2022 red paddle co all round paddle boards best inflatable sups

Review of the 2022 Red Paddle Co 12′ x 32″ Compact inflatable paddle board

New Model

Red Paddle Co have raised the bar again with the introduction of the new Red Paddle Co Compact 12’0” x 32″. Building on the compact name but also taking inspiration from the Voyager line up, the new Red Paddle 12′ Compact is a full-sized inflatable stand up paddle board which folds down to half the size of a conventional inflatable paddle board but maintains all the full size performance characteristics, carrying capacity, features and usability.

Half the size, now triple the adventure!

The Red Paddle Co 12’0″ Compact is as stiff and durable as all Red Paddle Co boards. Offering the same top-level performance while still supporting riders up to 265 lbs/120 kg. Couple that exceptional performance with the convenience to easily transport the board and paddle around town, jump on a train or on your bike, or easily store it in your apartment or on your boat, and you have a master stroke in stand up paddle board design.

The 2022 Red Paddle Co Compact 12′ is designed for paddlers who want the convenience of a board that packs down to half the size of a regular inflatable SUP without compromising on performance.

Like the other Compact paddle boards in the Red Paddle Co range, the 9’6″ Compact and the 11′ Compact, the 12′ Compact ships complete with 5-piece paddle and coiled leash for the full package.

Is the Red Paddle Compact 12′ truely such a design wonder? With a high price, come high expectations. Does Red Paddle Co deliver on their promise or is this a bunch of hype about a board that’s primary trick is that it can pack down smaller?

TL;DR: The 2022 Red Paddle Co 12′ Compact is the touring paddle board we’ve dreamed about. Compact, light yet long enough for ample deck space and volume to carry gear, or larger paddlers. Great tracking, glide and stability for stand up paddlers to 265 lbs, the 12′ x 32″ Compact is suitable for almost all paddlers. Coupled with a carbon paddle, premium coiled leash and you have a full package that fits in a space half the size of a regular board. An excellent addition to the Red Paddle Co Compact range, and one sure to be popular.

Red Paddle Co in 2022

Red Paddle Co is at the forefront of inflatable SUP technology. From boards, to pumps, bags and even the fixtures and fittings, they have always lead the way. Mainstreaming double layer boards with their first models, then introducing MSL Fusion in 2016, Red Paddle are never ones to sit still. Aside from MSL, we’ve seen Rocker Stiffening System (RSS) battens and the Forward Flex Control (FFC) rod, the double barrel Titan Pump, wheeled ATB bag with stowable back pack straps and sling, RAM mounts, tool-less fins and an industry leading 5 year warranty.

For 2021, Red Paddle Co introduced a few key features to many of the models. All boards now come standard with the Titan 2 Pump. Many models use a twin fin system. The deck pads are now wider and longer for superior grip and comfort.

For 2022, the updates in the Red Paddle Co range include the new ATB Transformer bag for many models, revised flat bungee system that efficiently and easily secures items on deck and 2 new models, the Voyager 12′ x 28″ and this here Compact 12′ x 32″.

The Compact bag

Exclusively available with the 12’ Compact, this inflatable SUP bag is based off the original Compact bag that comes with Red Paddle Co 11’ and 9’6″ Compact boards, but opens fully at the front and top to make it easier to pack your board away or even carry the board unfolded. The back pack also includes compression straps which pack the board in tight and small so its securely held in the back. Improved lumbar support is now even more adjustable, making sure the bag is the right height for each wearer. While the bag is not physically long enough for RSS Battens, the bright orange polycarbonate battens can be curled to fit inside the bag with ease.

Some of the bag’s features include:

  • Tubular closed cell padding on the handles
  • Concentrated shoulder padding
  • Brushed cotton shoulder and back cushioning
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Dimensions: Height: 24″ (600mm), Width: 16.5″ (420mm), Depth: 14″ (360mm)

The Red Paddle Co Compact inflatable sup bag features an internal mesh pocket, bungee tie downs for a 5 piece paddle and upgraded zipper pulls. It features an easy top and front loading system where the bag zips all the way along 5 sides opening up wide so you can get your gear in and out very easily. The bag also works as an open top, so the board can be carried more loosely, or unfolded.

When packed in fully, space is tight but enough for the board, Titan pump, fins, the 5 piece paddle, RSS battens and leash, and even a small wetsuit or PFD etc. The Titan Pump comes with the board wrapped around it which is a great space saving technique and crucial to fitting everything into this bag.

Carry handles on both sides give you, and baggage handlers, plenty of places to grab and carry the bag. The backpack system is features an adjustable lumbar pad, adjustable shoulder and waist straps so you can carry the bag on your back in comfort.

I found the bag quite comfortable, the straps easy to adjust and the side cinch straps a good way to keep everything secured a bit for tightly and closer to your back. The larger 12′ x 32″ board did take a few goes the first time to get it rolled properly and back into the bag, even though the bag is a bit taller than the other Compact bags. Folding the board in half and rolling, the rolled portion tends to wander making the rolled board taller than it should be. Being longer, the board suffers a little more, but practice makes perfect. We also found that rolling tightly without folding in half first, just to get all the air out, made it much easier to fold down the center line and then roll everything straightly.

As packaged from the factory the board is protected by a layer of paper to separate the board from itself when rolled, with the Titan 2 pump in its own biodegradable bag. Now, to more about the pump.

The pump

The Titan 2 Pump by Red Paddle Co is the world’s first purpose-built, double chamber SUP pump. It’s designed to cut the amount of time and effort it takes to inflate your board by half. Constant innovation has led to us testing the absolute boundaries of inflation technology and as such, we’re confident that there’s nothing quite like the Titan II pump on the market.

The Dual Cylinder system, combined with the Hi Flo handle means you are in complete control of the energy used to inflate your board. It puts the volume into your board faster and reduces the effort required to reach a higher pressure.

A revolution in pumping technology!

The Titan Pump has been completely re-imagined and re-engineered for 2021. Red Paddle Co have taken the already proven double chamber format and focussed on ease of use and ease of packing. They’ve also improved the fixtures and fittings to make for an even more durable pump.

The Titan 2 Pump is the world’s first purpose-built, double chamber SUP pump. It’s designed to cut the amount of time and effort it takes to inflate your board by half. Constant innovation has led to Red Paddle Co testing the absolute boundaries of inflation technology and as such, they’re confident that there’s nothing quite like the Titan 2 pump on the market. The Dual Cylinder system, combined with the Hi Flo handle means you are in complete control of the energy used to inflate your board. It puts the air into your board faster and reduces the effort required to reach a higher pressure.

The packed size is 2/3rds less than the current Titan pump, which makes rolling the board much easier and results in a tighter rolled board.

Updates and innovations on the Titan 2:

  • Folding feet and a removable quick release handle reduces the packaged size by 30% compared to the original Titan pump. This makes it much easier to roll and pack your pump and board.
  • The chamber isolation valve is now an integrated switch rather than a removable plug, which makes it easier to switch to one chamber while pumping.
  • A double-ended bayonet hose fixture (Halkey-Roberts) reduces leaks and removes damaged screw threads when attaching to the pump.
  • Our redesigned air box means the pump hose now attaches to the main body to reduce the movement of the hose when inflating.
  • An increase in volume overall makes for faster inflation.
  • An integrated pressure gauge helps reduce impact if the pump is dropped.
  • The standing position has shifted 90 degrees, so you are only astride one chamber.
  • In addition to having wider feet, the Titan II is more stable and ergonomic, especially for smaller riders/pumpers!

The Titan Pump design concept features two chambers, one larger volume cylinder (low pressure) and one lower volume cylinder (high pressure). Think of it as a combination of the regular Ezee and the Ezee HP side by side. You start with both cylinders pumping huge amounts of air into the board, then at about 10PSI, you move the integrated switch and it pumps through the high pressure side only. At first you’re pumping double the amount of air into the board than usual, and then you can finish it off to high pressure via the single cylinder.

Put simply, we don’t use electric pumps as the Titan Pump gets the board to higher pressures, faster.

Pump Specifications:

  • Pressure gauge shows to 30PSI
  • Pump dimensions: 22″ x 5″ x 7″
  • Pump hose length: 48″
  • Pump volume of 3.98l using both cylinders
  • Weight: 5 lbs

The Titan 2 pump is still the yardstick for all manual pumps. I’m about 6ft and find the larger/taller Titan 2 Pump much more comfortable to use than many others on the market. Other two way pumps are bit smaller and light, but are cumbersome to use.

With removable handle and folding feet, it’s even easier to pack away in the bag, or roll the board around the pump for an efficient pack up. Inflating the 2022 12′ Compact Red Paddle SUP is very quick and easy. Getting to 20 PSI with the Titan 2 Pump, it took me about 4 minutes of pumping. Add about a minute for the RSS Battens. The Titan 2 pump really pumps the air in quickly to start with, then at about 8-10PSI you flip the lever and finish it off with the high pressure cylinder.

The paddle

The new Compact 12′ package also includes Red Paddle Co’s innovative new 5-piece, adjustable paddle. Individual shaft sections are constructed from a rigid, high-modulus carbon. They joins have been cut on an angle to minimize twisting and are assembled with a push-pin system. The nylon blade delivers durability and performance.

A LeverLock grip adjustment system enables the paddler to easily adjust the paddle from 70 to 80 inches. The complete paddle weighs in at about 1.8 lbs. A bonus with this paddle, individual shaft sections can be removed to create a shorter paddle suitable for smaller riders. Removing one section yields a paddle with an adjustable range of 55 to 64 in, making it a great choice for families or sharing paddles.

The paddle packs away perfectly into the bag, with marked pockets for the sections to slide into. It is an extremely compact, multi-piece paddle that is a bit heavier than others, yet still highly adjustable and there’s no compromises in performance when paddling on the water.

The 5 section nature of this paddle does make it a bit heavier, but to get everything into the small bag, some compromises do have to be made. Other than the weight, I find this type of carbon shaft/nylon blade paddle to be an excellent mid road choice for beginners to start on and intermediate/advanced paddles to maintain in their quiver. I still have a carbon/nylon paddle from about 2016 that I use to this day. I also like how you can exclude a section when piecing it together – it was a perfect fit for my kids (7 and 9 years old).

The board

The future of paddle boarding… Using MSL PACTTM Technology, the 12′ x 32″ Compact is designed as a stretched version of the 11′ Compact to accomodate larger paddles, more gear and to improve the touring and adventure options with an extremely compact and portable paddle abord. The dimensions come in at 12’0″ long, 32” wide and 4.75” thick, with a more pointy nose and medium width tail which make it a a breeze through the water yet very stable. Weighing in at approximately 12 lbs or 34 lbs for the full package – board, pump, leash, pump and bag, you can easily fold, roll and go on your next SUP adventure.

The Compact 12′ is built in Red Paddle Co’s standard all round board 4.75″ (120mm) thickness, making the board rigid, yet still allowing the rider to keep a low center of gravity for improved stability and performance. As board thickness is relative to stiffness (meaning a thicker board is generally stiffer), Red Paddle Co use a thickness for purpose to provide a more authentic experience but use advanced technologies to improve stiffness. This means you can have an all round board just 4.7″ thick, instead of 6″ or even 8″ thick. As you lengthen a board, the leverage available to make the board flex is amplified so to keep the board compact, but maintain expected stiffness, Red has included their patented Rocker Stiffening System (RSS) Battens on this Compact, the only Compact to features the battens.

MSL PACT™ Technology is a new drop stitch weaving process which creates an extra-high-tensile thread matrix at the core of the board that combines with a super-strong but malleable outer layer and a tensile quad stringer-system. This new technology provides a board that always keeps its shape when inflated, but packs down to an ultra-small size once you’ve let out the air.

While it looks very similar to MSL, PACT is softer to the touch and I can best describe it as a very fine quality, soft leather feel, whereas MSL is more like your standard leather upholstered car seat or chair. This is the malleable outer layer, a crucial part of the foldability and compactness of this board.

The Compact 12′ takes advantage of this new malleable, softer MSL PACT construction. Folding in half before rolling, the board shows you how it gained the Compact name. To take advantage of this foldability, a 3″ wide “living hinge” was created by relocating the valve, handle, leash d-ring and a new twin fin arrangement. This uninterrupted line down the center of the board allows it to fold in half before rolling up. The updated 2022 Compact design with sectioned deck pad areas, means the board can be folded in half and then rolled more easily. Previously the full deck pad, aside from the centerline gap, meant it was harder to roll the board while folded in half. The new sectioned pad allows much easier, tighter and efficient rolling of the board.

Dual stringers are added to the top and bottom of the board to improve stiffness. This is achieved by reducing the elongation and compression of the top and bottom decks of the board. They also help controlling the twist of the board. As a paddler stand on top of the board, the deck sags a fraction and the extra stringer thickness prevents this. At the same time, the underside of the board stretches around the paddlers weight and the stringers prevent the stretch. For more detailed info on stringer see this article here.

Based on MSL, or Monocoque Structural Laminate Fusion, PACT also eliminates a lot of excess glue and human error. In previous years, the “board within a board” Red Paddle Co is famous for was primarily glued together, making a super durable board but adding extra weight and the potential for hand gluing or human errors.

The MSL Fusion process consists of industrially fusing and machine pressing the inner layer of polymer to the high density drop stitch core at the raw material stage. Same “board with a board” construction but with material that is now structurally more sound, even more rigid, as well as lighter. PACT and MSL boards are about 20% lighter over the standard double layer boards, and since they are fused and machine pressed together, they are essentially one piece instead of 2 layers, and are structurally stiffer at lower pressure. Red Paddle Co recommend a pumping pressure of 16-22 PSI for most applications to make the most of these benefits and improve overall performance.

As mentioned above, with the 12′ x 32″ Compact at just 4.75″ thick, Red Paddle Co uses the Rocker Stiffening System or RSS battens. The RSS battens work by inserting stiffening battens along the rails of the board. The battens then work against the downward force of the rider to produce a stiffer board by preventing flex – similar to how a stringer works on a hard board. The stiffening battens are removable for easy board rolling and can be stored in the carry bag for transportation to and from the water.

The Rocker Stiffening System (RSS), a patented innovation, is designed to increase board stiffness by 30-50%. The Rocker Stiffening System utilises two external polycarbonate struts (battens) inserted into pockets along the rails of the board. While the RSS batten has been shaped to give the best stiffness, the pocket into which it fits is also built to the highest quality. Red Paddle Co build the pocket separately before laminating it to the board to ensure the very best fit and performance. No detail is missed to ensure the RSS system works to its full potential. A revolution in inflatable board performance, Red Paddle Co’s patented RSS System comes from their focus on only building inflatable boards and their belief that riding an inflatable board should not mean you have to compromise on performance, looks or quality.

Adding the RSS battens on the 12’0″ Compact allow Red to enhance the board’s overall stiffness. Knowing that the board won’t flex allows you to paddle with confidence and that the board can handle everything you want to load on it, without any performance trade offs.

Red Paddle Co have famously tested the durability and toughness of their boards over the years. Most recently you can watch a series of unbelievable durability tests performed on a poor 2017 10’6″ Ride model. Also, take a look at a 2014 board taking a beating. Knowing that the Red Paddle Co MSL construction boards are this strong, should put your mind at ease!

 

The fins

The Red Paddle Co 12′ Compact uses a simple click fin system with a secondary grub screw for added security. The twin fin boxes themselves are also compatible with standard FCS fins, so you can easily customise the feel of your board on the water with higher performance surf style fins, shallower river style fins for example. The twin fin arrangement is another part of the “living hinge” of the Compact, allowing it to fold down the middle.

The Compact comes with two removable red 5.25″ FCS fins with lock pins. The fins slot into the boxes and then slide back to engage the lock pins. Using the fin key located in the cell phone case locks the fins in place with the grub screws (the same as standard FCS fins). Without locking the fins in with the grubs screws, a hit on the back of the fin can slide them forward and release them. We always suggest using the key to tighten the grub screws, it’s part of set up rather than an optional feature. The two fins stow easily inside the backpack, in the mesh pocket.

The rest

The package includes a standard repair kit with glue and patches, a waterproof phone case, and inflation instructions, pump tips and care tips inside the mesh pocket. Finally, a wrapping strap to keep the board rolled up.

On the water

The Compact design philosophy started out with designing the smallest, within reason, versatile and accomodating all round board with the 9’6″ x 32″. It proved to be very popular and there was strong demand for a larger touring and all rounder cross over style board with a little more carrying capacity for the larger paddler or those paddling with pets – in came the 11′ x 32″ Compact.

Now with strong demand for a Red Paddle Co Voyager style Compact, with a more drawn out sleeker shape, larger carrying capacity again and more deck space with rear cargo option, the 12′ x 32″ Compact fits right in.

I liken this board to a light weight, but no less high performance of the 12’6″ Voyager of 2020, before the V-Hull and twin fin design. With a longer 12′ water line, pointier nose and tail that the other Compact boards, this board glides and tracks better than the others. Plenty of stability from the 32″ width allows plenty of cargo on board, pets and passengers. You could even bring fishing gear with you.

The RSS battens and quad stringers make up for any shortcomings of the thinner 4.75″ construction. I actually prefer a better built board at higher pressure, which can then be thinner, as it feels more like a regular board. You’re engaged with the water, rather than the thicker boards “sitting on top” of the water. It’s a feeling and hard to quantify, but feels more natural.

With the RSS battens you get improved stiffness which directly affects the performance and load handling ability, and both for the better of course. So you can pack a full camp site, a few coolers, a couple of dogs, a few rods, a few kids and have space to spare. It is very stable, meaning anyone can stand on this board and have a good time paddling.

As with all current Red Paddle Co inflatables, the full coverage deck pad (side to side and down to tail), is awesome. Many other boards on the market skimp on deck pad, but Red give you pad all over so you can move about comfortably, position your feet and gear easily and general have a better paddling experience.

The Clickfins feel a little small for a board this size and tracking suffers when the water gets a bit rougher, but a good efficient paddling stroke with the longer water line alleviates any zig zagging. You could also upgrade the fins as Red uses the industry standard FCS base for these fins. Many others on the market use proprietary fins which are exceedingly difficult to replace. FCS are everywhere.

The forward cargo bungees feature the updated pocket style section on the nearest strap. This allows for easy stowing of shoes or a water bottle. Much like the Voyager 12’6″, the 12′ Compact features 4 rear d-rings for optional cargo bungees for more cargo.

This is a very easy stand up paddle board for beginners to learn on, or larger paddlers to use with the larger capacity for gear, or paddlers of all levels to use for longer touring, cruising, fishing trips or just paddling around.

I’m 190lbs and I usually pump my Red Paddle Co boards to 20 PSI. I find this is a good balance between time pumping and on water performance.

Vitals

  • Length: 12’0″
  • Width: 32″
  • Thickness: 120mm, 4.72 inches
  • Volume: 302 liters
  • Weight: 22 lbs board only, 34 lbs with backpack, pump, paddle, fins and leash
  • Component weights: Backpack – 4 lbs; Paddle – 2 lbs; Titan pump – 5 lbs; Fins and leash – 1 lbs
  • Max payload: 265 lbs/120 kg
  • Warranty: 1 year, 5 years with product registration

Likes

  • Unmatched portability – unbelievably small package with full size paddle board, pump, paddle and leash – all together in one half size inflatable SUP back pack
  • Exceptional MSL PACT construction – Strong, stiff and nice to handle
  • Perfect touring performance characteristics – Stable with good carrying capacity
  • Bright graphics with attention to detail – highlighting the technology features
  • Highly efficient Titan Pump means quick and effortless inflation
  • Large 6 d-ring cargo area, rear cargo d-rings for optional second set of bungees
  • Sectioned deck pad allows easier fold and roll up
  • Decent tracking from the twin fin system with the ability to customise the fins with the FCS standard
  • Five year warranty with board registration

Dislikes

  • Packing up the board can be a bit fiddly. Folding and then rolling requires a little practice to ensure you have the board as compact as possible for the bag. Getting all the air out by rolling the board normally (unfolded) helps
  • No tail handle – you can often grab your leash at the base to work around this though

In conclusion

An extremely high quality and innovative product from Red Paddle Co. The 12′ x 32″ Compact is the ultimate in portable, versatile and compact touring and adventure paddle boards. Hard board like performance, with better durability and outrageous portability. A “do-it-all” high performance touring inflatable paddle board with ample deck space and larger load or paddler carrying capacity. The price is up there, but it comes complete with carbon paddle and premium coiled leash. Add these to a regular board and you’re not far off in price, but you’ve got a much bulkier board and bag to carry around. We hope all boards will be MSL Pact one day, and this 12′ Compact by Red Paddle will be a great part of that quiver.

Find all the details here on the 2022 Red Paddle Co 12′ x 32″ Compact inflatable stand up yoga paddle board SUP.

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.