Explore America's Campgrounds
The Coleman Crawdad iis a double-ended "jon" boat, made from Coleman's proprietary polyethylene, Ram-X. Its general configuration is that of a jon boat--about three times as long as it is wide, flat-bottomed and squared at both ends. It is designed to be powered by an outboard motor of limited horsepower, which may be mounted on either end of the boat.
The boat generally has the lines of any other jon boat. Twelve feet long and 4 feet in width at its widest, it has the classic 3-to-1 length/width ratio found in aluminum jon boats. The Crawdad weighs in at 131 pounds, making it manageable by two strong people, and light enough to be carried in a pickup truck bed or even on top of a small car, if properly secured with tie-down straps. The boat may also be carried on any boat trailer--its small size allows you to lift the boat onto the trailer. Secure the boat with several tie-down straps thrown across its width and tightened, and it should tow without difficulty.
The maximum weight capacity for the boat is 420 pounds, roughly two persons of 210 pounds each, or a single person with extensive gear. The boat is rated for a 6-horsepower outboard, which may be mounted on either end of the double-ended Crawdad. Carrying handles on both ends of the boat make carrying the boat from point to point on land--called "portage," if the carrying is done to avoid a hazard in the water--less inconvenient, and the sides are equipped with bumper rails to protect the boat from damage of the sort sustained when a boat bumps into a dock.
The Coleman Crawdad is equipped with bench seats the full width of the boat, located across the middle of the boat and across the stern of the boat. The bench seats are low enough and reinforced well enough to allow swivel or fixed seat attachment to their top surface. The Coleman Crawdad is also equipped with four integral rod holders. The boat is rated to carry 36 cubic feet of cargo, meaning there's ample room for your gear.
In addition to its double hull construction, the hull of the Coleman Crawdad is equipped with sealed flotation panels to ensure that it will remain above the water's surface should the hull incur a puncture. The construction of the boat is both rivet and seam free, to enhance the hull's watertight integrity and to provide a smooth surface finish. Three grooves, molded lengthwise along the bottom of the double hull, act as a triple skeg, ensuring that the boat will track in a straight line under power, and both ends of the boat are equipped with motor mount reinforcements.
Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.