Note: This is a three part article on the Hobie i12s inflatable. Part 1 is about portability -- unpacking and packing. Part 2 shows the boat's features: http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=7650 . Part 3 talks about on the water performance: http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=7654.
Part 1: How portable is it?
To be honest, I have never been a fan of inflatables. We've all observed the misadventures of so many -- the boats that never seem to inflate all the way, those that won't deflate, those that, when contacting the cooler water, look more like bananas than boats, and those that are little more than sails before the wind, leaving their owners with the firm resolution that inflatable boats are for the birds!
So when the opportunity came along to try out the i12s for a day, I wasn't really expecting much. I couldn't have been more wrong! So lets take a look at what came in the bag.
The invisible kayak:
I was concerned with having someone steal the boat while running errands on the way home from picking the boat up from the Rep. Could it actually fit in the back seat of the truck?
Yes, there's a 12' boat in there!
These wheels are included:
These wheels are optional:
Putting on airs:
Someone claimed that the boat could be inflated in 3 minutes. That was surely an exaggeration, so I decided to time it in the real world.
Laying the boat out:
Inflating one of the 3 chambers:
Voila! Three minutes, rock hard; no experience -- I was impressed!
Details, details: Here's a close up of the nozzle:
And the fit:
For those allergic to exercise, there is a cool accessory:
Packing it up:
Now to see if it will actually fit back in that tiny container if you're not Houdini (or a packing engineer). If so, how long does it take?
Folding (note the seat is still in the boat):
And once more (air is exiting as I fold -- no waiting):
Placing bag on top:
Stuffing the corners (just like that form fitting sheet):
Flipping it over and connect the cross straps loosely. No heavy lifting required:
Cinch it up:
Done. 10 minutes including pictures. With practice I think it could be closer to 5. The bagged boat (including wet seat) weighed in at 63lb. on my scale. I would estimate the bag at about 5 lb +/-.
Here's the optional matching accessory bag. It contains drive, paddle and both pumps. I forgot the wheels, but wold have put them in the big bag, where they were originally.
That's it for part 1. Sorry for the plethora of pics, but some people like all the details.