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Monday, April 1, 2013

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

[inflatable kayak]
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";

Innova Kayaks
11781 A Watertank Road
Burlington, WA 98233

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Innova Kayaks won Paddler Magazine 2005 Paddler's Pick Award Innova Kayaks won Hooked on the Outdoors Real Deal Award Innova Kayaks won Sea Kayaker Readers Choice Award Innova Kayaks won Sea Kayaker Readers Choice Award
Innova Kayaks won Backpacker Magazine's Award 2013 Backpacker Magazine Gear Guide - Innova Swing
2013 Annual Paddling Buyers Guide - 450 Best Boats Canoe and Kayak 2013 Annual Buyers Guide - 1000 Best Boats
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