We recently had the opportunity to take out one of the Angler inflatable kayaks from Airis Inflatables – the kayak division of Walker Bay.
While marketed as a fishing kayak – and indeed it comes with a nifty accessory shelf and fishing mounts – the 12 foot Angler is a great choice for those that have lots of gear to transport. Birders, photographers and videographers will find the numerous attachment points, d-rings and storage options quite handy. Those headed out for day trips or even overnight, will also find a variety of places to attach & stash equipment.
AirPack BackPack: The first thing to note is the rugged AirPack backpack that houses the kayak. Measuring roughly 28 x 19x 11″, the pack features a mesh bottom for drainage, drawstring mesh top, front zipper pocket, two back padded shoulder straps; double side straps to attach the hand pump. It is rugged enough to check as baggage, and is fairly easy to haul around, weighing only 38 lbs. when all packed up.
Inflating the kayak: Set up is simple – unpack, unfold, inflate. We pumped up the kayak using the included double-action hand pump with attached pressure gauge. The military-style plunger valves are simple to use – twist one way to inflate and the other to deflate. While there are only two valves (one in the rear and one in the floor) expect a little bit of a workout during the 5-10 minutes it takes for standard manual inflation.
Airis Inflatable Kayaks are made using AirWeb High Pressure Construction (patent pending), formed from a heavy duty, seven layer polymer coated fabric that is joined inside by thousands of drop-stitch fibers. AirWeb makes it possible to inflate Airis Kayaks to more than 6.5 PSI or 0.45 bar, up to six times the maximum air pressure of other inflatable kayaks! This creates a hull that is incredibly rigid and durable without the use of complicated frame parts, and keeps the assembly of Airis Kayaks quick and simple.
As a tip, we used an Advanced Elements 12V pump to circumvent 80% of the inflation time and effort, and then topped it off with the hand pump. You will need to hold the the pump nozzle into the valve, as it doesn’t lock into position, but it works. You’ll still earn your merit badge getting it up to the 6.5PSI level with the hand pump (we quit at 5PSI and didn’t notice any problems). If you’re planning a short jaunt, simply attach the seat and you’re ready to go!
On the Water: We headed out for a short cruise and found the kayak to paddle and track well.
The seating area is 16 x 48 inches. Three integrated foot braces are located roughly 34, 38 and 42 inches from the back of the seating area, providing comfort for a variety of paddling sizes. A drain plug in the floor also serves as “cup holder” for your favorite beverage. The kayak has a bow keel & rear skeg.
Unlike many hard shells, the inflatables are very stable. We were able to stand up in the kayak fairly easily without tipping. It is low enough to the water to make jumping off and re-entry a breeze. One can also sit sideways, dangling their legs.
The high-backed seat is adjustable and provides plenty of support. Tired of paddling, or wanting to fish? Just snap your paddle into the two side paddle holders.
The Angler package comes with an aluminum accessory mount board and two fishing rod holders. A Versa-Track accessory attachment system runs 7ft in length down two sides, and boasts 32 separate attachment points for gear. One simply “threads” the accessory board onto the Versatrack system behind the seat.
At 16 x 16 x 5 inches deep, the self-draining, oversized rear storage compartment is large enough to house a milk crate, and features added bungee deck lacing.
Additional space is found in the 7 x 9 x 9 inch deep covered bow compartment, also with deck lacing. Six D-rings, two molded side handles, a heavy duty d-ring bow handle with 76 inch bowline, splash guard and bow bumper rail are other features.
The Airis Angler is a wonderful, high-quality kayak. It’s rugged, beautifully made – a real attention grabber – with numerous nifty little details.
If you’re looking for speed, check out the Angler’s sibling – the Velocity – but if you want a stable, rugged craft offering lots of versatility and storage options, this is it!
It comes in two colors – yellow and camouflage. For more details see http://www.airkayaks.com/products/Airis-Angler-Camo-Fishing-Inflatable-Kayak-%252d-%2316802.html