Deciding Between a Camper or a Boat? Here’s Your Solution
Many people have or will face the decision between saving for a boat or a self-contained camper. Besides the financial obstacles, towing more than one toy to the lake is a hassle, often requiring multiple trips. However, what if you could get a camper, also known as a caravan or RV, and a boat in the same package?
How well does a camper/boat combo perform?
When you read camper/boat combo, your mind likely went to a houseboat. That’s alright, but it’s not what we’re discussing here. Gizmodo defines the CaraBoat as “the caravan that’s also a boat,” whereas a houseboat is mainly a floating house.
The makers of the CaraBoat insist that the combo performs well as a boat. It’s equipped with a high bow and freeboard, allowing the CaraBoat’s safe and comfortable use in relatively calm inland waters with wind chop no greater than 1 foot. Passengers can access the CaraBoat from a dock or pier as with any other boat or by backing up to a beach and using the steps for access through no more than ankle-deep water.
As a camper or caravan, if you prefer, CaraBoat officials say that the combo functions like any other travel trailer. The CaraBoat connects to shore power, sewer, and city water, or functions as a self-contained off-grid camper.
While off-grid, the sun provides electricity using solar panels, and a pair of lithium batteries stores power for nighttime usage. The self-contained CaraBoat carries 47.5 gallons of fresh water, 21 gallons of gray water, a five-gallon cassette toilet, and an onboard propane system.
You’ll find the expected camper amenities, such as a shower with hot water, a full kitchen with a propane cookstove, and a refrigerator/freezer combo. Air conditioning is optional, but the large functional windows make it unnecessary in all but the hottest climates.
The Autopian says that both CaraBoat model variations feature two 30-horsepower outboard motors. The entry-level CaraBoat 750 starts at $154,000 and has the following dimensions:
- 24.6 feet long
- 8.2 feet wide
- 6.88 feet tall
- 4,232 lbs
- 7.8-inch draft
- Seven person capacity
The CaraBoat 750 comes on a 1,500-lb boat trailer that increases the length to 29.8 feet and the height to 9.3 feet. The lightweight CaraBoat 750 features a trailer tongue weight of 573 lbs before adding any camping or boating gear.
The nine-passenger CaraBoat 870 starts at $169,000 and features the same width, draft, and tongue weight as the 750, but it’s longer at 28.5 feet, taller at 7.7 feet, and heavier at 4,535 lbs. The included trailer is also heavier and longer, weighing 1,587 lbs, and stretches to 33.7 feet. Since the CaraBoat 870 is taller, the overall height while on the trailer is 10.1 feet, which is still low by travel trailer standards.
Is the CaraBoat the perfect blend of camper and boat?
While the CaraBoat improves upon previous attempts to merge the two pastimes, it still falls short in some areas. For starters, the floor height of the CaraBoat, while it’s on the trailer, is high, and the entry steps are steep. Entry is comparable to a four-wheel drive truck camper or a school bus camper conversion instead of a travel trailer.
Next is the optional air conditioner. Adding or doing without it won’t bother many people, but most modern campers include A/C as standard. Sure, you’ll be outside or playing in the water most of the day, but summertime sleeping without air conditioning is brutal in most of the U.S.
Lastly, as a boat, it effortlessly handles calm waters, but designers shortchanged deck space to maximize the camper’s interior floor space.
Let us know below if you’d buy one and why. For the price, it’s more feasible to buy a good camper and a good boat and invite a friend with a truck to pull one or the other. Of course, with the proper setup, you could pull both where it’s legal.