Inflatable kayaks have been around for a number of years filling the void between space-saving and adventures, carefully positioned to do a task of getting you on the water.
With the increase in inflatable stand up paddle board popularity, it was always predicted that the same technologies would be brought into the kayak industry sooner or later.
What has been created is a super stiff, super rigid hull that can actually paddle with the style and grace of a hard-shelled kayak. Yet still super lightweight and portable. The drop stitch technology has just opened up a whole new realm of inflatable sports and looks certain to be an instant hit.
Bay Sports, an Australian watersports brand, is leading a charge to get people off of the sofa and onto the water and this new inflatable kayak could be just the ticket
Read what we have to say on the latest 2 seater Air Glide 473 from Bay Sports.
|Weight||44 lbs – 19.9 kgs|
|Weight Capacity||551 lbs – 250 kgs|
Baysports Air Glide 473
The Bay Sports Air Glide 473 is really a top quality inflatable kayak! The construction is fantastic with the drop stitch core combined with an outer PVC and other reinforcing panels which creates a super durable design. Next to the high stability of the kayak, included accessories and overall versatility, this Bay Sports kayak is really ready for your next adventure!
Having been around the sport for a long time it’s no question we would always prefer a hard-shelled kayak or inflatable SUP over its lesser sibling the inflatable kayak. This has always been largely due to the performance, and build quality. With many traditional inflatable kayaks only reaching on average just 0.5 psi they sag and bow and take the form of a lilo.
When Bay Sports called and said we have something new that you might like we immediately took notice. This guy is a much-needed update and an absolute game-changer in terms of inflatable kayaks.
So what have they done?
Bay sports have taken a drop stitch core as found in just about every inflatable stand up paddleboard. Whereby the top and bottom PVC is linked by thousands of small strands this means you can use a much higher pressure to hold a better form and shape. The core can then be combined with an outer PVC and other reinforcing panels which create a super durable design.
The Air Glide 473 has been designed with a 4” thick floor panel and 3” side walls. So because the panels are smaller than that of an iSUP you don’t need as high pressure for the same rigidness.
One of the nicest features of the material is its enhanced durability. You’ll find extra reinforcement in high wear areas such as the nose and tail. Then looking along the keel, we found that the boat has no problem getting close and personal with shallow areas.
As we mentioned the Bay Sports Air Glide is built on the same drop stitch platform as many of their inflatable SUPs so the kayak is supplied with the same awesome Bay Sports dual action pump.
Setting up the kayak was super easy, simply inflating the three panels (2 walls and floor) up to around 10 PSI and you are ready to go. This only took a few minutes but could be even quicker with a compressor or electric pump.
Packing down was hassle free by just opening the valve covers and giving the valve a press and a quarter turn will leave them open. Allowing you to fold and roll the kayak into your backpack. Just remember to close the valves again once you’re done to keep it rolled tight.
The first thing to note is that this is still definitely an inflatable kayak. Weighing in at just under 20kg for a 2 person boat means that it can still be easily shipped and delivered in a carton directly to your door.
The user-friendly characteristics of an inflatable have not changed. Easy to use, small to store and transport but the durability and usability have been drastically improved with the upgraded drop stitch design.
As far as kayaks go the Air Glide 473 from Bay Sports has been designed as a flat water kayak. Best suited to inland waterways and lakes.
As with all inflatable kayaks, the lightweight nature makes them difficult to use in any kind of wind this is aided by the included skeg but still not ideal and best avoided.
We took the kayak for its maiden voyage taking time opportunity to test a range of seat setups.
This was one of our favorite features being able to quickly switch from a two-seater, back to a single seat, by just moving the universal backrest into a center position. The Air Glide 473 is supplied with 2 universal type backrests with high back support and handy storage pocket on the rear for maximum comfort.
The hull of the Air Glide is actually very flat. So, as a result, we noticed the boat was really easy to turn and maneuver. In a straight line, the V-shaped bow cut through the water easily and proficiently.
Due to its lightweight design we actually found it fairly quick especially with two people, once in sync we felt able to cover a bit of distance without any real problems.
The Air Glide felt stable and secure. No matter if you are a complete novice taking to the water for the first time or a seasoned Waterman looking for another avenue to explore. This is certainly a simple option to get you on the water with maximum comfort and enjoyment.
Bay Sports have been kind enough to include 2 240cm breakdown paddles meaning you are ready to paddle straight from the carton.
Each paddle is made from a simple aluminum and nylon construction which is a little heavy but breaks down into 4 pieces. This means that they easily fit into the storage bag and snap together quickly. They offer both a flat and angled blade offset for your own preference and are long enough to easily reach over the sides of the kayak.
Of course, if you are serious about the sport we recommend picking up something a little nicer maybe even stretching to kayak paddles with a carbon or fiberglass construction to save on weight.
Bay Sports have included their popular dual action pump as found with their other stand up paddle boards. The pump has been working well for a number of years offering a built in pressure gauge so you always get the right amount of air. As well as the option to switch between high volume and high-pressure outputs meaning you can get the kayak set up and paddling in no time at all.
Another sneaky tip you can also switch the pump to deflate when packing away your kayak to really suck out the last of the air to make it even more compact for traveling and storage.
Bay Sports supply the Air Glide 473 with a large storage bag this is ideal for transporting your new kayak. We really liked the oversize feel to the bag to make sure we could fit all our accessories in really easily.
The sides of the bag have been built in mesh to allow it to breathe and let the kayak better dry and not stay damp whilst sitting in the bag.
The shoulder straps are large and padded but you also have wheels! Due to the extra weight of a kayak compared to stand-up paddleboard, we certainly felt a little more padding wouldn’t go amiss.
As always any inflatable is supplied with a small repair kit in case disaster strikes. This one includes a couple of patches and the standard valve key. We like to add some glue and plastic gloves just so it’s always ready to use in the event of a problem.
- Lightweight easily portable design
- Comfortable backrests for all day use
- Option to interchange the backrests quickly to change from a single to double seat design
- Durable and strong
- Included skeg aids tracking
- Plenty of included accessories to get you on the water in no time
- Only one color option is currently available
- The included bag needs some extra padding for better comfort
- Best to avoid windy days as the lightweight design gets blown around easily
- If paddling with smaller children then it’s a good idea to take an extra cushion to sit on as the side walls can be quite high.
Kayaking may have been on your radar for a while but you haven’t yet splashed out. Then this is your chance to pick up in our opinion the ultimate in inflatable kayak technology.
As we have mentioned this kind of kayak really is a turning point and a game changer for kayaking. Why’s that? You have the same functionality of a hard-shelled kayak but mixed with the lightweight and portability of an inflatable.
The Bay Sports Air Glide 473 has become an instant favorite! So, whether you’re traveling alone or with a friend, we guarantee a good time. Of course, if you want to spend more time in an ocean we would recommend taking a look at some hardshell designs.
But for lazy days on quiet waterways then enjoy the Air Glides huge load capacity and take some lunch and stay out all day.
Overall the Air Glide is a fantastic package with plenty of accessories included to get you straight on the water.
Bay Sports have been leading a charge for a number of years backed by a solid 3-year warranty which is the best we’ve ever seen, you really have no excuse not to pick up an Air Glide 473 for your next adventure.