Last year, AquaGlide unveiled their updated inflatable kayak lineup for 2020, which included a series of new models – Deschutes, McKenzies and Navarros – with revamps to the Chinook model. For 2021, Aquaglide completed the line by redesigned two remaining models – the Chelans and the Blackfoots.
With inventory rapidly becoming as scarce as the 2020 paddling season, we decided to snag a few of the new models for inflation and review, initially focusing on the AquaGlide Chelans.
Our first review on AquaGlide’s revised products for 2021 focuses on the Chelan 120, an 11′ 4″ long, high-pressure, inflatable kayak designed for solo paddling. (Please note: some of the information will be repeated from other writeups.)
Getting Started with the Aquaglide Chelan 120:
We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable kayak, backpack, instructions, repair kit with bag of miscellaneous items, foot brace, tracking fin, seat, valve adaptor and two plastic splash guards. First thing to note – the kayak is nicely packaged with bubble wrap protecting valves, handles, etc. Also to note – the repair kit features generous-sized repair patches, a valve wrench and glue.
Initial measurements showed the kayak body weighs approximately 27 lbs, with a folded size of 27 x 8 x 21 inches. The kayak with seat, fin and brace – all in the backpack – weighs 38 lbs with a backpack size of roughly 39 x 17 x 18 inches. All boxed up, the dimensions are 30 x 22 x 14 inches with a shipping weight of 46 lbs. We were able to get everything – plus a pump and paddle – into the pack.
(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.)
We started off by reading the instructions. While Aquaglide’s manuals were somewhat sketchy in the past, the included instructions were detailed and easy to use (all languages are now in their own section). Additionally, a QR Code tag is now attached to the kayak; a quick scan with your cell phone allows you to access the instructions online.
Set up is straight-forward and simple – unpack, unfold, inflate.
There are three military valves (both sides and the floor) with one more small chamber utilizing a twistlock valve for the seat base. 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).
The instructions say to pump up the side chambers to 3 PSI, first.
The Chelan 120