Faces of Folbot: A new Flotilla Kiawah


This past week marked the 13th annual Flamingo Flotilla. Every January, a group of Folboters meet in the Florida Everglades and paddle/hang/eat pancakes. The Flotilla is “organized” on the Folbot Forum and any/all are welcome!

One enthusiastic participant was on her way home from the Flamingo Flotilla and swung by the Folbot headquarters. A veteran Folboter, she already owns a Greenland II and an Aleut. But she wanted something lighter and faster. So we hit the water in a Kiawah. We’re happy to say she liked the Kiawah! So much that she bought one when we got on dry land.

Maybe next year you’ll see another Kiawah at the Flamingo Flotilla!


“A finer Folbot trip couldn’t be had”

That’s how Steve Cosner, Folbot Ambassador, described his trip to Thousand Island Lake in an email to us.  After reading about his trip, we’d be hard pressed to disagree.

Thousand Island Lake is a large alpine lake within the boundaries of the Ansel Adams Wilderness of the Sierra National Forest and Inyo National Forest and is located in eastern Madera County, California.  The lake was formed by a retreating glacier and gets its name from all of the rocky islands that dot its surface.

In 2007, Steve took a camping trip to Thousand Island Lake and was greeted with a beautiful view of the water as you can see in the picture below.

A View to Inspire…a Folbot Kayaking Trip!

I’m sure it took one look for him to decide what he had to do, plan a return trip to the area so that he could bring his Folbot Greenland II and do some kayaking in the lake. It took him close to four years to return, but Steve finally made his dream a reality last August.  He planned and completed a wonderful kayaking trip to Thousand Island Lake.

Steve’s story is below but you can also check it out by clicking here.

“I built a kayak from a Folbot kit when I was a teenager and had lots of fun using it. Then ten years ago, I bought a foldable version from the same company, the two-seater Greenland II … it sure expands the options on trips.” – We can all agree about that Steve!

“So early this spring, a friend was asking about a backpacking trip to Thousand Island Lake, so I called the Reds Meadow Pack Station. They assured me they could pack my boat in a bag to Thousand Island Lake, so I signed on. I wanted to take my wife and daughter in, too, but they couldn’t hike the ten miles, so we reserved three horses as well.

So August rolled in, and off we went. We spent two nights in Mammoth to acclimate, then showed up at the Agnew Meadows pack station with what seemed like a huge amount of gear. The packers had four mules ready to go, but one got the day off. All the gear — three kayaks, two bear-proof pack boxes, and camping gear for seven fit onto three mules!

Here’s 20-year-old Rick, with the longer boat bags.” – These long frames carry the frames for the large cockpit boats like the Greenland II

No roof racks on a mule!

“It took several hours to get the mules loaded and the horses lined up. We got a late start, but the trail was beautiful — more flowers than I’d seen on any other trail. We took the “High Trail” into Thousand Island Lake.

Fred and the mules

Water break — Charlee did well riding all the way. It took four hours.

Once we arrived at the lake, there was much work setting up our camp and building the kayaks. Here’s my reward…

Charlee and I enjoyed a quiet paddle each evening, exploring islands and the view.

On the second day, the three of us paddled out, along with Jenny in a single-seat kayak, going to the west end of the lake.

Enough Room for the Whole Family!

Great looking pair!

Here’s Marek and David. David joined the trip when I posted plans on the Folbot Forum. That’s Banner Peak in the background. Three of us climbed it on the third day.

The more the merrier!

Here’s a view of Thousand Island Lake from the summit of Banner Peak.

Well worth the hike

On the morning of the fourth day, I went out for a paddle to take pictures.

What a view!

View from the tent

Everyone wants to get out on that water!

Group picture

A good looking bunch! And the Folbots are nice too!

The altitude and sun exposure was the roughest part of the trip. It took two nights at Mammoth, and two more at the lake before I felt completely normal. Marek had to bail on the Banner peak climb half way up due to AMS — he had less than 60 hours at altitude, and it wasn’t enough. We didn’t cover every inch of my daughter’s exposed skin, so she got some burn, and we should have taken sunglasses for her. Her eyes were ok, but bloodshot after we returned. My wife had swollen hands and feet after returning home! Oh, and riding a horse… for this backpacker, it isn’t much fun. On the way out, I opted to lead my horse for a quarter of the distance. Turns out I could walk at the same speed as the horses; but eating their dust wasn’t much fun. Better than screaming feet and knees, though. 🙂

This trip was truly a memorable experience, well worth the planning and expense. The good times, the fun with friends, paddling on one of the prettiest places in the Sierra… What a trip!

All my pictures are here: Thousand Island Lake Kayaking trip 2011

Thanks for sharing Steve!  We know your story will inspire other paddlers to take that trip they’ve always been dreaming about!

Stay tuned for more stories, pictures and anecdotes from other Folbot Ambassadors.

Happy Paddling!

Folbot Sponsors The 2012-16 Great African Expedition

We are thrilled to be sponsoring Anthropologist and modern day African explorer Julian Monroe Fisher’s 2012-16 Great African Expedition.  Mr. Fisher and the The Great African Expeditionary team will begin using fully loaded FOLBOT GREENLAND II kayaks with upwind sailing rigs and outriggers on the Upper Nile River in South Sudan and on their circumnavigation of Uganda’s Lake Albert and Lake Victoria.   

Additional details about the 2012-16 Great African Expedition is below and check out the website at: http://www.julianmonroefisher.com/greatafrica/index.htm

About Mr. Julian Monroe Fisher and The Great African Expedition:

Mr. Julian Monroe Fisher is a US citizen from Greenwood, South Carolina, currently based in Austria.  He is an explorer, an Anthropologist, an Ethnographic filmmaker, a publisher author, a Fellow with The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) in London and an International Fellow with the British Chapter of The Explorers Club in New York City. Between 2007 and 2011 he conducted five consecutive Explorers Club flag sanctioned research expeditions to the African continent (see his personal website at www.JulianMonroeFisher.com)

On February 22, 2012, Mr. Fisher announced a five year Ethnographical research project deep in the heart of Africa. Entitled, ‘The 2012-2016 Great African Expedition’, he is conducting a 21st century Ethnographical documentation of Central Africa.  The project will have him retracing the African expeditionary routes of the famed Victorian explorers including Speke, Grant, Brazza, Burton, Baker,
Baumann, Linz, Livingstone and Stanley.

The objective will be to compare the 19th century Ethnographic documentation of the tribal kingdoms along the Central African rivers and lakes gathered during the expeditions of the Victorian age with the
realities of 21st century Central Africa. For all the journeys he will implore the use of kayaks, camels, donkeys, horses, trains and on foot.

Phase One of the project took place between late February and
early May 2012, with the successful overland journey from Cairo, Egypt, to
Khartoum, Sudan. Here is a link to initial media coverage for Phase One of
The 2012-2016 Great African Expedition: http://www.julianmonroefisher.com/greatafrica/pages/media.htm

During Phase Two which is scheduled in late 2012 and early 2013 he will travel from Khartoum up the Nile and across the new nation of South Sudan to Lake Albert in Uganda. There he will circumnavigate Lake Albert, then follow the Semliki River to the Lamia River tributary that flows down from the Rwenzori Mountains. He will then follow that tributary up to the glacier on Mount Stanley.

The objectives of the expedition will be to:

  • Follow the expeditionary routes of the great Victorian age explorers to compare the 19th century Ethnographic documentation of the tribal kingdoms along the Central African rivers and lakes gathered during the expeditions of the Victorian age with the realities of 21st century Central Africa;
  • Conduct & document Ethnographical research in photography and film (Cultural & Physical) research;
  • Gather content for a book and Ethnographic film entitled ‘AFRICA – One Man’s Search for the Heart of Africa’.

We look forward to working with “Monroe” and his team as they prepare for this EPIC JOURNEY

Survival of the Fittest

One of the most interesting parts of working with a product like Folbot is learning about what people do with these cool folding kayaks. We hear from people all over the world about the adventures they take in their Folbots. But recently I read about a use for them I hadn’t quite considered.

What do you do when “society, as we know it, collapses and chaos reigns in urban areas“? Use your Greenland II tandem kayak, of course!

According to the widely read SurvivalBlog.com, this is exactly what you should do.

Check it out. It’s a fascinating read.

And just one more reason to buy a Folbot.

David A.