As mentioned in previous posts, Aquaglide, Inc of White Salmon, Washington has recently introduced several new inflatable kayaks for 2015. The Aquaglide product line consists of 15 models with MSRP pricing from $199.95 to $1199.95.
Our first shipment included the Chinook XP One. Part of Aquaglide’s “pricepoint” series, the Chinook kayaks are economically-priced recreational models, now in three sizes – 8.5, 10 and 13 feet.
Following is our writeup on the Chinook XP One, a 24-lb, 8.5 foot solo model selling for $349.
Getting Started with the Chinook XP One
We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable kayak, drawstring duffel bag, instructions, repair kit, tracking fin and seat.
Initial measurements showed the kayak body weighs 21 lbs, with a folded size of roughly 23 x 17 x 8 inches, while the kayak with seat in the drawstring sack weighs 24 lbs. Boxed up, the dimensions are 24 x 21 x 12 inches with a shipping weight of 30 lbs.
(AirKayaks Side note #1: When initially removing the kayak from the carrying case, take a good look at how the kayak is folded This is probably the most overlooked step and it is VERY helpful when trying to get the kayak back into the bag.)
Chinook XP One Inflatation and Setup:
The included instructions are adequate and include diagrams with inflation details. Set up is straight-forward and simple – unpack, unfold, inflate.
There are three inflation chambers utilizing Boston valves – the floor and two side chambers. Boston valves are two-part, screw-on valves. The bottom portion is threaded onto the kayak, the top valve is screwed open for inflation and then tightened shut after inflation. Air is easily released by unscrewing the base connector. How does it work? A flap inside the valve opens when air is pumped into the kayak, and falls shut when not pumped so that air will not rush back out.
According to the instructions, the floor is pumped up first, then the two side chambers. First, attach the Boston valves by screwing them onto the kayak.
(AirKayaks Side note #2: The Boston valves have a tether that keeps the valve attached to the kayak, ensuring that the valves don’t get lost after deflating. Make sure that the string does not get in the way when screwing on the valve base,and the valve is not cross-threaded, or you may have some air leakage.)
We pumped up the floor until firm (1.0 psi with slight give) using a standard double action hand pump – this took about 20 pumps.
We then pumped up each of the side chambers to 2 PSI – this was about 35 pumps each side – and screwed on the valve caps. (AirKayaks side note #3: If using a pressure gauge, please note that – since the gauges work on back pressure, the gauge will only register as you are pushing in air, and will drop to zero when you stop.)
At this point we heard some air leaking from the side chamber, so we tightened up the valve and the hissing stopped.
Next attach the seat using the strap webbing and the two side cinches.
Weave the webbing through the cinch opening, and back over itself so it tightens. Position the seat so the back of the seat is lined up with the rear velcro paddleholders, for starters – this can be repositioned dependent on paddler size. Once in the kayak, the side straps can be pulled on to tighten the seat back.
The last step is to attach the removable tracking fin, which enhances paddling/tracking in deeper water. Make sure the fin is pointing towards the rear of the kayak, then insert the front of the fin, pushing back and down, to lock the back end. Then slide forward until the holes line up, and replace the retaining pin.
At this point, pull up on the fin to make sure you have it locked in position.
That’s it! You’re ready to paddle.
Features and Specifications for the Chinook XP One
The Chinook XP One is constructed with four padded, cloth carrying handles (bow, stern and both sides), but it is fairly simple to carry by hooking the side of the kayak over your shoulder.
Two small splash decks – front and rear – extend 18.5 inches and help prevent water from splashing in. Each has a bungee deck-lacing system for attaching gear, measuring 9 x 12 inches, tapering to three inches.
There are two sets of velcro paddle holders, one set for each side.
Two rear d-rings are positioned roughly 30 inches from the stern, and can be used for securing gear.
Three Boston valves with retaining rings are used on the inflation chambers.
The padded, Aquaglide Core seat feature adjustable side straps which are threaded into position; the straps can be adjusted several inches.
The seat comes equipped with 2 fishing rod holders, one d-ring on each side and a deep mesh storage pocket (measuring 5 x 8 x 9 inches) for gear. The 1-inch thick seat bases are 15 inches wide by 16 inches deep, and the backs are 12.5 inches tall in a stiff foam, encircling 26-inches wide.
The 78-inch long inflatable floor is designed as “raised seating”, creating a front and rear well that will collect any water that splashes inside. A rear drain plug (not to be confused with self-bailing) can be opened to let water out.
The kayak consists of two layers. Three inflatable PVC bladders (floor and both sides) are housed in a zippering fabric cover of commercial grade Duratex hull material blended with a rugged 600 denier polyester, allowing the bladders to be replaced if necessary.
The hull is a rugged, puncture-resistant material with removable tracking fin and landing plate.
The tracking fin is hefty, measuring 5 x 12 inches with locking pin. The kayak floor features a 1-PSI PVC i-beam construction with a covering, offering protection from claws or fish hooks as well as integrating the floor with the walls, providing a slightly stiffer construction.
The drawstring bag has two handles, and measures 28 x 36 inches.
We did measurement tests. The kayak inflated is 106 inches long and 36-37 inches wide. The side bladders are roughly 10 inches in diameter, making the sides 9 inches above the seating area. Interior dimensions are approximately 86 inches long by approximately 17 inches at the widest point.
When set up as described above, there is 30 inches of open space behind the paddler, with several more inches under cover, and about 48 inches from seat back to interior bow, with another 6 inches under cover. When the seat back is positioned by the rear paddle holders, the seat can be moved up roughly 7 inches, or back roughly 12 inches.
Weight limitations are 250 lbs for persons and gear.
What’s Different Between the AquaGlide Panther and Chinook XP One
We often get questions – what are the similarities and differences between the Panther and the Chinook XP One.
The Panther (shown above) is a scaled-down cross between the Chinook and Columbia inflatable kayak series.
Both kayaks utilize the same materials and basic construction, both are the same price, both have Boston valves, Core seats and a removable tracking fin. Both are approximately the same weight of 24 lbs with seat in carrying bag. Both have velcro paddleholders, raised seating and one rear drain plug.
The Panther (birds-eye view above) is slightly longer by a few inches (9 feet) and narrower by a few inches (32 inches). The front splash guard is longer, with more bungee deck lacing, and features a raised visor. The Core seat is shorter by a couple of inches and features 4 attachment points, The side tubes are smaller in diameter, making the side walls lower. The Panther comes with a scaled-down version of the Chelan and Columbia backpack. Payload is a max of 170 lbs for person and gear, though probably people under 150 lbs would be the best fit. For more info, read our Detailed AquaGlide Panther Product Review.
The Chinook XP One (birds-eye view above) is slightly shorter by a few inches (8 ft 8 inches) and wider by a few inches (36 to 37 inches). The front splash guard is shorter, and does not have a raised visor. It uses the standard Core seat found on the Columbia, but with only two attachment points. The side tubes are the standard 10 inches, so the seating well is deeper, such as on the Columbia. The Chinook series comes with a drawstring satchel with handles. Payload is 250 lbs for person and gear.
Chinook XP One On the Water
My husband first took out the Chinook XP One on a slightly choppy day. At his height of 6-2, the kayak felt comfortable and he had no issues with leg room. He was actually surprised how well it paddled, with only minimal wagging in the nose – this could also be helped with a little weight in the front. The kayak felt very stable, he was easily able to paddle and clear the side walls, and the seats are sturdy if you cinch them tight. While not a speed-demon, the kayak turns easily and rides waves well. Exit and entry is also quite easy.
At this point we realized that one side chamber was noticeably softer. After removing the Boston valve, we saw that the retaining ring – which keeps the fabric opening in position, but can be screwed off – was not on tightly, which prevented the Boston valve from being threaded down fully. We carefully removed and replaced the retaining ring, making sure it was below the top of the threads. Then replaced the Boston valve and pumped up the side. This did the trick – by the next day, the kayak was still fully inflated. So, please ensure that the rings are screwed on straight and firmly.
I then took the kayak out. While the kayak paddled well with some nose wag, with my lower center of gravity (5’4″) the Chinook felt a little wide. It was certainly roomy, and as a small adult, I could easily see bringing a small dog with the seat placed back farther. While I did not bring mine out, past experience with some of the larger models show the materials are rugged enough to handle jumpy claws, and stable enough to handle 32 lbs hanging off one side.
I took the kayak out one more time with some weight stuffed into the snout. This certainly helped the paddling performance by seating the snout a bit better in the water.
Bottom Line on the Chinook XP One
The Chinook XP One is a good, entry-level, recreational kayak at an economical price – the kayak is lightweight, very stable, very easy to inflate and paddles nicely. It tracks pretty well, with just the slightest wag.
The open design will appeal to those who need easy entry and exit – such as seniors or those with physical disabilities – as well as paddlers in need of a quick dip on a hot summer day and those that are uncomfortable feeling enclosed.
Built-in fishing rod holders, bungee deck lacing and d-rings provide multiple options for storing or attaching gear, making it a great choice for a lazy day on the water or a leisurely cruise around a lake.
The kayak is roomy enough for a good-sized adult with space for some gear.
Small adults (under 140 lbs) without need for extra storage space may want to consider AquaGlide’s streamlined Panther, which is a 9-ft scaled-down version (shown in photo above).
Those needing to carry lots of gear, wanting a more spacious option, or the ability to bring along a child or dog should check out the 10-ft Chinook Two – which is a great solo kayak but also can carry two (shown in photo above). All are good choices for slow-moving rivers, lakes and calm bays, or for some light whitewater – probably through Class II.
And with a street price of $349, the Chinook XP One is a great option for those that want to get out on the water and have some fun, without breaking the budget. For more details or to purchase, visit the AquaGlide Chinook XP One product page at AirKayaks.com. Stay tuned, we’ll be putting up a video within the next couple of weeks.