Every now and again a truly one-of-a-kind boat comes along, and the new Footprint certainly is unlike any other craft afloat. At first glance, you can’t be sure if it’s a pontoon boat, a houseboat, a camper, or a space-ship belonging to Zorg of the planet Omnilake-Pondia 8. Which is it? Let’s find out.
Yes, the rear end of this thing really is a pop-up camper. Open it up and you’ll find a standard pop-up layout, with berths, a dinette, a head, and a galley. The forward enclosure has a roll-back roof, a helm station, and a pair of bench seats running fore and aft which double as berths. There’s not much open deck space to speak of, but the boat’s beam can be increased from 8’2” to 11’9” by extending the sliding cross-arms. The entire affair rides on a pair of aluminum logs with a third smaller center log in the middle for added buoyancy, and is powered by a pair of 40-hp outboards. LOA is 27’ 10”, fuel capacity is 54 gallons, freshwater capacity is 10 gallons, and weight is 5,500 pounds.
Without any question, the boat’s weakest link is its looks—drive across the lake in a Footprint, and people may well point and shout “Look, there goes Zorg!” as they target you with their galactic potato-guns. Footprint admits as much, stating on their web site that they have a “form must follow function” philosophy. Fair enough. Unfortunately, this camper-cum-cruiser also lacks fishability since there’s no deck space (though the Footprint web site suggests casting from atop the “sundeck”; in other words, close the pop-up and stand on it). And with all of these moving, sliding, extending parts, we’d have some serious worries about launching it in salt water, or even in rough conditions. That said, it took a big imagination and a healthy dose of guts to build the Footprint. And it does offer one thing which few boats of its size can boast: full sleeping and cooking accommodations for a family of six. If you want a unique trailerable cruiser, feel free to check the Footprint out—but I’d suggest mounting a galactic potato gun on the bow, before launching it.