|Ken Simpson's CPB-1 Lightweight Folding Pram|
Pic from Christine DeMerchant
A DIY Portable Pram
Many's the time we wish we could haul our dory up to a lake, but swoon at the prospect of lugging our dory uphill and over dale. Or wish for a second ride ashore. Or to float some firewood while we go exploring.
Ken Simpson, a retired engineer of some renown, has some solutions for us.
His site, Portable Boat Plans, offers a number of simple ways to get on the water quickly and have a lot of fun for little outlay. His designs tend toward the minimal, often sacrificing performance for economy and portability. But in the sizes he deals in, the sacrifice is small and the gains considerable.
His Lightweight Folding Prams, CPB-1 (free plans) and updated CPB-2016 (plans available for purchase), are of especial interest.
These two prams are built with coroplast, the corrugated plastic sheet material used for such things as political signs. It is relatively strong for its (light)weight, and, once the edges have been waterproofed, its corrugations trap air for positive buoyancy (it floats). Edges are waterproofed and joined with Scotch(TM) TOUGH (duct) Tape, making construction a snap. Minimal stiffening components are cobbled up from common hardware store items.
The result is a boat which weighs less than 20lbs and stows and carries like a portfolio!
Imagine a fleet of four of these, tucked away on board, ready to be used for kids and other company. As tow-boats for transporting a haul of groceries. As in, "Let's go climb to that mountain lake and paddle around!"
If we pull out all the stops, these might top out at around $100 each. By comparison, a packraft might cost around $600.
That's a lot of bang for the buck!!