I’m buying my first inflatable and have no previous experience with them. I’ll be using it for a bit of paddling in the sea but mainly for short quiet river and camping trips. I won’t need to carry much gear. Essentially recreational use.
I’ve narrowed my choice down to the Advanced Elements Dragonfly, Airframe, Sevylor K1 Pointer and Innova/Gumotex’s Helios1. From the pictures I’ve seen the Helios seems like a nice boat but looks a bit toy-like. Though it’s probably far from that. Has anyone had much experience with them? Trying them out isn’t an option unfortunately. Thanks guys.
Innova is the best
of the lot there. Very tough and well made boats. And they are one skin, which means there’s no inner bladder to deal with.
A.E. are good too.
Sevylor’s new line of XK boats look good too, but i’ve no experience with them.
Consider Bic Yakka. I just bought a 2nd
I too considered the Dragonfly, but heard/read so-so things about them, so went with hard hulled Bic.
Check out Bic Sport.com on line.
New, on eBay, often for $380 plus shipping at $39. Don't pay more. Enjoy.
PS I can inflate it with my mouth in two minutes, and total set up time, out of car to paddling, is about 3 minutes total.
Dv, I have the AdvanceFrame
by AE and love it. It’s stable, pretty fast for a inflatable, and the quality is excellent. It’s not as fast as a hard boat, but can take much rougher water than a hard yak. I just ordered their 13’ model(Expedition) so I can paddle it while my daughter uses the 10.5 AF. AE makes a great inflatable: top quality materials, good performance, quick to inflate, and lots of stability in rough water. Good luck in your search!
I have a stearns spree 1 and a stearns cordova. Both great boats.
My next inflatable will be an Innova Sunny. I would go for this model over the Helios. It’s faster, and more easily configured for solo paddling.
The advanced elements boats are great too, but I would skip the Dragonfly, unless you view it as as starter boat/guest boat after you move up later.
I think the poster is refering to the single Helios – which i think is new for North America.
I saw one in the store just the other day. Looks like a great boat. By the way, I have a double Solar which is actually a little longer than the Sunny. And has better seats. It’s only available in the US from the Boat People in California.
Sharkbiter, d’oh, you’re right. He said Helios 1.
I’ve seen these in the catalogues but not in person yet. They look like a pretty cool boat.
One good resource I’ve found for Innova boats is
This fellow has several Innova boats and reviews on each. No info on the Helios 1 though.
I have the Bumble Bee, otherwise known as the Sevylor Pointer. I too was a first timer. Have to say, this boat has surpassed what I would’ve hoped for. It tracks very well, and I have been in waters that have turned on me (NorthEast weather and all) and it handled chop and even a few rapids better than I thought.
I’ve even made the boneheaded mistake of leaving the drainage plugs from underneath the boat open and have had water come into my boat and it still handled remarkably well.
My vote is Sevylor.