Paddleboarding deep into a serene, wildlife-flush wilderness area, setting up camp on a sandy beach, cooking fresh-caught fish over an open fire ... sounds like a pretty great way to spend a couple of days. Problem is, if you don't want to sleep out in the open, the average stand-up paddleboard offers a limited amount of space to carry camping gear, unlike, say, a canoe or rowboat. French paddleboarding company Hold Up offers a solution, a bivy sack-size, single-person paddleboard tent that paddles to camp atop the board, then pitches around that board to create a cozy shelter. The company's dual-blade SUP paddle helps make the trip more flexible and comfortable in the water.
In the past, Bear Grylls himself (or at least his licensed naming rights) brought us the idea of an inflatable paddleboard-mounted tent, but we never saw any evidence of that particular tent making it farther than the prototype stages.
Hold Up's design is dramatically different from the Bear Grylls frame tent. With the Le Tunnel, the company keeps things compact and aerodynamic, creating a low, round tunnel-style shelter for one. It's really as much a paddleboard bivy sack as a paddleboard tent. Whatever you call it, the paddleboard becomes a faithful air mattress, offering a cushioned place to sleep.
The Le Tunnel works as part of a full expedition paddling system that starts with Hold Up's 12 ft 8 inch (3.9 m) Trekker inflatable paddleboard. While paddling, the tent rides in the included dry bag strapped to the board's front deck netting. Hold Up says you can carry your sleeping bag in there, too. When it's time to camp, the boarder simply pops the fins off the underside of the board so it lies flat and attaches the Le Tunnel via a series of mounting points.
The Le Tunnel is an interesting design, but we see at least one issue. The tent doesn't appear fully enclosed so it might prove quite drafty in the wind and itchy when mosquitoes and other pests are out in full force. Hold Up could solve the latter problem by offering a compatible mosquito net.
Hold Up has not yet published the full spec sheet or pricing information for the Le Tunnel or Trekker system, but its website mentions plans to launch them as 2017 products.
Hold Up's bread-and-butter product also looks like a boon for expedition paddlers. Unlike the standard SUP paddle, which has a single blade at one end and a T handle at the other, Hold Up's paddle has blades on both ends. The upper blade includes a cut-out handhold so that the SUPer can comfortably hold it and paddle it like a regular stand-up paddle. The dual-blade design also allows for kayak-style paddling when sitting or kneeling, giving the paddler more flexibility, which seems like it'd be quite welcome during an extended, multi-day trip. Hold Up offers an attachable paddleboard seat for added comfort when sitting.
The Hold Up paddle, which was voted a Brand New Award finalist at this week's ISPO Munich sports show, comes in a variety of styles, ranging between €119 (approx. US$127) for the basic aluminum/ABS/fiber-reinforced nylon version to €399 ($425) for the carbon/fiberglass model. Hold Up also sells swappable T handles for those that might not want to use the upper blade-handle all the time.
Source: Hold UpView gallery - 11 images