At the recent 2017 Outdoor Retailers Show in Utah, Advanced Elements debuted one of their cutting edge new models for 2018 – the high-pressure AirFusion EVO inflatable kayak with dropstitch bladders.

Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO Inflatable Kayak

Nearly six years ago, Advanced Elements debuted the original AirFusion kayak – an inflatable hybrid designed to rival the handling and speed of skin-on-frame kayaks. The AirFusion was unique in that it featured a blended design of aluminum alloy frame poles and pressurized air tubes, resulting in a high performance rigid frame system.

The original design was followed three years later by the AE1041 AirFusion Elite. The Elite featured a streamlined set up procedure with fewer poles, a wider beam of 28″ and an integrated rear storage hatch.

The new, patented AE1042 AirFusion EVO design kicks that up a notch, with high-pressure, left and right drop-stitch side chambers which can be inflated from 6 to 10 PSI. Drop-stitch (DS) material is the same used in the inflatable paddle board market, where thousands of threads string the top and bottom panels together, allowing it to be pumped up to higher pressures, thus making it more rigid.

According to Ryan Pugh, designer at Advanced Elements, the leading factor in developing the EVO was to keep improving on the AirFusion design, maximizing performance and simplifying setup. The EVO features 6 inflation chambers (two side chambers, booster seat, two thwarts and the coaming tube) versus four side chambers in the previous model.  The DS tubes are removable, allowing one to replace just a part – rather than the entire kayak shell – if ever needed.

Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO Inflatable Kayak - Cross Section

As the DS chambers are more rigid, the kayak is less finicky to set up – originally, one had to air up the kayak slowly, reposition chambers and then top it off. According to Ryan, the EVO is much simpler – just install the poles, air up and go.

In the case of the AirFusion EVO, the DS material on the side chambers also creates a narrower profile without decreasing the interior width. The EVO as currently designed is 24 inches wide.

Additionally, an extra “DS booster” chamber on the seat base, keeps one off the floor.

The outer shell is now constructed from a polyurethane tarpaulin, which – in conjunction with the DS side chambers – gives a smoother finish, increased rigidity and a more hydrodynamic outline.

The EVO still features three aluminum ribs on the floor and under the hull, providing a sculpted look as well as a v-shaped keel, which aids in slicing through the water.

Other features incorporated from the prior models include a foam floor, integrated storage hatch, bungee deck lacing, coaming tube for attaching a skirt, two landing plates, lower seat back and the ability to use an optional tracking fin.

Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO Inflatable Kayak

How does it handle on the water? According to Ryan, “It paddles great. I took out a sample earlier this spring and it handles nicely, glides through the water. I didn’t notice any change in stability with the width reduction. In fact, I felt it only improved the way the kayak paddles.”

Specifications:

  • Length – 13 feet
  • Width – 24 inches
  • Weight – 32 lbs.
  • Carrying capacity – 235 lbs
  • Folded size – 35 x 21 x 9 inches
  • Inflation Chambers – 6 including the seat base.

Price: $1199, availability Spring 2018.

For more details, stay tuned to the website at www.AirKayaks.com. You can also Contact Us to get on the Notification List.

During July’s 2017 Outdoor Retailer Summer Show, Red Paddle Co unveiled their super 2018 inflatable SUP product line, once again showing what makes the company stand out from the pack.

One new model for 2018 is the Voyager Tandem 15’0.” Billed as a multi-person touring and long-distance exploring workhorse, the Voyager Tandem is an ultra-sleek beast capable of carrying 2 to 3 paddlers. With a whopping 8-inch (200mm) thickness and a 34 inch beam, the Voyager 2 logically fills the gap between solo paddling and “party barges” such as the 17-foot Red Paddle Co Ride XL for up to 8 paddlers.

Two “deck pads” with side handles allow paddlers to position themselves on the board for optimum paddling, while two sets of bungee-deck lacing with d-rings provide ample storage space for camping gear. Three more carry handles – fore, aft and center for a total of seven – provide numerous carrying configurations and more spots to attach gear.

The new Voyager Tandem features the high-level of construction and materials that paddlers have come to expect from Red Paddle Co – advanced Monocoque Structural Laminate (MSL) fusion technology, heat-treated seams, layered rail tape and premium inflation valves. The MSL technology creates a highly durable board – both lighter weight and rigid – capable of being pumped up to high pressures. For ease in setup, two military valves allow two people to pump up the board at the same time.

The Voyager Tandem offers a myriad of paddling stances for those that like to travel together – from “both standup paddling” to both sitting/kneeling or one paddling and the other “along for the voyage.” The board is capable of carrying a ton of camping equipment, or remove one cargo section and bring along a small child or canine companion.

The Voyager Tandem comes in a slightly enlarged Red Paddle Original All-Terrain Backpack replete with two pumps – a Titan dual barrel pump as well as an HP pump – repair kit, removable US Box fin and bonus cell-phone case.

MSRP is $1999, making it a more economical choice for those who enjoy paddling together, rather than buying two individual boards.

The Voyager Tandem 15’0″ will be available in late 2017. Stay tuned for more info, or email AirKayaks to get on the notification list.

 

At last summer’s Outdoor Retailer show, Advanced Elements unveiled the next generation in the Expedition series – the Expedition Elite. As long-time fans of the original yellow model – and the subsequent blue Limited Edition – we were impressed with the Elite’s feature enhancements.

Advanced Elements Expedition Elite high pressure kayak

Earlier this spring the Elite hit the West Coast, and we managed to grab one before our first shipment sold out – not to worry, we have more. Here are details on the Expedition Elite AE1009XE, a 13 foot inflatable weighing in at roughly 42 lbs.

Getting Started with the Expedition Elite Inflatable Kayak

The box as received measures 34 x 21 x 11 inches with a weight of 57 lbs.

What's in the box.

Inside is a new, backpack-style carrying case measuring 36 x 16 x 11 inches which contains the kayak body, high-backed lumbar seat, aluminum deck riser, rear thwart, repair kit, foot brace and instructions (these are located in a pocket inside the carrying case) . The repair kit, screw-on adaptor and floor adaptor are located in the mesh pocket behind the seat. The kayak with seat weighs 44.5 lbs, or 48 lbs in the pack.

The kayak folded size is approximately 31 x 16 x 10 inches, leaving just enough room to store a pump and breakdown paddle (not included) if folded properly.

Unfold the kayak.

First step, unfold the kayak. As with all the AdvancedFrame models, the Expedition Elite features an “inner rib” in the bow and stern, which is basically a u-shaped aluminum rib, about one foot long and one-half inch wide.

This comes “pre-assembled” meaning it arrives already inserted into two sleeves inside the kayak cover. Unless you remove the inner bladder, they remain in position. When the kayak is pumped up, the inner bladder with rib presses against the kayak cover – that, in conjunction with two bow and stern plastic sheets, give the kayak a sharp silhouette which aids in slicing through the water.

The Expedition Elite kayak features 11 inflation chambers – three military valves (main chambers and floor) and 8 smaller twist-loks (4 deck lifts, 2 coaming tubes, thwart and seat).

Adaptors for Boston valve, screw-on military, and high pressure floor.

Each Expedition Elite comes with a screw-on adaptor (center image, found in the repair kit in the mesh pocket behind the seat) which locks onto many pumps with pin/slot hose fittings. Additionally, a standard Boston valve adaptor (left image) will friction fit directly into the valve opening. A separate adaptor is also included for the high pressure floor (right image).

Twit valve plunger to inflate position

First step, turn the military valve to the inflate position. The military-style plunger valves are simple to use – twist one way to inflate (UP position) and the other to deflate (DOWN position).

Attach the hose to the valve

Attach the screw-on adaptor to your pump and then couple it to the first main chamber, located on the rear hull. While there is not a pressure gauge included with the kayak, the adaptor features a “lip” that pushes open the spring plunger, allowing a pump gauge to read the back-pressure; if using the Boston valve adaptor, most gauges will only register as you are inflating (needle will go up and down).

Pumping up the first chamber.

Pump up the first chamber until it begins to fill out. Unlike many other brands, the AdvancedFrame series of kayaks features an inner and outer chamber, with a floating “interior wall.” By pumping up the first chamber partly, you “center” the inner wall – this took about 40 full strokes with a double action hand pump.

Check the side tubes to make sure they are even within the cover, and check the floor to see if it is still centered. Then pump up the second chamber, located inside the kayak behind the seat, until firm to touch (2 PSI), once again centering everything as needed – this took another 30 to 35 pumps. Screw on the black wing nut caps so the plungers aren’t accidentally twisted open later.

Pumping up the second chamber

Next, pump up the floor from 4 to 6 PSI, using the high-pressure floor adaptor, which friction fits onto the Boston valve adaptor located on most pumps (slightly conical nozzle about 1/2 inch in diameter); it may be easier to open the back hatch to access the floor valve. It took about 35 strokes to hit nearly 6 PSI. Replace the valve cap. At this point, make sure to tether your extra adaptors to your pump, so they aren’t lost. In a pinch, you can duct tape the Boston valve adaptor to the floor valve, creating enough vacuum to pump it up.

At this time we want to point out that there are two velcro strips inside the kayak cover which hold the main tubes in place. Occasionally, the tubes shift initially, making the kayak appear lopsided. If this happens, deflate the kayak, then take two sheets of paper and insert between the velcro and tube. Pump up the kayak slowly, repositioning the tubes until even. Once everything is centered, remove the sheets of paper and let the velcro “fall where it may.”

Locating the decklift pockets

Next install the aluminum deck riser. Open up the front zipper slightly (pull back the velcro zipper lips to do this), and you will find two webbed pockets on each side tube – you may need to disconnect the “quick clips” on the bungee.

Here we veer slightly from the instructions. Now is the best time to attach the foot brace, as the deck is open and it is easier to access. This consists of a series of six loops and buckles which can be varied to accommodate your paddling style and height. The photo above shows the same foot brace, but in an earlier model. At first you may want to guess at the appropriate position and after your first test paddle, you can adjust accordingly. Clip both sides around the loops.

Installing the decklift

Now the deck bar. Locate the two sleeves (positioned roughly under the cover near the top of the neoprene knuckleguards and by the cover seam). Pull the cover nearly closed, and find the sleeves again “by feel.” Insert each side of the bar into the sleeves, curved side facing up. Then pull the zipper fully shut carefully (never exert forceful pressure), close the zipper lips and reclip, also reclipping any bungee clips opened.

Pumping up the deck lifts.

Now, move onto the two coaming areas that run around the cockpit and the four deck lifts inside the kayak “shoulders.” The coaming tubes and deck lifts “sculpt” the body so that water has a tendency to run off – and not into – the kayak. The coaming tubes also allow one to attach an optional spray skirt.

Using the twistlock valve.

Each of these should be inflated to 1 PSI – basically one or two full strokes each chamber are enough. Using the same Boston valve adaptor, fit it OVER the twistlok valve on the coaming tube. Pump this up until fairly firm (1 PSI) but there should be slight give when depressed. You can also use your mouth to blow these smaller chambers up, if easier.

Inflating the thwart

We now come to the thwart – while it is not mentioned in the instruction manual, the directions are printed on the hang tag attached to the rear kayak handle.

Installing the thwart

Pump up the twistlok valve until firm and then stuff the thwart between the two side chambers, under the kayak cover behind the seat position.

Inflating the seat

Inflate the final twist lock valve on the seat, for lumbar support. The valve tube is extra long, allowing one to inflate or deflate while paddling.

Attaching the seat

Then attach the seat by clipping the two straps into the appropriate side clips.

Installing the plastic sleeves

Next, insert the two plastic sheets into the bow and stern sleeves.

Sling over one's shoulder to carry.

That’s it – less than 10 minutes and you’re done!

About Drop Stitch Floor Technology

The term “drop stitch” is a method of construction which allows for much higher inflation and pressures than a standard PVC floor.

PVC floor chamber vs. drop stitch floor

In a standard PVC floor (as shown above), long “I-Beams” run the length of the floor, connecting the floor ceiling to bottom. This allows the floor to maintain a fairly uniform thickness, but if one of the I-Beams pops (due to over-inflation) the floor will become more like a blob.

Rigidity of drop stitch floor versus standard Convertible PVC floor

With drop stitch construction (shown above on the Convertible drop stitch floor), thousands of tiny threads connect both the top and bottom layers, creating a stronger link that can withstand much higher pressures. Higher pressures make for a more rigid floor, which can enhance paddling performance. This is the technology used in inflatable SUP paddle boards. The image below is from an Airis Inflatable Sport Kayak showing the interior drop stitching.

Airis Inflatable Sport window showing the drop stitch threads

Features and Specifications of the AE1009XE Expedition Elite

The AE1009XE Expedition Elite consists of three layers. Inflatable PVC bladders are housed in a zippering fabric cover, allowing the bladders to be replaced if necessary. The covered bladders sit inside the kayak outer shell.

Rugged nylon ripstop material

The kayak upper is comprised of 600 denier polyester/PVC laminate.

The hull is a rugged, puncture-resistant PVC tarpaulin with electronically welded seams, reinforced nose, integrated 2.5 x 7.5 inch tracking fin and 16-inch landing plate.

Molded rubber handle

There are two molded rubber carrying handles (bow and stern), but it is fairly simple to carry by hooking the side of the kayak over your shoulder.

Two plastic sheets in the bow and stern – in conjunction with the interior aluminum ribs – provide added structure and rigidity.

Bungee decklacing

Bungee deck lacing in the bow (measuring 16 inches deep and tapering from 18 to 9 inches wide) includes 4 d-rings (two each side and now with larger openings for easier handling) and quick release clips, allowing one to add on various dry packs and gear – or to attach a nifty Rapidup downwind sail! The d-rings are located 16 by 12 to 20 inches deep. Both the d-rings and deck lacing system begins 42 inches from the bow.

The foot brace consists of a foam-covered bar with side straps and clips. There are a series of 6 loops on each side of the kayak main chamber – by passing each brace side strap through the loop and clipping shut, the bar allows you to “brace” your feet, aiding in paddling power. With the seat moved all the way back, the brace can be set from 26 to 41 inches (in increments of 3 inches) from the seat back. The straps can also be loosened another 3 inches – so, lots of flexibility for paddler sizes!

Rear coaming

The 33 x 15 inch cockpit area features two inflatable coaming tubes to keep water from running in.

Locating the deck lift pockets

A front center zipper can open up an additional 40 inches for easier entry or for those interested in a more open feeling. Velcro “zipper lips” and clip ensure the front zipper remains closed, so water doesn’t drip in. The coaming area has a perimeter of roughly 92 inches.

Velcro knuckleguard and paddle holder

Neoprene padded knuckle guards (measuring 27 x 6.5 inches) cover both sides, preventing knuckle abrasion when paddling.

Velcro paddleholder

There are two sets of velcro paddleholders, one set on each side, allowing one to fasten the paddle along a side, or across the bow. The paddle holders are located 57 and 97 inches from the snout.

The high-backed padded lumbar seat features adjustable side straps which quickly clip into position while rear stiffening rods create a comfortable option for those needing a bit extra back support than the standard seat offers. The seat back has an inflatable bladder with an extra long 36 inch TwistLok hose, allowing you to change the support level from 1-5 inches while kayaking! In addition, a side zipper allows you to open and move the bladder up or down until you “hit the right spot.”

A gusseted, mesh pocket is located on the seat back; this houses the repair kit, screw-on adaptor and floor adaptor. The seat can be adjusted about 10 inches in location. Seat back dimensions are 17 inches tall, with a seat base 18 inches wide and 14 inches deep.

Interior thwart

An inflatable thwart measuring 16 x 9 x 7 inches aids in spreading the side chambers apart, as well as providing some “deck lift” to aid in water run off. This can be removed if more storage space is needed.

Integrated storage hatch

Approximately 5 inches behing the seating well is an integrated storage hatch with velcro hatch cover and handle; the opening measures 9 x 15 inches.

Integrated storage hatch

Gear can be stored inside, then simply roll the “neck” down 2 or 3 times, clip shut and velcro-seal the cover. (AirKayaks note: The well behind the seat is not sealed, thus if water gets into the kayak, your gear can still get wet. Put valuables into dry sacks or ziplocks if concerned.)

Rear d-rings

Four more d-rings can be found on the rear deck, spaced 11-15 inches by 10 inches deep, and beginning 21 inches from the seat back.

Backpack carrying case.

The traditional Advanced Elements carrying case has been updated, now coming with two adjustable shoulder straps, allowing one to use it as a backpack. There are also two top carrying handles. Bag size is a generous 36 x 16 x 11 inches and looks like it will house a pump and paddle. This comes standard with the Expedition Elite and the new Angler Pro.

The Expedition Elite comes with a rear rudder cap, allowing one to install the optional AdvancedTrak Rudder System.

Expedition Elite

We took measurements. The kayak inflated is approximately 156 inches long (13 feet) and 32 inches wide. The side bladders are roughly 8 inches in diameter, making a well about 7.5 inches deep with the deck lifts; this increases to 9″ with the deck bar. Interior dimensions are approximately 96 inches long by 17 inches wide.

When the seat is positioned roughly 6 inches from the back of the coaming area, there is approximately 64 inches from the seat back to the inner tip. With the thwart installed, storage area behind the seat is about 6 inches, creating a rear storage well of 21 inches deep by 14 inches wide (tapering down) and 7 inches high. By removing the thwart, one gains another 9 inches of depth.

On the kayak upper, there is approximately 66 inches from the bow to the cockpit opening, and 54 inches from the back of the seating well to the stern. In this position, there is 33 inches for the paddler to reach the deck lacing, approximately 15 inches to the storage hatch, and 29 inches to reach the rear d-rings.

The seat can be moved up about 7 inches and back 5 inches.

Weight limitations are 450 lbs for one person and gear.

Advanced Elements Expedition Elite on the Water

Having previously owned the standard Expedition (and now the happy owner of an AE1044 AdvancedFrameDS XL), I was quite familiar with the kayak’s capabilities as well as the high pressure floor – the Expedition Elite handles beautifully and is rugged and stable.

Expedition Elite on the water.

For my height (5’4”) the kayak is very comfortable and fairly easy to carry solo (as long as the wind is down!)

Rigid enough to stand up.

While the high pressure floor can be slightly hard to sit on after a while, it does provide added stability, rigidity and paddling performance – I was even able to stand-up, albeit shortly. (AirKayaks tip: adding a kneeling pad or foam seat under the seat will soften the ride.)

Easy to access rear compartment

The positioning of the integrated storage hatch – located just behind the seat – makes it much easier to access gear, as one no longer has to take down the seat to reach the rear storage area, while the added thwart does help prevent water from pooling behind the seat.

Expedition Elite on the water.

At 6’ 2”, my husband finds the Expedition to be infinitely more comfortable than the 10.5 foot AE1012 AdvancedFrame.  As a rule of thumb, taller and long-legged paddlers over 6 feet will probably be happiest in longer kayaks such as the AE1044DS AdvancedFrame DS XL or Expedition Elite. The deck riser – in conjunction with the foot brace- gives some extra foot room for larger paddlers and makes the kayak feel more spacious. That said, my husband did mention that his feet would sometimes hit the kayak cover, so suggested thin water shoes.

Over the years, I’ve taken out many of the AdvancedFrame series in all types of weather, from calm water to swells. They have battled the elements, been dragged on rocky beaches, scraped through shallow water and hauled around in a pickup truck. I’ve been out in short jaunts and 10-12 mile treks. In fact our friend Lee Johnson has put over 5000 miles of paddling on his vintage Expedition.

Bottom Line on the Advanced Elements AE1009XE Expedition Elite:

The Expedition Elite AE1009XE is a great all-around kayak.

Introduced in 2007 as the “big sibling” to the popular AE1012 AdvancedFrame (image of standard Expedition, above), over the past 9 years Advanced Elements has tweaked the design, resulting in a high-quality inflatable kayak that is comfortable, paddles well, looks good and is quite stable. It is able to handle lakes, Class I to II rapids, inlets, bays and coastal ocean. Numerous optional accessories – such as spray skirts, rapidup sail, rudder system – can enhance the paddling experience and performance.

The introduction of the Limited Edition Expedition in 2016 featured another jump in added features with the new deck riser, integrated storage hatch, paddleholders, slightly widened silhouette and high pressure floor.

Expedition Elite on the water.

The new Expedition Elite completes the evolution with the inclusion of the dropstitch floor, which truly enhances the performance, stability and rigidity without the complexities of the backbone. It’s a winner.

Expedition Elite on the water.

The Expedition Elite is a great multi-purpose kayak for people of many ages and experience levels. Novices and first-time users will be on the water in no time, while experienced paddlers will find the portability and paddling performance enticing. The longer length provides more real estate for taller paddlers, while extensive storage capacity makes it a great choice for multi-day trips.

Fits in the trunk of a car.

Headed off on vacation? The updated backpack/carrying case is rugged enough to check as baggage, and is also easier to haul down to the launch site, or for other travel. The compact size can easily fit in a car trunk or RV.

Street price: $779. For more information, or to purchase, see the Expedition Elite Product Page on AirKayaks.com or watch our YouTube video, below, on the original AE1009 Expedition. We’ll be coming out with the Expedition Elite AE1009XE video shortly.

Posted by: airkayaks | June 23, 2017

Free Carbon Breakdown Paddle with 2017 Red Paddle Co SUPS

Check out AirKayaks’ Super Summer Sales over the next couple of weeks!

For a limited time, purchase a 2017 Red Paddle Co inflatable paddle board and get a FREE Accent MAX Carbon adjustable breakdown paddle ($199 value).  With the longest shaft length of 36 inches, the paddle easily fits in the Red Paddle Co wheeled backpack.

Add in the included Titan dual action handpump, the roller backpack and included cell phone case, and you’re ready to take your Red Paddle Co inflatable SUP anywhere you want to go.

AirKayaks also has some remaining 2016 inventory at 25% to 30% off , including the Sport 11, Sport 12’6, Explorer 12’6 and Explorer 13’2 from $999 to $1239.

See the Red Paddle Co product pages at AirKayaks.com for details or to purchase.

 

 

The increased popularity of high-pressure inflatables – and the increased pressure needed for inflatable paddle boards – has launched a quest for easy inflation. Almost daily, we field calls from people who want easier and quicker pump options, so they can spend less time on the beach, and more on the water.

A while ago, we published our popular Guide to High Pressure Inflatable Pumps. Since then, more options have become available.

AquaGLide Turbo HP Pump

Recently we received our first shipment of Aquaglide’s 12-Volt 2-Stage Turbo HP Pumps, which bills itself as capable of inflating from 1 to 20 PSI. The Turbo HP is a fairly diminutive size, measuring 12 x 5 x 6 inches and weighing in at 3 lbs 5 oz. The pump includes a 4 foot long, rugged, non-kink hose with two adaptors – an HR-style military adaptor and a screw-on adaptor.

As most of our inflatable kayaks run 1 to 6 PSI, and our inflatable paddle boards run 12 to 18 PSI, this seemed a good option. Best of all, it works off a car power point-cigarette lighter, but also includes alligator clips for direct connection to car or boat battery.

Using the AquaGlide 12V Turbo HP Pump

As our previous tests were done with a Red Paddle 18-PSI Surfer 10’0″, we opted for a Red Paddle Ride 9-8 which we had in our boat building – a pretty similar size and volume of 196 liters.

AquaGlide 12V Turbo HP Electric Pump

Instructions are pretty basic. First, connect the HR-adaptor to the hose end, and screw the hose onto the pump. Initially, it was tough to couple as the o-ring material is stiff. We pushed hard and were able to make the connection. Turn on the car battery (not the motor) and plug the connector into the car power point. Dial in the desired PSI – in this case we opted for 18 PSI, and hit the on button.

The initial (first) stage was fairly quiet. By one minute, the board was totally unfurled, then it jumped to Turbo mode (2nd stage) and became louder. We timed the inflation. At 3 minutes the board was at 5 PSI, 4 minutes to 7 PSI, 6 minutes to 11 PSI, 8 minutes to 14 PSI, 9 minutes to 15 PSI. At 10 minutes, 29 seconds, the motor shut off after reaching 18 PSI.

Timing the inflation

We tried to carefully twist off the hose, and it nearly blew us off. We managed to re-make the connection, and re-pumped it to 15 PSI. Through trial and error, we found that slowly twisting off the hose would lose air. If we quickly pulled off the hose – by pushing/twisting and popping off – it came off easily. So practice a little first. We did use a K-Pump quick check valve. We inflated the board to 11 PSI, lost a little air twisting it off, and read 10 PSI with the Kwik-Chek – so running fairly close.

We re-read our initial review on the Ride 9-8, and found it took us just over 200 pumps and roughly 5 minutes to manually reach 15 PSI with a hand pump.  All-in-all, not bad!

HR and Boston valve adaptors

The military valve adaptor couples with Halkey-Roberts valves, which are utilized by many board and kayak manufacturers. This will fit on Red Paddle Boards, C4-Waterman, Mistral, JP Australia, Advanced Elements boards, Airis and of course, AquaGlide. Since the end of the hose uses a pin system, you can use other proprietary adaptors, as long as your fitting will slip onto the pump hose end. Innova kayaks come with an adaptor that friction fits onto a Boston valve adaptor. This comes standard on many of the hand/foot pumps. As long as you can attach the Boston valve (BV) adaptor to the hose end with the pin/slot system, you can use any adaptor that friction fits onto a BV adaptor.

The screw-on adaptor is also pretty nifty. It works with all the Advanced Elements screw-on military valves, as well as the AquaGlide kayaks utilizing Boston valves – by opening the top cap, the adaptor screws onto the Boston valve base.

Attachment for direct battery contact

For those without power points, or who wish to use a marine battery, the pump comes with a fitting that slides over the power point connector. The other end has alligator clips for connecting directly to a battery.

The instructions state that the pump should not be used for more than 20 minutes continuously with a rest period of 10 minutes inbetween for cool-down.

We decided to give the AquaGlide Turbo HP the acid test.

This past week, we received our first shipment of AquaGlide’s new Blackfoot Angler Tandem – a near 15-foot behemoth with 36+ inches of width, a 6-inch thickness and nearly 300 liters.. We had manually pumped up the prototype version last year – and to only 10 PSI – and were not looking forward to the workout as the current temperature was in the 90’s F.

As the Blackfoot Angler Tandem is rated at 15 PSI, we dialed in the pump, plugged in the cord and let her rip. Then we sat down in the shade.

By 2 minutes 37 seconds, the  2nd stage kicked in. At 6.5 minutes we were at 5 PSI, at 9 minutes it had climbed to 7.5 PSI. At 12.5 minutes we were at 10 PSI, 14 minutes to 12 PSI, 17 minutes to 13.5 PSI. At 19 minutes and 25 seconds, the motor shut off – it had reached 15 PSI. We did hear some leakage from the pump/hose side of the connection (possibly it had loosened up a little) but the adaptor came off easily.

Bottom line on the AquaGlide 12V Electric Turbo HP pump:

This is now my “when I’m in a hurry or feeling lazy” go-to pump. It’s simple, pretty lightweight and has a fairly small footprint. Additionally, it is MUCH simpler to plug into a cigarette lighter/power point, than connecting directly to the car battery. And it’s slightly less noisy. This is a great option – particularly for those with both inflatable kayaks and boards – who need to reach a wide range of pressures (1 to 20 PSI) and who want it to be easy and fairly quick. It’s also a great choice for paddlers who may have physical disabilities and are unable to manually pump for long periods of time. And at a street value of $139, it is less expensive – and more reliable – than some other 12V pumps on the market.

To see more info or to purchase, visit the AquaGlide 12V 2-Stage Turbo HP pump product page on our website at AirKayaks.com.

Posted by: airkayaks | May 17, 2017

Save 20% During the AquaGlide Super Summer Sale

AquaGlide’s 2017 Super Summer 20% Off Sale starts May 18th.

AquaGlide Chelan HB Tandem XL Inflatable Kayak paddled solo

Get 20% off all in-stock AquaGlide inflatable kayaks, paddle boards and gear during the Super Summer Sale from May 18th through June 1st.

Blackfoot Angler SUP on the water

Shop early for the best selection, with kayaks priced at $183.95 to $879.95 and paddle boards as low as $559. 95. No tax and free US shipping via UPS ground on orders over $398.

AquaGlide Panther inflatable kayak

Visit the AquaGlide product pages at www.AirKayaks.com for details or to purchase.

We recently reviewed two of the new Innova inflatable kayaks – the Solar 410C and the Seawave – which are both billed as kayaks for one to three paddlers.

Innova Inflatable Kayaks: Seawave vs Solar 410C

Innova kayaks are manufactured in the Czech Republic under the Gumotex label. The Innova kayaks are well-known for their portability and PVC-free construction, making them a great choice for back-country trekking, plane flights, and environmentally-conscious paddlers. In the photo above,  the Solar kayak is green (but also available in red), while the Seawave is red.

One of the most commonly asked questions is – which one is right for me? Below we have compiled a list of similarities and differences to help guide you in making that personal decision.

What’s the same in both kayaks?

Both kayaks are constructed from the same 1200 denier, rubber-coated laminate Nitrylon hull material. Both main chambers can be inflated to 3-PSI, and the smaller chambers to 1-1.5 PSI. Each has the same-style carrying bag, molded rubber handles, removable tracking fin, 3 main military valve chambers and four smaller twistlock chambers. They also have the same rear foot brace, seat attachments, seat straps and loop attachments.

Each comes with two seats, two braces, instructions, adaptor, repair kit and sponge. Each has the option to paddle double, solo, or add an optional third seat for a small child.

So what’s different?

 

Innova Inflatable Kayaks: Seawave vs Solar 410C
While there are many items that are similar, the Innova Solar 410C (green in photo above) is a simpler, recreational kayak suitable for calmer waters. The Solar features shorter front and rear splash decks with a short length of rope line. There are four sets of tube d-rings for attaching seats and gear, five sets of floor loops/straps with four plastic d-rings, for attaching gear and braces. An integrated “numbering system” on the floor guides solo paddlers where to place the foor brace, based on their height. The front foot brace features a “double hump” system, and the seat back is two inches higher. A rear netting system with 4 clips expands the gear storage options.

At 163 inches long and 32 inches wide, the Solar 410C is shorter; the interior space of 160 in length and 14-15 inches wide is also shorter. There are no options for attaching decks or a rudder system. There is no blow hole. The weight is lighter at 38 lbs for the pack and contents. The carrying capacity is slightly higher at 591 lbs while the MSRP is lower at $749.

Innova Inflatable Kayaks: Seawave vs Solar 410C
The Innova Seawave (red in photo above) has been set up with numerous optional enhancements, making it a better touring choice. The Seawave has longer front and rear splash decks, with rope line running the perimeter of the  kayak. Integrated numbering systems on the side hull guide the paddler with seat and rib placment. There are six sets of d-rings, and 5 sets of corded loops, which can be used for attaching seats and gear. The bow is sculpted, allowing it to slice through the water.  There is no integrated netting system and the seat backs are 2 inches lower.

Innova Seawve with double deck and three seating positions

One of the major differences is the ability to add optional gear – such as double and single decks and a rudder system – which really expand the usage possibilities. The outer kayak is longer and slightly narrower at 15 feet in length and 31 inches wide, and weighs more at 44 lbs in the pack. The carrying capacity is slightly lower at 550 lbs while the MSRP is higher at $999.

Bottom line:

Innova Solar 410C paddled solo
If you plan on milder kayaking activities (calm waters such as lakes, slow rivers, inland waters), prefer the ease of a lighter-weight kayak for hauling around, or are on a tighter budget, the Solar 410C will be a great choice. It’s pretty snappy, and paddles well – in short, it’s a fun, calm-water vessel. It’s a great choice for those who don’t need all the “whizbangs.” The integrated storage netting is a plus for carrying gear. And it is 25% less expensive.

Innova Seawave

If you can afford the extra money, need more flexibility in paddling conditions and weight is not an issue, go for the Seawave. It’s a great kayak, great performer and is versatile enough to use year-round in mild whitewater, lakes, coastal routes and bays – where the ability to use optional single and double decks, spray skirts as well as a rudder system might be a plus. Its added weight makes tracking a bit better. The extra decking keeps some water out and rigging allows paddlers to carry more gear.

Need more info? Both updated product reviews can be seen here:

Product Review: Innova Solar 410C Inflatable Kayak for 1 to 3 paddlers
Product Review: New Innova Seawave Inflatable Touring Kayak for 1-3 paddlers

Or if you wish to purchase one, see the Innova Solar 410C product page or Innova Seawave product page at www.AirKayaks.com.

This past week we had the opportunity to take our first look at the Innova Seawave inflatable kayak – a two+ person kayak with a versatile design that allows one to attach optional spray decks, spray skirts and a foot rudder system.

The Innova line is unique for a number of reasons. First, all the kayaks are handmade in the Czech Republic; the factory has manufactured inflatable boats for well over 50 years. In Europe, a similar line is marketed under the name Gumotex.

We previously published our review on the new Solar 410C, Innova’s other 2+ person inflatable introduced into the US market simultaneously. So here is our write-up on the the Innova Seawave inflatable tandem kayak, which weighs 44 lbs in the pack, is 15 feet in length with a payload of 551 lbs for two+ persons and gear. (Please note: some of the information will be duplicated from other Innova reviews).

Getting Started with the Innova Seawave

The box as received weighs in at 48 lbs, measuring 27 x 18.5 x 12.5 inches.

Inside is a very nifty 100L backpack with adjustable shoulder straps, front pouch pocket and roll top closure. This contains the kayak body, tracking fin, foot rests, repair kit, instructions, cinch belt, valve adaptor, seats and sponge. Packed dimensions are 24 x 17 x 12 inches as received in the bag, with a weight of 44 lbs. The kayak with seats and foot rests is 41 lbs. (Please note: This is the actual kayak weight, NOT the 29 lbs as stated from the manufacturer’s literature.)

Innova Seawave Kayak Setup/Inflatation

We read through the included instruction manuals. Just like all the other Innova  products, the Innova Seawave manual is surprisingly detailed in some aspects, while lacking in others. As the kayaks are made in Europe, many of the details are based around European specs and regulations and can sound more complicated than it actually is. Additionally, some of the translations are a bit difficult to understand.

Unfolding the kayak

First step, unpack and unfold the kayak body. What is immediately noticeable is how FLAT the kayak is when deflated – of course, this makes it quite compact for travel.

Removable tracking fin

Next, flip the kayak over to install the tracking fin before inflation, locating the fin “shoe” towards the stern. Slip the end with the larger slot in first, making sure that the fin is pointing towards the “back” of the kayak. This enables it to slide in enough to fit in the second side.

With attached foot braces and seats

The instructions suggest attaching and inflating the foot braces and seats first, though these actually come pre-attached from the factory. (If they are not attached, start with the foot braces. There are five buckles on the floor – when paddling tandem, use the 1st and 3rd floor buckles).

We then turned to the seats, which once again were already attached. But at this point it started getting confusing.

Both sides of the kayak have a complex series of d-rings and webbed loops; these are identified by two separate rows of numbers. The instructions mention some of these, but the definitions are sometimes hard to understand. There are three ways to set up the kayak – with one seat, two seats or an optional third seat. The seating positions are printed onto the side of the kayak with <1>, <2> or <3> so that one knows where to position the seats for each of those conditions. But …. there are two rows of numbers, in different locations – and on top of each other. After quite a bit of reading (and some pre-hand knowledge of the product) we figured it out.

Side cord/loop system

The bottom row of numbers is located under the d-rings – this shows where to put the seat based on the number of seats in the kayak. The upper row of numbers are associated with the webbed loops.

Optional single deck with metal risers

The webbed loops are use in conjunction with the optional spray decks, which use metal bar deck risers to sculpt the body and give some structural rigidity (this is shown above). These “upper” numbers identify where to put each bar – this is not fully explained in the instructions. So, if you do not plan on using the decks, ignore the upper numbers.

With this in mind, we set up the kayak for tandem paddling. We placed each seat by the lower “2’s”, placing the mid-center of the seat base just under the lower 2. This puts the seats in approximately the correct paddling positions (they can be varied somewhat). Following this through, if you planned on paddling solo, position the one seat with the mid-center of the seat base just under the lower “1”.

We now pumped up the braces and seats.

Inflating the foot brace

The foot braces and seats utilize a twistlock valve, which performs as it sounds – twist the end to open or close the valve. The Boston valves will not friction fit over the twistlok so you will have to do one of three things – have another paddler hold the valve over the twistlock; carefully negotiate holding the adaptor and twistlock together with one hand while pumping with the other; or give up and blow it up with your mouth. It took about 1 to 2 puffs to get each foot brace filled out.

Inflating the seat

The seats took about 5-6 puffs or pumps each, to reach 1 to 1.5 PSI (the pressure is not mentioned in the instruction manual). AirKayaks note: Here is a nifty little home-made adaptor that works with these twistlocks.

We then turned to pumping up the main chambers.

Closing and opening the valve.

The Innova Seawave features three main inflation chambers utilizing military valves – one for the floor and one for each side. The military-style plunger valve is simple to use – with your finger, twist the plunger slightly to the “up” position to inflate (air goes in but doesn’t come back out) and “down” to deflate (air comes out).

Coupling the adaptors

Locate the military valve adaptor in the repair canister. The Seawave does not come with a pump, but the adaptor friction fits onto the Boston valve conical adaptor found on most pumps. (AirKayaks: Before doing ANYTHING, attach the adaptor to your pump with the string).

Lock the Innova adaptor onto the military valve with a slight twist, and push the conical adaptor in to friction fit the two. Since the Innova main chambers are inflated to 3 PSI, it is helpful to use a pump with pressure gauge to ensure the kayak is inflated appropriately. We did have a hard time preventing the Boston nozzle on our pump from popping off the adaptor – possibly some slight sandpaper might rough up the surface for a better friction fit. Worst case, one could glue the adaptor to the Boston valve nozzle.

Pumpig up the side chamber

We pumped up both side chambers until they filled out – about 30 strokes with a double action hand pump, each side.

Attaching the seat

While the chambers are still “softer”, push down on the foot braces and seat bases, to lock them under the side tubes; this becomes increasingly difficult to do once the kayak is fully inflated.

Attaching the seat

At this point, you want to attach the seat side straps to the side d-rings. Loop the strap (located on the rear of the seat back) up through the d-ring and then back, looping it through the seat buckle. Use the 2nd and 5th set of d-rings for tandem paddling, the 1st, 3rd and 6th for three, and the 4th (or even 3rd) for solo paddling.

Pumping up the side chamber

Finish topping off both main side chambers – this was another 20 pumps each side to reach 3 PSI.

Pumping up the floor

Last step, pump up the floor chamber to 3 PSI. At 40 strokes the gauge started to register, and at about 53 strokes we were hitting the 3 PSI mark, when we heard a slight hiss. The Seawave is constructed with a pressure relief valve in the floor, which will let out air once it reaches 3 PSI. Screw on the valve caps to protect the plungers from sand and salt, or from accidentally being pressed.

Easy to carry

Done, in less than 10 minutes. Once you understand the setup, it is simple and quick.

Deflating the Innova Seawave kayak

Deflation is just as easy. Simply turn all the valves to the open position and push out the air. Remove the tracking fin – the seats and braces can be left in place. The air can be quickly pushed out by either rolling up the kayak towards the valves, or pumping out the final air, using the deflate mode on your pump – once done, turn the valves to the inflate position so air doesn’t creep back in, and replace the wing-nut caps.

Eas to pack up

Then fold the sides of the kayak to the center (the long way) and then back out – basically in fourths and roughly 20″ wide. Then start folding/rolling in from each end, folding over each other towards the center. Use the cinch belt to hold it shut.This should then slip back into the bag, though it is a little bit of a tight fit.

Innova Seawave Features and Specifications

The Innova Seawave is constructed from a 1200 denier rubber-coated laminate material called Nitrylon – this consists of a synthetic rubber coating over polyester on the inside and outside of the tube.

Rugged nitrylon material

Nitrylon is the same material used in high-end Zodiac-type yacht tenders, and is stronger, more abrasion and puncture resistant than PVC as well as being greener – there is minimal out-gassing.

Military valve and pressure relief gauge

There are three 3 PSI inflation chambers utilizing military valves (both sides and floor) and 4 Twistloks (both seats and foot braces.) An integrated rear pressure relief valve releases pressure on the floor when inflation reaches 3 PSI.

Molded rubber handle

There are two molded handles, bow and stern.

Splash deck

Small front and rear decks keep water from splashing over the sides. These each measure 23 inches in length.

Scultped hull

A sculpted bow helps slice through the water.

Velcro system

Rope side decking for attaching gear runs the length of the kayak, with runner holders (5) evenly spaced at 38 inches apart.

Innova Seawave touring kayak set us as a tandem.

Velcro runs the perimeter of the hull upper. In conjunction with five sets of corded loops on the upper hull, one is able to attach optional single and double decks mounted on riser bars.

Integrated d-rings

There are six d-rings each side, with seating position numbers underneath. The d-rings are located 56, 58, 93, 105, 125 and 135 inches from the snout point.

Side cord/loop system

The previously mentioned corded loops (used for deck riser bars) could also be used to attach gear. These are situated 47, 50, 82, 85, 103, 106, 114, 117, 136 and 140 inches from the bow.

Inflatable foot brace system

There are two inflatable foot braces. The front brace is curved, measuring 14 x 7 inches, while the rear brace is square, measuring 8 x 19 inches. Each brace inflates to 3-inches deep utilizing a twistlok valve, with a 15 inch strap.

Seat back

The inflatable seats utilize one twistlok each, measuring 13 x 18 inches for the back and 17 x 18 for the base. There are three strap attachments – two 30-inch side straps (allowing 15 inches max leeway) and one 6-inch base strap. The seats can be inflated up to two inches thick.

There are five floor buckles with cloth loops for attaching seats, braces and anything else you can think of. These are located 29, 67, 92, 104, and 124 inches from the kayak nose.

Rudder attachments

Two small “periscopes” on the rear deck are used for attaching an optional rudder system.

Blow hole

A rear “blow hole” in the upper rear hull can be opened to allow water to escape.

Sculpted hull

The hull has 5 sculpted i-beam tubes creating the rounded hull shape. The tracking fin measures 4.5 inches tall and 7 inches wide.

Included 100L Backpack

The 100L backpack features a roll top closure and a deep front pocket, two padded shoulder straps, grab handle and two d-rings. Measurements are 41 x  x 10 x 17 inches unrolled, with front pocket dimensions of 14 x 8 x 4 inches.

Innova Seawave touring kayak set us as a tandem.

We did measurement tests. The Innova Seawave inflated is 180 inches (15 feet) and approximately 32 inches wide. Interior dimensions of the kayak are about 15 inches wide at the wider points, tapering down to 14 inches near the front seat and 13 inches near the back. Tube sides are approximately 8-9 inches in diameter, creating a seating well roughly 8 inches deep.

When set up for two people, per our instructions above, there are 64 inches from the front seat back to the interior snout, and 48 inches from seat back to brace when fully extended; the brace can be moved back up to 11 inches. There are 53 inches between the front and rear seat backs, with up to 44 inches from rear seat back to the brace; the brace can move back up to 13 inches. There are 39 inches behind the rear seat back, with 11 inches wide tapering down; 18″ are open with the rest under the rear deck. Each of the seats could move back and forth several inches.

Innova Seawave inflatable kayak set up as a solo.

When set up for one person (utilizing the 4th side d-rings and 3rd floor clip), the sky’s the limit! A whopping 61 inches is behind the seat and 97 inches from the seat back to interior bow.

New Innova Seawave inflatable kayak for 1-2+ paddlers.

While a three person (three seat) set up is touted, actually cramming the front and rear seats into position is a bit tough, and there are no associated seat base clips for those two positions. That said … if you do manage (using the 1st, 3rd and 6th side rings to attach the seats), the spacing comes out as follows: 40 inches of interior space behind the rear seat, 39 inches from rear seat back to center seat back, 41 inches from center seat back to front seat back, and 51 inches from front seat back to interior bow. The braces can fit from 23 to 32/33 inches from the two rear seat backs, but probably are best not even using them, gaining 7 inches.

Total payload weight is 551 lbs. person and gear.

Innova Seawave Inflatable Kayak On the Water.

We tested out the Innova Seawave both in calm waters and mild winds, both solo and as a tandem.

Innova Seawave inflatable kayak paddled solo.

I first took the Seawave out solo in some swells. With the seat in the “#1″ position, I was slightly rear of center. Despite the long length and my height of 5’4”, I was immediately impressed with how well it handled solo. The Seawave paddles well, it’s speedy and is fairly maneuverable, riding over swells with ease. I found the seats to be fairly comfortable.

Easy to carry

As the handles are located on the bow and stern sides, it is a little awkward to carry solo – one need to balance it over one’s shoulder.

Innova Seawave inflatable kayak paddled solo.

My husband then took the Seawave out in calm water. The open design makes it quite easy to get in – and out – without any issues. He also felt the kayak handled extremely well, but was less impressed with the seats – he would have preferred something with a higher back and more support.

We then moved the seats to take the Seawave out as a tandem. Once again, the open design makes launching a breeze. With two adults (5’4″ and 6’2″) the kayak was quite roomy. In fact, I could have moved up another foot without an issue, but there was no lack of room for my husband’s legs in the back seat. While the Seawave is billed as a one to three person unit, it is a very roomy two person design, with enough space for some gear, a small child or dog to fit in. As a three person design, the paddlers would need to be small.

The material is rugged enough that I would not hesitate to bring along a canine buddy – and there’s certainly room. The photo above shows me paddling with my buddy Eddie in the Innova Sunny, constructed from the same material.

Another thing to note: If you plan on changing the seating positions often, investing in a few carabiners/clips would be worth it. It becomes tedious to keep unlooping and relooping the seat straps through the d-rings. A simple carabiner at the end would allow you to quickly clip and unclip the seats.

Packing up took just a few minutes. The “smooth skin” of the Nitrylon material allows one to just wipe down the kayak to dry it off, and then fold up into the pack. I did notice slight scuffing  – Innova says the McNett UVTech is very helpful as a coating to keep the kayak lustrous and prevent scuffs.

Bottom Line on the Innova Seawave Inflatable Kayak:

Seawave paddled by three.

The Innova Seawave is a wonderful inflatable kayak for those wanting portability, simplicity, versatility, easy entry and lots of storage options. The kayak paddles smoothly and tracks well.

Seawave rudder

Those paddlers wanting more control can purchase the optional Seawave rudder.

Innova Seawave touring inflatable kayak for 1-2+ paddlers.

Optional spray decks for solo or tandem paddling provide a fair amount of protection from the elements, lots of interior storage space for day or camping gear, as well as numerous options to bungee items to the upper hull.

Set up is very simple and takes less than 10 minutes. Take down is equally simple – wipe down and fold/roll up. The Nitrilon material is rugged and easy to clean, yet still packs up extremely flat and compact.

Environmentally-conscious paddlers will find the minimal-PVC and China-free construction appealing.

The included backpack is compact and rugged, perfect for a trek into remote areas or riding mass-transit.

It can also be stashed in the trunk of a small car, and is small enough to qualify for carry-on during your next plane flight – it’s a great choice for travel.

Innova Seawave inflatable kayak paddled solo.

The Seawave is perfect for slow-moving rivers, lakes and coastal paddling.

MSRP on the Seawave inflatable kayak is $999. For more information, or to purchase, visit the Innova Seawave product page at AirKayaks.com. Stay tuned – we will have an upcoming article on the Seawave spray decks, as well as a video.

This past week we had the opportunity to take our first look at the Innova Solar 410C inflatable kayak – a 2+ person kayak for recreational paddling.

Innova Solar 410C set us for tandem paddling.

The Innova line is unique for a number of reasons. First, all the kayaks are handmade in the Czech Republic – the factory has manufactured inflatable boats for well over 50 years. Secondly, the manufacturing process produces kayaks that can become quite compact, making them a great choice for travel. And third, the kayaks are environmentally-friendly as they are mostly PVC-free.

While various iterations of the Solar have been available in Europe for years, Innova recently brought in the newly-redesigned Solar 410C. We had our first opportunity to take out the kayak late last year. So here is our write-up on the the Innova Solar 410C inflatable tandem kayak, which weighs 36 lbs in the pack, is 13 feet 2 inches in length and has a payload of 595 lbs for two persons and gear. (Please note: some of the information will be duplicated from other Innova reviews).

Getting Started with the Innova Solar 410C

The box as received measures 25 x 16 x 11 inches, weighing in at 40 lbs.

What's in the box.

Inside is a very nifty and compact backpack with adjustable shoulder straps, front pouch pocket and roll top closure. This contains the kayak body, tracking fin, foot rests, repair kit, instructions, valve adaptor, seats and sponge. Packed dimensions are 25 x 16 x 10 inches as received in the bag, with a weight of 38 lbs for the pack and contents.

We read through the included instruction manuals. Just like all the other Innova  products, the Innova Solar manual is surprisingly detailed in some aspects, while lacking in others. As the kayaks are made in Europe, many of the details are based around European specs and regulations and can sound more complicated than it actually is. Please also note that some of the instructions/diagrams have errors.

Unfolding the kayak

First step, unpack and unfold the kayak body. What is immediately noticeable is how FLAT the kayak is when deflated – of course, this makes it quite compact for travel.

Attaching the fin.

Install the tracking fin into the “shoe” before inflating the kayak. Slip the end with the larger slot in first, making sure that the fin is pointing towards the “back” of the kayak. This enables it to slide in enough to fit in the second side. The first time we tried this, we struggled to get the second slot into position but this gets easier with use.

Inflating the foot brace.

The instructions suggest attaching and inflating the foot braces and seats first, but these come already attached from the factory – the front seat is attached to the 2nd set of floor clips, and the back seat to the 4th set; the braces are attached to the first and second sets. Both utilize a twistlock valve, which performs as it sounds – twist the end to open or close the valve. The Boston valves will not friction fit over the twistlock so you will have to do one of three things – have another paddler hold the valve over the twistlock; carefully negotiate holding the adaptor and twistlock together with one hand while pumping with the other; or give up and blow it up with your mouth. It took about 1 to 2 puffs to get each foot brace filled out. Then pump up the inflatable seats to 1 to 1.5 PSI (the pressure is not mentioned in the instruction manual). Since this also utilizes a twistlock, once again you need to balance – this took about 5 pumps/puffs. Press the seat back down and loop the seat bottom strap through the plastic buckle on the floor behind the seat. Move up to the front seat and do the same, tucking the seat base edges under the side chambers. AirKayaks note: Here is a nifty little home-made adaptor that works with these twistlocks.

At this point, you want to attach the seat side straps to the side d-rings. Loop the strap (located on the rear of the seat back) up through the d-ring and then back, looping it through the seat buckle. Use the 1st and 3rd set of d-rings for tandem paddling, the 1st, 2nd and 4th for three, and the 2nd for solo paddling. AirKayaks note: It is much simpler to purchase some small carabiners and attach them to the end of the strap loops. Then you can simply clip these into the d-rings without all the “reweaving.”

Opening and closing the valve.

The Innova Solar 410C features three main inflation chambers utilizing military valves – one for the floor and one for each side. The military-style plunger valve is simple to use – with your finger, twist the plunger slightly to the “up” position to inflate (air goes in but doesn’t come back out) and “down” to deflate (air comes out).

Innova adaptor attached to pump

Locate the military valve adaptor in the repair canister. The kayak does not come with a pump, but the adaptor friction fits onto the Boston valve conical adaptor found on most pumps. (AirKayaks: Before doing ANYTHING, attach the adaptor to your pump with the string).

The Innova instructions suggest pumping up the side chambers first, and the floor last.  We found it easier to pump up the floor first, then pump up each side chamber half way. This provides enough “give” to install/move the seats and braces. Then top off each side.

Following this format, lock the Innova adaptor onto the military valve with a slight twist, and push the conical adaptor in to friction fit the two. Since the Innova main chambers are inflated to 3 PSI, it is helpful to use a pump with pressure gauge to ensure the kayak is inflated appropriately. We did have a hard time preventing the Boston nozzle on our pump from popping off the adaptor – possibly some slight sandpaper might rough up the surface for a better friction fit. Worst case, one could glue the adaptor to the Boston valve nozzle.

Pump up the floor chamber – this took approximately 42 pumps with a double action hand pump. Screw on the valve cap to protect the plunger from sand and salt, or from accidentally being pressed.

Pumping up the kayak

Pump up the side chambers, partially, on each side – we did about 25 strokes each.

Positioning the seats.

Reposition/tuck in the foot braces and seats.

Pump up the side chamber

Finish topping off both main side chambers – this was another 13 pumps each side to reach 3 PSI. Screw on the valve caps to protect the plungers from sand and salt, or from accidentally being pressed.

Lightweight.

Done, less than 10 minutes, surprising simple and very quick.

Deflating the Innova Solar 410C kayak

Deflation is just as easy. Simply turn all the valves to the open position and push out the air. Remove the tracking fin (if installed) – the seats and braces can be left in place. The air can be quickly pushed out by either rolling up the kayak towards the valves, or pumping out the final air, using the deflate mode on your pump – once done, turn the valves to the inflate position so air doesn’t creep back in, and replace the wing-nut caps.

Folding up the kayak.

Then fold the kayak in half the long way, then in half again – smooth it out. Starting at the rear, fold over the snout up to the fin boot, then fold again. Starting at the other end, fold back about a foot, then again and again. Fold the two sides together and use the cinch belt to hold it shut. This should then slip back into the bag.

Innova Solar 410C Features and Specifications

The Innova Solar 410C is constructed from a 1200 denier rubber-coated laminate material called Nitrylon – this consists of a synthetic rubber coating over polyester on the inside and outside of the tube.

Nitrilon material.

Nitrylon is the same material used in high-end Zodiac-type yacht tenders, and is stronger, more abrasion and puncture-resistant than PVC as well as being greener – there is minimal out-gassing.

Military valve

There are seven inflation chambers – three 3 PSI inflation chambers utilizing military valves (both sides and floor) and 4 Twistlocks (both seats and foot braces.)

Molded carrying handles

There are two molded rubber handles (front and rear) which sit on top of 17-inch splash decks with rope tie-downs.

Front foot brace

The front foot brace has two “positions” (humps) and measures roughly 12 inches deep by 13 inches wide, with the sides stuffed under the main tubes. The humps are 7 inches apart. The brace position has a leeway of about two inches forward and back. There is one d-ring at the back of the brace buckle, which can be used as a gear tie-down.

Inflatable seat.

The inflatable seats have one twistlock valve, a bottom strap and two side straps. The seat base measures 19 inches wide by 16 inches deep (inflatable portion is 17″ wide by 15 inched deep, and 3 inches high). The back is about 17 inches wide by 15 inches tall (14 inches inflated).

Rear foot brace

A rear foot brace is more rectangular, measuring 17 inches wide by 9 inches deep and up to 5 inches thick. It has about 15 inches of strapping.

Multiple d-rings for attaching gear.

There are four sets of upper d-rings which can be used with the seats or for attaching gear. These are located 57, 89, 107 and 117 inches from the outer snout.

Floor straps for seat and brace

There are five sets of straps and loops on the floor, for attaching the foot braces, seats and/or gear. These are located 27, 67, 97, 115 and 124 inches from the inner snout – each of these has d-rings except the second, which has two buckles for seat back and brace.

Foot brace slots for solo paddling.

A numbered boot system is located 55 to 65 inches from the snout. This features slots three inches apart: these are referenced in the instructions, and used to attach the foot brace based on paddler height, when paddling solo.

Mesh net for gear storage

A mesh cargo net is situated at the rear, measuring roughly 13 x 14 inches. There are four d-rings tucked under the side tubes, to attach gear under the net; these are located 23 and 41 inches from the inner tail.

Pressure relief valve

The floor features an integrated pressure relief valve just behind the military valve. This will release pressure at 3 PSI, whether over-inflated or from air expansion due to heat.

Removable tracking fin and sculpted hull.

The hull has 5 sculpted i-beam tubes creating the rounded hull shape. The optional tracking fin measures 4.5 inches tall and 7 inches wide.

We measured the Solar. Outer dimensions were 164 inches from “eyelet to eyelet” with an exterior width of 33 inches at midpoint. The interior length was 160 inches with a 14-15 inch width, again at midpoint. The tubes are roughly 8-9 inches wide and create a well 8 inches deep.

Innova Solar 410C set us for tandem paddling.

We measured the tandem paddling set-up as previously mentioned. With the front seat-back attached to the 2nd set of floor d-rings, the side straps attached to the 1st set of tube d-rings and the brace extended as far farward as possible, there is 39 and 46 inches from the seat back to the brace humps; the brace can move back about 4 inches, giving a tapered 11 inches from brace to inner snout. As the seat base strap is fairly short, by not buckling the seat base, the front seat can move up about 10 inches and back about 3 inches. With the rear seat-back attached to the fourth floor d-ring, the side straps attached to the 3rd set of tube d-rings and the rear brace extended as far farward as possible, there is 45 inches from the seat back to seat back, and 41 inches to the brace flipped forward (35 inches when flipped back). There is 48 inches behind the rear seat (30 inches of this is open) and is 13 inches wide, tapering down. Again, by not buckling the seat base, the rear seat can move up about 10 inches and back about 5 inches.

Innova Solar 410C set us for three paddlers.

We then set up the Solar for three paddlers using a Seawave seat for the third. By moving the front seat all the way forward and moving the rear seat all the way back, we were able to position the middle seat using this configuration – the 1st, 2nd and 4th tube buckles and 2nd, 3rd and 5th floor buckles.  This gave measurements of 59″ from front seat back to inner snout, and 40 to 48 inches to the brace. The second seat had 27 inches to the front seat back, and 27 inches from the second seat back to rear seat back. There was 36 inches behind the rear seat to the inner tail, with about 21 inches open. If you don’t use the floor buckle, you can move the front seat up another 9 inches, giving more room to the two back paddlers – who will greatly appreciate it.

Innova Solar 410C set us for solo paddling.

Last set up was for solo paddling. We attached the seat base to the 3rd set of floor clips and the side straps to the 2nd set of d-rings. This gave 91 inches from seat back to inner snout, and 64 inches behind the seat (50 inches open) – plenty of room for gear. There are four slot positions for the foot brace on the floor, each one set up for various paddler heights. Weave the foot brace strap through the slots and clip. Measurements were as follows from seat back to brace: Slot 4 – 39 inches, Slot 3 – 36 inches, Slot 2 – 33 inches, Slot 1 31 inches.

Total payload weight is 595 lbs. person and gear.

Innova Solar 410C On the Water.

We tested out the Innova Solar 410C over a few days.

Easy to carry on one's shoulder.

I first took it out solo on a calm day. As the handles are located on the bow and stern sides, it is a little awkward to carry solo, though it is possible to hook it over your shoulder. With two people carrying, it’s great.

Innova Solar 410C paddled solo

First of all, this is incredibly roomy for my 5’4″ – perfect for carrying lots of gear. I was impressed with how well it handled, and how easily it rode over the water. The kayak is pretty zippy and – for a kayak this long – it turns very easily. While I calculated the foot brace Slot 2 as appropriate for my height (based on the instruction manual) I actually felt more comfortable on Slot 3.

Innova Solar 410C paddled solo

My 6’2″ husband then took it out solo. He felt it handled well, though mentioned a slight wag in the front, feeling the nose was up a bit out of the water – not something I noticed, but weight in the front would help. He loved the easy entry and exit.

Innova Solar 410C paddled as a tandem

We then took it out tandem in slight wind. The Solar paddles well as a tandem, it’s fast and with the extra weight just slightly less maneuverable – but still pretty good. We headed into the wind and it paddled well. With hindsight, I would have positioned my seat up closer to the nose, and Chuck’s seat back a little farther, as his knees were bent a bit too much – possibly moving back to the fourth set of d-rings. Based on that, I am a bit hard-pressed to see three people paddling this kayak unless they are fairly small. Certainly, a dog or child would fit in-between the two seats – in fact, the inflatable foot brace could be a great child’s seat.

I then took the kayak out solo in a somewhat windy situation with good-sized chop. With no weight in the kayak – and the long length – I really struggled to paddle. It would ride over the waves, but I wasn’t really in control. In high waves, with the lower side walls some water will splash in. For solo paddling, this is best used in calmer waters, or possibly with more weight.

Packing up took just a few minutes. The “smooth skin” of the Nitrylon material allows one to just wipe down the kayak to dry it off, and then fold up into the pack. I did notice slight scuffing  – Innova says the McNett UVTech is very helpful as a coating to keep the kayak lustrous and prevent scuffs.

Bottom Line on the Innova Solar 410C Inflatable Kayak:

The Innova Solar 410C is a good recreational kayak suitable for those wanting portability, simplicity, easy entry and lots of storage options. On calm waters – such as lakes, inlets and slower-moving rivers – the kayak paddles smoothly and tracks well as both a single and a tandem. On rougher waters, be prepared to add weight if paddling solo, and to dress appropriately, as waves can splash over the side walls.

Innova Solar 410C paddled as a tandem

The Solar 410C is roomy enough for two average adults with an afternoon of gear, though slightly narrow. This would also be a great choice for an adult and child or dog, or those needing enough storage space to haul camping equipment.

Paddled with three people.

While it’s possible to add an optional third seat, three paddlers would be cramped unless they were fairly small.

Rugged enough for canine claws.

The material is rugged enough that I would not hesitate to bring along a canine buddy – and there’s certainly room. The photo above shows me paddling with my buddy Eddie in the Innova Sunny, constructed from the same material.

Set up is very simple and takes less than 10 minutes. Take down is equally simple – wipe down and fold/roll up.

The Nitrilon material is rugged and easy to clean, yet still packs up extremely flat and compact.

Environmentally-conscious paddlers will find the minimal-PVC and China-free construction appealing.

Fits in the trunk of a car.

The included backpack is compact and rugged, perfect for a trek into remote areas or riding mass-transit. It can also be stashed in the trunk of a small car, and is small enough to easily take on your next plane flight – it’s a great choice for travel.

MSRP on the Solar 410C inflatable kayak is $749, and it’s available in two colors – green or red. For more information, or to purchase, visit the Innova Solar 410C product page at AirKayaks.com.

Posted by: airkayaks | February 16, 2017

New 2017 Kokopelli Inflatable Packraft Lineup

We recently received news on the new 2017 Kokopelli lineup of inflatable packrafts.

Kokopelli Packraft with Spray deck

For those unfamiliar with the term, “packrafts” are loosely defined as a an inflatable raft weighing under 10 lbs, that can easily be packed/rolled up, making them a great choice for accessing remote locations. While the sport originated in Alaska, the popularity is rapidly expanding globally.

The 2016 Kokopelli line-up consisted of four whitewater models – the Nirvana and Nirvana XL in self-bailing and spray deck versions – joined by three new Touring series: the Castaway, Castaway XL and Twain two-person version. The Touring Series features packrafts with removable tracking fins, making them better suited for calm water paddling.

new Leafield D7 military valve

While Kokopelli’s main product lineup is not changing in 2017, several new features come into play. Foremost, all Kokopelli packrafts will come with upgraded Leafield D7 military valves, rather than the current Boston valves. The D7 valve has a shorter internal profile than other valves making it ideal for smaller diameter tubes such as inflatable kayak floors. The seal was also designed to be self-cleaning, reducing leakage risks due to dirt contamination.

All models with Tizip now have a 19 inch opening (up from 16 inches) making it easier to access stored gear.

New French gray color.

The Nirvana Whitewater series also sports a number of changes, beginning with an added color to round out the selection. The new French Gray (more of a desaturated Army gray-green) is for those opting for less visibility. All Nirvana models now will come with a back band, rather than inflatable seat rest, which provides more coverage and lower back support when traversing rapids. Four d-rings have also been added on the inner tube, allowing paddlers to attach optional thigh straps for more responsive handling.

The Nirvana Self-Bailing models have been slightly redesigned with more volume in the stern. This provides more buoyancy and a slightly lower waterline, eliminating water pooling issues. While the majority of Kokopelli packrafts features two main chambers, the Nirvana Self-Bailing with Tizip now has one main chamber, thus increasing the storage area.

The Touring series – consisting of the Castaway, Castaway XL and Twain 2 – will remain virtually unchanged, except for TiZip increases and the new Leafield D7 military valves.

koko-cast1

Weights range from 7.3 to 13.8 lbs. All models come with an inflation “bag” weighing a mere 4 ounces, though they also can be pumped up using a traditional hand or foot pump. Prices range from $725 to $1099 dependent upon the model and options.

The 2017 models are in-transit, and expected to be available in late February. For more details or to order, visit the Kokopelli Packraft product pages at www.AirKayaks.com.

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