Cheap Pontoons – Classic Accessories Colorado Boat Review
As a resident of Austin, Texas, I mostly live in a spring/summer climate. So, I often find myself boating and fishing on Texas waters year-round, even in winter months. I had been meaning to purchase a compact pontoon boat, because I have a love for taking solo adventures. So, after searching for cheap pontoons on Amazon, I finally found the Classic Accessories Colorado Boat for under $400. It had a good star rating and good reviews, so I made the decision to purchase it. I first took the boat for a fishing trip to Town Lake in Austin, Texas, then took it for a boating trip in Lake Travis, and I rowed it down the river in Big Bend National Park. Below, I will give you a detailed review of my trips where I used the Colorado pontoon, then I will give go over some of the pros and cons, and finally share with you my overall thoughts of the boat. If you just want the pros and cons and a short, general conclusion of the inflatable pontoon boat, then scroll down to the Pros and Cons section and the Conclusion section below it.
Assembly and Features
The compact pontoon boat came in a sage/black color and was deflated. The boat is made with abrasion resistant PVC and nylon, and the frame is made with powder coated steel. After inflating the pontoon, the boat turned out be about 9’ in length and 4’ 7” in width. Assembling the rest of the boat was fairly easy. Surprisingly, a manual air pump worked just fine, so I imagine anyone with an electric pump will have no problem.I liked that the boat had plenty space for storage. It has a total of 22 pockets, including 10 mesh pockets and 12 zippered pockets. This cheap pontoon also has a wire rear storage and is on the heavy side (75 lbs according to the description), which is good since the boat has a load capacity of 400 lbs, and it allows me to float and travel steadily over moving water. Other features included with the small pontoon boat are the following:
- Rod holder
- Anchor system
- Two position motor mount (weather proof)
- Three oar-lock position
- Fold-down padded, plastic seat
- Insulated drink holders
- Battery platform
- Foot rest
The inflatable pontoon boat works great as a fish pontoon. Although the boat is heavy, its load capacity worked great for all the equipment and supplies I needed for the trip. I was able to carry snacks, extra fishing supplies in case of emergency, first aid kit, and a mini cooler. There was no need to compromise certain supplies or equipment to accommodate the capacity of the boat. At the start of my trip, I rowed to the middle Lake Travis, using the oars easily; the boat held the oars well enough for me to row and steer. However, as I continued to steer to different parts of the lake, I started to notice how hard it was to row the boat in a straight line and how much of a work out it was. When I finally settled, I stayed in the middle of the lake, fishing for almost two hours. I was surprised by how comfortable I was and how steady the boat was while floating on the waters, since Lake Travis waters have some motion.The seat was well padded and the foot rests were great to use. I had a fine time fishing and relaxing. The only downside to the fishing trip was navigating the boat around the lake, but the navigating was not bad enough to ruin the trip or deter me from liking the boat. The fish pontoon was great overall.
Due to the workout I received steering the small pontoon boat, I decided to buy a trolling motor to see if it will make a difference in the boating experience, and it did! Installing the trolling motor on the compact pontoon boatrelieved me of the excessive work out of rowing the boat up and down the lake. For this boating trip, a couple of friends tagged along and brought their paddle boards and canoes, and we had a mini lake hangout on Lady Bird Lake in Austin. The storage came to my rescue again, since most of my friends did not have enough room to carry some of their own supplies and other items. A couple of friends wanted to try out the pontoon, since they either had one of their own and were curious enough to try it out or were looking into getting one. I wasn’t surprised by how many positive reviews my friends gave it. They explored all the storage compartments, experienced how steady and comfortable the boat was. We were chilling and rowing on the lake for at least four hours, and the pontoon held its own.
On the description, it was stated that the cheap pontoonwas ideal for Class I rivers. So, I took the pontoon on the rivers at Big Bend National Park. The rapids in this park ranged from Class I all the way to Class V, depending on where you are rafting. I tested it in Class I and Class II rapids. The pontoon worked well on the Class I rapid of the river as expected. I boated it into the Class II rapids of the river, and luckily, it worked out as well. I left the river with myself and the boat in one piece. The weight of the pontoon played a big part in how stable the pontoon floated down the river. The fact that it rowed well in a Class II rapid was exciting, because it gives me a variety of options for trip ideas. Although the pontoon worked out great on the Class II rapid, I didn’t push riding it on a Class III rapid.
Classic Accessories Colorado Boat Pros and Cons
I’ve had this boat for a couple of months now, and I have taken it out every chance I got and tweaked it a little to add more features to it, such as another rod holder and a different seat. The seams of the boat are still holding up okay, and I expect the pontoon to last me for a couple of years. Now that I have had the inflatable pontoon boat for a couple of months, I have come to realize the pluses and minuses of the Colorado pontoon. Here is my overall list of pros and cons:
- Easy to Assemble – I was able to use a manual air pump to inflate the pontoon without much hassle.
- The pontoon has a great load capacity (400lbs) – Every tip I took, I never felt the need to leave items behind due to too much weight.
- Great storage capacity – I like to pack kind of heavy in case of emergencies. With the storage capacity offered, I was able to pack everything I needed.
- Quality construction and materials – After every use, I would check the pontoon to see how it was holding up and never had a problem with leakage or tears.
- Easy to load and unload – Although it is on the heavier side, it wasn’t too much trouble to load and unload from my truck or to dock or undock into the water. It took as much effort as any other canoe or pontoon I have owned in the past.
- Comfy seat and foot rests – On some trips, I have spent hours riding around in the cheap pontoon and never felt uncomfortable.
- Drink rests – I had a place to place my canteen, bottle, and can with easy access.
- Floats steadily on the water – The pontoon floats steadily on the water, where I feel stable and comfortable enough in it.
- Great anchor – During the many trips were I wanted to stay steady in one spot, the anchor worked really.
- Rod holder – The fish pontoon had a place for me to set my rod for an easy and comfortable fishing trip.
- Motor mount – I was able to attach a trolling motor, and the pontoon carried it well.
- Easy to add accessories to – If you always find yourself customizing your own boat, like me, then you will like the pontoon. It was easy to find compatible parts and add them on to the pontoon.
- Great quality for the price – I was kind of dreading looking for a cheap pontoon, because sometimes if you buy cheap, you get cheap. This was not the case with this cheap pontoon boat. I bought this boat for less than $400, and although it has some flaws, most were cheap and easy to remedy, and the pontoon works great.
- Hard to row with Oar – On my first trip with the small pontoon boat, the fishing trip, it was easy to row around at first, but I found myself getting a work out going to other spots on the lake and back to dock. I decided to buy a trolling mount to remedy this situation, and steering the boat has become much easier.
- Hard to row straight – In addition to hard rowing in general, it was hard to row in a straight line as well, but the trolling mount helped with that issue as well.
- Trolling motor is place behind you – It is sometimes hard to use the trolling motor since it is placed behind you.
- Single passenger – If a friend or a spouse ever wants to travel with you, they would need their own pontoon. I was just telling a buddy of mine how great the pontoon was, and he was eager to go on a trip with me, since he’s been meaning to get into recreational water activities. Unfortunately, we ended up having to rent another pontoon to make it a two-person tip.
- Can’t use on Class III and above rivers – the vessel was meant for Class I rapids, and I tested my luck and tried it on a Class II rapid, which worked well. I was not comfortable trying it on a Class III. If you decide to test out the pontoon on any rapid higher than a Class I, do so at your own risk. Since, I’m more of a calm waters traveler, this works just fine for me.
- Not suitable for high traffic tubing rivers – Rivers where there are a lot of tuber inhabitants are not ideal for boating/floating. You will mostly float on these type of rivers and may not get a lot of rowing action.
- Valve leakage – Although I never had any issue with this, I have seen other reviewers with this problem. From my experience with pontoons in the past, the problem may be with how much air they are putting into the craft.
- May not be too comfortable for larger body types – My buddy weighs about 260 and is on the taller end of the height spectrum. I let him borrow it for a trip, and he said he was comfortable enough in it but wouldn’t mind something with more room.
There are definitely more pros and cons with the Colorado boat, and I feel that even the cons are not significant enough to be unable to recommend this boat to anyone else.
Overall, I love the Classic Accessories Colorado Boat. It worked well as a fish pontoon, and I felt comfortable rowing on lakes and rivers. I recommend this boat for beginners who want to get into rowing. It’s cheap, great quality, and they can practice their rowing with the pontoon as well. I definitely feel that the pros outweigh the cons with the boat. When you compare the price to what you get as far as features and quality, you actually get a great deal. The cons of this cheap pontoon has not steered my appreciation for it. It has a lot of storage, easy to customize, sturdy, comfortable, and everything else I could ask for in a boat. I recommend buying this pontoon on Amazon, where you can get it for a great deal. I would give the Classic Accessories Colorado boat 4.5 out 5 stars.