BaySports Air Glide 473
- Very light and easy to launch
- Break down oars stow away with the boat to keep things compact
- Easily paddled by 1 or 2 people
- Minimal setup time
- Super comfortable seats with great adjustability
- Lightweight design not great for open waters/high wind
- Only a single color option available
- High sidewalls can make you unstable if leaned on and slightly awkward to paddle over for shorter folk
It’s a great time to be a watersports enthusiast with minimal storage space. The inflatable kayaks industry is improving in leaps and bounds and the team at Bay Sports is definitely leading the charge. Since distributing the world’s first 100% drop-stitch kayak they haven’t stopped there and have upped the ante with the BaySports Air Glide kayak series.
100% drop-stitching is the bee’s knees when it comes to inflatable yaks for its ability to recreate the stiffness and durability of a plastic kayak but much lighter. Whether you’re on the road or living in an inner-city apartment, the benefits of inflatable kayaks are numerous.
Read on for a more detailed look at the larger of the series, the 2 seater Bay Sports Air Glide 473!
|Weight||44 lbs / 19.9 kg|
|Weight Capacity||551 lbs / 250 kg|
One feature that makes the Air Glide stand out against a lot of its competitors is the construction. Bay Sports have used drop stitch material throughout the entire kayak.
This means there are thousands of internal polyester filaments connecting the walls of the floor and side chambers. They reinforce the kayak, allowing it to be used up to 10PSI and make it possible to have such a super stiff craft at almost half the weight.
The materials seemed really sturdy, I didn’t exactly try to burst it but I did bang it against a few barnacles without a scratch. I generally feel more comfortable dropping air kayaks as opposed to plastic or fiberglass as they tend to bounce without sustaining damage and this craft is no exception.
Setup and pack down was a breeze. The Air Glide 473 is made up of 2 side cells and a floor cell that inflate individually. I used my compressor this time as I have already used BaySports hand pumps in the past. They are awesome! The valves all worked great with no leaks and the deflate was nice and easy, just pop the valves and fold ‘er up!
Before and after your paddle be sure to check the valves for sand and salt to make sure you get a nice tight valve with no leaks.
I must say I was quite impressed with the performance of the 473. It picked up speed well, paddled fast and straight and its flat bottom made it nice and easy to turn around. Getting the boat in and out of the water was a breeze thanks to the sturdy handles in the front and back of the kayak.
The flat bottom is counteracted well with a hard V-shaped nose and stern as well as the large removable skeg in the tail that is held in place by a very simple clip which I really liked. These combined make for a surprisingly straight ride. When paddling with 2 people at first I found the ride to be a little wobbly but once we got our rhythm going it was smooth sailing.
The detachable seats are fantastic. They provide great support for your back during those long missions. There’s even a removable 10cm pad to sit on for comfort as well as giving you a little extra height for easier paddling. You can also find a little pouch on the back to store your bits and pieces!
If you have no friends, no problem! There are multiple D-ring attachment points to position a single seat right in the middle for the solo adventurer. When setting up as a 2 seater, there are more D-rings in front of each seat of which you can put a strap through as a footrest as well as providing extra rigidity by holding the sidewalls in.
The backrests also have built-in storage that’s easily accessible from the seat as well as storage in the nose and tail so don’t be afraid to bring that extra towel!
The kayak paddles handled quite well. I liked the multiple adjustment options to offset the blades however If getting serious about your kayaking, I would recommend buying a solid 1 piece paddle.
Where it excels
The 473’s natural habitat is lakes and rivers and perhaps a sheltered bay or harbor. Its high sides don’t take very kindly to crosswinds (as I discovered when the wind really picked up while testing this kayak!) but that can also be said for most inflatables so don’t let that deter you from heading out in the wind but keep it in mind when in open water.
The shape of the kayak lends itself well to flat water. It’s long narrow design cuts through the water with ease but the thin profile and high sidewalls are easily affected by the wind and chop on the open water. If you keep splashing your paddle buddy and the boat starts doing its best Titanic impression, no problem, there are 2 easily accessible drainage points towards the rear of the kayak.
Included in the package is 2 x 4 piece paddles. The angle of the blades can be adjusted so they’re perfectly straight or slightly offset. The paddle worked well and is a big plus for the value of the whole kayak package. Now, if you’re getting serious about paddling I always recommend purchasing a solid 1 piece paddle.
Now introducing their triple action dual chamber to all purchases! It’s a dream to use and gets the job done in a fraction of the time it previously took. You can also space out how strenuous the pumping gets with the addition of a triple action choice.
The sides are mesh which is nice for breathability, however, don’t do much in the way of support. There isn’t much padding so you won’t be wanting to carry the bag for too long. Luckily though, you’ve got wheels!! Yippee!
Lastly, I’d like to finish on the point of how easy it was to get everything in and out, loads of room!
Exactly what you expect here! The standard valve tool and patches.
If you’re looking for fun this summer, I would definitely recommend the Air Glide.
If you’re looking to go ocean fishing or catch some waves, you may want to consider something else. Inflatable kayaks aren’t the best option for that environment all together though. Now if you and a friend want to get to the river and have a fun afternoon, you’re in business.
There’s plenty of space for supplies for a full day adventure! But also super comfy seats to easily and comfortably spend a whole day out on the water.
In the right conditions, this is a fantastic alternative to a hard shell kayak. BaySports offer a 30-day refund policy and backed by an industry leading 3-year warranty! The team at Bay Sports are super friendly and easily contacted via their website.
All in all, this is a great fun craft that comes with everything you need for a good time, won’t break the bank or your back trying to carry it around. Now go have fun!