“My solution: Gumotex Solar 410C … the difference is ludicrous!”
Happy Gumotex owner after running a Sevylor Hudson for a few years.
Great website – what a wealth of information. I wish I had read it before buying my Sevylor Pointer K2, I would have bought a Gumotex. Never too late; it just costs you more. Anna M.
In my opinion the long-established Czech Gumotex rubber factory in Břeclav make the best-value, proper IKs in Europe (in North America branded ‘Innova’). All you have to do is pick the best one for your needs. To see the 2020 catalog click this. Gumotex also made some expensive, high-pressure, super-tough models, such as these raft-wide Ks.
In 2011 they stopped selling the Sunny in Europe. The 25cm longer, but similar Solar 410C took its place and in 2017 became the near-identical Solar 3. In 2019 that got renamed the Solar 019 with a new identical model called Thaya featuring a more rigid drop stitch floor.
Hybrid drop stitch hulls using their rubber-based Nitrilon fabric looks like the new direction for Gumotex IKs. The same durability but better performing boats which glide like hardshells but roll up into a bag. The Rush models of 2020 took this a step further.
Compared to some IKs, Gumotex are simple, robust and gimmick free, and over the years the design has been refined: better skeg fitment, better removable seats (but still heavy), lighter material options while in most cases keeping PRVs in the floors. Better push-push valves as well as lighter Nitrilon, and now with fitted or removable decked boats like the Seawave, Framura and Rush.
The sporty Safari (with a 330XL version) the Solar 3/019 as well as the Framura and the versatile Seawave are all great touring boats, and the Nitrilon Twists are light.
I haven’t owned or tried every Gumotex IK mentioned here, but in most cases know people who do- or have. The video below shows what sort of whitewater fun you can have with Gumotex IKs and even canoes.
Gumotex IKs are what I call ‘tubeless’ (this definition has since been adopted by Innova). There’s more here but in short this is the ‘European’ way of making IKs: simply gluing all the sections into a sealed inflatable vessel, like a packraft. It’s expensive but has advantages over the bladder ‘inner tube’ boats more common in the US.
Most Gumotex IKs are made out of Nitrilon, their version of DuPont’s hypalon: the original tough, EDPM-like synthetic rubber-coated fabric as used on white water rafts that lasts forever but has now been superseded by similar but lighter fabrics. You might have thought that full-coat Nitrilon over a bit OTT so a few years ago Gumotex introduced LitePack (later called Nitrilon Lite) on low-end IKs like the Twist, with the rubber coating only on the outside. It saved weight but the boats proved to be less durable and Nitrilon Lite was quietly dropped in 2018. (A mate of mine has many failures with his Lite Twists).
As mentioned, the current Nitrilon (as on my Seawave) feels thinner and more supple than the original less shiny and stiffer Nitrilon of years ago. Maybe it’s not as tough but I bet it’s lighter.
One thing you should know with Gumboats is that all except the Seawave, Rush (and the Ks) are rated at 0.2 bar or 2.9psi, something for which a Bravo footpump is fine. This is better pressure than many other IKs, but not like the 0.3 bar boats from Incept and Grabner.
I’ve read of Gumboaters running more than the recommended pressure in the side tubes to make the boats stiffer and more responsive. I suspect they could take it as long as they don’t get too hot out of the water. Running at the recommended pressure can mean that when a boat gets over 3.5m long – like the Solar 3 – it will flex in the swell or rough water. This was a nuisance with my Sunny in roughish seas because it swamped over the sides. Fwiw, I ran my Seawave side tubes for years at 0.33 bar – 50% more than the recommended 0.25. I had no problems with the thing peeling apart but importantly, I did add 0.33-rated PRVs so that the sides would purge air if they got too hot.
On flat water, long boat flexing can mean reduced speeds if you’re heavy like me. Apart from going on a diet, I considered various ideas to fix that in my old Sunny, but in the end settled on a Grabner Amigo, a basic boat best described as a ‘high pressure’ Solar 3. It was solid as a brick, but expensive. I sold the Amigo and from 2014 ran a Seawave which I adapted in various ways, including running over-pressure side tubes with added PRVs, as mentioned.
For waterside holiday fun to longer touring expeditions, you can’t go wrong with a Gumotex IK.