The Aquaglide Chelan Inflatable Kayak | is this premium choice right for you?

The Aquaglide Chelan Inflatable Kayak | is this premium choice right for you?

The inflatable kayak market is massively diverse in terms of both price and performance.  Many models fall foul of two issue.  Firstly, when purchasing your next boat the pressure figure and resulting rigidity is critical.  Find yourself lacking here and you’ll lack speed and straight line tracking.  Secondly, the fear with any inflatable product is leaks and durability.  Here at Robin Hood Watersports we spend a great deal of time selecting our range and wouldn’t recommend any product that we don’t use personally.  Luckily, with the Chelan you can have absolute confidence in both performance and durability.

SHAPE

The Chelan shape doesn’t pretend to be master of all disciplines.  Instead, it excels in allowing paddlers of all abilities to cover distance easily.  Who wouldn’t like to explore more miles with less effort?  That isn’t to say Aquaglide have only produced this boat for mirror flat water.  Instead, the Chelan is applicable to both inland and coastal use.  We believe most of our customers use their kayaks on local canals, rivers and lakes, as well as trips to the sea.  If this is you then the Chelan is your perfect partner. In contrast to short, highly rockered models that are designed for rough water and surf you’ll benefit from efficient forward paddling and use less corrective strokes in order to keep the boat in a straight line.  The 15ft length is partly responsible, along with the relatively flat rocker profile, especially at the stern.  The widest point is where the paddlers sit, with an aggressive taper to a pointed bow and stern.  We liken the Chelan to a knife, cutting through the water with ease.

CONSTRUCTION

One of the primary considerations when choosing your inflatable kayak is construction.  The new Chelan uses a drop stitch floor and single layer PVC side chambers.  The bulk of any kayak’s performance comes from the hull, so the use of drop stitch technology is great news.  The top and base of the floor chamber is connected by hundreds of reinforcing fabric strands.  As such, on inflation there is no potential for the bladder to increase in volume.  Instead you achieve a high pressure figure and resulting epic glide.  The side chambers are made of a single layer PVC fabric, offering improved pressure compared with twin skin alternative models.

SEATING

The Chelan is available in three sizes:

Chelan DS 120 – A 12 foot single seater.  Ideal for a paddler of any height, while offering a useful spacefor dry bags and equipment.

Chelan DS 140 - A 14ft variant that can be used with one or two paddlers.  If used in single seat configuration you benefit from improved forward speed compared with the 120, as well as more storage space.

Chelan DS 155 - A 15.5ft inflatable kayak ideal for 2 paddlers in comfort, without the need to worry about feeling cramped or hitting paddles.  This variant of Chelan is our best seller and can also be used for single paddlers.  If you are tall, wanting to paddle longer distances or needing greater storage space for overnight trips this is a great choice.   For those with small children, the Chelan 155 also comes with an additional perch seat, thereby allowing use with three paddlers.

The seats which come with the Chelan are premium quality and extremely comfortable and supportive.  They attach using stainless clips and a velcro track along the floor bladder.  As such, you are able to position these at any position to suit your needs.  The Chelan seats have an inflatable base that raises you up in the boat, providing excellent leverage and all but eliminating the chance of hitting your knuckles against the side chambers.  Lastly, a mesh pocket in the back of each seat gives useful storage.

OTHER KEY FEATURES

  • Halkey Roberts Style Valves - Premium quality valves that facilitate the high pressure figures used in the Chelan. Self sealing but easily locked open for rapid deflation when packing away.
  • Multiple Clip Points - The Chelan has a variety of attachment points inside the boat. You can secure a range of dry bags and other accessories to allow quick access.
  • Splash Guards - At the bow and stern the Chelan uses a plastic splash guard to reduce water ingress.
  • Self Drainage - Valves in the hull can be opened or closed to allow water to easily drain when paddling in rough water.
  • Comfortable Handles - Plastic handles at the bow and stern, as well as the centre, offer easy handling even when wet.
  • Tracking Fin - The Chelan comes complete with a US fitting tracking fin. This aids straight line tracking and is especially useful when windy.  This method of attachment is extremely common and allows you to use a range of alternative fins.  The model provided is raked back to reduce snagging with vegetation in the water.
  • Premium Carry Case - the included back pack allows all items to be easily stowed and comfortably carried. The deflated size is compact and thus easily transported in car boots. 

Conclusion

The newly revised Aquaglide Chelan is sure to be a popular choice with our staff and customers.  The new graphic is complemented by an enviable construction and range of useful features.  If you’re looking for a future proof purchase for enjoyable time on the water, whether inland or coastal, we would recommend you shortlist  the appropriate length to suit your needs.  The drop stitch floor and reinforced PVC side chambers are absolutely fantastic and offer durability as well as absolute rigidity.  The Chelan is as close as it is possible to get to rigid performance, yet retaining the convenience of transport and storage we all love about inflatable kayaks.



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