it — and Classic — using faux wood where the Native uses green. Both are attractive looking designs that accentuate the long look of the deck.
The bottom of the board is completely flat to give extra balance to the paddler, which is good news for such a thin board. On the nose of the board, you’ll notice a that it’s upturned more than you might see on other SUPs. This is called an entry rocker and is put there to shed water, making it easier to get through choppy water.
As what we would expect with a board like this, the Traveller Aero sports a 3-fin setup underneath the board. The large center fin is removable while the side fins are not. This allows you the option of taking off that center fin for easer storage or if you in super shallow water plus give it extra speed and maneuverability compared to a single fin setup.
Since the Traveller Aero is billed as a touring iSUP, it’s important to see what that did with their storage space. The front of the board has a 6-point bungee storage system (with 6 D-rings) and the back a 4-point system (with 4-D-rings). Considering how much time you would potentially spend on this SUP, it makes sense that you have the option to store extra gear, snacks or anything else you might need.
Right off the bat, one of the most unique things about the Bote Aero line of iSUPS is that while they’re made of the quality military grade PVC that we would expect to find, it is only a single layer, compared to the 2, 3 or even 4 layers we typically see on most iSUPs. For almost any other brand, a single layer would be a giant red flag for a low-quality board.
The good news here is that it’s single layer, not because they were cutting corners, but because they use completely different construction model. Instead of building a board that gets its strength from multiple layers of material, Bote uses a system that fills the inside of the board with a composite material that makes it feel just about as hard as a solid board.
Since the Bote Traveller is such a big iSUP, we were surprised to see that Bote didn’t include the dual air valve like they did with the Rackham Aero, since this would have made the board even harder but more importantly, easier to inflate. Be prepared to keep this board inflated between uses if possible to save on setup time.
Aero Bag: a backpack that allows you to be able to easily store and transport the SUP when not inflated. Unlike some similar brands, this bag doesn’t have wheels. Also, it doesn’t seem like it’s comfortable enough to carry round for a while, mostly just for putting it into the back of your car. Considering the size of this iSUP, it would have been really nice to have the rolling bag that your see with the Rackham.
3-Piece Fiberglass Paddle: this paddle is made of one of the lightest yet strong materials that we see in SUP paddles of this level. Quick to adjust and easy to break apart and put back together. Bote makes a point to let their customers know that this paddle does not float in the water.
Detachable Center Fin: Having the ability to take the fin off makes for easier storage and gives you the option to not use the fin in shallower waters. This uses its own specific type of fin box which makes it non-compatible with third-party US fin box fins.
Hand pump: A basic hand pump is included to allow you to inflate the board on site. We would have liked to have seen a double chamber pump.
Repair Kit: This includes everything you need to make minor repairs to the board if there are tears or rips. We’re happy to see that this kit includes glue and not just patches like we see from other comparable brands’ repair kits. The glue isn’t expensive, but this detail means that the company cares.
Rac Receivers: These are points that you can screw onto the board at two attachment points towards the back of the deck. With these mounted, you’re able to attach the rac accessories that are sold separately.
Paddle Sheath: This neat feature shows you just how this iSUP was originally designed as a hard board. On the hard version, this is an indentation on the nose, but here it is an attachment that is screwed on and gives you a place to quickly store your paddle by the blade.
Travelink Sling: This attaches to 2 D-rings on either sides of the board and lets you travel over long distances than simply holding the center handle.
Onyx Inflatable Lifejacket: This compact lifejacket contains a CO2 cartridge that gives you the same amount of buoyancy as a jacket many times its size. This helps it to stay out of the way.
Aeropump: This high-quality electric pump gives you the option to use your car’s cigarette lighter or battery as a power source. Probably one of the best electric iSUP air pumps on the market.
Tackle Rac: Now we’re starting to get serious about the fishing aspect of a Bote and the company said that it is by far the most popular of their racs. This attachment inserts into the rac receivers quickly and without any real effort. There are two pegs near the top to keep your gear high and out of the water. On the back, there are 2 rod holders that will accommodate conventional, spinning or fly reels so that you can either just have them sitting there without you having to hold them or so that you can do some SUP trolling. It’s made with marine grade aluminum and powder coated for your choice of color. This is an especially attractive option for this board since it’s meant as a touring board. You can store a lot more than your normally could with this thin board using a Tackle Rac.
Bucket Rac: This is for you who really want to bring a bucket with you either for bait, storing your catch or just to load up with refreshments of the soft or hard varieties. Although lower than the Tackle Rac, one of the benefits is that it can hold 4 rods compared to just 2. You can fit a standard 5 gallon bucket or use the optional KULA coolers.
KULA Cooler: Designed in-house, this cooler comes in both 2.5 and 5 gallon models and both hard and soft materials. However, most of the best features are in the hard-shell model. It can be opened with one hand and the handle even has an integrated bottle opener. The bottom has slip resistant feet and the top is made if the same material that they use on the deck. This is so that you can sit or even stand on it without having to worry about any water on your cooler. The last feature that we really liked is that there are grooves in the bucket itself so that when the cooler is open, you can rest your rod in a place where it won’t slip out.
Bote offers a wide range of ways to purchase. While you can purchase at one of hundreds of dealers throughout North America, they aren’t sold in larger sports supply stores. For most of us, buying online might just be the best bet. You can purchase through Amazon or via their own webstore. Regardless of how it’s purchased online, there is always free shipping in the lower 48 states.
Something we love to see in a SUP is a generous return policy. Bote offers a 60-return policy if you don’t like it for any reason. Above and beyond that, you have a 2-year limited warranty for any defects on the board itself.
If you purchase from Bote directly, you have the option purchasing via Affirm. This option, although not unique to Bote, gives you the option to finance the board interest free for up to 12 months. Remember that this is not a program via Bote, so any questions you have about the process needs to go to Affirm directly.
Our of the entire Bote Aero lineup, this is probably the most useful to the average paddleboarder. Compared to some of their other iSUPs, the Traveller Aero stands on its own merits and isn’t just useful for the add-ons that can be purchased. This is a great inflatable that acts so much like a solid board it’s uncanny. That being said, we feel that if you’re actually going to use this for multi-day touring, the Tackle or Bucket Rac might be worth the investment.
As with the other Bote iSUPs, we aren’t the least bit impressed with the included accessories, especially the air pump that will take you a while to use with such a large iSUP. Also, while there aren’t a lot of boards of this length on the market, some of the ones out there come in at a more accessible price.
While not a perfect board for everybody, if you’re a more experienced paddleboarder, want a quality inflatable board that feels like a solid and aren’t too worried about costs, the Bote Traveller Aero should be the long board on your short list.