Aquaglide Chinook 120 Review
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Aquaglide Chinook 120
$649.95 at REI
Check Price at REI
$536.00 at Amazon
$273.99 at Amazon
$126.79 at Amazon
|Pros||Durable design, casual comfort, good value||Very lightweight, no parts leftover, smooth hull, lots of room inside||Handles well, high durability, fast, stable, fabric is water resistant||All-inclusive package, adjustable seating, can paddle tandem or solo, comfortable seats||All-inclusive package, inexpensive, lightweight|
|Cons||Not fast, difficult to dry, bag isn't great||Doesn't track well, too open for waves, seat plate has sharp edges, basic package is lacking||Heavy, floor difficult to inflate, hard to drain||Awkward bulky bag, foot pump is small, wobbly paddles||Tracks poorly, tacos when fully inflated, deforms at full pressure, questionable durability|
|Bottom Line||A casual tandem at a competitive price that's built for comfort rather than speed,||A less expensive folding kayak that's exceptionally easy to set up and store and is a joy to paddle on calm, flat waters||With excellent handling, a long lifespan, and great comfort, this kayak will go the distance||An inexpensive and more comfortable way to get out on the water with your friends or by yourself||This boat is fine if money is your bottom line, but it paddles poorly and has lackluster performance across the board|
|Rating Categories||Aquaglide Chinook 120||Oru Lake||Advanced Elements A...||Sea Eagle 370 Pro||Intex Explorer K2|
|Ease of Set Up (20%)|
|Specs||Aquaglide Chinook 120||Oru Lake||Advanced Elements A...||Sea Eagle 370 Pro||Intex Explorer K2|
|Measured Weight (boat and storage bag only)||37.6 lbs||17.0 lbs||33.25 lbs||42.8 lbs||26.2 lbs|
|Capacity||Tandem; 550 lbs||Single; 250 lbs||Single; 300 lbs||Tandem; 650 lbs||Tandem; 400 lbs|
|Kayak Size (length x width)||12' 1" x 3' 2"||8'11" x 2' 8"||10' 3" x 2' 9"||12' 6" x 2' 10"||10' x 3'|
|Packed Size (length x width x height)||26" x 14" x 24"||42" x 18.5" x 10.5"||33" x 16" x 15"||36" x 20" x 8"||27" x 15" x 17"|
|Included Accessories||Quick-release fin, PVC rod holder sleeves, and repair kit||Extra plastic buckle, extra velcro patches||Repair kit||Foot pump, repair kit, paddles||Repair patches, pump, and paddles|
|Material/Construction||600D hex ripstop polyester (fabric top)||double-layered polypropylene, 10-year UV treatment||Aluminum ribs in bow & stern, PVC-coated polyester||38 mil PVC||Polypropylene|
|Features||Paddle keepers, foot braces, adjustable backrest, skeg, drainage hole, carry handles||Adjustable backrest||Adjustable backrest, bungees, pressure relief valve in floor, skeg||Seatback pockets, bow & stern grablines, drainage hole, adjustable seats, two small tracking fins, converts to solo boat||Removable skeg, bow & stern grab lines, adjustable backrest, manual drainage hole|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Chinook 120 is a convertible tandem kayak with an impressive 550-pound capacity. It weighs 37.6 pounds and is made of 600D hex ripstop polyester on top with a PVC bottom. It features a drainage hole, paddle keepers, adjustable backrests and foot braces, a removable skeg, bungee cords, and carry handles.
If you're here looking for speed and accuracy in a tandem kayak, the Chinook is unlikely to live up to your expectations. It rides high above the water and paddles more like a leisure cruise than a targeted expedition, with a flat, inelegant nose that rides on the water rather than slicing purposefully through it. At just over 12 feet, the Chinook does an alright job tracking through the water — as long as you're not fighting big wind. Because it rides so high, it's more likely to be caught in crosswinds. Velcro adjustable foot braces add a little bit of stability while you paddle, but without anything to brace your knees against, they're more of a formality. We enjoy paddling this boat most when the water is flat, the day is calm, and we've got a picnic along for the ride.
With real cushioned seats and fully adjustable backrests, the Chinook is a pretty comfortable boat to paddle. It's one of the widest boats we tested, at 3'2", which does make paddling a little less comfortable than narrower boats but adds stability that makes it possible to really relax within. Velcro strips on the bottom of the seats let you place them wherever you want, but they are more challenging to adjust once you're out on the water. An optional center pillow-like inflatable can act as a third seat for a very small paddler, though including this starts to make the boat feel very small. With two people, it's just big enough to be comfortable. Conversely, solo paddling feels difficult and cumbersome in this wide rectangular watercraft.
Ease of Set Up
Like so many other inflatable kayaks, the Chinook uses the right side, left side, floor inflation system. This system works just fine and is simple to get used to and use. Using Boston valves is not our favorite solution, though. Because Boston valves have two caps (one for inflation and one for deflation), they also have two leashes. More than once, these string leashes got in the way of attaching the valve, causing a leak in the system.
We love that the floor has a drain on one end, though the open concept cockpit doesn't really need one as you can simply remove the floor section. The top fabric isn't waterproof, though, and will get wet as you paddle, taking longer to dry. We also had a tough time fitting this boat back into its stuff sack, with its single-end opening.
The Chinook weighs 37.6 pounds with all its components assembled. This is a bit above average among tandem models we tested, though it's certainly doable. It's easiest to carry when already set up via the bow and stern handles and utilizing the paddle keepers along the sides. The duffel bag it comes in is closed by a drawstring with a weak toggle that tends to slide open during carrying. We ended up putting a knot in it every time to prevent it from spilling everywhere.
Made of durable 600D ripstop fabric on top and PVC-like material on the bottom, the Chinook is confidence-inspiring. A repair kit is included to patch minor leaks. However, if you happened to pop one side of your kayak while out and about, it would be extremely challenging to paddle back to shore with just half of your boat inflated. This is the major flaw of the left side, right side inflation method. A handful of kayaks use the inner chamber, outer chamber strategy instead, meaning that if you did manage to rip a hole in your kayak, you'd still have an inner chamber of air giving body to your boat and letting you get back to land more easily.
If you're after a comfortable, durable boat for two (or two and a dog or child), the Chinook is a solid purchase. It doesn't come with everything, so you'll still need the paddles, pump, and PFDs, but we think that what you get for the price is a fair bargain.
The Aquaglide Chinook 120 is a comfortable tandem for leisurely endeavors. Though it converts to solo paddling, we far prefer it with a friend. It's wide, stable, and open enough to enjoy a picnic on the water with a friend. If you're hunting for a casual, pleasant boat for relaxation, this is a good choice and a solid value.
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