The Stearns Cordova Inflatable Kayak for Easy Day Touring

Stylish in orange-and-grey and bungee straps, the Stearns Cordova inflatable kayak features a rigid frame that seeks to emulate the glide of a hardshell kayak. For more experienced paddlers on short weekend and day excursions, the Cordova offers comfort and easy portability.

A Look at the Kayak

The Stearns Cordova inflatable kayak features a patent pending TechTour™ hull floor system, a shallow arch hull, and a flat top floor. The spray skirt and foam padded ring around the cockpit are removable, allowing you to either sit inside, or on top to use it as a sit-on-top kayak.

Specifications of the Stearns Cordova:

Stearns Cordova Inflatable Kayak

  • Dimensions: 10' 10" x 2' 6"
  • Capacity: 1 person
  • Weight: 31 lbs
  • Max capacity: 335 lbs
  • Adjustable foot straps
  • 7 air chambers
  • Fitted kayak seat
  • Fully removable spray deck
  • Two cargo holds
  • Tracking fins and abrasion rails
  • Includes heavy-duty carry bag, repair kit
  • Warranty: one year
  • Inflation time: about 8 minutes

NOTE: Paddle and air pump are sold separately.

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Pros and Cons

Pros: The Stearns Cordova has seven air chambers but it doesn’t take longer to inflate than any other inflatable kayak, and the main chamber valves can be purged “on the go” when the day warms up and air expands in the chamber. This is a comfortable and attractive touring kayak for lakes and quiet rivers.

Cons: Keeping it clean and free of sand is an issue as it tends to collect sand between the side and bottom air chamber, and the deck takes a few hours to dry out. As for performance on the water, the Stearns Cordova does have a more pronounced nose waggle when paddling than say, a Helios inflatable, and the Cordova can feel tippy to a novice paddler. This recreational design would be better handled by an intermediate or advanced kayaker, rather than a beginner.

NOTE: Stearns uses 3 types of valves to inflate the Cordova’s air chambers. Air pumps are sold with 2 or 3 nozzle adapters, so be careful you don’t lose one. Also, since these kayaks don’t have safety valves, it is possible to over-inflate an air bladder. You’ll need a gauge to tell you when you reach 1.75 psi (0.12 bar) in the main chambers and 1.0 psi (0.07) in the floor.

Overall, a Good Recreational Kayak

We could describe many inflatable kayak reviews written on this model as being “forgiving.” Owners of the Stearns Cordova inflatable kayak are quite happy with their purchase, even if they do make some compromises — they get out of the water earlier than they want to so that the kayak can dry out in the sun, and try not to complain too much when the Cordova doesn’t track as straight as they would like. Yet this light touring kayak has many good qualities such as being easy to portage, and extremely rigid and puncture resistant. But coming down to the wire, and weighing the Stearns Cordova’s retail price of $450, you’ll have to talk yourself into this one over an Innova Helios or an Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame inflatable kayak.

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