A few years ago, avid outdoorsman Pete Flood had an aha moment.
“A friend and I were hauling a canoe to go duck hunting,” he said. “It was a two-mile walk in, it was cold and it was dark. We were having to put the canoe down and change hands. When we finally got down there, we only had a half hour of duck hunting and then we had to go back.”
An idea for a more portable boat began percolating.
“It was one of those things that I would wake up in the middle of the night and kick myself for not doing something about this idea,” he said.
Flood envisioned a boat that folds up, making it easier to carry.
“I went to Lowe’s and bought some PVC pipe,” he said. “I’d get friends to help sew skins.”
But the early prototype didn’t live up to his expectations.
“It progressed to the point where I had a boat and a patent, but I didn’t like that boat very much at all,” he said.
With a background in civil engineering and a 26-year career at SAS, where he is a construction project manager, Flood went back to the drawing board until he was satisfied.
“I have a full-time job at SAS that I very much appreciate,” he said. “Nights and weekends I worked on the folding boat.”
In July, Flood launched The Folding Boat Company and its single product: the K-PAK. At 9 feet, 3 inches long and 21 pounds, the boat folds and fits neatly inside a backpack. It sells for $895.
“It’s a very cool boat,” he said. “After one or two tries, most people can assemble it in five minutes.”
An aluminum frame folds inside the skin, simplifying assembly of the K-PAK.
“It’s very versatile. I use it a lot for fishing and now duck hunting,” he said.
A woman in Raleigh sells camouflage covers for the boat.
Flood might be his own best customer: He has tested the waters with his boat from local lakes to Alaska and spots in between. He says its uses are numerous, from fishing and hunting to nature photography and exploring.
“You can get it into harder-to-reach areas,” he said.
He acknowledges there are folding kayaks on the market.
“Ours is more of a boat,” he said. “A lot of the boats are complicated, and people will spend an hour putting it together and then won’t want to take it apart. We’ve come up with a boat that’s simple and quick to assemble.
“If they know what they’re looking at, they will very much appreciate the value,” Flood said.
He keeps demo boats on hand for customers to try out.
The convenience of Flood’s folding boat is its selling point, he said.
“It’s new,” he said. “There’s nothing like it. I keep one in the back of my BMW, and if I get off work early, I will stop at Jordan Lake and fish and still be home for dinner.”
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About The Folding Boat Company
Contact: 919-622-4542, firstname.lastname@example.org