Quality dropstitch inflatable kayak for intermediate kayakers enjoying touring lakes, calm rivers or seas.
For more information, reviews from other people or to buy this ITIWIT touring inflatable kayak, please head over to Decathlon's website here.
The Decathlon ITIWIT Strenfit X500 inflatable kayak comes in a large and sturdy carry bag. The carry bag is large enough to pack the kayak back in easily after use. For an inflatable kayak of that size (380 x 65 cm), the bag is relatively concise (94 x 50 x 27 cm) and fits easily in the boot of a QashQai. The amount of spare room in the bag allows to store accessories. I keep the fin, the leash and bits and pieces in the front pocket. A manual pump (purchase separately) will fit in the main compartment of the bag. The adjustable two-part paddle (comes separately) is a bit too long to fit IN the bag but both parts can be tucked in the bag side pockets and tied with the compression strap. At about 18kg, it is obviously not the light but the bag is comfortable enough and well balanced. Don't go on a hike with it on your back but it's fine to take it to the shore.
The front of the bag shows in big the pressure required for the x500 inflatable kayak. Love this feature. It's so simple and practical. It tells you exactly what you need to know right in front of you.
As mentioned above, this inflatable touring kayak does not come with a pump or paddle. This adjustable paddle from Decathlon that was suggested to go with it. And I highly recommend to get a buoyancy vest too.
Having inflated quite a few inflatable SUP kayaks manually in the past, I decided it was time to get an electric pump. The electric pump is great and versatile as it can also be used with my inflatable SUP boards. Be aware though the pump only goes up to 15psi. Luckily enough the pressure required for the Strenfit X500 is only 10psi. But it's worth bearing in mind if you get the electrical pump and get products that require higher pressures. With the electrical pump, inflation is quick and easy. Simply plug the pump in your car 12V auxiliary power outlet (aka cigarette lighter socket), connect the pump to the valves (one by one) of the kayak, set the require pressure on the pump, press OK and let it do its job. Super easy.
The kayak tested here is the ITIWIT inflatable touring Strenfit X500. As its name suggests, it is an inflatable touring kayak. Inflated, it measures 380cm in length and 65cm in width. The kayak can support a weight of up to 125kg. It is suitable for touring and is approved for sea touring beyond 300m. Being long and narrow it is a much faster kayak than the average inflatable kayak used for recreational purposes. Being streamlined however comes with its downsides. It's a lot less stable, it's a harder to turn but it flies in a straight line. The plastic rail at the front (see the photo above) and the fin at the back keep the board in a straight line.
This kayak is made of 95% Polyéthylène (PE) and 5% Polyester (PES) using the dropstitch technology. Dropstitch is a "material". Two layers of PVC are connected by thousands of polyester strands. During high-pressure inflation, these strands stretch and create a rigid chamber, preventing the kayak from distorting. Which is what makes our inflatable kayak extremely rigid but easy to stow in a backpack once deflated.
As mentioned previously, using a touring kayak is very different than a standard recreational kayak most beginners use. The biggest difference is the stability. You'll notice straight away it's not as stable as but with a bit of practice you will adapt quickly. If it feels really unstable, reduce the pressure of the bottom chamber of the kayak a tiny bit (especially if you're light), this should reduce the center of gravity and help you with the balance. It will however increase drag and make the kayak go a bit slower with the added friction.
The other big difference is the speed! It's actually impressive how much speed you can gain by simply changing the shape of a kayak compared to a standard one. Being narrower and longer makes the kayak a lot more streamlined and as a result every stroke propels you further and faster.
And finally, the other big difference is turning. It's harder but again you get used to it.
This is a touring kayak after all and it will be used cover long distances, with little to no turns.
Deflating this kayak couldn't be easier, simply undo the valve covers (turn it anti clockwise) and press the valves to their "down" position. You can help the kayak deflating by pushing the air out from the furthest point to the opened valves. That's it! It's that easy.
This is super easy too. It takes 5 minutes max with a hose to give this kayak a good clean. Simply rinse the kayak with clean water inside and outside. Don't use any chemical, soap or detergent to clean your kayak, just clean water.
I washed mine with my pressure washer the first time which worked OK (minus dirt splash back), but it works just as well if not better with normal garden hose pressure (no splash back). Basically, stick to clean water, a garden hose, pressure washer or buckets of water will do just fine and neither will take very long.
You'll need a bit of space (around 4m by 60cm) to lay the deflated kayak flat on the floor to dry. On a sunny hot day, it doesn't take very long to dry. When one side is dry just flip it over for the other side to dry too. Drying time will obviously depend on weather conditions but on a reasonably warm dry day it doesn't take long. For the inside, try to remove as much of the excess water as possible, let it dry normally. Before packing or if you are a bit in a hurry to pack it, grab a dry clothe and wipe the kayak dry.
At £599.99 (at the time of writing), the Stenfit X500 is a good quality touring kayak. It's great to use on flat water and calm seas once you get used to its stability, or its lack of.
It comes with a 2 year guarantee.
You can buy the X500 from the Decathlon online store here