Innova Sunny Inflatable Kayak: A Fantastic Solo/Tandem for Under $1,000

The Innova Sunny inflatable kayak is a single or tandem yak for flatwater river conditions, lake, bays, inlets, and sea paddling. It’s a Top 10 lister and one of the most recommended inflatables for under $1,000.

A Look at the Kayak

The Innova Sunny inflatable kayak ($999) features a removable tracking fin, an open cockpit, D-rings for attaching the high-back seats to the side tubes, and comes with its own drybag/backpack.

Specifications on the Innova Sunny:

Innova Sunny Inflatable Kayak

  • Dimensions: 12'8" x 31"
  • Capacity: 2 adults (396 lbs)
  • Weight: 29 lbs
  • River rating: Class I
  • Material: Nitrylon™; 1200-denier polyester
  • Packed dimensions: 21"x15"x 9"
  • 2-year warranty

Note: Paddle not included.

Innova Inflatable Kayaks and Canoes - Factory Direct

Top Materials Used in Construction

The Nitrylon™ is a durable exterior cover that is more abrasion resistant than PVC, and the interior of the Innova Sunny inflatable kayak has been redesigned using Lite-Pack. This new interior is comfortable next to bare skin and is 12% lighter making the kayak more compact. It’s so light it can be taken on trips all over the world. At just 29 pounds, you won’t find a more rugged yet featherweight 2-person kayak on the market.

Solo or Tandem

Innova Sunny

Also new for 2009, Innova has configured it with three sets of D-rings to permit better seating for the solo paddler, who can now be positioned in the middle rather than sit at the rear and have to load ballast in the front. The open cockpit allows the solo paddler to have extra space for fishing tackle, supplies, or a dog.

As a bonus, each Innova inflatable kayak comes with its own waterproof drybag/backpack which can double as a gear bag while in the boat. Many river campers also find their Sunny doubles as a comfortable air mattress to sleep in.

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Comparisons with Competitors

In terms of speed, the Innova Sunny inflatable kayak is among the fastest recreational touring inflatables under $1000, just behind the Aire Tributary Sawtooth which is considered by some reviewers to be the swiftest.

For portability, the Innova Sunny is compact and lightweight at 29 pounds compared to a similar competitor, the $800 Advanced Elements StraightEdge 2, which is likewise 13' in length but weighs a hefty 47 pounds. If you need to portage a tandem inflatable kayak on a weekend jaunt, you are going to prefer the Sunny over the StraightEdge 2.

As for comparing it to its Innova siblings, particularly the Helios II, the Sunny is more stable and less prone to weathercocking as long as the metal skeg tracking fin is attached. Its open kayak design allows the Sunny to carry more gear than the decked Helios II, although neither tandem kayak is very well suited for a weeklong backcountry trip, unless you and your partner plan to rough it with very little gear. Ideally, the Innova Sunny works best as a daytripper for two people, or for week-long trips for a solo paddler.

A 5-Star Kayak

The Innova Sunny is a great kayak for the money and will last you for 10 to 15 years, perhaps much longer if you take proper care of it with regular use of a cleaner, such as 303 Protectant. Not that it needs any more great selling points, but you’ll find that when it comes time to clean it and pack it away, the Sunny is superior to other inflatables you have owned, since it is easier to dry out than kayaks with a bladder-in-skin design.

Reviewers love everything about the Sunny: tracking, inflating time, comfort, maneuvering, quality, and capacity. The Innova Sunny inflatable kayak continues to receive high marks since its debut in 2001, and it is recommended for its outstanding value even with its slightly higher price. It’s one of our favorites too.

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