Product Review: Compact Innova Helios 2 Inflatable Kayak

This past week we had the opportunity to take our first look at the Innova Helios 2 inflatable kayak – a two person kayak with integrated decks providing expanded storage options.

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 single version Innova Helios 1. So here is our write-up on the the Innova Helios 2 inflatable tandem kayak, which weighs 36 lbs in the pack, is 12’6″ inches in length and has a payload of 396 lbs for two persons and gear. (Please note: some of the information will be duplicated from other Innova reviews).
Getting Started with the Innova Helios 2
The box as received is surprisingly small – only 25 x 16 x 11 inches – and weighing in at 38 lbs.

Inside is a very nifty and compact backpack with adjustable shoulder straps, front pouch pocket and roll top closure. This contains the kayak body, foot rests, repair kit, instructions, valve adaptor and sponge. At only 36 lbs for the pack and contents, the Helios 2 is small enough to be considered carry-on luggage, and will fit in an airplane overhead bin. Packed dimensions are 22 x 15 x 9 inches as received in the bag.
Helios 2 Setup/Inflatation
We read through the included instruction manuals. Just like all the other Innova  products, the Innova Helios 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.

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.

The Helios 2 has a “shoe” for those using an optional tracking fin. (Please note: both Helios kayaks do not come with the tracking fin, though we tested the following Helios 2 with one.) Install the tracking fin 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 for a few minutes to get the second slot into position; this gets easier with use. (AirKayaks note: The second time we installed the fin, the kayak was wet and it was much simpler. According to Innova, utilizing McNett UV Tech also helps initially, but after

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

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