Pau Hana Solo SUP Backcountry Review: The Ultimate Packable SUP | GearJunkie

2021-12-23 02:14:23 By : Mr. Harvey Zhong

May 26, 2021 |  By Rebecca Parsons

With the release of its first hike-able standup paddleboard, Pau Hana has expanded the realm of paddle-able spaces.

As someone who does a lot of stand-up paddling, I find myself wishing I had a board whenever I stumble upon a beautiful body of water. And it’s often during my backcountry travels I find myself in this predicament.

While coming back to the spot with a board may seem like the obvious solution, most boards are too large or heavy to transport to more secluded destinations. That was until I was introduced to Pau Hana’s Solo SUP Backcountry ($1,249).

In Hawaiian, Pau Hana means “time after work,” and the company is all about designing boards that allow people to get out on the water and play. Although they already had an expansive quiver of boards, they didn’t have a lightweight, easily transportable board ideal for backcountry adventures, so they set out to create one.

The team at Pau Hana spent weeks designing, packing, and redesigning boards until they had a model that achieved their size and weight goals without sacrificing performance.

The 14.8-pound board is part of a package that weighs just 23 pounds —  including a compact pump, a dry bag backpack, an accessory holdall, a repair kit, a coiled leash, a paddle, and fins.

That makes the Solo SUP revolutionary in size, weight, beating out other packable SUPs we’ve seen by 2 to 5 pounds. (The board itself — at nearly 11 feet — weighs just 14.8 pounds.)

The Solo SUP is an all-around board model, measuring 10’10” x 30″ x 6”, with a volume of 240 L. The 14.8-pound board is compatible with riders up to 215 pounds. The package includes everything you need: the board, compact pump, dry bag backpack, accessory holdall, repair kit, coiled leash, paddle, and fins.

Now, it’s not the first packable SUP ever made, but does rival the Red Paddle Co. Compact board for the smallest overall package. And there are two key differences that make this board notable: the board bag and the paddle.

Unlike other inflatable SUP packages, the Solo SUP comes in a dry bag backpack, which works to store your SUP (and other important items) dry. The bag is constructed from TPU and features a fully detachable harness that can be stored inside the bag or used to attach the bag to a bike.

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In an effort to be both ultralight and stable, the board features woven drop-stitch technology, meaning two layers of lightweight material lined with woven cloth are attached at thousands of points across the board. Additionally, the board includes a textured traction pad, a woven cloth base, and double-layer side rails.

The most revolutionary part of the package is the Solo Paddle. While there are many three-piece paddles out there, this paddle breaks down into four pieces and features a fully rollable blade, which allows for easy storage.

Additionally, the lightweight and adjustable paddle can be configured as a full-size SUP paddle or as a packraft canoe-style paddle.

Out of the box, there is a lot to love about this board. It packs down smaller and weighs less than any inflatable I’ve ever come across. And the fact that it packs into a dry bag? Genius.

The bag features extra room on the inside for stashing snacks and essentials as well as two water bottle holders on the exterior, which is much appreciated. It’s designed like a backpacking backpack.

It includes a chest and hip strap for a snug fit, which is essential for lankier hikers. My only complaint is that the hip strap isn’t padded, so it digs in a bit if you’re wearing lightweight clothing.

When I first saw the paddle, I will admit that I was a bit of a skeptic. The rollable blade is great for packing, but I had my doubts about how it would perform.

It’s not a race paddle by any means, but I was impressed to find that it paddled as well as other basic, adjustable paddles I’ve tried.

The shaft was a bit slippery when wet, so I’d suggest adding a little grip or wearing gloves if you’re planning to get your hands wet.

For the most part, setup and teardown were easy with one exception: the paddle. Putting the paddle together is not intuitive, but Pau Hana has a great instructional video on its website. I highly suggest watching that and experimenting with putting the paddle together before heading into the backcountry.

Other than that, everything was pretty straightforward, and it was easy to pack the board and accessories back into the bag.

Although the board wasn’t as stable as a hard board, it performed well and was easy for an experienced paddler to navigate. Overall, I’m impressed with this board and am excited about the doors it opens for paddle exploration in hard-to-reach, remote areas with longer hike-ins.

There are plenty of other lightweight inflatable SUPs out there geared toward travel, but this was the only one we found that is specifically designed for hiking.

Available for $1,249, the Solo SUP is a bit more than your typical all-around inflatable board model. However, it’s in the middle of the market for compact travel models and a board of this length and size.

Red Paddle Co.’s compact inflatable will run you $1,899. However, lesser-known brands like NIXY’s Huntington G4 costs $825, and they will differ in features and weigh a few pounds more.

In my personal opinion, the Solo SUP gives you the most bang for your buck. With the Pau Hana Solo SUP, you can hike to remote destinations, check it on an airplane, or take it on a cross-country road trip. The possibilities are endless.

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