Looking at either the Airvolution 2 or the Star Paragon tandem. Which one do you think is better performing? Leaning to the Star as it has a v-shape now that stays in the water and it has foot pegs. The Airvolution now is clearly out of the water in pics and it doesn’t look like it would cut through the water and waves. Plus no foot pegs. Am I missing something?
What type of water were you planning to use it on? Lakes? on the Coast? Rivers? The tube diameter is only 10" on the Paragon and it’s total load capacity is only 400 lbs. If you do not plan to carry anything in it it would be fine under most conditions. There are a couple of choices that are a bit longer, have 12" tubes and more capacity.
The Saturn OK420 is a nice choice as it has a 100mm drop stitch floor that is raised up off the bottom so you are only running on the tubes and not the floor and has removable front and back skegs so it tracks really well. Sea Eagle also has a comparable model as do others.
Lakes primarily and day trips. Looking for the least barge like tandem inflatable. Have hard shells but the loading and unloading is getting old.
Then the Paragon should be ok. If you actually paddle it tandem, there would not be much room for gear though. I would go with more carrying capacity if you were going to use it on river camping trips. They fill up fast as you can see below. This one is 14’ long, 12" tubes, 15" wide inside and about 6"deep with the 4" drop stitch floor.
The Sea Eagle Razor Lite is the closest you can get to a hard shell in an inflatable and they are fast. They are 100% drop stitich. Check them out (and they have foot pegs)
If you can afford it the Grabner Holiday 2 or Holiday 3 are pretty much the nicest inflatable you can get. Very light, feels like you’re flying above the water, fast and responsive. But as good and stiff and quick as the boats are they are still terrible in wind and wave conditions. If the lake you’re planning to paddle in has big size the wind will have plenty of fetch to make your life on inflatable very miserable when it kicks up.
Also keep in mind inflatables and storage is not an easy solution. You cannot leave it all folded up long term. Short term yes but if you keep it all folded up the rubber bonds to itself and will eventually get damaged. You have to keep it all unrolled and straight out unfortunately. If space is an issue folding is probably better.
Have you considered a composite tandem like the Stellar ST17? Only 55lbs very easy to load/unload.
As CA139 mentions, you may want to consider folders. The Pakboat Saranac tandem folder can be converted from tandem to solo and can be used with or without the optional deck, making it very versatile. Also easy to set up and easier to dry off for storage than inflatables. Super light as well. While I don’t have a tandem I have owned 4 different models of Pakboat kayaks including an older version of the Saco which is the shorter solo version of the Saranac.
here is a shot of the solo Pakboat on Lake Erie with my cousin Cecelia paddling it. This boat is 12’ long and weighs 24 pounds. The tandem version is 15.5’ and weighs 29. Also half the price of a Grabner:
With over 15 years of using inflatable kayaks in both flat and regular very hard use whitewater, I will outline a couple things people seldom think of when shopping IKs.
And they have more to do with getting good value for one’s money, and less to do with either looks/performance–Which, if doing primarily flatwater touring, I feel is somewhat negligible with two similarly spec’d tandem inflatables, anyway.
Also, I am in no way knocking Advanced Elements. They make some very fine stylish looking boats for their intended use.
Which boat has the better warranty?
Star = 3 years; Airvolution = 1 year.
Which has better valves? Star = Leafield 7.
AE = “military grade”(fancy lingo for cheap industry standard)Halkey-Roberts.
Drop stitching aside, which boat has a lay up where the seams are better made and the overall (PVC) more likely longer lasting?
(I’ll let you do your own homework on this one.)
I know which boat one of my paddling partners of almost 20 years (running Class III-IV New England whitewater) would choose…
Leave the cigars behind Old Pal ; ) … Yes, a 14’ has limited capacity for gear for two.