Submitted: 06-11-2009 by paddlesheep
I've had the Helios 1 for about 8 months now and have had it out about a dozen times so I figured I would share my thoughts on it.
I love this little boat. It's stable, comfortable, is light and packs down small. It's also very zippy. I can average 3-4km over a long day and 5 km at an easy paddle.
I was not all that keen on the tracking until I purchased the rudder. It tracks without it pretty good, but in crosswinds a lot of correcting strokes are required. And when coming to a stop it would "skid out" on me and spin around while sitting still. So I added the rudder and those problems are solved. I had some concerns about the footstraps on the rudder getting in the way or being difficult to use, but those were unfounded, it is actually very easy to get the hang of.
The Helios is rated for only 220lbs and that was a turn off. But at 6'0 and 230 I have no problems at all in the boat and it doesn't feel overloaded or particularly sluggish. I had it out camping recently and my gear and myself came to around 290. The Helios handled it okay but I think that might be pushing it a bit. Regarding camping, I was very pleasantly surprised to see just how much gear the Helios could hold. Easily enough for a week long trip.
My only gripe about the boat is that I don't like the "uncoated top". I prefer the full nitrylon coating and apparently newer models of the Helios will have it. Now if only Innova would make a 13 foot long version of the Helios 1 I think that would be the ultimate inflatable for me. For somebody a bit smaller, I think the Helios 1 is an ideal apartment dweller kayak.