Arriving in a box the size of a small cooler, Innova’s Thaya is the most compact tandem kayak ever reviewed by Paddling Magazine. And at just 39 pounds, it’s lightweight enough to be considered an attractive travel kayak.

Innova Thaya
Assembly Time 5 minutes
Paddlers 1 or 2, plus a child
13 ft 5 in
35 in
39 lbs
$1,199 USD

With its bright red and rubber-coated exterior, some boat snobs might be tempted to pass the Thaya by, but dig in and you’ll find a lightweight, compact, tough and dependable little cruiser for the recreational market. The Thaya is responsive and maneuverable on the water and suitable for paddling lakes and rivers up to class II.

The Thaya is the newest offering from Innova and debuted to the North American market in May 2019. This hotly anticipated design won the Product of the Year award at Germany’s PaddleExpo trade show. Part of the buzz around the Thaya is its updated material technology, which pairs a durable rubber-coated polyester fabric called Nitrilon with drop stitch technology for the first time, creating a better performing boat in a more eco-friendly material.

The set-up of the Thaya is easy and intuitive; pump up the three inflation chambers—one along each gunwale and a third in the floor—and then configure your seats.

Customize the rigging to paddle the Thaya either solo or tandem. The two included inflatable seats and foot braces inflate via twist-lock valves and are simple to strap into place. A third seat can be purchased separately, though a third passenger would have to be a child or a pet, and this configuration would be cozy.

The eight D-rings spaced along the gunwales are used to attach seats, but you can also use them to secure gear. There is also a bungee on the stern for securing gear.

It’s the perfect setup for packing a picnic and exploring sheltered waters. The Thaya is a roomy ride with a capacity of more than 500 pounds—so don’t skimp on the snacks.

[ Plan your next paddling adventure with the Paddling Trip Guide ]

Molded rubber carrying handles, a removable tracking fin, an 80-liter backpack for storage and a repair kit round out the outfitting. Innova’s handy foot pump ($29) accompanied our test model.

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