INNOVA Solar II 410 Touring Inflatable Kayak review by TBP

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • Author
  • #919
    Lee Arbach TBP

    The Innova / Gumotex Solar 410 tandem inflatable kayak is not exactly a “new” boat for us, but rather an updated version after a long absence. From 2003 through 2006 we carried this boat. Unlike the discontinued one person Solar, which had been available through any Innova dealer, we were and still are the sole distributor for the tandem.

    In early 2007, the Czech manufacturer Gumotex made some changes to all of the touring models in their line-up including the Solars. They came out with Litepack versions (which had no exterior rubber coating on the top side of the floors, or the inward-facing half of the side tubes) and also changed the seat arrangements on the Solars. These seats on the short lived 2007 tandem Solar were no longer removable or reversible as the old seats had been. Since 95% of our customers who buy tandem touring kayaks occasionally use their boats as a solo rig, this pretty well killed any interest we had in continuing to import the Solar two person.

    Now, after a four year gap, Gumotex has brought back the Solar tandem in the fully coated EX version, but this time with removable and repositionable seats – in other words, you can now use it solo again as had been the case prior to 2007. And the new seats have even better and higher backrest sections than the 2007 version. To use the new tandem Solar 410 solo, you just move the rear seat forward and either leave the front seat deflated, or un-strap and remove it. This rear seat also has two “normal” possible positions when in tandem use, about 8″ apart. Each paddler also has their own adjustable inflatable footrest.
    Updated – Innova Solar 410 Tandem Touring Kayak

    At 13’5″, the new 410 is 3″ longer than the older tandem Solar, and it is a full 9”” longer than the Innova Sunny. The extra nine inches have three benefits, one of which is pretty important: First, while the 410 is still not quite as big as our Trinity line or the AIRE SuperLynx, it is just enough longer compared to the Sunny or Helios II that two moderate-height people can actually do an overnighter with their camp gear. In the Sunny, it’s almost impossible, and with the Helios, it would be ludicrous to even try with two adults.

    Second, adding 9”” to the center of the kayak increases the payload capacity by about 8%, netting you roughly 430 pounds compared to the Sunny’s 400. Of course, none of these figures are absolute’s if the craft in question is a non-self bailer. And all of the touring models from Innova – Gumotex, with the exception of the multi-purpose Safari solo kayak, are non-bailers. You can go a bit above the listed capacities with any of the Innova tandems but the boat will be somewhat slower than with less weight.

    The third benefit of the longer hull really only comes into play where the front paddler is over 5’’8″”. In the Sunny and Helios tandems, a six-footer is pretty cramped in the front position. The extra space in the Solar 410 allows that person to stretch out a bit more.

    A fourth alleged improvement is a slight hull speed gain over the Sunny, but this isn’t something we’ve really done an A – B test on with both boats on the same day. In theory adding length without making the boat wider should almost always increase a boat’s speed. The new Solar two person does not seem much faster than the Innova Sunny (which is still very quick, by the way) but it certainly does not seem slower either. The floor of the Solar pokes down about the same amount as the Sunny floor chamber, but does bend a bit abruptly at the bow & stern, which can slow the boat. However, on the water this boat also seems to be floating mostly on the floor, much like the AIRE Tributary Sawtooth, which decreases the wetted width of the side tubes. So perhaps field tests may bear out that these new ones are a tad quicker than the Sunny, but we don’t know just yet. Again, after selling many hundreds of Sunnys since 1996, we can state firmly that we have never had a single buyer complain about a Sunny’s hull speed, so whether the Solar 410 is a 1/10 knot faster really doesn’t seem to matter much.

    Most Innovas, including this one, come with a drybag/carry bag, a basic patch kit, a twist-in valve adapter, inflatable footrests, and removable tracking fins. The new seat (and footrest) valves are kayak float bag units. These allow you to more easily inflate the seats tight compared to the older Innova hole & plug system. The seats on the Solar 410 may not be perfect, but they are as good and as tall as factory seats get, and if you don’t like them you won’t like anything.

    We took a bunch of photos of our blue colored Solars, but none of them really showed the detail as well as the factory picture above. So for now we’ll probably keep the red photo. Once again, we are the only dealer in north or south America with this model.

    We had to pay quite a bit more for these than we do for the Sunnys, we had to pay ten weeks ahead of time, and we had to commit to a large quantity. If the price is a bit beyond the range you want to spend, the Sunny runs $130 less and the Tributary Sawtooth is a full $230 below the Solar price – though it does not roll up nearly as small. So there are plenty of fine options open to you.
    Specs for Innova Solar 410 Tandem Touring Kayak

    The 410 weighs 36 pounds and is 32.5″ wide, with 8.5″ tubes. There is a small bungie & mesh area behind the rear seat but you cannot put much under it. Although we do stock blue hypalon D-rings if you need some (please call for those) for additional tie-down points – like camp gear – we cannot get them in the teal-blue shade of this boat, so they will not be a perfect match. We also carry black ones, which might look better. If you wish to tow this kayak, you should also plan on purchasing one large D-ring to glue on the underside of the bow. Under no circumstances should you ever try to use the small stainless grommet at the bow tip for this purpose. And the bow & stern lift handles can also come off with enough torque, so you should not tow with them either.

    The twist-in valve adapter mentioned three paragraphs above is needed with any foot pump, or with any of the double-action “wonder” style hand pumps. It is not needed if you use something like a K-Pump, or one of our Boat People Top-Off units. However there are problems with the K-Pumps and our Top-Off’s with regard to Innovas. For one thing, the small diameters of them can generate far more than the 3 p.s.i. inflation level the Innovas are rated for. And second, they won’t work for the seat & footrest valves either. So better to go with a quality foot pump in most cases.

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.