Gumotex / Innova Solar Review

The Solar is a real classic among the inflatable kayaks from the manufacturer Gumotex. It is an open inflatable kayak that can be paddled alone or as two person kayak. A third seat can even be added as an option so that a child can also come along. We have already paddled the Solar on several tours and would like to share our impressions with you here and draw comparisons with other Gumotex inflatable kayaks. In our test, we will look at how the Gumotex can be paddled alone and with two people.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Gumotex Solar

The greatest strength of the Gumotex Solar is that it can be paddled very well by two people as well as alone. In both configurations, there are no compromises in terms of handling characteristics or space for the paddlers. Although it is a 2-person kayak, we would also recommend the Solar to those looking for a 1-person kayak only.

This also works with the Gumotex Thaya (up to 2+1 people), Rush 2 (up to 2 people) or Seawave (up to 2+1 people), but these also cost a few hundred euros more. If you can do without an optional spraydeck, a steering system or a drop-stitch floor, the Gumotex Solar will save you a lot of money.

On river tours you will get some water into the kayak due to a missing spray deck

Due to the lack of splash protection, the Solar is more suitable for paddling in warmer temperatures, unless you use suitable paddling clothing. Although the Solar has a high load capacity, the interior can be too cramped for heavy people.


+ good rigidity + very solid workmanship + simple and durable construction without a lot of frills + stable on the water + good directional stability + can also be paddled very well alone + quick assembly and disassembly + plenty of legroom + very comfortable seating (high backrest, seat cushion and backrest can be inflated separately) + can be used as a single, double or triple kayak + Solar 019 has become lighter + high weight load capacity of 270 kg + 2-year guarantee + spare parts can be reordered
+ produced in Europe


– somewhat cramped interior – reduced spray protection on the bow from Solar 019 (the person in front can quickly get wet in small waves) – no option to retrofit a spraydeck (but with a small splash guard for the front which is overpriced) – as a 2-person kayak only suitable for multi-day trips to a limited extent (little space and fastening options for luggage. A kayak with a spraydeck offers more options here) – Overpriced splash guard for the bow

Conclusion to the Gumotex Solar

We really liked the Gumotex Solar. It is a high-quality and simple kayak. The robust material, the solid workmanship and the simple, no-frills design ensure that you can enjoy the boat for a long time, even with intensive use. The boat’s length and skeg give it good directional stability.

The Gumotex Solar is also a great 1-person kayak

The increased operating pressure of 0.2 bar (cheap inflatable boats have only half or even a third of the air pressure) gives the boat good rigidity. The air chambers (especially the side chambers) feel nice and firm and stable as a result. At first glance, the air kayak seems expensive, but you get a lot for your money. It can be used as a single, double and triple kayak. It comes with an 80L waterproof transport backpack, which you can use to store the boat and transport it conveniently by public transport or by car in the trunk. The quick assembly and disassembly also make the Gumotex Solar a spontaneous companion and a kayak for after-work trips on the water.

It is by no means a boat exclusively for the lake, but a fully-fledged kayak with which you can go on long tours on nice days. The Gumotex Solar really comes into its own on lakes and calm rivers. The kayak is mainly intended for paddling in warm temperatures, as it has no splash guard and can therefore get a lot of water in the boat.

The Gumotex Solar offers enough space for two tall paddlers.

Although the price of the Solar has risen in recent years, as with other inflatable kayaks, we believe that the Solar still offers very good value for money.

MRS Packrafts Reviews

MRS stands for Micro Rafting System and also offers a variety of interesting packrafts. The manufacturer produces in small series in China, also in cooperation with the Packrafting-Store. Although the Packrafts are developed and produced in China, due to the high price of over 1000€ and exclusively positive reports on the Internet, it can be assumed that the Packrafts are of high quality. We had the chance to test two MRS packrafts on the water.

MRS Alligator 2S Review

The MRS Alligator 2S is a packraft which, according to Packrafting-Store, is designed for demanding packrafting. For us, demanding packrafting means that packrafters want to use their packraft intensively under demanding conditions (e.g. whitewater packrafting, large land-water tours, bikerafting, …) and expect a high level of sophisticated equipment.

The MRS Alligator 2S is a great white water packraft


high-quality workmanship + robust boat skin + high-quality skeg fitting (with optional deep-water skeg noticeably better directional stability) + light and compact pack size from the perspective of the equipment and performance + comfortable seating position + easy re-entry from the water + very stable + forgives many mistakes in white water + very well braced coaming + tight and sporty fit (ideal for paddling in white water) + can be optionally equipped with a footrest + robust floor, which also adequately protects the air chamber from below + good thigh straps included + accessories and spare parts available + 3-year guarantee on materials and workmanship


simple valve design for this price range (simple, functional and robust but valve opening for inflation bag has no recoil and upper valve piece can quickly get lost) – intact valve of the seat cushion on our model leads to air escaping from time to time – small people are dependent on the optional footrest – seat position can only be varied to a limited extent (optional footrest or supplied thigh straps may be necessary) – only repair material but no repair kit (i.e. material including glue) included in the scope of delivery

The MRS Alligator 2S is a very solid and sporty packraft with a wide range of uses. If you are looking for a compact packraft with a high level of stability and agility for paddling in rough water and white water, the Alligator 2S is a good choice.

On the one hand, it is still light and compact enough to take with you on multi-day packrafting or bikerafting tours. With the optional deep-water skeg and the pointed, elongated tail, calm rivers and lakes can be paddled more effectively than with other packrafts without a skeg. On the other hand, with its whitewater spraydeck, it offers optimum splash protection and, with the tight fit and the thigh straps supplied (with the optional footrest if required), a very good hold and plenty of control in whitewater.

Bikerafting with the MRS Alligator 2S

The price is high, but for a fully-fledged whitewater packraft it is in line with the market. If you do without the internal storage system, you can reduce the price even further and get a robust yet well-equipped packraft for white water. In our experience, a luggage compartment in the air chamber with an airtight and waterproof zipper is very practical, but only a must-have feature for multi-day tours. On day trips, you can manage very well without it.

MRS Nomad S1 Review

Packrafts are mainly short and maneuverable boats that are primarily used in white water and fast flowing water. With the Nomad S1, however, MRS offers a packraft which, thanks to its length, is also suitable for longer tours on lakes and calm rivers. It is advertised as having running characteristics that allow packrafters to keep up with conventional kayaks.

The MRS Nomad S1 is one of the longest 1-person packrafts on the market


Running characteristics similar to an inflatable kayak + Speeds of up to 6 km/h are realistic + Can also be used for white water + Good workmanship and robust material + Air chamber is generously protected by the floor material + Spraydeck can be rolled up (can therefore be reconfigured into an open packraft) + Spray skirt and skeg already included in the scope of delivery


high purchase price – simple valve design for this price range (simple, functional and robust but valve opening for inflation bag has no recoil and upper valve piece can quickly get lost) – seat position can only be varied to a limited extent – for tall paddlers possibly (depending on the tour, footwear and subjective feeling) little legroom – only repair material but no repair kit (i.e. material including glue) included in the scope of delivery – more difficult to paddle in white water than the Alligator 2S

The Nomad S1 is unrivaled in the packraft segment. If you really want to combine paddling with other outdoor activities (e.g. hiking, biking) or want to have the boat with you on every vacation without any problems, you should consider the Nomad S1 more closely. Although it has a hefty price tag, in this case the boat simply opens up possibilities that are not so easy to achieve with conventional inflatable kayaks.

The MRS Nomad S1 showed a good performance on lakes

However, if you are mainly looking for a compact 1-person boat that you can transport in a backpack, you should consider whether an inflatable kayak might be enough. Although these are a lot heavier and bulkier in terms of pack size, there are already cheaper models available and some come even closer to a conventional kayak due to their design. Many 1-person models can also be transported in a backpack, at least for short distances (around 30 minutes).

Anfibio Packrafts Reviews

Anfibio Packraft is a brand from Germany that is specialized in the development of ultralight packrafts and related equipment. The boats are manufactured with a partner in China. We had the chance to test different Anfibio packraft models on the water and would like to share our opinion on these packrafts in this review post.

Anfibio Delta MX Review

The Anfibio Delta MX is an extremely lightweight yet spacious 1-person packraft. When rolled up, it is so small that it fits into any backpack.

Very spacious for a 1-person ultralight packraft


very light and compact + skeg holder already fitted
+ very spacious + comfortable seat with integrated backrest + high load limit + scratch-resistant surface + accessories and spare parts (e.g. seat, skeg) available + 3-year guarantee on materials and workmanship


Our new model had a small (inconspicuous) deformation in the side tube – without the skeg, the straight-line stability is only moderate – compressing the seat is laborious – the lower side of the air chamber is poorly protected against rough groundings – only repair material but no repair kit (i.e. material including adhesive) included in the scope of delivery

Not bigger than a sleeping mat

The Anfibio Delta MX is a successful packraft. With this small pack size and weight, there is no reason not to take the boat with you and combine it with other activities. It is a simple packraft that still offers great comfort and good running characteristics as a single packraft with a skeg. From our point of view, it is not only a packraft for crossing a river, but also for paddling down a river for several hours or taking a short leisurely tour on a lake in good conditions (i.e. no wind/no waves). It also offers a surprising amount of interior space.

Stable and good running characteristics with the optional skeg

Anfibio Rebel 2K Review

The Rebel 2K is a packraft from the Anfibio brand. It is similar to the Anfibio Delta MX. The big difference is that the Rebel 2K comes with more equipment (especially the integrated spraydeck) and therefore offers other options for tours.

Ultralight packraft with an integrated spraydeck


very light and compact + skeg holder already fitted
+ spraydeck can be opened (packraft can be paddled as an open packraft) + sprayskirt is in integrated in the spraydeck + comfortable seat with integrated backrest + scratch-resistant surface + accessories and spare parts (e.g. seat, skeg) available + 3-year guarantee on materials and workmanship


spraydeck suitable for moderate white water only
– difficult to compress the seat – lower side of the air chamber is poorly protected against rough groundings – only repair material but no repair kit (i.e. material including adhesive) included – little space for tall people with the spraydeck closed

Slightly bigger than the Anfibio Delta MX

The Anfibio Rebel 2K is a great addition to Anfibio’s ultra-lightweight Prackrafts. It is a very versatile packraft with a good finish. Thanks to the integrated spraydeck, you are optimally prepared for many situations. It keeps you dry from splashing water and warm on cool mornings or in cooler seasons. The Rebel 2K is also available with waterproof inner pockets in the air chamber (70 L per side). This increases the packraft’s transport capacity enormously and is perfect for longer outdoor activities.

In order to achieve the low weight, the Rebel 2K has been designed without unnecessary material thicknesses and coatings. It is therefore less robust than other packrafts (which are significantly heavier). Nevertheless, we consider the Anfibio Rebel 2K to be suitable for most applications of a packraft (crossing waters, river tours, leisurely paddling on lakes, …). For frequent whitewater use, where not only the bottom but also the air chamber is subjected to heavy stress, we would be cautious with the Rebel 2K. Although it is an ultra-light packraft, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort and useful features (e.g. comfortable seat, skeg holder, numerous straps).

Great packraft for river tours

Anfibio Omega C2 Review

The Anfibio Omega C2 is a very light canoe packraft. There are now packraft models from numerous manufacturers on the market, but packrafts as canoes (known as Canadian canoes in technical jargon) are still a rarity among packrafts.

anfibio packraft review
Packraft canoe which can be also paddled as a kayak


very high configurability (up to 2 skegs, backrests for kayak configuration, MultiMat for stiffening the floor, …) + very compact and lightweight for a 2-person canoe + very flexible positioning of the seats
+ comfortable seat cushions + plenty of space for the paddlers in the canoe configuration + two skegs fittings already attached + high rigidity (air pressure) achievable with the aid of the hand pump + can also be used as a kayak + possibility of stowing and securing luggage in the interior + good workmanship + 3-year guarantee + good running characteristics and good directional stability (with at least 1 skeg) for an inflatable canoe


no carrying handles – somewhat more tippy than conventional packrafts due to the raised seating position – cords for fastening the seat wear out quickly – without MultiMat not a good seating position (too low and cramped) as a kayak – lower side of the air chambers is not very protected against rough groundings – only repair material but no repair kit (i.e. material including glue) included – luggage compartment in the air chamber would have been very interesting for multi-day tours – inflation bag and hand pump could be of higher quality

anfibio canoe packraft
Inflatable seats mounted as canoe seat benches

The Anfibio Omega C2 is a very successful and interesting packraft. If we didn’t already have a few boats of our own, the Anfibio Omega C2 would be worth considering buying. It is the lightest, most compact and affordable inflatable canoe available on the market. The manufacturer has taken care to make the Packraft as variable as possible. Thanks to the variable seating concept, the Anfibio Omega C2 in combination with the MultiMat and the backrests can be used not only as a canoe but also as a 1- or 2-person kayak.

As a canoe, it is a real alternative to conventional inflatable canoes (e.g. Gumotex Palava). The raised seating position and long internal length offer plenty of space for paddlers and luggage on a day trip. Skegs are very common with inflatable kayaks, but hardly ever found with canoes. The Anfibio Omega C2 is different. It can be equipped with up to 2 fins and has good running characteristics and therefore does not have to hide behind conventional inflatable canoes. For a 2-person packraft, it has very generous dimensions despite its small pack size and weight.

Good performance as a canoe

Pump for inflatable kayaks and canoes

For an inflatable boat, an air pump is an indispensable accessory. For the majority of inflatable kayaks or canoes on the market (with the exception of a few brands), the air pump is not included and must be purchased separately. In this article, we’ll go over the different types of air pumps for inflatable kayaks and canoes, and explain the differences to you. We also give tips on choosing the right air pump.

Table of Contents

best pump for inflatable kayak
A pump is indispensable for inflatable kayaks and canoes

How to find the right air pump?

The right air pump depends on numerous factors:

  • Do you prefer a hand, foot or electric pump?
  • How important is it to you to inflate your inflatable quickly?
  • How easy should it be to pump with the air pump?
  • How much pressure do the air chambers of your boat have?
  • How big is the boat, so how much volume of air do you need to pump in?
  • How much space do you have in your backpack and in the boat to carry the air pump?
  • Do you need a deflation function for the pump?
  • Does the pump have the appropriate adapters for your boat valves?

Pumps of any kind are already available for between 10$ and 20$. Higher priced air pumps usually have more (e.g. integrated pressure gauge, change between single and double action mode, can generate higher air pressure, have a higher build quality, …). We have a double action pump for 20€ and have been using it regularly for over 3 years.

If you want to inflate your inflatable boat as quickly as possible, an air pump with a high pumping volume (at least 4 liters) is important. You can achieve this with a voluminous double action pump. Especially for large inflatable boats, such an air pump is highly recommended. In addition, the required air pressure of your boat is crucial when choosing the right air pump. If your inflatable boat consists of drop stitch (or high pressure air chambers), you should make sure that the air pump can handle the increased air pressure.

best pump for inflatable kayak
The air pump is often stowed behind the seat
stowing air pump in kayak
Alternatively, the air pump can be stowed on the deck of the kayak, if available

With an air pump, you can not only inflate your inflatable boat, but also, depending on the model, pump the air out again. This is particularly practical, because when you open the valves, only part of the air escapes from the air chambers by itself. Therefore, when buying, make sure that the air pump has a deflation function. Such air pumps have two sides, usually marked “Inflate” and “Defalte”. Depending on the function, the hose is switched. This is especially convenient for getting out the remaining air before folding the boat. The boat is then easier to pack and you get the original packing size when folding the boat properly. Otherwise, you will have to push out the remaining air when folding the boat. To do this, start folding the boat with the opposite side of the valves. This way the valves are exposed and the air can escape when folding the boat.

If you transport your inflatable kayak or canoe by car, the dimensions of the air pump are not really important. In addition to a repair kit, the air pump belongs in the boat on every paddling trip. If a hole gets in an air chamber or after inflation the valve was not closed correctly, the air pump is needed on the tour. Also, during long breaks in the middle of summer, paddlers let out air from the boat to protect their boat against overpressure. Read more in our article: 6 tips for proper inflatable boat use. For paddlers who transport the boat and equipment in a backpack via public transport, a compact pump can save some space.

The different types of air pumps

There are a variety of air pumps for inflatable boats available. Basically, these can be divided into hand pumps, foot pumps and electric air pumps.

Hand air pump

Hand pumps have a cylindrical piston inside, and are therefore also called piston stroke pumps. The air pump is operated with both hands. During pumping, the feet can be placed on the side feet of the pump.

inlating itiwit kayak with air pump
Hand pump in use for inflating a kayak

There are both single and double action pumps. A double action pump is particularly effective because it pumps air into the boat not only when pushing but also when pulling the piston. In addition, there are air pumps that can be switched between single-action and double-action modes.

Single action hand pumps are easier to use because you only have to apply force (partly from your body weight) when pushing the piston. However, this requires you to perform twice the number of movements. We generally use double action pumps for inflatable boats, as they are particularly effective and quickly fill the inflatable boat with air. In our opinion, the increased effort required to raise the piston is hardly noticeable. It only becomes noticeable when the air pressure exceeds 0.3 bar (4.4 PSI). This is why the double action pump with a wide piston shows its limits with high-pressure chambers (e.g. with drop stitch), as pulling up the piston becomes very energy-consuming from a pressure of 0.4 bar (5.8 PSI). This is exactly why there are air pumps that can be switched between single and double Action mode. At the beginning, the double action mode is used to quickly get a lot of air into the air chambers. From a higher pressure is then switched to single action mode. However, if you only need to get a pressure of up to 0.5 bar (7.3 PSI), you can also do it with a simple large (4 liter) single action pump.

For inflating inflatable boats, we recommend an air pump with a thick piston. These generate sufficient pressure and have a high volume so that the inflatable kayak is quickly inflated. Thin and tall piston pumps can also be used in general, but are primarily intended for inflatable SUP boards. They have a much smaller volume, but can generate a very high pressure. The most efficient way to inflate is to keep your arms extended, stand vertically over the air pump and inflate in squats.

Bicycle air pumps cannot be used for inflatable boats because they do not have the correct valve adapters. Even if you have a valve adapter for your inflatable boat, they won’t attach to the tube of a stand-up bicycle pump. Not to mention how long the pumping process would take.

Foot air pump

Foot pumps are foldable and can therefore be better stored in the backpack as well as in the boat. A foot pump in the folded state has a size of a DIN A4 sheet and a thickness of 5 – 8 cm. As a rule, foot pumps are less powerful than hand pumps. They also take longer to inflate compared to a double action hand pump, as they do not have a double action function.

portable boat foot pump
Foot pump in use for inflating a canoe

In general, inflatable boats can be pumped up to 0.1 bar without any problems and up to 0.2 – 0.25 bar with foot pumps. From a higher pressure, a high-pressure foot pump is recommended, which then pumps with a lower volume. Foot pumps are also a good alternative for people with back problems. With a foot pump, you don’t have to bend over, and the movement comes exclusively from your leg. In addition, most foot pumps are more space-saving to store than hand air pumps.

Electric air pump

Who wants to buy an electric air pump for his inflatable boat, should pay attention to a 12 V connection for the cigarette lighter in the car, or better buy a battery-powered air pump. Then you can use the electric air pump anywhere regardless of an existing power connection.

With an electric air pump, manual inflation should be eliminated, at least in part (depending on the air pump and the required air pressure of the inflatable boat). This is because a majority of compact electric air pumps with rechargeable batteries do not have the necessary power to generate a sufficiently high air pressure. Unfortunately, such pumps too often do not specify what air pressure they create. However, for inexpensive inflatable boats with an air pressure below 0.1 bar (1.45 PSI), an air pump powered by rechargeable battery is sufficient. At an air pressure of 0.1 bar (1.45 PSI), you usually have to pump a little more with a hand or foot pump.

electric pump for inflatable kayak
A compact electric air pump can help with assembly

Even if the electric air pump does not have sufficient power for the required operating pressure of your boat, such a pump can still be a useful addition. At an air pressure of 0.2 bar, you need to pump about 2/3 to 3/4 less. This is because the air chamber is already mostly filled with air by the electric pump. You only have to pump a little more with a hand air pump to get the final pressure.

We like to have such an electric pump for kayaks in the basement when we unfold our boat again to dry after a paddling trip. The inflatable boat simply dries better when the air chambers are a little filled with air.

Careful with compressor air pumps!

However, do not use an electric compressor air pump for your boat. Compressor air pumps are much more powerful and not suitable for inflating inflatable kayaks or canoes. The risk of overpressure is very high and will burst the chamber of the boat.

A battery air pump is a comfortable alternative to the conventional hand pumps. Nevertheless, we use exclusively or additionally a double action pump for inflating our inflatable kayak by the water. From our point of view, hand air pumps are much more resistant and essential to create a sufficiently high pressure. An electric battery air pump is quickly unusable if it falls on the ground or even into the water, or if the battery was not sufficiently charged.

Valves and valve adapters

The air pump is connected to the valve of the inflatable boat via a valve adapter. There are a variety of different valves. In this section we would like to discuss the most common types.

  • Plug valve: The plug valve is the simplest form of valve on inflatable boats. This valve is very rarely found on inflatable boats. For higher priced inflatable canoes, this valve is not found at all. The big disadvantage is that it can be opened accidentally.
  • Boston valve: Boston valves are 2-way screw valves. The top screw cap is removed for inflation. If you take off the air pump adapter after inflation, no air escapes because a flap inside closes the valve hole, and only opens during inflation. Nevertheless, the top cap should be screwed on for safety. If you want to release the air, unscrew the lowest cap. Due to the large valve opening, the air escapes very quickly. Both Intex, Bestway and Sevylor inflatable boats have Boston valves.
  • Military / Push Push Valve: Some European brands like Gumotex/ Innova and Grabner use these valves and call them Push Push valves. The American brand Advanced Elements inflatable calls them Military valves. The valves are characterized by a spring that can be operated very easily with a finger using a push-turn knob. If you push the spring in, air escapes. When you inflate, you push the spring out. When connecting the valve adapter, no air escapes either. Compared to the Boston valve, a twist-lock valve allows you to deflate very precisely if a little too much air has been pumped up.
  • Twist-Lock Valve: Twist-Lock valves are used by Advanced Elements for its air tubes under the canopy and for the coamings, or Gumotex/Innova for its inflatable seats, among others. The valves can be inflated with a Boston adapter or inflated by mouth. The handling is very simple. The twist cap also makes it very easy to adjust the air pressure.
intex explorer drain valve
Plug valve
boston valve
Boston valve
advanced elements valve
Spring valve
itiwit x100 kayak valve
Push push valve
advanced elements inflating
Twist-Lock valve
pumping up with adapter
Inflating with valve adapter

Manometer for kayak and canoe pumps

A manometer is an air pressure gauge to measure the pressure in the air chamber of your inflatable kayak or canoe. This is the only way to know how much air you still have to pump into the air chambers. As with the air pump, the pressure gauge must be suitable for the valve, otherwise air pressure measurement is not possible. Some people pump up the boat by feel. We always check the air pressure with a pressure gauge, because defects due to accidental overpressure are excluded by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Relief valves

Some inflatable kayaks or canoes have a pressure relief valve built into the air chambers in the bottom chamber. This valve allows air to escape from the chamber in case of overpressure. Some manufacturers even offer a pressure relief valve for the air pump. This is then screwed onto the pump hose and this already prevents overpressure during inflation.

Nevertheless, a separate pressure gauge is not always necessary. Some air pumps have an integrated pressure gauge so that you can read the air pressure during inflation. Some inflatable boats (e.g. Intex and some Sevylor inflatable boats) have a measuring scale printed on the air chamber. This way you can check if there is too little or too much air in the chamber.

intex inflatable kayak air pressure
Measuring strip
sevylor kayak pressure
Measuring scale
aqua marina steam air pump gauge
Pump with integrated manometer
sevylor pressure gauge
Separate manometer