Innova Recycling Program

Innova kayaks and canoes are made of rubber.  Unlike PVC boats, rubber inflatable kayaks and canoes can be easily recycled.

On Earth Day 2010, Innova proudly rolled out the first inflatable kayak and canoe recycling program in the industry!

If you’ve taken your Innova inflatable boat well beyond its 20-year life cycle, and are now wondering what to do with it, send it back to Innova Kayak. As part of our new recycling program, it will be turned into rubber mulch.

Click here for a video of Innova’s Tim Rosenhan talking about how Innova inflatable kayaks and canoes are made.

Click here for a photo essay showing how Innova inflatable kayaks and canoes are made in the factory.

Old Solar / New Solar

Has the material used on the Solar changed in the last few years? (I seem to remember reading this somewhere). I found a used Solar for sale, but wondered if it was made from older materials compared to a new model.

The newer Solars use two kinds of material, LitePack on the interior and seat, and Nitrylon on the outer hull. The older Solars were all Nitrylon.

The advantages of LitePack are weight savings — the LitePack Solar is less than 20 pounds, a smaller folded size, and a better feel on bare skin. The newer Solar also has better back support in its seat. The advantages of Nitrylon are faster drying of the wet material, ease of keeping clean, and better durability.

You can identify the LitePack Solars by their two-tone color scheme, red with a gray interior.

How Do Innova Kayaks Compare With Stearns IK-116?

The Innova models are considerably different than the Stearns in both performance and material. We have three single models roughly the same size as the Stearns IK-116. Our Safari, Helios I, and Solar would be the models I would match against the Stearns.

The Innova models are longer at the waterline and have a deeper hull shape. The Innovas are also stiffer, with an inflation pressure of 3 psi, versus the 2 psi of the Stearns. This makes the Innovas easier to paddle and faster in the water than the Stearns. The other factor is that the paddling ergonomics are generally better in the Innovas, because the paddler sits higher than they do in the IK-116. This allows a more efficient paddling stroke, so you don’t tire as easily in the Innovas. Innova boats also are quicker to inflate and more compact when folded. They also come in a convenient drybag/backpack that is small enough to be legal carryon luggage.

The Stearns IK-116 uses an unreinforced PVC bladder wrapped by a zip-on nylon cover. The Innova boats use a heavy-duty polyester cloth covered in rubber, with vulcanized air-holding seams. Our construction is more typical of high end whitewater rafts and commercial duty Zodiacs. The bladder construction is cheaper to build, but it limits the air pressure in the tubes which makes the boat stiff. A lower pressure tube has to be bigger in diameter, and this widens the Stearns’ designs which contributes to the ergonomic issues. Furthermore, the Innova construction allows the boat to dry much faster than the bladder types which retain water under their covers.

Lastly, the Innova models are greener because they are PVC-free. PolyVinyl Chlorides (PVC’s) give off dioxins in their manufacture, lifespan, and disposal. Dioxins are associated with a number of environmental and health issues.

Nitrylon™ fabric – how it differs from PVC

Nitrylon™ is a lamination of nitrile synthetic rubber and natural rubber over a 1,200-denier, low stretch polyester fabric. Nitrylon™ is very puncture and abrasion resistant. It is considerably stronger, easier to patch, performs better in cold weather, and is much more abrasion resistant than PVC.

We do use PVC on some of our models because it provides better structural stiffness for long tubes.  The K1, K2, and Seakers use polyester reinforced PVC (Mirasol ™) for the side chambers. Mirasol™ has better structural stiffness for long tubes than Nitrylon™.

PVC and Boat Construction

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) has been targeted by approximately 60 environmental organizations who seek to eliminate it from consumer products. The claim against PVC (denied by the Vinyl industry) is that dioxins are created in the product production, lifetime off-gassing, and eventual disposal of PVC items. Dioxins are carcinogenic and associated with birth defects. L.L. Bean, Wal-Mart, Nike, Microsoft, Ikea, Johnson and Johnson, and dozens of other major companies, have either phased out PVC, or are in the process of doing so.

PVC is currently found in thousands of products from children’s toys, to building materials, to inflatable boat coatings. Innova is working towards making all of their boats PVC free, and all but four models are currently PVC free. Our Nitrylon boat coating is made of blends of natural rubbers.

We have identified our Innova PVC-free models on our website.