Tag Archives: Gumotex Twist review

Gumotex Twist (old models)

Current Nitrilon Twists

twisters

Gumotex Twist Mk 1
Around 2010 Twists became a new direction from Gumotex: lighter, less rugged boats that suited recreational users. The original models didn’t last.
The Gumotex Twist 1 (LitePack then later teflon-coated Hevealon, 2.6m long, 79cm/31″ wide, 6kg, max. load 100kg) became the replacement for the popular Solar. There’s a good review here and the author, Dave D, sent in some photos and updated impressions below.

Notice the black backrest on his yellow boat are not the bulky and fixed stock items which have been cut out, so making the boat even lighter. I saw a Twist recently and realised they use the textured LitePack material for the whole boat, inside and out. This must be what makes them so light, while being like rubberised canvas it also takes a little longer to dry and a little less slippery on the water. This video below shows some disastrous porosity in a Lite Pack Twist. It can be fairly claimed that was an exception and the boat was replaced, but it’s hard to see that ever happening with full Nitrilon. A few years later the next Twists models were made in Nitrilon Lite.

twist-flat

twisting

The Twist 1 was not a lot bigger than my Alpacka Yak (above) and is only twice as heavy. On a recent Medway run I found the boats surprisingly similar in paddling speed. I assumed my flat, wide Yak would be slow. But this was on a day with a good swift current. I think with the more usual Medway deadwater the flat-bottomed Yak would have been more tiring and slower overall. This Twist also had its original seats cut out and replaced with an SoT pad.

twist-seat
gumsteadtwister


As for a Twist II, a mate got one along with a T1, and he likes the lightness above all. Vital stats on that one are 3.6m/11ft 10in; 80cm/31.5″ and just 9k/20lbs, so nearly as long as a Sunny, as wide too but nearly half the weight which makes hauling with boat in a pack much more viable. He has since got a new T2 but prefers the lightness and compactness of the old one, once he’s swapped out the seats.

twisting

[Dave D]: Here’s a few more thoughts now that I’ve had a chance to use an original T1 a bit longer:

1. The inflatable seat proved to be junk. It kept developing major leaks – always at the point where it is folded through a 90 degree bend. Clearly this is a stress-point which the kayak’s fabric construction can’t handle. After my first one popped, I sent it back to Gumotex who replaced it – although this didn’t go smoothly: the first time they just sent the boat back to me without having done anything to it! Eventually, they sent me a replacement boat, but when the seat on this one popped I decided to rip the inflatable seat out and replace it with a more conventional back rest as you can see in the photos. This is far better, and also makes the boat narrower – I now don’t skin my knuckles against the side of the boat with each paddle stroke!

2. The inflatable footrest is useless [as it is on many Gum boats – see this]. If you want to paddle, you need to brace your foot against something, and this isn’t it! I decided to remove the cushion and replace it with two foot-loops on an adjustable strap. I was a little dubious about having my feet strapped into the boat in case of capsize, however I’ve found I can get my feet in and out without any trouble.

3. Before making the above two modifications, the boat had a major flooding problem. The stern sat too low in the water, so if you got a wave from behind or if you put your bodyweight too far back in the boat (e.g. because your inflatable back rest had gone down!) then water would swamp the boat from behind. Having replaced the seat and footrests with adjustable ones, I can now set it up so my bodyweight is well forward. This has so far eliminated the flooding problem, but I imagine you’d still have a problem with steep waves hitting you from behind. That said – when it floods you just jump out, turn it over and jump back in again.

4. I still love the boat. Whenever I’m travelling with work, I keep it in the boot of my car with a drysuit and a 4-piece collapsible paddle. If I’m on the motorway at rush-hour, I pull off to the nearest river and do one hour’s hard paddling up and one hour back for a bit of exercise and to de-stress. I often paddle on canals with locks, and it’s great to see the envious looks of canoeists when you do the easiest portage they’ve ever seen! The boat is actually quite quick. A couple of nights back I even started playing in a fast (but shallow and safe) weir by moonlight.

I also use it to take a short-cut across the harbour in my home town. It feels very stable, even when there’s a swell. I’ve put nav-lights on it and I have no problems zipping around and keeping out of the way of boat traffic. Dave D

Additional pics by Robbo

gum2twister

Gumotex (Innova) inflatable kayaks

“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.

gumolde

The Gumotex kayak above looks similar to the Austrian Semperit Forelle from around that era.

gumofac

For my sort of paddling the Czech-based Gumotex make the best-value, proper IKs (in North America they’re branded ‘Innova’). Starting in the 1950s and capitalising on new, rubber-coated fabrics, along with Semperit, they were among the early innovators of IKs (Zodiac, in the 1930s, made the very first).
Now all you have to do is see if Gumotex have an Ik for your needs. Gumotex also made some expensive, high-pressure, white water models, such as these raft-wide Ks.

gumomanu

In 2011 they stopped selling the Sunny in Europe. The 25cm longer, but otherwise similar Solar 410C took its place and in 2017 that became the near-identical Solar 3. In 2019 it got renamed the Solar 019 alongside a similar new model called the Thaya with a rigid dropstitch floor.
Hybrid dropstitch 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 into a bag. The Rush models of 2020 took this a step further.

Compared to some IKs, Gumotex are simple, robust, slim like a kayak not wide as a raft, and are gimmick free. Over the years the design and fittings have been refined: better skeg fitment, better removable seats (but still heavy), better valves, while in most cases keeping PRVs in the floors. The current Nitrilon feels lighter and more pliable and now there are fitted or removable decked boats like the SeawaveFramura 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, while the Nitrilon Twists are light rec boats.
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.

gumistan

Gumotex IKs are what I call ‘tubeless’. There’s more here but in short this is the ‘European’ way of making IKs with no ‘inner tube ‘bladders’ supporting a hull shell. Instead all the sections are vulcanised in an autoclave and glued up to make a sealed inflatable vessel, like a packraft. (In the US, Sea Eagle make their Explorer IKs the same way, but use PVC). It’s expensive but has advantages over the the more common bladder ‘inner tube’ boats, principally in quick and easy cleaning and drying.
Gumotex IKs are made from Nitrilon, their own version of DuPont’s hypalon: the original tough, EDPM-like synthetic rubber-coated fabric as used on white water rafts and
which lasts for decades. (Grabner, by comparison, buy in their EDPM from Germany). In 2007 Gumotex introduced LitePack (later called Nitrilon Lite) on lower-end IKs like the Twists, with the rubber coating only on the outside of the hull. It saved weight but 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 the Sunny era.

One thing you should know with Gumotex IKs 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 can just about manage. This is more than cheaper bladder IKs which run just 1psi before they blow apart. However, Incept and Grabner run super-stiff 0.3 bar and of course dropstitch technology is changing all this.

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 when left out of the water. Running at the recommended 0.2 bar pressure can mean that when a boat is over 3.5m long – like the Solar – it will flex in the swell or on 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 but importantly, I added 0.33-rated PRVs so that the sides would purge air if they got too hot.

seawavebaden

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 (which I took back in 2020), but in the end settled on a Grabner Amigo, a basic boat best described as a ‘high pressure’ Sunny. 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, as mentioned.

For waterside holiday fun to longer touring expeditions, you can’t go wrong with a Gumotex IK. Prices have got high and used boats are very rare, but I much prefer the tubeless design and durable rubber fabrics to anything in PVC, let alone bladders, as well as the solid improvements they’ve made over the years.

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