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.

Posted by: airkayaks | February 11, 2017

Product Review: Aire Tributary Strike Solo Inflatable Kayak

We recently posted our first review on Aire’s Tributary inflatable kayak product-line. The Tributary models – which are made overseas – offer great value for those on a budget or unwilling to make a large investment; these include the Strikes, Sawtooth and Tomcat kayaks as well as several rafts.

Aire Tributary Strike Solo inflatable kayak

This week we had the first opportunity to take out the Aire Tributary Strike 1, a 10 foot 3-inch one-person inflatable with a price of $799. The Strike is billed as a crossover kayak, capable of spanning calm water to rapids. Please note, some of this may be repeated from other write-ups.

Aire Tributary Strike I Inflatable Kayak: Getting Started

The box as received measures 29 x 16 x 13 inches, weighing in at 33 lbs.

What's in the box.

Inside is the Strike body, one Cheetah seat, flip strap, instructions and repair kit with adaptor, adaptor tube, wrench and patch material (including some TearAid). The Strike does not come with a carrying case. The body alone weighs 26 lbs, or 29.5 lbs with the seat. The folded body measures roughly 28 x 15 x 12 inches.

Aire Tributary Strike Setup/Inflatation

Unfolding the kayak

We read through the included instruction manual. First step, unfold the kayak body. Then pump up tthe main chambers until softly filled.

Closing the valve for inflation

The Aire Tributary Strike features three main inflation chambers utilizing Summit II 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). Please note – the military valve push pins can sometimes deceptively look as if they are UP when actually in the deflate mode. When this happens, as soon as you remove the pump adaptor all the air will swoosh out. So, make sure they are truly popped up. On the positive side, this is so easy to pump up, it’s not a big issue.

Unlike many kayaks, the Aire Tributary Strike has two main inflation valves at opposite sides of the kayak – one on the upper rear right and one on the upper bow left.

Couping the pump to the valve.

Locate the military valve adaptor in the repair kit. The Strike does not come with a pump, but the adaptor allows one to use the Boston valve conical adaptor found on most pumps. To couple the Strike adaptor with the Boston valve adaptor, Aire has included a two-inch clear plastic tube. Insert the end of the Strike adaptor into one side of the clear tube, and then insert the Boston valve adaptor onto the other side via friction fit. Lock the Aire adaptor onto the military valve with a slight twist. Since the Strike main chambers are inflated to 2.5 PSI, it is helpful to use a pump with pressure gauge to ensure the kayak is inflated appropriately. If you don’t have a gauge, pump up until rigid but with about a half-inch “give” when pressed with your thumb. (AirKayaks note: Be very careful to stash the adaptors some place where they won’t get lost. Even better, if you don’t need the clear plastic tube for another valve, glue it onto the end of the Strike adaptor so it is one less thing to lose.)

Pumping up the kayak

Pump up the side chambers first. As the instructions stated to “fill until a soft pressure” we placed 30 strokes each side with our double action hand pump – these were still soft but mostly unfurled. We then pumped up the floor 17 strokes.

Attaching the seat.

The instructions next state to attach the “Cheetah seat.” While the seat setup is fairly simple, there is an online video showing how to connect the strapping.

Attaching the seat.

The seat features “fore and aft” seat clips, two each side for a total of four. These attach to the kayak via a series of 8 cloth loops (each side) that are integral to the kayak. Begin by positioning the seat roughly mid-center – we chose to place the front seat back at the fifth loop. For the initial set up, one needs to attach the base straps to the kayak loops on the floor. This is done by detaching the four straps from the kayak seat, unweaving the webbing from the strap clips, then looping the webbing through the floor loops and then back onto the strap clips. In the future (once you’ve decided where you want the seats) the base straps can be left in position, allowing one to easily clip in the seat as needed.

Attaching the seat.

The video suggests spanning three loops, but the straps were not long enough to do that. So, we placed the seat front webbing at the third loop and the back at the sixth loop (skipping 4 and 5). The seats can easily be repositioned by changing loops, or adjusting the strap lengths, dependent on paddler sizes.

Pumping up the kayak

Now, top off the kayak by filling each side and floor chambers to 2.5 PSI. If using a pressure gauge, please note that the pressure will only read while you are pumping (needle drops up and down), since most gauges work on back pressure. It took us another 14 strokes to fill each side, with another 17 on the floor.

At this point we want to point out a great feature not mentioned in the instructions. The Aire Tributary Strikes (as well as the Tomcats and Sawtooth) each have a pressure relief valve integrated into the floor chamber. If you happen to over-pump – or the floor heats up in the sun – the pressure relief valve will release air at 2.5 PSI with a short hissing sound. The valve is pretty unnoticeable, as it is located under the floor covering, and rear of the floor Summit II valve.

Finish off by screwing on the valve caps to protect the plungers from sand and salt, or from accidentally being pressed.

Attaching the flip strap.

At this point, tighten up the seat straps. You will notice another long piece of webbing with buckles – this is the flip strap. Attach the flip strap to one rear upper buckle on the seat back, then wind the strap around and under the kayak, then up the other side, attaching to the other rear upper buckle. Cinch tight. The flip strap has two purposes – one, it can be used to right the kayak in the water if it overturns and two, it provides more structural rigidity for the seat back.

strike19a

You’re done! The Strike is remarkably easy and fast to set up – less than 10 minutes.

Packing Up the Strike Inflatable Kayak

Deflation is just as easy. Unclip the seats and flip strap (leave the floor straps in place). Then simply push down and lock the Summit II valves (military) to the open position and the air will swoosh out. You can then fold in each side to the center, then in half (into fourths), and then fold up to a “square” or roll up. It’s helpful to obtain a cinch strap to fasten the perimeter of the kayak body and seat together, and keep it from unrolling. In a pinch, one can set the Cheetah seat on top of the kayak body, and use the flip strap as a cinch, bundling up the seat with the kayak. As a side note, while you can press out most of the air, to really minimize the size/footprint, it is best to pump out the final air, using the deflate mode on your pump. Turn the valves to the inflate position so air doesn’t creep back in, and replace the wing-nut caps.

Aire Tributary Strike Kayak Features and Specifications

Rugged material with smooth skin

The Aire Tributary Strike is constructed from 1000 denier PVC on both the upper side and hull. Two-way zippered compartments run the length of the sides and floor, housing replaceable 10-mil urethane bladders.

Zipper locks keep bladders closed

There are three “zipper locks” ensuring that the compartments do not accidentally open. The seams are welded.

Seam tape on zippers

Side tape runs along the perimeter and floor, to cover the zippers.

Summit II military valves.

There are three 2.5-PSI inflation chambers utilizing Summit II military valves (both sides and floor). The main chambers are located opposite each other, and are billed as “wrap around” tubes. According to Aire, this gives the Strike more rigidity and stability when going through rapids.

Molded rubber handles

Two carry handles can be found at the bow and the stern. Each of these consist of a molded rubber handle with webbing straps and buckles; the handles can be lengthened or shortened roughly 2-6 inches by tightening or loosening the webbing, or the handle can be removed completely. Adjustments can be made for hand size, gloves, or removing for better comfort if needed.

Numerous cloth loops for attaching gear

There are eight sets of 3.5-inch long cloth loops on each side – these are used to attach/readjust the seating position, or for attaching gear. The loops are positioned approximately 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 71, 84 and 96″ inches from the interior snout, with the last set positioned 12 inches from the interior rear point.

D-rings on underside

There are two stainless d-rings on the hull underside at the bow and stern.

Flip handles

Two cloth “flip handles” are located mid-center on the underside; these can also be used to right the kayak if flipped in the water, but can also serve as quasi-carrying handles.

Mesh guards on self-bailing ports

The Strike is “self-bailing.” Four mesh “screens” (towards front and rear, one on each side) cover openings, allowing any splashed-in water to fall into the side wells and seep out. Conversely, water may seep back in if the kayak is heavily loaded. The mesh screens ensure that no debris enters into the kayak from below. The floor is quite sculpted (humped) which helps funnel the water into the sides.

Attaching the seat.

There is one “Cheetah” seat with a waterproof cover and some foam padding. The seat back measures 22 inches wide (at the widest point) by 14 inches high and about 1 inch thick. The seat base is roughly 12 inches deep by 15 inches wide and slightly padded at 0.75 inches thick. There are four attachment straps (measuring 16 inches long when doubled) with roughly 4 to 5 inches of leeway, so in conjunction with the 8 sets of cloth loops, the Strike offers virtually infinite seating arrangements. The seat back base is tapered, making it easier to relocate. One flip strap attaches to the seat back and measures 93 inches long.

Storage on back of seat

On the back of the seat is a very nifty integrated pack which measures 12″ wide by 10″ tall and 5″ deep with mesh rear and side panels. The top zippers shut with some additional velcro and three cloth loops. On the back of the pack is another slim “pocket” with velcro closure, measuring 10″ wide by 5.5 inches deep. A padded drink holder sits next to the pack – this could possibly be rigged up to house a fishing pole.

Aire Tributary Strike Solo inflatable kayak

We did measurement tests. The exterior measures 126 to 127 inches – a few inches longer than the published 10’3″ – and is 36 inches wide, with a 12″ rise both bow and stern. The interior dimensions are 108 inches “point to point” and 16 inches at the widest point. The tubes are 10 inches in diameter and – with the humpbacked floor – creates a seating well roughly 5 to 7-or-so inches deep.

Aire Tributary Strike Solo inflatable kayak

With the seat set up as previously mentioned (using the 3rd and 6th loops) there are 44 inches behind the rear seat back, 13 inches wide and tapering to a point. We measured 60″ from the front seat back to the interior snout.

Suggest payload is 300 lbs. The Strike has a five-year warranty.

Aire Tributary Strike Solo On the Water

I must preface this by saying we have no whitewater – just a large lake, waves and boat wake. So I took out the Aire Tributary Strike over a couple of days in calm weather.

strike27a

First off, the Strike is very easy to hop into – the 2.5 PSI sides and 1000 denier hull feel firm and rugged. The Cheetah seat is quite comfortable, and the ability to access small items easily is a plus.

Aire Tributary Strike Solo on the water.

As to be expected, the nose wafted when attempting to paddle straight. While this may be disconcerting at first, one starts to get used to it and compensate – no power paddling. On calm water, the Strike is not speedy, nor overly slow, but it IS phenomenally responsive, reminding me of a phrase I once read – “turns on a dime and still gives you back change.”

Despite the wider beam, with the humped floor, I sat up high enough that I did not notice any knuckle rub. While the lower center of gravity feels quite stable when seated, I was not able to standup.

As the bow is somewhat open (and there are openings in the bow and stern), in wave situations the water can crash over, but will quickly drain out through the mesh-covered holes. Larger paddlers may experience some water naturally seeping back in from the drain holes, and may wish to dress accordingly. That said, I did not notice any water coming into the seating well.

Stable enough to standup.

I came back to shore and put a 12-lb pack into the snout. Bingo. This was enough to seat the kayak in the water slightly better and even out the paddling – but not totally. Additionally, the added weight allowed me to stand up briefly without feeling tippy. I still did not notice any water creeping in.

Easy to carry

The Strike does not have side carrying handles. You can do one of three things: try using the flip handle, fashion a strap between the flip handle and one of the cloth loops, or simply loosen up the seat and hang the kayak over your shoulder.

Aire Tributary Strike Solo – Bottom Line

The Aire Tributary Strike is billed as a “crossover” capable of both flat and whitewater, but in effect, it is a bit more whitewater than flat water – if you plan on doing a lot of calm stretches, you might consider gluing on a finbox for a removable fin. That said, this could be a great choice for those paddling in situations requiring both long, gentle stretches and bouts of rapids or for those interested in a wider range of paddling situations without investing in multiple kayaks. For those only interested in whitewater, the Aire Tributary Tomcat might be more appropriate.

Aire Tributary Strike Solo on the water.

In calm water, the v-hull design provides better paddling , though addition of weight in the front will stabilize the tracking. The Cheetah seat is quite comfortable, providing support and storage options. The multiple floor loops offer virtually infinite seating positions for all types of paddler sizes, as well as providing attachment options for gear.

View of underside.

In whitewater, the Strike is fun and agile; the raised nose and tail – with the flatter base – make the kayak quite maneuverable while the wider beam provides a bit more stability. The mesh-covered ports allow water to pass through quickly, while ensuring that debris doesn’t come back in.

Fits in the trunk of a small car.

At 29.5 lbs with the seat, the Strike is quite portable, and easily fits in the trunk of a small car or a closet. The smaller folded footprint makes it a great choice for RVs, plane travel and those limited by space.

Set up is extremely easy, and takes just over 5 minutes. The smoother, water-resistant coating provides for easy cleaning and drying, making take-down less of a chore – though water will get trapped inside the zippers. Yet the 1000 denier hull also feels quite rugged – almost bombproof.

Aire Tributary Strike Solo on the water.

Those paddlers that just want to get out on the water, and have fun without a lot of fuss, will find the simplicity of the Strike quite appealing. The open cockpit design makes entry and exit a boon to seniors or those with physical limitations.

MSRP is $799. For more information or to purchase, see the Aire Tributary Strike Solo product page on AirKayaks.com, or view the other Tributary inflatable kayaks. Stay tuned for more product write-ups coming soon.

Well-known in the paddling world for top-notch quality, Aire has been manufacturing high-end inflatable rafts and kayaks out of their plant in Idaho for over 25 years ago. With the increased interest in inflatables, Aire introduced their Tributary line, an economical version made overseas, nearly 14 years ago. The Tributary models offer great value for those on a budget or unwilling to make a large investment; these include the Strikes, Sawtooth and Tomcat kayaks as well as several rafts.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth Inflatable Kayak.

This week we had the first opportunity to take out the Aire Tributary Sawtooth, a 13 foot 3-inch two-person inflatable weighing 35 lbs with a price of $749.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth Inflatable Tandem Kayak: Getting Started

The box as received measures 25 x 22 x 12 inches, weighing in at 40 lbs.

What's included

Inside is the Sawtooth body, two inflatable seats, removable tracking fin, instructions and repair kit with adaptor, adaptor tube, wrench and patch material (including some TearAid) but does not come with a carrying case.The Sawtooth body alone weighs 31 lbs; each seat weighs 1.7 lbs for a total of 35 lbs with fin. The folded body measures roughly 26 x 18 x 10 inches.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth 2 Setup/Inflatation

Unfolding the kayak body

We read through the included instruction manual. First step, unfold the kayak body. Then pump up the main chambers until softly filled.

Closing the valve for inflation

The Aire Tributary Sawtooth features three main inflation chambers utilizing Summit II 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). Please note – the military valve push pins can sometimes deceptively look as if they are UP when actually in the deflate mode. When this happens, as soon as you remove the pump adaptor all the air will swoosh out. So, make sure they are truly popped up. On the positive side, this is so easy to pump up, it’s not a big issue.

Valve adaptor set-up.

Locate the military valve adaptor in the repair kit. The Sawtooth does not come with a pump, but the adaptor allows one to use the Boston valve conical adaptor found on most pumps. To couple the Sawtooth adaptor with the Boston valve adaptor, Aire has included a two-inch clear plastic tube. Insert the end of the Sawtooth adaptor into one side of the clear tube, and then insert the Boston valve adaptor onto the other side, via friction fit. Lock the Aire adaptor onto the military valve with a slight twist. Since the Sawtooth main chambers are inflated to 2.5 PSI, it is helpful to use a pump with pressure gauge to ensure the kayak is inflated appropriately. AirKayaks note: Be very careful to stash the adaptors some place where they won’t get lost.

Pumping up the kayak

Pump up the side chambers first. As the instructions stated to “fill until a soft pressure” we placed 30 strokes each side with our double action hand pump – these were still soft but mostly unfurled. We then pumped up the floor 20 strokes.

The instructions next state to attach the “pillow seats.”

Attaching the pillow seat.

Begin by positioning the seats; typically, the front paddler will be roughly mid-center with the rear paddler towards the back. For the initial setup, we placed the front seat back between the 5th and 6th loops, and the rear seat back at the tenth loop.

Attaching the pillow seat.

Each of the seats feature “fore and aft” web straps (four to each seat), which are attached to the kayak via a series of 12 cloth loops (each side) that are integral to the kayak. This is done by unweaving the webbing from the strap clips, then looping the webbing through the floor loops and then back onto the strap clips. (AirKayaks note: You may want to obtain eight small carabiners – or even a set of bathtub curtain rings – to clip onto the ends of the seat strap loops. This would allow you to easily attach the seat to the cloth loops without all the buckle weaving.)

Attaching the pillow seat.

The instructions state to span two loops for each seat. So, we placed the front seat webbing at the fourth and seventh loop (skipping 5 and 6) and the rear seat webbing at the 8th and 11th loops. The seats can easily be repositioned by changing loops, or adjusting the strap lengths, dependent on paddler sizes.

Attaching the adaptor to the seat valve

Next, pump up the seats. Each seat back has one tube filler. Remove the tube dust cap and then remove the clear plastic tube from the kayak adaptor, and use the clear plastic to couple the Boston valve adaptor to the tube head. It took about 3 pumps to fill it out, as the seats have a max pressure limit of 2 PSI. Additionally (if lazy) one can leave the clear tube intact and blow up the seat back by mouth – this took about 5 puffs. At this point we will note that you can vary the softness/rigidity of the back to a desired comfort level by varying the amount of air put in.

Replace the dust cap on the tube filler, then tighten each of the seat straps by grabbing both web ends on one side and pulling.

Pumping up the kayak

Now, top off the kayak by filling each side and floor chambers to 2.5 PSI. If using a pressure gauge, please note that the pressure will only read while you are pumping (needle drops up and down), since most gauges work on back pressure. It took us another 15-16 strokes to fill each side.

We moved on to the floor and put in another 22 strokes to reach 2.5 PSI. As we put in the last pump, we heard a sharp hissing sound, which sounded very much like a pressure relief valve – but there was not one in sight, and nothing mentioned in the instructions! A quick phone call, and we found out – yes – the Sawtooth has a pressure relief valve integrated into the floor chamber which releases at 2.5 PSI, under the floor covering, and rear of the floor Summit II valve. This is a “safety net” to ensure one doesn’t over inflate the floor and pop an i-beam, or have the floor expand in the hot sun.

Finish off by screwing on the valve caps to protect the plungers from sand and salt, or from accidentally being pressed.

While it is not mentioned in the instruction manual, now is the time to install the fin if you will be doing deep-water paddling; for shallow water, this can be left off, but it won’t track as well.

Installing the tracking fin.

Flip the kayak over and layout the fin, making sure the fin is pointing towards the rear of the kayak. Remove the retaining pin from the hole, by pinching the slotted side.

Installing the tracking fin.

Then push the front of the fin down into the slot and pull back – there is a lip that will catch the front of the fin. If you pull back far enough, the hole in the fin railing will line up with the hole in the fin. This was our only issue – we could not get the hole to line up, and thus could not get the retaining pin back in position. This was solved by using a small rock to gently tap the fin back into position until the holes lined up, and the pin slid through. As a precaution, pull up on the fin to ensure it is truly attached.

Easy to carry

You’re done! The Sawtooth is remarkably easy and fast to set up – less than 10 minutes.

Packing Up the Sawtooth Inflatable Kayak

Deflation is just as easy. Remove the tracking fin and “unweave” the seat straps to remove the seats. Then simply push down and lock the Summit II valves (military) to the open position and the air will swoosh out. You can then fold in each side to the center, then in half (into fourths), and then fold up to a “square” or roll up. To deflate the seats, use the back of the seat tube dust cover to “push open” the valve. It’s helpful to obtain a cinch strap to fasten the perimeter of the kayak body and seats together, and keep it from unrolling. As a side note, while you can press out most of the air, to really minimize the size/footprint, it is best to pump out the final air, using the deflate mode on your pump. Turn the valves to the inflate position so air doesn’t creep back in, and replace the wing-nut caps.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth Kayak Features and Specifications

Rugged hull easily dries

The Aire Tributary Sawtooth is constructed with a 500 denier PVC upper, and a 1000 denier PVC hull.

Interior vinyl bladder.

Two-way zippered compartments run the length of the sides, floor and seat backs, housing replaceable 10-mil vinyl bladders.

Zipper locks.

There are five “zipper locks” ensuring that the compartments do not accidentally open. The seams connecting the hull to upper are welded.

Summit II valve.

There are three 2.5-PSI inflation chambers utilizing Summit II military valves (both sides and floor).

Molded, adjustable carrying handle

Two carry handles can be found at the bow and the stern. Each of these consist of a molded rubber handle with webbing straps and buckles; the handles can be lengthened or shortened roughly 2-6 inches by tightening or loosening the webbing, or the handle can be removed completely. Adjustments can be made for hand size/gloves, or total removal for better comfort across the shoulders if portaging.

Series of cloth loops

There are twelve sets of 3.5-inch long cloth loops on each side – these are used to attach/readjust the seating positions, or for attaching gear. The loops are positioned approximately 12, 23, 33, 44, 54.5, 65, 76, 86.5, 97.5, 108, 118 and 129 inches from the interior snout, with the last set positioned 12 inches from the interior rear point.

Sculpted hull with removable tracking fin.

The underside features sculpted i-beam tubes and a removable tracking fin measuring 9 inches tall and 6.5 inches wide at the base.

Flip loop on underside

There are two cloth “flip handles” mid-center on the underside; these can be used to right the kayak if flipped in the water, but can also serve as quasi-carrying handles.

Mesh-covered bailing ports

The Sawtooth is considered to be “self-bailing.” Four mesh “screens” (two fore and two aft, one on each side) cover openings, allowing any splashed-in water to fall into the side wells and seep out. Conversely, water may seep back in if the kayak is heavily loaded. The mesh screens ensure that no debris enters into the kayak from below.

Oral-matic valve

There are two inflatable-backed “pillow” seats with oral-matic  valves, which can be inflated to 2 PSI. The seat backs measure 20 inches wide by 10 inches high and about 7 inches thick fully inflated (this can be adjusted). These have four attachment straps. In conjunction with the 12 sets of cloth loops, the Sawtooth offers virtually infinite seating arrangements. The seat back base is tapered, making it easier to relocate.

We did measurement tests. The exterior measures 13 ft 1.5 inches – close enough to the published 13′ 3″ – and is 33 inches wide, with a 9″ rise both bow and stern. The interior dimensions are 141 inches “point to point” and 15 inches at the widest point. The tubes are 9 inches in diameter and – with the humped floor – creates a seating well roughly 6-8 inches deep.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth Inflatable Kayak.

With the seats set up for tandem paddling as previously outlined (front seat on the 4th & 7th loops, rear seat on the 8th and 11th loops) there is 33 inches behind the rear seat back, 13 inches wide and tapering to a point. There is 36 inches between the two seats, and 57″ from the front seat back to the interior snout. All this can be repositioned based on the paddler sizes.

Set up for solo paddling

We set the Sawtooth up for solo paddling, with the seat attached to the 5th and 8th loops. This setup provides 64 inches behind the seat-back to the interior stern and 69 inches from seat-front to interior bow point – plenty of room for gear!

Suggest payload is 400 lbs. The Sawtooth has a one year warranty.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth Inflatable Kayak On the Water

We tested out the Sawtooth over a couple of days.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth kayak paddled tandem.

First, my husband and I took it out together for a short jaunt in pretty calm water.  After eyeing the locations, I moved the front seat to the 3rd and 6th loops, to give him enough leg-room. First impressions – the Sawtooth is a wonderful kayak. It’s speedy, tracks and paddles well, and is fairly maneuverable for its size. It also feels rugged. The lower side walls – in conjunction with the 2.5 PSI chambers (which provide rigidity) – make it easy to get in and out. The front/rear handles make carrying the kayak a cinch, while the 35 lb. kayak weight with seats is quite “carry-able.”

At 5’4″, I was fairly comfortable in the front while my 6’2″ husband had plenty of space behind. He was able to use my seat back as a foot brace, while my feet were pressed into the nose – in the future I would opt for moving the seats back a loop.

As the Sawtooth is constructed with mesh-covered self-bailing ports, my husband quickly noticed some water coming back in through the ports, while I had none in the front. A subsequent discussion with Aire and NRS provided some better understanding. The weight capacity of 400 lbs is based on a 2-inch waterline of evenly distributed weight, with a recommended maximum level of 1/3 the tube submerged. As most of the kayaks we carry are not self-bailing (or have removable plugs) we realized that it is probably best to even out the load by putting the heavier person in the front position (over the widest part of the kayak). This would remove some of the weight over the mesh ports, lessening water entry. This will also lessen the amount of water that can get into the zippered compartments. (AirKayaks note: I did notice water was trapped inside the zipper despite the locks, but it easily poured out when the kayak was turned upside-down to drain.)

Aire Tributary Sawtooth kayak paddled solo.

I then took the kayak out solo, with the seat hooked to the 5th and 8th loops. One thing to note is that this is a long kayak, with no foot pegs. Following a suggestion, I disconnected the back straps of the front seat, flipped it over towards the nose and used it for a foot brace – it worked perfectly (thanks Josh!).

Aire Tributary Sawtooth kayak paddled solo.

As a solo kayak, the Sawtooth also handles beautifully. It feels great, paddles well and is slightly more maneuverable. The sides were low enough (and kayak narrow enough) that I didn’t experience “knuckle rub.” With my weight in the center, I did not notice any water getting back in.

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And despite the humped center, it is actually stable enough to stand up – though I wouldn’t make a point of it.

I then took the Sawtooth out solo on a windy day with chop. The Sawtooth rode over the waves pretty well, though I did struggle with the wind and certain cross waves. Some water crashed over the sides, but the self-bailing ports drained pretty quickly. To be sure, if you plan on kayaking in rough weather, dress accordingly.

There are no side handles, so to carry it solo one must hook it over the shoulder, or attempt using one of the flip straps on the underside. There are also no paddle holders, so a leash might be in order.

Backside of the pillow seat.

My only slight criticism is with the pillow seats. While the thickness/rigidity of the bladder can be varied by removing/adding air, the low-height does not provide the best back support. I did grab an AquaGlide core fishing-ready seat that was sitting nearby, and this worked well, also providing storage compartments (as well as fishing rod holders) close at hand.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth Inflatable Kayak Bottom Line:

The Aire Tributary Sawtooth inflatable kayak is a winner – a great option for those interested in calm water paddling that either need a tandem or a solo kayak that can hold lots of gear – or both. It’s easy to set up, paddles and tracks well and is very speedy.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth kayak paddled tandem.

As a tandem, it is roomy enough for two average-sized adults to paddle comfortably, yet still offers storage space behind the rear seat. The cloth loops systems – in conjunction with the adjustable seat straps – allows for quite a bit of flexibility in the seating positions as well as for attaching gear. While the ability to inflate the seat back provides varying levels of comfort and support, I would suggest looking into an upgrade if you plan on paddling for any length of time – such as the AquaGlide core seat.

Parents wanting a lightweight and simple paddling option will find this is a great choice for enjoying the water with a child. The material is rugged enough that I wouldn’t hesitate to bring along my canine buddy.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth kayak paddled solo.

As a solo option, the Sawtooth also shines; there is plenty of room for a wide range of paddler heights as well as room for extended camping gear. The 12 sets of cloth loops provide ample attachment options.

While the Sawtooth does not come with a carrying case, by purchasing a simple cinch strap one can easily keep the bundle together.

Easily fits in a car trunk.

The 35-lb weight and folded/rolled-up footprint make the Sawtooth a great choice for RVs, plane travel and those limited by space. It can be stored in the trunk of a car for spur-of-the-minute activity. Set up is simple and takes less than 10 minutes. The smooth, water-resistant material provides for easier cleaning and drying though the zippers can trap in water.

Aire Tributary Sawtooth kayak paddled solo.

The open cockpit design makes entry and exit a boon to seniors or those with physical limitations. The Aire Tributary Sawtooth is best-suited for paddling calm waters, mild swells and slow moving rivers through Class II. MSRP is $749.

For more information or to purchase, see the Aire Tributary Sawtooth product page on AirKayaks.com, or view the other Aire Tributary inflatable kayaks. Stay tuned for more product write-ups on the Aire Tributary kayaks, in particular the Strike 1, coming soon.

Posted by: airkayaks | January 11, 2017

Innova’s New 2017 Inflatable Kayak and Canoe Lineup

The year 2016 brought some major changes to the US-based Innova kayak product line, when the company and assets were acquired by Gumotex, Innova’s parent company.

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

For decades, Gumotex has been known in Europe as a manufacturer of high-quality inflatable kayaks and canoes that can be inflated to 3-PSI, making them more rigid for better performance. With the transfer of assets, Gumotex committed to bringing more models into the US in conjunction with a fresh look to the Innova product line.

Innova Twist I LN in the new lite nitrilon material

The first step in 2016 included updates to the Innova Twist and Swing inflatable kayaks. The Twist and Swing models are now constructed from Light Nitrilon (LN), a lighter-weight version of the rugged material used in the traditional Innova Sunny, Helios and Safari models. Light Nitrilon is known for making the kayaks more rigid as well as water and abrasion resistant, without substantially increasing weight. It’s also PVC-free, thus environmentally friendly. Additionally, the Twist line was redesigned with removable, adjustable seating.

Swing Inflatable Kayaks now in green or red.

For 2017, more design changes, color choices, lower prices and new models are in transit, including new options for 1-2+ paddlers. The popular Swing I/II and Twist I/II will be available in green and grey as well as the traditional black and red. The Swing EX has been redesigned with Light Nitrilon construction, but remains in the one green color. The Swings now also come with a soft, carrying sack similar to the Twists.

Two “new” models – Seawave and Alfonso – have been available in Europe, but will now enter the US/Canada market.

Innova Seawave touring inflatable kayak for 1-2+ paddlers.The Innova Seawave is a 14’9″ touring kayak  for 1-2+ paddlers with the option to attach single and double decks for protection from the elements, as well as adding a third seat. At a mere 29 lbs, the Seawave is super-lightweight with a 31″ beam and constructed from Nitrilon. MSRP $999.

Alfonso inflatable fishing boat

The Innova Alfonso is an inflatable fishing boat for up to three persons, also constructed from Nitrilon. At 14’1″ and a wide beam of 49″, the Alfonso weighs 75 lbs with plenty of room for gear. A built-in transom allows one to use a small motor. MSRP $1599.

Three other models sport a redesign – the Solar, Safari and Vagabond.

Innova Solar 410C in red

Similar in styling to the original Sunny, the new Innova Solar 410C is a 13’5″ recreational kayak for 1-2+ paddlers – with the ability to add an optional third seat. Constructed from Nitrylon, the 37 lb kayak has a weight capacity of 595 lbs. It’s a great choice for calm waters, rivers and bays. The Solar 410C comes in a choice of red or green colors. MSRP $749.

Innova Safari 330 boasts a longer waterline.

The updated Safari 330C is now 8 inches longer (10’8″) with a wider 31 inch beam. The Safari features self-bailing ports and comes with a carrying pack and thigh straps – perfect for whitewater. The price on the new Safari 330C has been reduced from $899 to $699.

Innova Vagabond inflatable canoe for 1-2+ paddlers.

The Innova Vagabond 1-3 person inflatable canoe has been redesigned with a sportier look. At 12’5″ with a 38″ width, the updated Vagabond weighs 38 lbs with a weight capacity of 528 lbs. Foam-covered plywood seats allow one to paddle sitting or kneeling, with the ability to carry lots of gear or add an optional third seat. The price is lower for 2017, now reduced from $1199 to $899.

Innova Halibut inflatable kayak for anglers

With the organizational changes came some additional lower prices on some of the standard models for 2017. The Twist 1 and Twist 2 LN decreased from $449 and $549 respectively, to $399 and $519.  The Innova Halibut fishing kayak dropped from $1499 to $1199.

Three popular models – the Innova Sunny and both Helios I and Helios II – are being retired. All remaining inventory now feature reduced prices of $699, 749 and $849, respectively.

For more info or to purchase, visit the Innova product pages at www.AirKayaks.com.

Our third video in the AquaGlide Blackfoot series features the Blackfoot Angler HB SL – an 11 foot inflatable fishing kayak capable of carrying up to 400 lbs of paddler and gear.

At 32 lbs, the Blackfoot sports a streamlined silhouette and piercing bow, providing good tracking and glide. Integrated Scotty mounts, bungee deck lacing and multiple tie-downs allow one to attach favorite angling gear.

A high-pressure floor and wide beam provide stability and rigidity, while the seat can easily be moved to accommodate kayakers of many sizes. Includes a backpack, allowing one to easily store it in the trunk of a car, a closet or RV, and bring it along on vacations.

It’s perfect for slow moving rivers, lakes, choppy waters, ocean coastlines and mild rapids.

 

For more information, read our Detailed Product Review on the Blackfoot Angler SL, or visit the Blackfoot product pages on AirKayaks.com.

The next video in our AquaGlide inflatable kayak series on the 13-foot Blackfoot HB Angler XL. With a payload of 600 lbs, the Blackfoot XL is a versatile fishing machine, perfect for one angler needing plenty of room for gear, but spacious enough for two paddlers out for a day of fun.

Integrated Scotty mounts, bungee deck lacing, removable fishing cooler and numerous tie-downs allow one to attach your favorite angling or camping gear. A high-pressure floor and wider beam provides the stability and rigidity to easily stand up.

Paddling comfort is enhanced with the adjustable Core fishing seat mounted on a removable, raised platform for a higher seating position. The seat can easily be moved to accommodate kayakers of varying sizes. Add an optional second seat to take along a second person.

With a streamlined silhouette and longer waterline, the Blackfoot provides great tracking and glide, allowing one to cover long distances.

Best of all, it rolls up into the included backpack, making it a great choice for camping, RVs, closet storage and travel!

Also read our in-depth review on the AquaGlide Blackfoot Angler HB XL inflatable kayak with details on setup, performance and features.

Posted by: airkayaks | December 28, 2016

Video: Innova Twist 1 LN Inflatable Kayak for Solo Paddling

Watch our latest video on the Innova Twist 1 LN inflatable kayak, updated for 2017!

The Innova Twist 1 LN is a PVC-free, environmentally-friendly option for solo paddling. And at a mere 18 lbs, it folds into a small package making it a perfectly portable kayaking option – great for RV’s, camping, backpacking and vacation travel. The 8.5 foot length is great for small and medium-sized paddlers, still leaving plenty of room for gear.

And now featuring a lower price-point of $399!

Need more info? Read our Detailed Product Review on the Innova Twist 1 LN, outlining product setup, features, specifications and performance.

Check out the features, setup, specifications and performance on the Blackfoot Angler 11’0″ Inflatable SUP from AquaGlide in our latest YouTube video.

The Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler is a winner – a versatile paddle board designed for the sportsperson.  Numerous attachment points – such as integrated Scotty mounts, multiple d-rings and two sets of bungee deck lacing – add up to a rugged workhorse that can carry an arsenal up to 450 lbs. Yet, strip it down and it’s a great workout machine. Roll it up into the included backpack, and you can easily toss it in the trunk of a car, an RV or a closet – great for vacations and travel!

Need more info? Read our Detailed Product Review on the Blackfoot Angler SUP or visit the product page at AirKayaks.com.

Posted by: airkayaks | December 24, 2016

Video: Innova Twist 2 LN Inflatable Kayak for 1-2 Paddlers

Watch our latest video on the Innova Twist 2 LN inflatable kayak, updated for 2017!

The Innova Twist 2 LN is a PVC-free, environmentally-friendly tandem option. And at 26 lbs, it’s one of the lightest tandems on the market – great for travel, RV’s, camping, backpacking and vacation travel – while the near 12 foot length is great for two paddlers, adult with child/dog, or one paddler with plenty of room for gear.

And now featuring a lower price-point of $519!

 

Need more info? Read our Detailed Product Review on the Innova Twist 2 LN, outlining product setup, features, specifications and performance.

Despite all the good intentions, often-times your perfect Christmas present won’t arrive in time to put under the tree! There are a myriad of reasons – out-of-stock, longer-then-expected shipping times, procrastination or a combination of errors – but it happens.

As an online retailer, this time of year we – at AirKayaks – field the “will-it-be-here-before-Christmas” question often! Here a a few ideas that can turn a potential disaster into a positive experience, ranging from basic to creative – each with an increasing amount of effort.

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The No-Frills Approach
As stated! Print off a photo/spec sheet of the item you’ve purchased (color copy is best), put it in an envelope or box with approximate delivery time, and wrap it up just like any other present. If you want to take this a little farther, pick up a little item at a local store that is associated with the item purchase, for something “tangible.” Also works well for gift certificates.

The Tiered Approach
1) Pick up a number of boxes in varying sizes – large to small. Sometimes, the bigger range size you have, the better. Stock up on wrapping paper, ribbon and tape.
2) Print off a photo/spec sheet of the item you’ve purchased, put it in an envelope or smallest box with approximated delivery time, and wrap it up just like any other present.
3) Put THAT box inside the next larger box, and wrap that up. You can also include some type of weight to make it more interesting, as well as a note – “Oops! Forgot there was another box.”
4) Continue wrapping each box inside a larger box until you’re all done. Put that under the tree. Dialog throughout the unwrapping process also works, if you’re there.

The “Let’s Make A Deal” Approach
This entails a little more thought and effort, but can be quite fun and REALLY take the ultimate pressure off.

1) Pick up several (6 or more) boxes and wrapping paper.
2) Print off a photo/spec sheet of the item you’ve purchased, put it in an envelope or small box with approximate delivery time and place a note on it saying, YOU WON. Wrap it up just like any other present in one of the standard boxes.  Mark it 6.
3) Inside three of the boxes, put in a note and say “Sorry, wrong box!” Wrap them up and mark them 1, 2 and 3. You can put a stone or something inside for interest.
4) Take two more boxes and do the same thing, with a note like “Wrong again. Mark them 4 and 5.

For the approach, place out boxes 1, 2 and 3 and ask them which box they want. Having someone sing the jingle to Jeopardy works well for background. No matter which one they pick, they all say “wrong box”. Ask them if they want to keep the box they picked, or pick one of the remaining boxes, which also says wrong box. Add in box 4 and 5, and start again. Then add in Box 6 and ask them to pick between the remaining boxes. Worst case, 6 is the last one with the photo.

This one was a HUGE hit at a family gathering.

The Scavenger Hunt Approach
This is only for the creative souls, or the one’s who know they are going to be in DEEP TROUBLE on Christmas morning.

1) Run down to the local store and pick up a few, inexpensive knickknacks that could be associated with your missing present. For instance, we sell inflatable kayaks and paddle boards. A few suggestions would be a tube of sunscreen, safety whistle, waterproof wallet, waistpouch, small towel – three to five will work well dependent on the person.
2) Print off a photo/spec sheet of the item you’ve purchased and wrap it up with a note stating the approximate delivery time.
3) Pick out the same amount of “hiding spots” that have easy clues. Such as … “visit your favorite place to sit”, “look in the bedroom bureau drawer”, “where do you keep the car keys.”
4) Start off with a wrapped up knickknack with the first clue. For instance, the sunscreen with “You’re going to be needing this with what’s at your favorite place to sit.”
5) Continue placing the hidden presents/clues, ending up with, “now check under the tree.”
6) Under the tree is the wrapped up box with photo/spec sheet.

There are a myriad of ways to get through holiday gift-giving. The last one was my mother’s favorite, as she particularly loved getting lots of present – no matter how small – as well as the personalized approach.

Of course, these only work if you will be handing out the gift or putting it under the tree. If you’re still needing to send it somewhere, sometimes a plain old phone call helps.

www.AirKayaks.com

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