Backpacker Magazine 2013 Gear Guide: Review of the Innova Swing II

Garage Space tight? Inflatable kayaks are great for easy storage and transport. But they usually have an open cockpit design – a bit compromise if you really want a closed-deck boat to proetect you and your gear in cold and/or rough water.

Solution: The Swing II affords all the benefits of an inflatable, but comes with a deck to repel spray. The 13’2″ tandem can carry up to 400 pounds of people and equipment.

More importantly, its “tubeless” material (rubber-coated ripstop polyester) means its floor and side chambers can inflate to a higher pressure than bladder kayaks for a more rigid ride.

The poly content also helps it dry quicker for roll-up storage. Three metal crossbars snap in beneath the deck for added structural support. Medium -to large – size drybags fit in the fore and aft areas, accessible via a zippered deck; secure additional items to the deck rigging above.

For better tracking, attach the snap-in fin (included).

“We pulled the deflated boat from our Subaru’s cargo hatch for a jaunt around Colorado’s Trappers Lake, and had it set up in 10 minutes. It was a hit among grown-ups and kids alike,” says one tester. “And when the afternoon breeze picked up, it punched through windchop, easily deflecting water off the deck.”

Reality check: While inflatables win on portability, hard shells are faster and more responsive. $799; 26 lbs.; packed size is 26″ x 16″ x 10″; innovakayak.com

 

Innova Seaker Kayak Wins Real Deal Award From Hooked on the Outdoors Magazine

Burlington, Washington

Innova Kayak is pleased to announce that our Seaker inflatable sea kayak has been selected for a Real Deal Award from Hooked on the Outdoors magazine in the paddling category. “This inflatable kayak won over our skeptical testers with its high performance.Why didn’t anyone think of this before.” The Real Deal Award honors practical excellence in gear design. Testers considered “value, ease-of-use, durability, versatility, comfort, fit, reliability and performance.”

Hooked on the Outdoors will present the award during the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City this August.

The 16-foot Seaker features high-pressure chambers, Kajak Sport deck hatches, a SmartTrack rudder, a standard spray skirt compatible cockpit, and a 15-minute setup time.

This is the second award for the Seaker, having earlier this year been selected as a
Paddler’s Pick from Paddler magazine.
June 7, 2005

Innova Helios 380EX Kayak Wins Readers Choice Award From Sea Kayaker Magazine

Burlington, Washington – June 20, 2005

Innova Kayak is pleased to announce that our Helios 380EX kayak has been selected for a Readers Choice Award from Sea Kayaker magazine in the inflatable kayak category. The award was based on the results of a reader survey taken in February of this year. Readers were asked which products they liked the best in each of 18 categories. This is the first such award program Sea Kayaker has conducted, and thus the Readers Choice Awards are not limited to products in any particular model year. Sea Kayaker will present and discuss the winning products in their December 2005 issue.

This is the second citation this year for the Helios 380EX, having been selected as a 2005 paddling gear pick by Backpacker magazine.

The Innova Helios 380EX is a two-person kayak with an optional rudder. The Helios has been in service around the world, including adventure tours in Papua New Guinea and Lake Baikal, Peace Corps work in Mongolia and Samoa, and geological field work in Alaska. It comes in a drybag/backpack small enough to be an airline carryon.