Innova Kayaks | Your Summer Adventure, Inflated

Summer is coming on hard here in the Southwest and with the heat comes a focus on water adventures. When the sun is beating down and the trails become unbearably hot, it’s time to break out the kayaks.

A while back I started thinking about inflatable kayaks.  I grew up on the river and spent many a summer paddling or rowing all sorts of water across the Pacific Northwest. I loved the water and missed it terribly when I moved out to Arizona. My wife and I have made an effort to include river and lake activities into our travel, but that involves either hauling a big, heavy kayak around or renting something wherever we end up. Those aren’t always great options, so I started looking for something more convenient.

Dave on the Rogue River

Space is always at a premium when we travel, so looking for a solution that would be compact, easy to use, reliable and lightweight-ish would be key. I remember having an inflatable kayak as a kid. It was one of the cheaper plastic models from the early 80’s and didn’t hold up well to abuse. My brother and I destroyed it after only a couple summers of river trips. Cheap inflatables are everywhere, you can usually grab something inexpensive at Walmart but I’d be lucky to get a single season out of it. That’s just not going to work for me.

What I was looking for was something that could travel well, but put up with some abuse. My days rafting big rivers in big boats made me very aware of how easy it is for inflatable rafts to break down or tear apart in rough terrain. So aside from packability and lightweight, I wanted to make sure I found a durable boat that could handle regular abuse. I wanted something that could handle whitewater as well as it could handle flatwater. Finding the right solution would mean maximizing our summer outdoor fun no matter where we go.

During my search, I was introduced to Innova Kayaks.

Innova Kayaks are one of the first inflatables I’ve seen that have all the high-end production options as the big, expensive professional inflatables but without the price tag. All their kayak hulls are made of Nitrylon Lite™ (NL), a rip-stop polyester fabric, rubber-coated on the interior for air-retention, and Teflon®-treated on the outside for water repellency and stain resistance. This offers durability similar to what you get from the big commercial boats. I was also really impressed to see a commercial-grade valve system on these boats. This is pretty key, considering valve failure is one of the most common problems with inflatables. I have the Innova Swing I single-person kayak which retails right around $600. That’s a pretty good price for any kayak, let alone an inflatable with this level of quality construction (compare that to the NRS inflatables that range from $1000-$2000). Most of the Innova Kayaks also have a heavy-duty rip-stop urethane-coated deck material with zippered access to close in the boat deck. This allows for some good protection that a lot of other inflatables don’t have as well the ability to add a spray skirt ($50) for whitewater kayaking. Another feature of the Swing I is the removable tracking fin for greater stability and control in flat water.

The Innova Swing I is a nice-sized, single-person inflatable kayak. It’s versatile enough to take on just about any kind of water and small enough to be packed into any location. The Swing I rolls up into about 18″x10″ and weighs around 25lbs. Innova makes a drybag backpack to make carrying your inflatable easier.

Inflating the Innova Kayak

Innova valve system

Having an Inflatable Kayak opened up some really cool opportunities for me. A friend reached out to me last Fall about a possible trip, but it would require packing our raft gear several miles down a side canyon to the Colorado River below Lake Mead. This would not have been possible without an inflatable kayak. We met at the take-out and drove to the trailhead that would lead to our put-in. After a moderate hike down to the river, we were able to toss out our gear, pump up both of the boats, and head down the river in less than an hour. We spent two days paddling the easy flatwater of the Colorado River, camping on a spit of sand attached to the deep rocky canyons. The Swing I performed beautifully on the river and even made for a decent bed at camp that night.

Innova River Trip B-1

DCIM101GOPRO

Lower Salt Paddle-7

Since getting the inflatable kayak, I have found fewer reasons to pull out the old, heavy, plastic kayak I used to paddle around. Now, trips down the Lower Salt River, Verde River, or paddling around the local lake reservoirs is easier and more comfortable. The Swing I is lighter, more manageable in the water, and packs smaller than any other kayak I’ve had.

If like me, your summer trips revolve around water you need to look into Innova Kayaks. For the price, they are one of the best options on the market for inflatable kayaks. I’ve been really impressed with the overall quality and durability of the Swing I. Check out the full boat selection from Innova Kayaks on their website.

 

Disclosure: I was provided the Swing I in order to test and review the kayak for performance and reliability. I have done my due diligence testing this product extensively in various environments, conditions, and purposes. The above information is my own opinion of Innova products and inflatable kayaks in general based on my own experiences.

Hydration Summit – Week 2…

Hydration Summit

The Hydration Summit has wrapped up Week 2 of some dynamic conversation about the health, science and gear revolving around the subject of hydration.  Last week I did a wrap up of all the articles from Week 1, so this week will get the same treatment!  I hope you guys have been following along, if not…what are you waiting for??

June 11th –

I kicked off Week 2 with an article describing the signs and symptoms of waterborne illness and discuss the importance of staying hydrated.  Check out the article for some tips to mitigate the symptoms and an easy Oral Rehydration Solution.

June 12th –

Amy delves in to the question of whether or not a pressurized hydration system is all it’s cracked up to be.  She discusses the pros and cons of dealing with a pressurized system in the field.  It certainly has some benefits, the ability to spray water under pressure can be useful.  But is it really easier, or better, when you just want a drink?

Brian also posted his article comparing filtering techniques.  He offers up the question: Would you rather drink water from the source or pump your water and carry it?  The technology exists to carry a small, direct use filter that would allow you to stop at any spring, stream or river for a quick drink without having to lug all that water around.  But what about those of us that don’t usually have the opportunity to hike near reliable water sources?  Check out Brian’s article  and make sure you read the discussion that follows.

June 13th –

The famous Katie Boué had the opportunity to discuss hydration with one of the leading experts in the field.  She interviews John Seifert of Montana State University who has been studying hydration and it’s related fields for nearly 3 decades.  Katie talks with John about hydration and how it effects bodily processes.  It seems like such a simple thing, but it’s amazing how much water (or the lack of water) governs how our body and mind functions.

June 14th –

Our resident Camp Mom, Tiffany, posted her review of the GEIGERRIG Hydration packs and talks about teaching kids to share using a pressurized system.  She talks about using the spray-system with her kids to wash cuts, cool down, clean up and hydrate.

Gumption Ryan made a good showing as well with a huge comparison of hydration enhancing supplements.  He touches on the importance of hydration and what dehydration can do to you.  Then we get a candid discussion of many of the gels, liquids, powders and tablets available to make hydrating easier and more flavorful.  See which products he personally believes has the Gumption to get the job done.

June 15th –

Jake drops another awesome 4-system comparison on us, this time with a cool video review.  Jake takes a look at the different hydration systems using specific criteria:

  1. Ease of filling (water, ice cubes, powder, etc)
  2. Ease of filling on the go (from little trickles of streams, with filters, etc)
  3. Water accessibility
  4. Ease of cleaning
  5. Use in high aerobic activities

Week 3 opened up today with another great post from Tiffany discussing using hydration packs at camp.  We also get another GEIGERRIG review from Melissa looking at the system from a family friendly point of view.

More great stuff to come this week so keep watching!  And don’t forget to register and get involved in the discussion for your chance to win a GEIGERRIG Hydration System of your own!

 

Wilderness Dave is contributing to the Hydration Summit…

Hydration Summit graphicWildernessDave.com  is teaming up with 15 outdoor bloggers to discuss Hydration on the trail. We hope that you will join us on Hydration Summit, starting June 4th, as we discuss and review hydration practices, safety and technology.

This 5-week discussion summit will be taking a very in depth look at every aspect of hydration. Some of the topics explored by our team of bloggers will include filtration, gear, proper use and cleaning of gear, health risks and so much more.

We are also looking for your stories of how you stay hydrated on the trails. Please come and join the conversation by Registering at Hydration Summit and share your personal story. Registered members will have chances to win gear, receive special discounts and offers and discuss all of the topics.

For more information please visit the Hydration Summit website.