Aquaglide Chelan 120 Review

Bottom Line:

As far as recreational kayaks go, experts agree that the Aquaglide Chelan 120 performs impressively well. It’s easy to move and keep on the straight compared to its contemporaries, with the type of handling that’s typical of touring kayaks- and all experts agree that it’s easy to glide in a straight line. It’s also one of the comfier models out there, with the inflatable seat cushion providing a nice touch.

Kayakers will likely find this boat fares well in some rough water conditions, though the general consensus is this; do so at your own risk! If you’re sticking to calm conditions, though, expect worry free effortless paddling (as long as you’re wearing your personal flotation device, of course).

The Chelan 120 is incredibly stable and arrives with high-quality fittings and features, and a sturdy and stiff construction thanks to the drop stitch floor.



based on 3 reviews

Performance Ratings:

  • Handling
  • Stability
  • Comfort
  • Onboard Storage
  • Portability
  • Durability


Size (length x width)11'3" x 32.5"
Weight28 lbs
Capacity300 lbs
MaterialPVC / Duratex / Dropstitch

Comparison to Similar Kayaks:

Aquaglide Chelan 120 Advanced Elements Expedition Elite Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 Sea Eagle RazorLite 393rl Sea Eagle 380x Explorer
Expert Rating
Size11'3" x 32.5"13' x 32"11'2" x 37"12'10" x 28"12'6" x 39"
Weight28 lbs42 lbs31.5 lbs35 lbs40 lbs
Onboard Storage6.

Aquaglide Chelan 120 Review

Reasons to Buy:
  • Super-stable riding, no matter your skill level
  • Top-quality build featuring reinforced PVC and drop stitch construction
  • Very comfortable over long periods, with the splash guard to keep you dry and inflatable seat cushion for added comfort
  • Easy to pack down again and carry
  • Highly maneuverable; this kayak turns on a dime!
Reasons Not to Buy:
  • Could benefit from more secure storage areas, though the webbing pockets are a nice touch
  • The self-bailing scuppers aren't the best

Performance of the Aquaglide Chelan 120

The Aquaglide Chelan 120 is one of the best 1-person inflatable kayaks. Reviewers agree here that the Chelan 120 is an impressive boat that looks inflatable but almost mimics a touring kayak. It’s stable on most waters, though experts recommend you try and keep it on calmer trips. It’s not likely to keep you seated in high winds, for example.

The build quality of this boat receives generally high marks, though there’s some discussion over how well the self-bailing scuppers work in practice. There’s also a little disagreement over storage. The bungees on both the bow and stern may work for some riders, but the pockets aren’t the best around, at least according to some of the experts featured in this gear review.

The Chelan 120 scores highly on comfort, particularly as it reduces fatigue over long distances while still keeping you relatively high up on the water; the performance seat and included foot brace help immensely. Providing you’ve got an electric pump, too, most kayakers should find it easy enough to get this boat up and moving fairly swiftly.

It’s likely to take some damage well, according to reviewers, but again – caution is advised. At the very least, it seems to be one of the easiest boats to pack away and take with you (though you may want to invest in a decent storage bag for when it’s stored away).

Accessories Included With The Aquaglide Chelan 120 Inflatable Kayak

  • Repair kit
  • Tracking fin
  • Foot brace
  • Halkey Roberts valve adaptor

Expert Reviews of the Aquaglide Chelan 120

7.5PaddleTVI was really intrigued first looking at this kayak - there are lots of neat features onboard. It's marketed as a touring kayak despite being inflatable, and I'm pleased to say it does live up to its marketing. It performs, handles and turns much easier than I'd normally expect from similar models. As comfort and portability go, there are few better options out there for the price. Keep this boat on calm waters, however, as it doesn't cut through water perfectly (so might not handle rougher conditions well).Read more
7.7Headwaters KayakI'm really impressed with how this kayak feels to paddle, even on choppy waves and currents. You really want to push this boat to its limits! It's super-fun to ride, and it's very nimble - though I probably wouldn't ride it on very windy days. But it's a surprising kayak all the same. Read more
7.7In4AdventureThis is a surprising little purchase that really does live up to its marketing - the Aquaglide Chelan travels well as an inflatable and is almost at that touring standard. It turns and tracks decently on calm waters. It's one of the comfiest kayaks I've ridden, and it's super simple to pack up and carry away.Read more

Handling of the Aquaglide Chelan 120

Expert Rating: 7.2

6.5PaddleTVThe Aquaglide is certainly not a standard touring kayak, but it travels forward and turns pretty well despite being inflatable. It has a flattish hull, which means it's never going to slice into water well, but I was impressed at this boat's performance overall. The removable skeg does a great job of boosting tracking - and it turns really well.Read more
8.0Headwaters KayakThe rounded bevel on the base of this boat really helps a lot with tracking - you don't see this on all inflatable kayaks. It maneuvers really well against some current - and does track pretty straight, providing you've got the fin installed.Read more
7.0In4AdventureThis is an amazingly maneuverable kayak that turns with very little intention. Honestly, it performs pretty well for an inflatable that states it's a touring kayak! I'd probably keep my paddling excursions to calm waters, though.Read more

Stability of the Aquaglide Chelan 120

Expert Rating: 7.8

7.5PaddleTVIt's a pretty wide boat - and while I'm sat quite high in this boat, there's very little wobbling. However, I'd probably expect some tipping when taking this boat to rougher waters. Keep it to calm waters!Read more
8.5Headwaters KayakThis is a super-stable kayak that I easily let some air out of to reposition, and still felt safe atop the water. I did a headstand on it - and it barely tipped!Read more
7.5In4AdventureThere's a lot of stability in the Chelan's side tubes, and I felt no risk of wobbling on flat water. I think it'd fare a little differently in faster waters or in very strong winds, but even then, I'd likely topple out before this kayak flips!Read more

Comfort of the Aquaglide Chelan 120

Expert Rating: 8.5

9.5PaddleTVEven after two hours, I'm not tired. This is an incredibly comfy ride - I want to keep paddling! That's pretty remarkable for an inflatable kayak. Its inflatable seat, high backrest, and adjustable footrest all add up to a near-perfect score here. It's a comfortable boat for anyone up to six feet four.Read more
7.0Headwaters KayakI really like the inflatable seat - it's a good boost for your center of gravity, and it doesn't make you feel like you're sinking into the boat.Read more
9.0In4AdventureI barely noticed time pass while testing this kayak. You can expect two hours or more of solid paddling before this boat starts to wear on you; it's really soft and supportive. However, make sure to get riding with a high-back jacket before you take to the seat.Read more

Onboard Storage of the Aquaglide Chelan 120

Expert Rating: 6.0

4.5PaddleTVThere's really not much storage onboard this boat at all - the bungees on the stern and bow are good for a little dry gear here and there, but not much else. There are also a couple of side pockets, but I never needed them.Read more
8.0Headwaters KayakThe interior webbing across the boat seems pretty handy, meaning you can attach little pockets and other features should you need to. D-rings across the boat are nice little additions for dry bags, too. There's a little bit of storage just inside the boat where I stored my camera equipment and drinks bottle, etc. I found it pretty easy to clip on a dry bag or pop it under the bungee.Read more
5.5In4AdventureThere's some onboard storage via the bungees at the front and back, but it's not amazing on this front. The capacity's fairly impressive, and you can at least tie some gear down easily if you want to. The seat pocket's fine - I'm less impressed with the side pockets.Read more

Portability of the Aquaglide Chelan 120

Expert Rating: 9.5

9.5PaddleTVThis is a light carry, even for an inflatable kayak! It's a real treat - and the lightweight build of the boat is mainly thanks to the duratex sides; there's no bladder onboard. It has four carry handles, two on each end, and two on each side. The carry bag has tons of space, too. Top marks here!Read more
9.5In4AdventureThis is an amazingly portable kayak - I barely have anything negative to say. It packs down super-easily into its bag provided, and it's impressively light for an inflatable kayak in its class.Read more

Durability of the Aquaglide Chelan 120

Expert Rating: 7.3

7.5PaddleTVThis kayak has impressive build quality; I think it'll do well over long periods of time. Its drop stitch floor at 6 PSI is pretty notable tooRead more
7.0Headwaters KayakThis boat seems to do well in pretty fast waters, I'd feel confident taking it to whitewater to some extent.Read more