Updated September 20th, 2023
A fast efficient purpose built inflatable touring SUP that can go the distance and carry weight or heavy paddlers
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- Red Paddle Co Voyager 12'6" Review and Test
- Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?
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The Red Paddle Co Voyager 12’6 x 32″ is a purpose built inflatable touring SUP that excels at going long distances with speed and efficiency. It has an innovative V-Shaped hull that pierces and glides through the water better than a flat bottom SUP. It uses MSL construction along with RSS battens making it light and stiff. With a 330 lb weight capacity, it can carry a big paddler or a lot of gear. The Voyager comes at a premium price but has performance on the water that is hard to beat making it one of the best inflatable touring SUPs available.
What we liked:
- Very good glide
- Efficient V-hull shape for moving through the water
- Stable enough for beginner paddlers
- Durable bag with a lot of extras such as hideable straps and transformer option
- Extra removable handles
- Enough D-Rings to mount a kayak seat or mount other accessories and gear
What we didn’t like:
- Very high cost
- Large size and weight of the Titan 2 Hand Pump
- Doesn’t turn as quick as single fin touring SUPs
- Size – 12′ 6″ x 32″ x 5.9″
- Weight Capacity – 330 lbs
- Board Weight – 30.35 lbs
- Construction – 3 Layer with carbon rails
- D-Rings – 15 D-Rings 2 Action Mounts
- Paddle – Optional
- Pump – Double Action
Red Paddle Co Voyager 12’6″ Review and Test
We really enjoy exploring on paddleboards. There are several chains of interconnected lakes in Southern Michigan that make for a long paddle. It’s fun heading from lake to lake on streams and rivers and seeing what you find along the way. Touring paddleboards that can cover ground more easily make this a lot more fun.
The Red Paddle Co Voyager 12’6″ is a purpose built inflatable touring paddleboard that is designed for paddling long distances. It is expensive and it doesn’t have a ton of action mounts and other accessory mounts. It paddles and glides fast. It has enough D-Rings to carry gear or attach a seat if you want to.
Is the Red Paddle Co Voyager worth the steep price? It retails for $1440 without a paddle making it one of the most expensive inflatable paddle boards out there.
6 – Construction
The first thing you will notice when unwrapping a Red Paddle Co board is the attention to detail everywhere in the board construction. You won’t see glue blobs in the seams. They have small features such as flat bungee cords and very smooth blemish free finish.
The Voyager uses Red Paddle Co’s MSL (Monocoque Structural Laminate) construction which produces lighter stiffer boards. The Voyager has a v-hull shape with a V-hull shape created using 2 different pieces of Drop-stitch that are joined down the board centerline to give the hull its shape.
The board uses RSS (Rocker Stiffening System) battens to help stiffen the board further. These are 2 battens that are inserted during board inflation down the sides. They add stiffness to the center of the board and help spread out the weight of the paddler. You get less flex around the middle of the board.
6 – Warranty
Red Paddle Co is one of the few companies that offers a 5 year warranty on their inflatable paddleboards. Most companies offer 1 year or maybe 2 year. Very few actually believe in their product enough to give you a 5 year warranty.
6 – Stiffness (10/10)
We put the Voyager through our standard stiffness test. We inflate the board to the maximum recommended pressure and then put it on a set of stands spaced 8 feet apart. We put 120 lbs onto the board and measure how much it deflects.
We inflated the Voyager to 20 psi with the RSS battens installed. The board deflected just 1.125 inches. For reference, the best boards we have ever tested deflected 1.0 inch. The worst boards we have tested deflected 4 to 5 inches. The Voyager is a stiff board and feels like a stiff board on the water with little to no bounce feeling.
|SUP Board||Board Size||Construction||Deflection (inches)|
|Blackfin Model X (15 psi)||10'6" x 34" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.0|
|Blackfin Model V (15 psi)||12'6" x 32" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.1|
|Blackfin Ultra CX (15 psi)||10'6" x 32.5" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.0|
|BOTE HD Aero (15 psi)||11'6" x 34" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.1|
|Coolwave (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||1 Ply PVC||3.3|
|Chasing Blue Orion (14.5 psi)||12'6" x 32" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||1.6|
|Chasing Blue Infinite (14.5 psi)||10'6" x 34" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||1.4|
|DAMA (15 psi)||11' x 33" x 6"||1 Ply PVC||3.0|
|Freein Overall 11 (15 psi)||11'' x 33" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||1.4|
|iRocker Nautical (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||2.8|
|iRocker All Around 11 (15 psi)||11' x 32" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.3|
|iRocker All Around 11 Ultra (15 psi)||11' x 32" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.1|
|iRocker Cruiser Ultra (15 psi)||10'6" x 33" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.1|
|Nice C (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||1 Ply PVC||2.6|
|Nixy Newport G4 (15 psi)||10'6" x 33" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.1|
|Nixy Monterey G4 (15 psi)||11'6" x 34" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.0|
|Outdoor Master Swordfish (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||2.8|
|Red 12'6" Sport w/RSS (20 psi)||12'6" x 30" x 5.9"||MSL with Battens||1.2|
|Thurso Expedition 150 (15 psi)||12'6" x 31" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.4|
|Thurso Max (15 psi)||11'6" x 34" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.2|
7 – Stability (9/10)
The Voyager 12’6″ is a friendly board that any beginner could stand up on. It has a very different personality than the Red Paddle Co 12’6″ Sport we reviewed last year. That board was challenging to say the least. The Voyager feels very stable and doesn’t feel that sensitive to standing position. The 2 extra side straps give you a good reference for where to put your feet. You are in the right position if your toes are just behind or touching the outboard side straps.
8 – Speed (10/10)
The Voyager has very good glide and feels like a quick board. It doesn’t accelerate as fast as the Red Paddle Co Sport did. It feels like it will glide forever off every paddle stroke. It cuts through small waves and ripple in the water with ease. The V-Shape hull really feels like it moves through the water well compared to a board with a flat bottom. If I had to paddle a very long distance, this is absolutely the board I would choose to do it.
9 – Tracking (10)
Tracking is very strong with this board. The 2 fins hold it straight. Going straight is what this board does best. The 2 fins do make it more difficult to turn than a single fin touring board. This is not the best board to do step turns. It’s easy to lift the nose out of the water by stepping back. The 2 fins provide a lot of resistance to spinning the board around.
10 – Accessories (7/10)
Red Paddle Co sells its boards with a minimum of accessories letting you choose what you want on your own. They do not come with a paddle or leash in the package.
ATB Transformer Board Bag
The latest bag from Red Paddle Co is their ATB or Transformer bag. It has several really nice features such as a pocket for the paddle blade and outside pocket for the fin. The straps can be hidden away when rolling the bag so they don’t get into the wheels.
The outside shell of the bag can be removed so that you are just carrying the board with the backpack straps and compression straps. This lets you carry less with you if you are going for a more remote paddling spot. You will have less stuff with you to strap onto your board while paddling if you can’t leave it on shore somewhere.
In my opinion the best part about the transformer bag is that you can remove the backpack straps and make the bag a couple of pounds lighter if you never wear it as a backpack.
The Voyager is a larger board. The bag is just barely big enough to fit this board in it. I had to put some effort into working the corners of the folded board into the bag every time we put it in. We are still experimenting to find the best fold size to make this easier. The Titan 2 pump will fit on top of the board in the bag.
Red Paddle Co Titan Hand Pump
Red Paddle Co includes their Titan 2 Hand Pump with the Voyager Paddleboard. This is by far and away the largest and heaviest hand pump we have seen from any inflatable SUP company. It is a well built and beefy hand pump with features such as a removable handlebar and folding feet.
The Titan 2 has 2 speeds. You either pump on the downstroke with 2 chambers or 1 smaller chamber.
This is the second board we have tested and reviewed with the Titan 2 and I will admit I’m not a huge fan of it. I don’t think it inflates boards any faster than other double barrel pumps. It also can’t deflate which makes it more difficult to put the board away. The biggest downside is just the size and weight of it. I would prefer a smaller, more size and weight-efficient triple or double action pump that is a better match with the portability of the ATB Transformer bag.
See our guide to the best electric inflatable SUP pumps for some good alternatives.
11 – Portability (8/10)
The one downside to the big Titan pump is that it is heavy and big and makes the bag heavy to carry around. I usually leave the Titan at home with my other pile of hand pumps in the basement and use a smaller and lighter electric pump. The ATB Transformer bag is kind of cool and lets you take less bag to the water. What do you do with the Titan when you are paddling? For carrying around and traveling, I would prefer a small hand pump or electric pump and battery.
13 – Dual Fins
The board uses 2 US Fin Box fins that attach with small brass thumbscrews. The fins have a slight cant angle towards each other to help with board tracking.
The fins have enough sweep so that they aren’t too bad about catching weeds. Like other twin fin setups, they are a bit challenging to clear grass off by back paddling.
10 – D-Rings and Accessory Mounts
The Voyager 12’6″ has 13 D-Rings and 1 action mount. Red Paddle Co seems to prefer a more minimalist clean approach to their boards than other board vendors. You won’t find 20 D-Rings, 5 action mounts, and 6 scotty mounts on their board for making a fully decked out fishing setup. Their boards are more designed for pure paddling than what you do with them while not paddling.
10 – Kayak Conversion
The Voyager boards has enough D-Rings at the front and rear so that you can attach a kayak seat to it.
10 – Setup and take down
The RSS battens do create some extra work when setting the board up. You have to inflate the board in 2 stages. You have to inflate the board to 1-2 psi and stop. You have to slide the RSS battens into their slots. It takes a lot of effort the first time but gets easier once the pockets break in a bit. Inflate the board the rest of the way.
The 2 fins have small brass bolts and nuts to hold them in place. I find it easiest to thread the nut onto the bolt a couple turns. Slide the nut forward in the fin box slot. Unscrew the bolt and slide the fin in place and screw it down.
When going the other way. Use the screws to get the small nut plates back out of the fin box.
It’s easiest to get the board to go back into the bag by rolling from the fin box end. This lets the fin boxes next into the rolls making the folded shape smaller. This board is at the very upper size range that will fit into the Red Paddle Co bag. It still takes a bit of wrestling each time to get the corners of the rolled board into the bag.
Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?
Do you want to paddle long distances fast? If you answer yes then buy this board. The Red Paddle Co Voyager 12’6″ excels at gliding efficiently and tracking straight. It is a very stiff board and handles weight well. It’s stable enough for any beginner paddler to be able to stand up on it.
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Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.