Tag Archives: lightweight kayaks

Product Review: Aquaglide Backwoods Expedition 85 Inflatable Packable Kayak

Earlier this year, AquaGlide unveiled their updated inflatable kayak lineup for 2021, which included a new category of packable kayaks – the Backwoods Series. The Backwoods consists of three models weighing from 7 to 12 lbs, making them prime choices for remote travel.

Our first review on AquaGlide’s new Backwoods Series for 2021 focuses on the Expedition 85, an 8′ 6″ long, ultralite inflatable kayak designed for backpacking and solo paddling. (Please note: some of the information will be repeated from other writeups.)
Getting Started with the Aquaglide Backwoods Expedition 85 Packable Inflatable Kayak
We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable kayak/packraft body, carrying case (which doubles as an inflation bag), instructions, repair kit (no glue), tracking fin, seat, foot pump and two mesh bags.
Initial measurements showed the kayak body weighs approximately 12 lbs, with a folded size of 22 x 13 x 11 inches. The kayak with seat, fin and pump – all in the backpack – weighs roughly 15 lbs. All boxed up, the dimensions are 23 x 15 x 14 inches with a shipping weight of 20 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.)
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).

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

There are two Boston valves (side and the floor) with two more small chambers utilizing a twistlock valve for the seat. Boston valves are two-part, screw-on valves. The bottom portion is threaded onto the kayak, the top valve is screwed open for inflation and then tightened shut after inflation. Air is easily released by unscrewing the base connector. How does it work? A flap inside the valve opens when air is pumped into the kayak, and falls shut when not pumped so that air will not rush back out.
(AirKayaks Side note #2: The Boston valves have a tether that keeps the valve attached to the kayak, ensuring that the valves don’t get lost after deflating. Make sure that the tether does not get in the way when screwing on the valve base,and the valve is not cross-threaded, or you may have some air leakage.)

The Expedition 85 comes with two methods of inflation – a small, lightweight foot pump and an inflator bag (which also doubles as the carrying case). How does the inflator bag work? The premise is to shake the inflator bag to

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Aquaglide 2021 Inflatable Kayak Line – What’s New

We recently received information on Aquaglide’s upcoming new inflatable kayak line for 2021.

Originally a division of North Sports Inc, the Aquaglide brand has grown steadily to encompass water sports products such as commercial and residential water trampolines, tow toys, recreational water equipment and the highly popular Multisport 270 – an inflatable windsurf/sailboat/pull toy/kayak combo. North Sports was subsequently acquired by Connelly Skis, well known for their water skis and water sports equipment.
Now entering the eighth season, AquaGlide’s paddling line of inflatable kayaks and SUPs has dramatically expanded the options available to water enthusiasts looking for portability.

For 2021, Aquaglide continues with 20 models for recreational, touring, fishing, whitewater/crossover and backcountry. This includes the revamping of one model, overhaul of three models, the introduction of four models and the retirement of one model. Twelve models remain the same structurally and graphically, with some price increases.
Big changes include a redesigned Blackfoot Angler series and an overhaul of the Chelan touring line; neither of these were updated in 2020. But the biggest news is the introduction of a totally new category of Backwoods UltraLight kayaks, featuring 3 models weighing in at 7.5 lbs to 13 lbs.

The popular Blackfoot Angler series has undergone a major overhaul and now features the Blackfoot 130 and Blackfoot 160 true tandem.

The Blackfoot 125 has been redesigned as a slightly longer 13 foot by 40 inch width Blackfoot Angler 130 for one paddler, but with space enough to outfit it as a double by adding an extra seat. A new BlackFoot Angler 160 – at a whopping 16 feet with 40 inch width – is a true tandem with all the bells and whistles and an 800 lb payload. The Blackfoot 110 solo has been retired.

Besides beefed up graphics, new features include a series of low tie-down loops on the floor and side molle plates to provide numerous options for attaching gear. EVA foam traction pads on the floor offer better grip and comfort when standing.

The Blackfoots come standard with Aquaglide’s new high-low Frame Seat which features a shelf under the seat for stashing gear.  Street prices on the Blackfoot 130 increased to $1199.99 while the Blackfoot 160 retails for $1499.99.

The Chelan touring series, comprised of the Chelan 120 single and Chelan 140 and Chelan 155 XL tandems, have undergone major upgrades. While each of the kayaks still feature high pressure floors and Duratex tubeless construction, the color and graphics have undergone a total facelift as well as a structural redesign. The Chelan silhouette is now more refined with a lowered nose rocker, providing better tracking and paddling performance.

Each of the Chelans now feature an integrated universal mount on the floor in front of each seat as well as side

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

2020 Guide to Choosing Your Kokopelli Inflatable Packraft

Founded in 2014, Kokopelli Outdoors, Inc is one of several of companies exclusively focused on inflatable packrafts, and increasingly known for performance, quality and durability.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “packrafts” are loosely defined as 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. For 2020, Kokopelli’s lineup consists of seven packraft models for whitewater, lakes and rivers, ranging in size from 7’1″ to 10’2″ with a weight range of 4.6 lbs to 18 lbs. This includes the introduction of one new model – the beefy XPD whitewater packraft – as well as product upgrades and some new accessories. Kokopelli is also expanding into the inflatable kayak market, with the introduction of two new touring models – the Moki and Moki-lite – for lakes, slow rivers and ocean.

With all the styles, activity types, sizes and features, how does one choose the packraft best suited for them?
In the following sections, we outline the different Kokopelli packraft styles. We’ve also put together a comparison chart on each of the packrafts and kayaks, detailing the features and specifications for each model, followed by weights and types of included accessories as well as compatibility with optional Kokopelli accessories. This is located at the bottom of this article, but you can also see a downloadable PDF copy of the complete table. If you still have questions, you can view details on the various Kokopelli Packrafts at http://www.AirKayaks.com. Or feel free to contact us at info@AirKayaks.com, or call 707-998-0135.
Guide to Choosing Your 2020 Kokopelli Packraft and Inflatable Kayak
Kokopelli packrafts are designed with two cockpit styles – open or decked.

The two packrafts with spray decks – Nirvana SD and Rogue – feature a more enclosed seating option which reduces exposure to water, cold, sun or wind. Each includes a spray skirt which fastens to a coaming lip around the seating well, and then to your body for even less exposure.

All other Kokopelli packrafts feature open seating, with either self-bailing ports or no ports. The self-bailing ports are useful if you will be running whitewater, allowing any water spilling into the raft to pass through open holes in the floor. Conversely, if you are in calmer situations, water may accumulate inside. The two self-bailing models – Nirvana SB and Recon – have integrated floors and seat bases so that the paddler sits a bit higher, out of any pooled water. The other Kokopelli packrafts (including the decked versions) are designed without any ports.

The 2020 packrafts and kayaks have been regrouped into three categories – Whitewater, Lake and Adventure.

The Whitewater Series consists of three models –

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Video: Deschutes 130 Inflatable Kayak from Aquaglide

Our latest video on Aquaglide’s new Deschutes 130 inflatable kayak for one paddler.

The new Deschutes 130 is a lightweight minimalist that is simple to inflate, easy to launch, fun, nimble and paddles well. A new Feather Frame features a non-inflatable laminated EVA foam floor with a crossbar, making the kayak rigid without all the bulk. The rear cargo well is perfect for hauling camping gear, or bringing along a small child or furry friend. The open cockpit design is best suited for lakes, bays, calm rivers and inland waters. At 13 feet in length, 28 lbs in the included backpack and a payload of 300 lbs, the Deschutes 130 is perfect for all ages and experience levels.

For more info on set up, features, specification and performance, see our detailed product review/write-up with photos on the Aquaglide Deschutes 130 inflatable kayak. To purchase, visit the Aquaglide Deschutes 130 product page at AirKayaks.com. You can also contact us at info@airkayaks.com or give us a call at 707-998-0135.

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Video: Deschutes 110 Inflatable Kayak from Aquaglide

Our latest video on Aquaglide’s new Deschutes 110 inflatable kayak for one paddler.

The new Deschutes 110 is a lightweight minimalist that is simple to inflate, easy to launch, fun, nimble and paddles well. A new Feather Frame features a non-inflatable laminated EVA foam floor with a crossbar, making the kayak rigid without all the bulk. The open cockpit design is best suited for lakes, bays, calm rivers and inland waters. At 11 feet in length, 24 lbs in the included backpack and a payload of 250 lbs, the Deschutes 110 is perfect for all ages and experience levels.

For more info on set up, features, specification and performance, see our detailed product review/write-up with photos on the Aquaglide Deschutes 110 inflatable kayak. To purchase, visit the Aquaglide Deschutes 110 product page at AirKayaks.com. You can also contact us at info@airkayaks.com or give us a call at 707-998-0135.

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Rugged New Kokopelli XPD Inflatable Packraft

One of the exciting new models we’ve seen for 2020 is Kokopelli Packraft’s rugged XPD Packraft, featuring a beefed up hull which can be inflated to higher pressures of 2 to 3 PSI.

This week, Kokopelli launched a Kickstarter Campaign to boost awareness of the XPD, which is expected to arrive later this spring.

What’s so special? While the XPD packraft is based on the Kokopelli Rogue-Lite profile, the XPD features a more beefed-up construction for rigorous use on flat water and lakes through Class II. The hull is constructed from a reinforced 0.9mm (1000 denier) PVC, yet still packs down to the size of a large sleeping bag, roughly 22 x 12 x 8 inches in size. The XPD sports GRI push-push military valves, rather than the Leafield D4 valves found on the previous packrafts. Dimensions are the same as the popular Rogue Lite at 85 by 37 inches, but weighs in at 13 lbs with a payload of 300 lbs.
We were able to see an initial model last fall, when Kokopelli’s Sales Manager – Andrew Duran – flew a prototype out to California for us to test out.

Our first take on the XPD? It fills a niche for recreational flatwater paddling that is portable and fun. It’s rugged, very simple to set up, easy to get into, lightweight and zippy. As someone once said, “It turns on a dime and gives you back change.”
The open design is perfect for those who have physical disabilities or dislike being enclosed. It is easily paddled by large and small (my 6’2″ husband in the XPD above) older and younger, and it’s rugged enought to hand over to the kids or to take a furry companion.

And it’s just heavy enough to seat itself in the water, yet – at 13 lbs – light enough to toss around. Check out the following video:

The XPD will be available in two colors – red and green – both with and without tizip. MSRP is $749 and $899 respectively.
See the Kokopelli Packraft XPD Kickstarter Campaign, and also check out our wordpress blog on the Kokopelli Packraft 2020 Product Line.

We also have a limited amount of past season 2019 Kokopelli Packraft models at 15% off, with prices as low as $699 with a free paddle.
The XPDs are expected to be available at AirKayaks.com in late spring. Need more info? Feel free to Contact Us or give us a call at 707-998-0135.

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Kokopelli Packraft Summer Sale – 15% to 20% off thru May 31st

With sizzling summer days just around the corner, now is a great time to pick up a Kokopelli Packraft during AirKayaks’ Summer Kickoff Sale. All in-stock Kokopelli Packrafts are 15% to 20% off through May 31st.
Photo by Colin Arisman
Now starting at $699, the Kokopelli product line consists of eight models for whitewater, lakes, rivers and ocean, ranging in size from 7’1″ to 10’2″ with a weight range of 4.6 lbs to 18 lbs.
Photo credit: Birch Block
The Adventure Series consists of two models – Rogue and Rogue-Lite – geared towards extremely packable “adventures.” As a “Gear of the Year” selection winner from Men’s Health magazine, both feature a thinner hull material with beefed-up Kevlar reinforcement which packs down smaller and is lighter, making it more desirable for carrying long distances.

New for this year is the bomb-proof 18-lb. Kokopelli Recon, a beefy packraft built to “take a licking and keep on ticking.” The Recon joins the classic Kokopelli Nirvana Self Bailer and Nirvana Spraydeck, perfect for rushing rivers through Class III.

Those interested in calmer paddling experiences will find the Castaway XL or Twain Tandem perfect for exploring remote lakes and fishing holes.

Need help making a decision? Read about the 2019 Kokopelli Product Line, or peruse through our Guide to Choosing Your Kokopelli Packraft. You can also give us a call at 707-998-0135.
Free shipping in the lower 48 states, and NO TAX, so shop early for best selection!

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

2019 Innova by Gumotex Inflatable Kayak Line Update

We recently obtained details on the upcoming 2019 inflatable kayak and canoe product line for Innova Kayaks by Gumotex.
Gumotex is well-known in Europe as a manufacturer of high-quality inflatable kayaks and canoes which are environmentally friendly as they use minimal PVC. Each can be inflated up to 3-PSI, making them more rigid for better performance. Additionally, the manufacturing process and materials produce kayaks that are quite compact, making them a great choice for travel.

In 2016, Gumotex acquired the company and assets for Innova, Gumotex’s US-based dealership, and began importing more of the Gumotex product line to the US under the name Innova Kayaks by Gumotex.
For 2019, the Innova product line has been redesigned with product tweaks, material upgrades, price changes and the introduction of one new model featuring high-pressure, drop-stitch material.

On the entry-level side, Innova has redesigned the popular 8’6″ Twist 1 and 11’10” Twist 2. Both kayaks are now constructed from Nitrilon, the rugged material used in the original Sunny and Helios models and currently used on the Solar and Safari models; the 2018 models were produced using Light Nitrylon, a less rugged and lighter material. Nitrilon (also called Nitrylon) consists of a synthetic rubber coating over polyester on the inside and outside of the tube; it is stronger, more abrasion and puncture-resistant than PVC as well as being greener – there is minimal out-gassing.
While the kayak silhouettes remain virtually unchanged, the added material thickness increases the kayak weights from 16 and 24 lbs, to 20 and 29 lbs respectively. With the material upgrade comes price increases. The Twist 1 pricing will rise from $399 to $449, while the Twist 2 increases from $519 to $599. The Twist 2 interior has been redesigned slightly to include additional d-rings, providing an easy conversion from a tandem to a solo kayak, thus more versatile for larger paddlers, or those needing more space for extra gear.

The 13’5″ Solar 410C has been redesigned as the Solar 2019 and can be considered for 1-2+ paddlers. While material construction remains the same, the interior has undergone some updates with seating placement, splash guards and added bungee deck lacing. The kayak comes with two seats, but there is the option to purchase a third inflatable seat, allowing two adults and a small child. The Solar comes with the upgraded 80L backpack similar to the one included with the Sunny and Helios. Prices remain the same at $759.

The decked Swing series – consisting of the 10’4″ Swing 1 and the 13’2″ Swing II – have also undergone changes. While the upper deck still features a polyester (PES) fabric with polyurethane (PUR) coating, the kayak hulls have transitioned to Nitrilon, matching the construction of the current 13’6″ Swing

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Product Review: New Hi-Pressure Sport DS™ Inflatable Kayak from Advanced Elements

Earlier this spring, our first shipment of the new AdvancedFrame Sport DS arrived in port, becoming the fourth addition to the popular Advanced Elements DS series* of high pressure inflatable kayaks.
Manufactured by Advanced Elements exclusively for AirKayaks.com, the new Sport DS features the same footprint as the current low-pressure AE1017 Sport, but with high-pressure floor and upgraded accessories for added comfort and performance.

Following are details on the AdvancedFrame Sport DS AE1017DS, a 10’5″ hi-pressure inflatable weighing in at roughly 28 lbs with an MSRP of $499. (Please note: some of this will be repeated from prior reviews.)
Getting Started with the AdvancedFrame Sport DS Kayak
The box as received weighs 36 lbs, measuring 31 x 18 x 11 inches.

Inside, the rugged carrying case measures 33 x 19 x 11 inches, and houses the kayak body, high-backed lumbar seat, high pressure floor, repair kit, double action pump, gauge and instructions. The kayak and pump in the case weighs 30 lbs, while the kayak and seat alone are 28 lbs. The case has just enough room to include a breakdown paddle (not included). AirKayaks note: Take a good look at how the kayak is folded BEFORE setting up, this will help during breakdown.
AdvancedFrame Sport DS Kayak Setup/Inflation
The instructions are located in a small plastic pocket inside the carrying case. The manual included is for the standard low-pressure Sport, with an additional sheet on using the high-pressure DS floor. The inflation procedure is similar for both versions of the Sport, with the one difference the floor inflation pressure of 4-6 PSI for the dropstitch floor.

Additionally, a short version of the DS inflation can be found on the tag attached to the rear carrying handle.
First step, unfold the kayak. The AdvancedFrame Sport DS – along with all AdvancedFrame models – features an “inner rib” in the bow and stern, which is basically a u-shaped aluminum rib, about a foot long and one-half inch wide.

This comes “pre-assembled” meaning it arrives already inserted into two sleeves inside the kayak cover. Unless you remove the inner bladder, they remain in position. When the kayak is pumped up, the inner bladder with rib presses against the kayak cover – that, in conjunction with two bow and stern plastic sheets, give the kayak a sharp silhouette which aids in slicing through the water.

The kayak features 5 inflation chambers – two military valves and 3 twist-loks. The military-style plunger valves are simple to use – twist up to inflate (this is the closed position where air goes in and doesn’t come out) and down to deflate (air goes in and comes back out).

The pump comes with a screw-on adaptor for the main chamber, but a standard Boston valve adaptor will friction fit

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

New 2018 Kokopelli Inflatable Packraft Product Line

We recently received news on the new 2018 Kokopelli lineup of inflatable packrafts.

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.
Last year’s Kokopelli line-up consisted of four whitewater models – the Nirvana and Nirvana XL in self-bailing and spray deck versions – joined by three touring series: the Castaway, Castaway XL and a two-person version named the Twain. The two longer touring series models featured packrafts with removable tracking fins, making them better suited for calm water paddling. Also in 2017, the packrafts were reengineered with upgraded Leafield D7 military valves, replacing the original Boston valves. The D7 valve seal was designed to be self-cleaning, reducing leakage risks due to dirt contamination.

For 2018, Kokopelli adds two new models and continues to streamline, re-organize and upgrade the product line – which also resulted in price increases.
A new bottom hull construction makes the packrafts more rigid. By repositioning where the hull bottom attaches to the side chambers, the paddler sits a bit higher, and doesn’t sag down in the boat. This in turn improves the backband support (it is now positioned lower on the back), as well as making it easier to paddle over the side chambers. Together, the improvements eliminated the need for an inflatable floor, saving on weight.
The packraft sterns were redesigned with 30% more volume, providing greater buoyancy and a slightly lower waterline, eliminating water pooling issues as well as allowing more gear to be stored in the tizip versions.
All backbands and inflatable seats feature a beefed up construction with an easier attachment system.
Last season’s new French Gray color (more of a desaturated Army gray-green for those seeking less visiblity) returns for 2018. The color has been expanded to the Twain series.
The 2018 Whitewater series now consists of two models – the Nirvana Spraydeck and the Nirvana Self Bailer – each with tizip options. While there has been no change to the dimensional specifications or weights, the Nirvana Self Bailer is the only packraft with an inflatable floor (elevating the paddler above any water) which now boasts an integrated seat base and separate backband.
The Nirvana XL self-bailing whitewater series has been eliminated as the longer packrafts tend to wrap on rocks and get caught in holes. Instead, the Nirvana XL deck-version has been moved into the touring series as the Castaway XL with spray deck.

The Touring series – consisting of the Castaway, Castaway XL and Twain 2 – remain virtually unchanged as open models, except for the addition of the Castaway XL

Original Source: AirKayaks >>