We continue with our series on the new Aquaglide line of inflatable kayaks. For 2020, Aquaglide introduced four new models – Navarro, Deschutes, McKenzie and Noyo – consisting of 9 different styles.
Our three previous reviews focused on the Deschutes recreational series. We now switch over to the Navarro line of decked kayaks, a new design for Aquaglide.
We begin with the Navarro 110 – an 11-foot high-pressure touring model for one paddler, retailing for $599.99. The Navarro line also consists of the Navarro 130 (for one paddler with removable deck) and the Navarro 145 Tandem (for one or two paddlers with optional single and double decks.)
Getting Started with the Aquaglide Navarro 110
We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable kayak, stuff sack with handles, instructions, repair kit, foot brace, tracking fin and seat.
Initial measurements show the kayak body weighs 29 lbs, with a folded size of roughly 22 x 21 x 11 inches. The kayak with seat, fin and brace – all in the stuff sack – weighs 31.5 lbs. Boxed up, the dimensions are 25 x 23 x 12 inches with a shipping weight of 38 lbs.
(AirKayaks Side Note: When initially removing the kayak from the carrying case, take a good look at how the kayak is folded.)
The Navarro 110 comes with an instruction manual, but as previously mentioned in our Deschutes series, the instructions aren’t detailed enough for new users. This is compounded by the manual layout in which each section is first written in English, then up-to 17 different languages (including Bulgarian and Estonian), before you get to the next English section. The inflation instructions start on page 16.
Set up is straight-forward and simple – unpack, unfold, inflate.
There are two side chambers utilizing Boston valves, while the high-pressure floor features a military valve. The instructions say to pump up the two side chambers to 2 PSI, and then the floor to 6 PSI. (We did follow those instructions, but we are going to suggest a different method, and will explain why. Some of this is mentioned in the manual.)
First, attach the Boston valves by screwing them onto the kayak. 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.
(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. Also make sure the ring plate or “base” ring is screwed on tightly.)
Locate the Boston valve adaptor on your pump (conical nozzle about 1/2 inch in diameter) and friction fit it into the valve opening.
We then pumped up each of the side chambers to 2 PSI – this was about 46 pumps each side – and screwed on the valve caps. 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. Our gauge started registering after about 35 pumps.
Next pump up the floor.
The instructions say to put the valve in the closed position and to pump up the floor to 6 PSI, but there are no details explaining how to do this.
For those unfamiliar, the military-style plunger valve is simple to use – with your finger, twist the plunger slightly up to the “closed” position to inflate (air goes in but doesn’t come back out) and “down” to deflate or open (air comes out).
The Navarro 110 floor requires a military valve adaptor, which does not come with most standard pumps. Here is where we came to our first issue – no military valve adaptor was included. Luckily, we rummaged through our box of parts and found one that fit. (AirKayaks SIde Note #3 : We spoke with AquaGlide. The first couple of shipments did not include the adaptor, but subsequent shipments will. We did obtain a number of fittings that we will be including with the first shipments.) Lock the adaptor onto the military valve with a slight twist, and push the conical (Boston valve) adaptor in to friction fit the two. Since the floor chamber is inflated to 6 PSI, it is helpful to use a pump with pressure gauge to ensure the kayak is inflated appropriately.
We closed the valve, attached the pump and began to inflate. It took us 34 strokes to reach 5 PSI, at which point the hose and adaptor blew off the valve, and all the air swooshed out. AirKayaks Side Note #4: The military valve adaptor has a bar across the inside, which pushes open the spring valve, allowing pressure gauges to take a reading. While this is great when working correctly, if you haven’t securely coupled the military adaptor to the Boston valve fitting, the hose can blow off, allowing all the air to escape. If you experience this, recouple the adaptors, pressing on tightly, and make sure you do not pull on the hose to remove the fitting, but twist off the adaptor from the valve. This can also be rectified by gluing the adaptor onto the Boston valve fitting, or roughing up the BV fitting surface so there is “more grab.”)
We re-attached the hose and pumped up the floor to 6 PSI.
The instructions say to “confirm that the boat looks straight.” At this point we realized that the floor was off-center as one side was higher than the other (see image above,). We partially deflated the sides, moved the floor around until it looked centered between the two side bladders, and then repumped up the sides to full pressure.
Once you center the floor and pump up one side, it will “look” like it’s still off-center, but when you pump up the other side, the chamber pulls back out – this can be double checked by flipping the kayak over and looking at the outline (see the centered floor above). You may need to open one of the top zippers or the hatch to get a good grip on the floor.
Based on our experience, we are going to suggest inflation instructions as follows:
1) Pump up the floor to 6 PSI.
2) Flatten out the two side chambers and move the floor around until it looks like it is centered between the two (the velcro strips are a good guide aid). Then pump up each side so that they somewhat fill out, check the alignment, and then pump up each side to full pressure.
Next attach the seat – this stays in position utilizing velcro strips on the floor and adjustable side straps. There are two sets of d-rings, one fore and aft of the side handles. The seat features clips that quickly connect to the 2nd set of d-rings, which then can be adjusted tighter for firmer support.
Now you attach the foot brace. This is not mentioned in the instructions, but is a padded bar with velcro strips. Place the foot brace on the velcro strips so that your legs would be slightly bent when pressing against them – you can reposition these when you get into the kayak.
Now inflate the coaming tube, which is the “ring” around the cockpit opening. When inflated, the coaming tube helps prevent water from running into the cockpit. Again, this is not mentioned in the instructions. The coaming tube utilizes a twist-lock valve; twist the end of the lock to open the valve. The Boston valve adaptor will not friction fit over the twistlok so you will have to do one of three things – have a buddy hold the valve over the twistlock; carefully negotiate holding the adaptor and twistlock together with one hand while pumping with the other; or give up and blow it up with your mouth. It took us about 2 puffs to inflate it. (AirKayaks note: Here is a nifty little home-made adaptor that works with these twistlocks.)
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 into the groove, pushing back and down, until the hole in the fin plate lines up with the hole in the fin.
At this point, push the quick-release fin pin (attached to the fin by a cord) through the hole to secure the fin. Pull up on the fin to make sure you have it locked in position.
As a last check, make sure the drain plug – located inside the back well of the kayak – is screwed in tightly and the hatch and deck zippers are fully closed, otherwise water will seep in.
That’s it! About 10 minutes (once you get the sequence correct) and you’re ready to paddle!
Features and Specifications on the Aquaglide Navarro 110 Inflatable Kayak
The Navarro 110 is constructed with four molded carrying handles (bow, stern and both sides), but can also be carried by hooking the side of the kayak over your shoulder.
The front deck features a bungee deck-lacing system for attaching gear. The bungee deck lacing begins 15 inches from the nose, and measures 5 to 13 inches wide by 36 inches long. There are 6 sets of cloth d-rings. bow and stern.
An 18-inch zipper begins 13 inches from the nose. This allows you to access the interior. The zippers feature “pockets” to tuck in the zipper head, preventing water from dripping in.
There are two sets of velcro paddle holders, one set for each side. These are located 57 and 91 inches from the nose.
Two Boston valves with retaining rings are used on the side chambers, a military valve for the floor, and one twistlock for the cockpit coaming.
Two sets of d-rings are on either side of the side handles. These are located 67 and 74″ from the nose.
The cockpit opening measures 30 x 18 inches, with an approximate 90 inch perimeter and 2-inch high coaming tube.
Two 55-inch velcro strips are centered on the floor, and are used to position the seats and foot braces.
The foot brace is padded – 10 x 3 inches long – with velcroed strips 8 inches in length.
The Navarro series features another modified Core seat – basically a stripped-down cross between Aquaglide’s Pro-formance seat (found in the Chelans) and the Core seat (found on the Chinooks). The modified Core has a padded, mesh-covered back for breathability, and a padded seat base. There are two side straps with quick-connect clips and adjustable strap lengths. The seat base is 15 x 15 inches with two inches of padding. The seat back is 12 inches tall with a 24″ wrap-around back, 1 inch thick – it is not quite as stiff or high as the Core 2 seat found in the Deschutes, but still comfortable. The seat base fits over the velcro strips, keeping the seat base from slipping out of position and providing seating adjustability. There are no storage options on the seat back, but possibly one could connect something to the seat buckles.
A zippering rear hatch cover is 4 inches behind the seat, and starts 22 inches from the stern. The hatch measures 14 x 18 inches.
A 7-inch rear zipper (with zipper pocket) is located 12 inches from the stern, allowing one to access the drain plug. The drain plug can be opened or closed to let collected water out or for easier drying.
The Hard-Bottom (HB) floor is constructed from a 6 PSI high-pressure, drop-stitch material. The drop-stitch material allows the floor to feel quite rigid when inflated to higher pressures.
The kayak body consists of two inflatable 24-gauge PVC bladders (both sides) housed in a hex-shell 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 plates.
The tracking fin is hefty, measuring 5 x 12 inches with locking pin.
The drawstring stuffsack measures 32 x 31 inches with handles.
We did measurement tests. The Navarro 110 kayak inflated is 138 inches long (11 feet 6 inches) and 36 inches wide. The side bladders are roughly 10 inches in diameter, making the sides 9 inches above the seating area. Interior dimensions are approximately 98 inches long (on the floor) with the drain plug another 12 inches behind that. Interior width is 15 inches at the widest point, with a head room of 9 inches.
With the seat positioned near the back coaming, there is roughly 67 inches from seat back to nose. The foot brace can be adjusted from “none” to 54 inches from the seat back. The seat can be repositioned about 8 inches forward.
There is a 36 inch well behind the seat, measuring 14 inches wide, tapering to a point. Please note that the area behind the seat, also accessed by the hatch cover, is open and thus does not provide dry storage.
Weight limitations are 250 lbs for person and gear.
Aquaglide Navarro 110 on the Water.
I took the Navarro 110 out for a spin a couple of times. The first time was in slight chop – I found the Navarro 110 to paddle well with some slight wag in the nose – and be fairly maneuverable. At my height of 5’4″, the kayak feels solid, roomy and stable – I was even able to stand up without tipping. Unlike the more open Deschutes, the Navarro 110 is designed with enclosed decking, which – in conjunction with the coaming tube – helps prevent water/cold/wind/rain from getting in.
The velcro strip paddle holders are long enough to hold the paddles, and I did not notice any “knuckle rub”.
The ability to move the seat and foot brace to a multitude of positions is a plus.
While the kayak features a “fixed” deck, I did not have any problems slipping into the opening. My husband – at 6′ 2″ – had difficulties getting into the kayak. He finally found that by sitting over the back deck, he was able to insert his legs and slide into the cockpit. Once inside – while there was enough leg room – his size 10.5 feet poked up into the deck. He opted to sit out this kayak but will test out the longer 13-foot Navarro 130.
My one criticism is the lack of fixed storage in both the kayak and carrying sack. As there are no storage options on the seat, and the stuff sack drawstring closure is on the side when carried, it will be easy to lose the floor adaptor and repair kit. Our suggestion would be at least one pocket on the seat back.
To deflate the kayak, unscrew the Boston valves so that the air comes out. Make sure that you do not screw off the retaining ring at the same time. Fold the kayak in half, and then keep folding up – you may need to put the pump in the deflate mode to get all the air out.
Bottom line on the Aquaglide Navarro 110 Inflatable Kayak
The Aquaglide Navarro 110 is a good inflatable kayak choice for small to average-sized paddlers who prefer a slightly more enclosed cockpit to keep out excess wind, water and rain. Larger paddlers may want to look at the 13-foot Navarro 130.
Bright colors and visible graphics make it stand out on the water – it looks good.
The high-pressure floor provides extreme rigidity as well as stability.
The tracking fin increases the handling performance. It’s a good choice for slow-moving rivers, lakes and coastal kayaking, or for some surf or light whitewater – probably through Class II.
The Navarro 110 is lightweight and portable, folding up into the included stuff sack and easily fitting into the trunk of a small car, an RV or an option for vacation travel.
Stay tuned, we’ll have the Navarro 110 video out within a couple of weeks, as well as write-ups on the Navarro 130 inflatable kayak for 1 paddler, and the Navarro 145 Tandem inflatable kayak for 1-2 paddlers.