Explorer—Red Paddle

We’ve got a few lakes around here, but southwest Montana is all about the rivers—so your watercraft should be, too. Which is where the Explorer 13’2” paddleboard comes in. Long, lean, and fast, this inflatable board negotiates moving water with aplomb, tracks well, and has multiple tie-downs for gear. I took it on the lower Yellowstone in May, when the water was high, muddy, and stippled with Class II rapids; the Explorer stood strong. Proper inflation is key, as stability and maneuverability vary with PSI, so a quality pump is essential (one is included in the box). Be warned: high-performance capabilities come at a cost, and the Explorer is not a beginner board. Experienced paddlers, though, will find this craft an ideal choice for everything from long, lazy floats on the Jefferson to the sweeping turns and swift, obstacle-laden straightaways of the upper Yellowstone. $1,650; redpaddleco.com.