Given that people such as myself already have a tendency to mistake streamlined car-top boxes as whitewater kayaks, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone has gone and done the obvious – made a roof box that converts into a boat. Instead of serving as a kayak, however, the Boatbox can be rowed like a dinghy, or even fitted with a small motor or a sail.
The UK-made Boatbox (sold in Australia as the BoatPack) is made mainly from UV-stable acrylic-capped ABS plastic, and consists of two basic parts. There’s a base, that stays attached to the car’s roof rack, and a detachable lid, which doubles as a boat. This does mean that whenever you want to use the Boatbox as a boat, you have to find another home for everything that’s being transported within it.
Buyers can choose from two models.
The BB650 measures 1.8 meters (6 feet) long by 1 meter (3.3 ft) wide, has a volume of 650 liters as a roof box, and can carry up to 175 kg (386 lb) when on the water. It has both an outer skin and an inner shell, adding strength and buoyancy. The boat/lid weighs 25 kg (55 lb).
The BB700 has the same dimensions as the BB650, although it’s just “single-skinned,” lacking the other boat’s inner shell. This makes it a little less seaworthy than its sibling (although its ABS is 2 mm thicker), and reduces its payload capacity to 165 kg (364 lb). The absence of an inner shell also increases its roof box volume to 700 liters, however, plus it reduces the weight of the boat/lid to 18 kg (39.7 lb).
Both models can be locked closed when in roof box mode, and come with a wooden seat, folding oars and rowlocks. The BB650 costs £595 (US$913), with the BB700 priced at at £550 ($844) – custom colors are available for an extra £250 ($384).