Airis Tandem Review

Best Uses: Flat water, lakes, ocean bays, fishing

Brand: Airis by Walker Bay

Number of Paddlers: 2 – can also be converted for solo use

Stats: Length 11’10″, Width 31.5″, Weight 26 lbs., Load Capacity 450 lbs.

Accessories Included: Adjustable seat, Airpack deluxe backpack, large skeg, high-pressure hand pump with gauge, repair kit

Pros: Super rigid and strong material, stable, comes with great backpack carry bag, comfortable seats are adjustable for solo or tandem use, rear gear bungee cords to secure gear, D-rings for attaching accessories, splash guard to help keep water out, tracks well, decent speed with two people paddling, foot rests, very easy entry and exit, still very light weight for a tandem kayak, compact and easy to travel with, very rigid floor – helps with performance

Cons: Not super fast when only one person paddling (great with two), not as easy to turn and maneuver as the shorter Airis kayaks – but to be expected with a longer model

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More In-Depth Info

I was excited to finally try out the newly redesigned Airis Tandem inflatable kayak. I had heard good things but wanted to check it out and get a feel for myself.

I knew the quality of the construction was top of the line and the overall features were pretty good…

  • grab handles at front and back as well as on each side for easy transport
  • bungee tie-down cords at the back to secure gear
  • D-rings for attaching accessories
  • foot rests for extra support
  • large attached skeg for better tracking
  • ample space for whatever you want to bring along with you

My initial impression when I first launched was that it was very comfortable and very stable. The seats offer great support and there is lots of leg room.  I even stood up and the floor was rigid enough and it was stable enough to stand-up paddle.

The Airis kayaks have a slightly more ‘sit-on-top’ feel to them than many other inflatable kayaks. Their pontoon sides are a little lower than many other models which makes paddling quite easy.

There is no rubbing on your arms or extra reach needed as is sometimes necessary when the pontoon sides are really wide with other inflatable kayaks.

Consequently, paddling is a lot of fun. I adjusted the seats to paddle solo at first and of course had to work a bit harder to get it moving as I was dealing with a fairly long kayak and only my strength. Once I got moving along however it glided beautifully. Paddling with a partner was very smooth and easy.

The ride was nice and I found it ideal for paddling on mountain lakes as well as on ocean bays.

Personally I wouldn’t be too enthused about taking it down a river. The longer length gives it a nice glide but makes it harder to maneuver quickly so probably not the best for river paddling.

Set-Up

Even with the length of this kayak the setup is truly only about 5 minutes. There are 3 main air chambers to pump air into, one for the floor and one for the front and back of the kayak.

It is always a good thing when an inflatable has 3 air chambers as this makes it a much safer vessel. If there is ever a tear or a leak in one air chamber you still have two others that will safely get you back to shore.

The high-pressure hand pump that comes with all the Airis kayaks is one of the best I’ve seen. I’m not normally a fan of hand pumps but this one is unique in that it has a switch that allows you to change it from regular inflation mode to high-pressure mode.

You use the regular inflation mode for the majority of the pumping and when it gets too hard to pump any more you switch the dial to high inflation mode and it gets easier to pump a few more short bursts of air in order to make sure the kayak is as rigid as possible. It works really well.

Once inflated you can attach the seats and your off. Very fast, very easy.

Quality of Construction

The Airis kayaks are fairly unique as far as inflatable’s go. They use something called AirWeb High Pressure Patented Construction which forms a heavy duty, seven layer polymer coated fabric that is joined by thousands of drop-stitch fibers.

What that basically means is that this product is not only extremely rigid which is what you want in an inflatable kayak but also very durable. The material is tear and abrasion resistant as well as very light weight.

The quality is top of the line but because these kayaks are manufactured in North America, the price is still affordable. You are getting a top quality product for an excellent price.

Versatility

The Airis Tandem is a nice option for three specific groups of people…

  1. Those who want the option to paddle with a partner but also be able to paddle the same kayak solo at times
  2. Those who are slightly bigger and want a kayak with extra room for comfort and maneuverability
  3. Those who love to fish or want extra room for gear and expeditions

The Tandem is quite long at 11′ 10″ and there is tons of room in this kayak. It is ideal for tandem paddling as both people will have ample leg room. It is also ideal for bringing along a dog – even with two people in it.

However if you want to paddle solo, you can remove one of the seats and secure the other seat to the middle D-rings to make it a nice long solo kayak.

Larger people will appreciate the extra width and space and might prefer paddling this kayak solo as compared to the other Airis models.

The extra room means extra space for fishing gear, camping gear or anything else you might want to bring along.

It is a versatile kayak that can handle a lot of different situations.

Weight and Size

The light weight for this tandem model is quite impressive. 26 lbs. is very easy for 2 people to carry and even manageable for one.

It rolls up into a very compact size and stores easily inside the included backpack. The backpack can be transported in the trunk of your vehicle, in an RV, on a larger boat or even taken on an airplane.

The size and weight make it easy to bring anywhere as well as store away.

Performance

The performance is fairly impressive. This kayak was not necessarily designed for speed but with two people paddling, it glides nicely through the water and can get moving pretty good.

It is not that fast as a solo model but that is to be expected. It still paddles well.

The large attached skeg really helps with the tracking and I found it quite easy to keep going straight.

The skeg is attached so this kayak is best suited for lakes or ocean bays. If you want to paddle down a river make sure the river is deep enough that the skeg won’t get caught on anything or banged against rocks.

Deluxe Backpack

The Deluxe Backpack is awesome! I think Airis has the best carry bag out there for their kayaks. The design is fantastic… padded shoulder straps, enough room for your kayak, your pump and even your paddle as well as a front pocket for any extras.

It feels comfortable on your back and is very rugged. I can’t say enough about how much I love their backpack. It makes transporting the kayak easier than ever.

My Video

My Pictures

Final Thoughts

Overall I would say the Airis Tandem is a great buy. The price is excellent for the quality of product you are getting. It is comfortable and easy to paddle and has a unique and stylish design.

This would make a great recreational kayak and is perfect for those who want to travel with a tandem model without having to worry about it being heavy and annoying.

The construction is strong and resilient and with a little care it will last a very long time. I have no hesitation in recommending this model.

Where To Buy

Click here for the best deal on the Airis Tandem inflatable kayak at Outdoorplay.com.

Click here for current prices on the Airis Tandem inflatable kayak at the official WalkerBay.com website.

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Comments

  1. Dear Allison,
    First – thanks for all these reviews . Very helpful.
    I am looking for a solo, light weight Inf. kayak for use on saltwater bays on Cape Cod. Would like it to be as fast as possible but also sea kindly (safe) and be able to punch through a slight (1 foot) chop.
    I am a fit 77 yrs old, 5’8″ and 150#. gear is light – maybe 15#
    See that you like the Sea Eagle Fasttrack and I was almost ready to pull the trigger on that when I saw your review of the Airis.
    Given a choice between the Fasttrack and the Airis – which would you opt for given my parameters.
    Regards and thanks,
    Herb

    • Hi Herb, Both are great kayaks so you can’t go too wrong with these two. I personally prefer the FastTrack for ocean chop. The Airis will get you through it no problem but you might find that you get more wet. You sit up a little higher in the Airis and the pontoon sides are a little smaller… I find there is less protection from the water. It paddles great, but you are definitely a little more exposed. Other than that, they are both comfortable, light weight, easy to paddle and well made. Hope that helps!

  2. Dear Allison,
    Thanks for comments.
    There are times that I will like – probably NEED – a kayak to handle chop better (dryer). The Sea Eagle FT has drain holes that might serve me well taking on water going into a chop. But they are below water level and one does not go fast enough to “draw” water out through these holes as one would do in a power boat..
    In your opinion do they effectively drain the boat while the boat is in forward motion? Or are they suited mostly to draining the boat on shore.
    Or – do they drain the boat while under way enough so that one does not have to stop and bail?

    I wear a dry suit – so getting wet is not an issue. But boat handling is. A kayak half filled with water is not a good thing.

    The shape of the Airis’ bow and the amount of floatation there seems to indicate that it would have more lift than the Sea Eagle FT which would probably bury the bow but be less jarring (pounding) than the Airis.
    Would the tandem Airis used solo change the above dynamics?

    Sorry to seem that I am relentlessly picking your brains – but I guess I am.
    Respectfully,
    Herb

    • The drain holes in the FT aren’t bad but they aren’t as effective as most people would like them to be. When they are open water does get in the kayak. It’s not going to drown you out but it is what it is. The FT is not a whitewater kayak and truthfully the drain holes are rarely necessary to use. You would have to be in some pretty heavy waves to get the FT filled with water. Paddling the Airis Tandem solo is comparable to paddling the Sea Eagle FT solo. However I don’t find the Airis Tandem to track or glide quite as well as the FastTrack. I also think the shape of the Airis kayak makes it a little more jarring when punching through waves. However I have to say the main difference with these two is the overall feel… You sit up higher in the Airis kayak and have a lower center of gravity in the FT. Which you prefer is personal preference. Good luck!

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