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My wife and I like to relax on the beach and we like to snorkel. For years, we had used a beach umbrella together with a metal auger. The beach umbrella was collapsible, but still required us to use our big suitcase and even moderate winds flipped it up. Other disadvantages of the umbrella were: it provided little protection against rain and, when both of us went swimming, our valuables remained in plain sight and unprotected.
The ROPODA tent solves all those issues. It is large enough for my wife and I to comfortably sit in it through rain showers. It can be zipped up and thus provides privacy and helps hide your valuables.
It is small and flexible enough to fit in my carry-on suitcase.
The tent is approx. 58 x 57 x 43 in or 165 * 150 * 110cm (L x W x H) when at a full stretch and when folded up, it is approx. 17 x 17 x 3 in (L x W x H) and it weiths 2.2lbs (1kg).
The herrings that the tent comes with are much better than they look like. Only on one beach, which had deep sand, did they not grab. In this case our backpacks provided most of the blow-away protection. On all other beaches were they able to anchor the tent so that it did not get blown away by the wind. Talking about wind: the tent is flexible and sturdy enough to easily withstand even moderate wind. We have never tried it in a storm.
We have used it on 7 beaches so far and the tent does not (yet) show any wear. When I bought it I was skeptical about the low price and when we received it I was skeptical about the material and the herrings. So far, the tent holds up perfectly and I hope I can get many more beach visits out of it.
Taking the tent out of the package and putting it up is easy. Putting it back is difficult until you learn how to do it. The provided instructions are correct, but difficult to understand. My advice is to practice it at home until you can do it in your sleep. Otherwise, it may ruin a perfect beach day.
We had purchased this kayak back in 2010 and have now used it for 9 summers. Since this kayak is inflatable, it will fit in almost every trunk, so transporting with a regular sedan is no issue. The kayak weighs 52 lbs (23.5kg), so make sure that you can lift it.
Inflating the kayak takes me about 5min and is really no big workout. As with any inflatable watercraft, you only want to use it in deep enough water so that you don’t ground or hit other sharp objects like tree stumps and tear it. That also means that you cannot sit in the kayak and then have someone slide it from a concrete or grassy ramp into the water. I always get their feet wet, step into the water and then go into the kayak. Then I paddle to a dock where my wife will get into the kayak without getting her feet wet. Never even try to race a hard shell kayak, the inflatable kayak will always be slower.
For safety, the kayak comes with 3 separate main air chambers. In case one gets damaged, you should be able to get safely back to land with the other two.
The kayak came with a repair kit. We had a tiny hole in a seam after maybe 5 years or so. Because the hole was so tiny, it took me a while and lots of soapy water to find it. After I found it, it was an easy fix. Other than that, we have had absolutely no problems. The kayak pretty much looks like new and we have used it every year.
The kayak did not come with paddles and the pump. We had purchased those separately.
Long story short: We absolutely love our inflatable kayak and we have taken in all over Western Pennsylvania and all the way to Vermont, the Adirondacks and the Finger Lakes in New York.