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

Available At:

Click here for the best deal on the Airis Tandem at

Click here for the Airis Tandem at

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.


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.


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.


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 Airis Tandem Inflatable Kayak at

Click Here For The Airis Tandem Inflatable Kayak At

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  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,

    • 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.

    • 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!

  3. Debbie Morris says:

    I am very torn on which kayak to choose and it is difficult to order something online you have never seen. I am leaning towards either the Airis Tandem or Play, or an Innova Sunny or Helio models. Is the Nitrilon on the Innova much more durable than the material used on the Airis kayaks? My ideal kayak would be one that I could travel with, take off a cruise ship in port and paddle around with a friend or solo near shorelines in the ocean and on lakes. I don’t want to go whitewater rapids kayaking. I love how light the Innova (Gumotex) models are, and the fact that they have what it seems the strongest easiest to clean material out there. Can you simply wipe the Airis off and pack up or is the material the type that is not rubber coated and needs to dry out in the sun? I love the simplicity of the Airis, but how does the tandem paddle as a solo compared to say the Innova Sunny or Solar models? I know there isn’t really much room to take much gear (snacks, water, snorkeling gear, etc…) in an Airis compared to the Innova models, or is there? I would appreciate your advice.


    • Hi Debbie, Nitrylon is supposed to be stronger than PVC and very puncture and abrasion resistant. I’ve never had an issue with any of my PVC kayaks however and the Airis kayaks feel very durable and strong to me. I like both the Innova Sunny and Helios and they are very portable. I prefer the Helios as an ocean kayak and I like the Sunny on flat water such as lakes and calm ocean bays. However both would suit your needs. I have spent more time using the Airis kayaks however and I find them to be a lot of fun. The Airis Play is quite small and there is not much room for gear (you can secure a small dry bag under the front bungee cords but there is not much room inside the kayak). However it is a lot of fun to zip around in and ultra portable. The Tandem gives you more versatility as you can paddle it solo or tandem and there is much more room for gear. It also is able to go faster than the Play. I have a friend who uses the Tandem exclusively as a solo and she loves it. She finds it stable, comfortable and easy to paddle. Plus it is also quite portable as it folds up into the backpack carry bag. Both the Innova and Airis are great kayaks, I don’t think you can go too wrong either way. If you plan to paddle the Helios solo you will have to add some weight to the front seat area to even out the weight distribution as it does not have removable seats you can adjust. Based on your needs I would say go for either the Innova Sunny or the Airis Tandem, they would both work really well for you. Hope that helps!

  4. Debbie Morris says:

    Thanks for the input Alison. The Tandem Airis is as expensive as the Helio II, but I guess maybe is easier to paddle solo, and a little lighter. How would it compare to the Helio I? Would you say the Helios are a better quality material? Also, do you know how long it takes to set out an Airis or Helio to dry before packing away. It might not even be practical to take it on a plane if I have to worry about mold getting in it because I can’t set it out to dry where I am staying. I was hoping either might be able to just be wiped off to dry. I heard the Helios are rubber coated, but don’t know about the Airis. I can’t seem to get anyone to respond on the manufacturer sites for either product.

    I am honestly leaning more towards a Helio I or a Helio Safari, simply because I could carry more stuff than I could in an Airis Tandem. I have heard so many good things about the Safari, but don’t think it is suited for what I would be using it for. I wasn’t planning on going wave surfing or down rivers, and whitewater rapids. I just want one to go exploring in bays and lakes.

    Would you say the Airis is a lesser quality material and durability than the Helios? Also, would the Sport model be more fun to ride than the Airis Tandem solo? Is there enough room to take a big drybag and gear on the Sport? I like the lightweight easy inflatable characteristics of the Airis, but wonder if it is more of a play or exercise toy than an exploring kayak to go out on a day trips with snorkeling gear, snacks, and supplies.

    • I think they are both equally as easy to dry off. All they need is to be towel dried. That’s all I do, I just bring an old towel along and then towel dry it when I’m done. Both the Airis and the Helios dry off very easily and quickly. The Helios material is supposed to be a little stronger but I think it is not a big difference at all. I find the Airis kayaks to be equally as strong and durable. The Helios would definitely suit your needs better than the Safari. I do love the Airis Sport. I paddle that one often myself and I find it a little more fun to ride than the Tandem. It has slightly more room for gear than the Play but not as much as the Airis Tandem. You could fit a big dry bag and some snacks and gear but you’ll find more room for all that stuff in the Airis Tandem or in the Helios Both the Airis Tandem and the Innova Helios paddle quite well. You sit a little higher up in the Airis kayak and lower inside the Innova Helios so it is a slightly different feel. I think the Helios maybe tracks slightly better but truly both would work well for your needs. If you are used to paddling a hard-shell kayak you may find the Helios feels more like the paddling experience you are used to.

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