Posted by: airkayaks | August 3, 2014

Product Review: Klickitat One HB Whitewater Inflatable Kayak from AquaGlide

We continue with our series on the new Aquaglide line of inflatable kayaks. Our previous reviews focused on the Chinook price-point line, the high-pressure Columbia touring series and the Deschutes recreational kayaks. We now move on to the high-pressure Klickitat whitewater models.

Klickitat One HB inflatable kayak from AquaGlide

Following is our writeup on the Klickitat One HB, a 10-foot inflatable one-person self-bailing kayak selling for $599.

Getting Started with the Klickitat One:

We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable kayak, backpack, instructions, repair kit, foot brace, tracking fin and seat.

What's in the Klickitat One HB box.

Initial measurements showed the kayak body weighs 22 lbs, with a backpack size of roughly 27 x 22 x 12 inches, while the kayak with seat, fin and brace – all in the backpack – weighs 28 lbs. Boxed up, the dimensions are 33 x 20 x 17 inches with a shipping weight of 37 lbs.

(AirKayaks Side note #1: When initially removing the kayak from the carrying case, take a good look at how the kayak is folded This is probably the most overlooked step and it is VERY helpful when trying to get the kayak back into the bag.)

The included instructions are adequate and include diagrams with inflation details.

Unfolding the Klickitat One body.

Set up is straight-forward and simple  – unpack, unfold, inflate.

There are three inflation chambers utilizing high-pressure military valves – the two side chambers and the floor. The floor is pumped up first.

Military valve.

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).

Military adaptor.

The Klickitat One HB floor requires a military valve adaptor, which does not come with most standard pumps. Here is where we came to our first issue, but one we already knew about from previous reviews – no military valve adaptor was included. In the interim, Aquaglide had shipped us a box of adaptors, so we were ready to keep going. (AirKayaks note #2: The first couple of Aquaglide shipments did not include the adaptor, but subsequent shipments will. We did obtain a number of fittings that we will be including with the first shipments.) Friction fit the military valve adaptor onto the Boston valve adaptor, then lock onto the military valve with a slight twist. Since the chambers are inflated from 3 to 12 PSI, it is helpful to use a pump with pressure gauge to ensure the kayak is inflated appropriately.

Pumping up the Klickitat floor chamber

The floor is held in place with two straps. Pump up the floor to  at least 6 PSI – this took us about 20 complete pumps with a double action pump. While the instructions say it can be inflated up to 12 PSI, at 6 PSI it is extremely rigid; most people will not need it to be higher than this. Replace the valve cap cover.

At this point, we suggest that you double check the floor positioning. Pull up on the sides, and make sure the floor looks evenly centered.

Pumping up the Klickitat side chamber

Move on to the side chambers. The instructions suggest pumping up each side about one-third, working back and forth to prevent twisting. We pumped up one side chamber about 15 strokes, and then moved to the other and did the same. Once again, pull up on the sides to make sure the floor looks evenly placed – you can even flip the kayak over to check the outline of the hull. Then another 12 on each side will get it rounded out – again check the positioning. A final 6 or so pumps will bring it to 3 PSI, and everything should look balanced. (AirKayaks side note #4: If using a pressure gauge – and dependent on the valve adaptor you are using – please note that gauges work on back pressure; the gauge will only register as you are pushing in air, and will drop to zero when you stop.)

Attaching the seat

Next attach the Whitewater seat – this stays in position utilizing velcro and adjustable side straps. The seating position will be dependent on the size of the paddler, but for solo paddling, you want to place the seat slightly rear of center. For your first set up, try placing the front of the seat base about even with the front of the side handle. Attach the front seat quick-connect clips to the second set of d-rings, and the rear seat clips to the fourth set of d-rings; once you get into the kayak, you can tighten up the side straps until you reach the support level that is comfortable for you, or relocate the seat to find the “sweet” spot.

Installing the foot brace.

Next place the foot brace on the velcro strips so that your legs are slightly bent when pressing against them – you can reposition these when you get into the kayak.

Installing the tracking fin.

The last step is to attach the removable tracking fin, which enhances paddling/tracking in deeper water. (If planning on paddling whitewater, don’t install the fin). Remove the retaining pin from the fin slot by pulling on the string. Make sure the fin is pointing towards the rear of the kayak, then insert the front of the fin, pushing back and down, to lock the back end. Then slide forward until the holes line up, and replace the retaining pin. At this point, pull up on the fin to make sure you have it locked in position. Tie the string around the grommet just forward of the fin, keeping it loose – this ensures that you don’t lose the pin but have enough “string” to attach.

Very lightweight and easy to carry.

That’s it! You’re ready to paddle.

Features and Specifications on the Klickitat One HB Inflatable Kayak

Molded rubber handles

The Klickitat One HB is constructed with four molded carrying handles (bow, stern and both sides), but it’s light enough to hook the side of the kayak over your shoulder.

Splash decks

Two spray decks – front and rear – extend partly over the seating well and help prevent water from splashing in. Each deck extends back 21 inches over the seating well.

D-rings

There are four sets of inner plastic d-rings (used to attach the seats as well as gear); these begin 37 inches back from the snout, and are spaced 13 to 16 inches apart.

Three military valves.

There are three military valves – both side chambers and the floor.

Padded white water seat.

The padded, Aquaglide whitewater seats feature adjustable side straps which quickly clip into position (Airkayaks note: the metal clips go towards the front, the plastic clips toward the rear); the straps can be adjusted up to 15 inches.

Fishing rod holders and mesh pocket on the seat

Each of the seats comes equipped with 2 fishing rod holders, one d-ring on each side and a deep mesh storage pocket (measuring 5 x 8 x 9 inches) for gear. The 1-inch thick seat bases are 15 inches wide by 16 inches deep, and the backs are 12.5 inches tall in a stiff foam, encircling 26-inches wide.

Four self-bailing plugs and one rear drain plug

The floor is constructed from a 6-12 PSI high-pressure, drop-stitch material, and is designed as “raised seating,” creating four 3″ deep side-well cutouts that collect any water splashing inside; each side-well has a screw-in self-bailing port which can be opened or closed, dependent on whether you are in whitewater (open to let the water drain through) or flat water (closed to not allow water to seep in). There is one rear drain plug.

Velcro strips for ultimate seating positions

Two 58-inch velcro strips are centered on the floor, three inches apart, and are used to position the seats and foot braces.

Adjustable foot brace

The foot brace is padded – 10 x 3 inches long – with velcroed strips 8 inches in length.

Aqualgide backpack is roomy.

The backpack is quite roomy. Two-way zippers run along three sides, allowing the pack to be completely opened for easy access and stowage. Top, side and rear carrying handles provide a myriad of handling options, as well as two padded, adjustable backpack shoulder straps. A drawstring mesh pocket, approximately 14 x 18 inches deep, is perfect for storing a hand pump. Two adjustable cinch straps allow one to tighten the pack. Pack measurements are approximately 28 inches wide x 15 inches deep x 26 inches tall.

klick23

The kayak body consists of commercial grade Duratex hull material, which is rugged and puncture-resistant; the smooth skin allows water to run off, and easily dry.  There is one landing plate.

Heavy-duty nose cones

The bow and stern feature a beefed-up cone, able to take a beating.

Rugged hull with tracking fin and landing plated

The tracking fin is hefty, measuring 5 x 12 inches with locking pin.

Klickitat One HB inflatable kayak from AquaGlide

We did measurement tests. The Klickitat One HB kayak inflated is 115 inches long and approximately 36 inches wide (specs say 10 feet x 36 inches wide.) The side bladders are roughly 10 inches in diameter, making the sides 8 to 9 inches above the seating area. Interior dimensions are approximately 96 inches long (length of the raised seating area) by approximately 16-17 inches at the widest point.

Dependent on where the seats are positioned, there is roughly 53 inches from the back of the seat to the end of the bow floor well and 40 inches from the seat back to the stern; this can be repositioned, providing 69 inches from seat back to bow, and 27 inches behind the seat. Weight limitations are 300 lbs for person and gear.

AquaGlide Klickitat One HB on the Water.

Klickitat One HB on the water.

I took the Klickitat One HB out for some short paddles. The first time was in fairly calm water – at my height of 5′ 4″, the kayak feels solid and is roomy – I was even able to stand up without tipping. The ability to move the seat and foot brace to a multitude of positions is a plus. As the Klickitat is a “lighterweight” kayak designed for both whitewater and flatwater, the nose does wag a bit while paddling, but I did not find that to be a problem. This can be minimized by keeping your paddle lower to the water (not power paddling).

Klickitat One HB on the water.

My husband – at 6′ 2″ – found the kayak to be quite comfortable while the seat provided the support he likes. The open cockpit allows him to easily get in and out without feeling cramped. He also found the snout to wag a bit.

I went out again, this time with a 14 lb pack that I put in the bow. The added weight in front helped quite a bit, minimizing the wagging. I then took my canine paddling buddy Woody out with me. Despite continuing attempts to explore all floating objects, the kayak is quite stable, and the material rugged enough that I had no worries about sharp claws. His added weight in the front of the kayak minimized the “drift” that I felt, and the kayak paddled and tracked well. One thing to note is that the kayak turns on a dime.

The kayak is very easy to fold up, and actually rolls up to a much smaller package than one would imagine possible. The bag is spacious enough to carry the seat, brace and paddle, and opens wide enough to easily get the kayak back into the pack.

Klickitat One HB on whitewater.

From a self-bailing perspective, I am limited; we do not have whitewater access here, but the Klickitat feels like it would be a blast running waves or barreling downriver. While four self-bailing ports (and rear drain plug) seemed meager, the AquaGlide designers performed extensive testing with experienced white water rafters, who felt the water drainage adequate.

Klickitat One in Iceland

Earlier this summer of 2014, we partnered with AquaGlide to provide two kayaks – a Klickitat Two HB and a Chinook Two – for an Icelandic video excursion. Charles Turnbull and companions hiked through the volcanic highland region of Iceland and onto the Hofsjökull ice cap, crossing the ice to the headwaters of the Pjorsa River, then kayaked 230km of whitewater and flat sections to the Northern Sea. According to Charles, “What an epic 20 days. The boats were amazing, so tough. Grade III glacial water, volcanic rocks, long portages – held up perfectly. The footage and pictures we have are awesome as well, will send through in the next week or so.” Stay tuned and sometime in the future – after he has recuperated – we’ll be posting his trip log and some video footage.

But for now, I’ll let this video speak for itself, taken at Shippard Falls in Wind River, Washington:

Bottom line on the AquaGlide Klickitat One HB

Klickitat One HB on the water.

The Klickitat One HB is a good inflatable kayak choice for solo paddlers wanting a lightweight recreational kayak that can cross from calm water to rapids.

It’s reminiscent of the earlier Sevylor white water inflatables – such as the XK100 and the River kayak – but with more attention to detail. These include fishing rod holders, multiple d-rings, screw-on drain plugs, beefed-up end caps, deck lacing and infinite seating positions.

Klickitat One HB on the water.

As a flat water option, the Klickitat would be great for fishing, particularly with the built-in rod holders. There is plenty of room for gear, while the addition of a pack or weight or in the front allows one to paddle more evenly. When cinched, the seat back provides a good amount of support.

Rigid enough to stand up inside.

The high-pressure floor provides extreme rigidity while the smooth skin material is very easy to dry off and pack up. It rolls up surprisingly well, easily fitting into the trunk of a small car or an RV, making it a portable option for vacation travel.

The open cockpit design will appeal to those who are uncomfortable being enclosed, paddlers who need easy entry and exit (such as seniors or those with physical limitations), those in need of a quick dip on a hot summer day.

By removing the fin and opening the port holes, paddlers will find a nimble little kayak capable of springing through rapids.

Klickitat One HB on the water.

The Klickitat One is a good choice for slow and fast moving rivers, lakes and coastal kayaking, or for some light surf/wave-running – probably through Class III.

For more details or to purchase, visit the AquaGlide Klickitat One HB product page at AirKayaks.com. Stay tuned, we’ll have the Klickitat One HB video out within a couple of weeks.

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