The Innova Helios I Inflatable Kayak: Solo Version of a Kayaker Favorite

The long-awaited Innova Helios I inflatable kayak is finally here. Benefiting from the reputation of the Helios II, this solo kayak is two feet shorter than the tandem model, yet has the same features and quality construction.

A Look at the Kayak

The Innova Helios I inflatable kayak is a narrow flatwater craft like its sister kayak, the Helios II, and their closest cousin, the Sunny. It comes with a deluxe drybag/backpack that doubles as a gear bag, and features bow & stern spray decks, carry handles, backrest, adjustable footrests, and bungees to tie down additional gear.

Specifications on the Innova Helios I:

Innova Helios I Inflatable Kayak

  • Dimensions: 10'2" x 28"
  • Capacity: 1 adult (220 lbs)
  • Weight: 24 lbs
  • River rating: Class I
  • Material: Nitrylon™; 1200-denier polyester
  • Packed dimensions: 20"x14"x8"
  • 2-year warranty

Note: Paddle not included.

Innova Inflatable Kayaks and Canoes - Factory Direct

Fun for Float Trips

The Innova Helios I inflatable kayak is recommended for casual pace river travel, ocean shorelines, and moderate whitewater. It’s lightweight at 24 pounds, which is ideal if you plan to portage while backpacking and scouting the river for hazards, and looking for a put-in place. You can unfold it, inflate it, and be ready to go in about 10 minutes.

Once you’re underway, you’ll find that the Helios I inflatable is very stable and has good tracking thanks to its rigid I-beam floor construction. Like the Helios II, it is very maneuverable and easy for any level of kayaker to paddle. You have room to store your stuff under the extended fore and aft decks, and you’ll find that it has easy entry and exit to and from the water if you plan to swim or snorkel off the kayak.

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Traveling with the Helios I is a breeze since it packs down to just 20"x14"x 8" and fits in a handy bag. The Lite-Pack fabric on the deck and interior cockpit cuts down on the weight and allows for a smaller package – perfect for stashing in a backpack or check-in luggage.

Drawbacks: the Helios I only holds 220 pounds and you are strongly advised not to go over that recommended limit. Also, since this is not a self-bailing kayak, you might want to consider buying an inexpensive inflatable cushion to serve as a seat so you can get up off the floor (and any possible puddles).

Reviewers Are Impressed

This is a new model so there aren’t many reviews on the Helios I yet. But what has been noted so far has been enthusiastically positive. Owners offer the opinion that the Helios I is best suited for an adult less than 6' tall who weighs less than 180 pounds, and will pack light. The Innova Helios I inflatable kayak is a solid, reliable design for recreational touring. It retails for $849. If that is more than you were planning to spend, you can consider the popular AdvancedElements AdvancedFrame ($400) for half the price.

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