Yes, some kayaks are packable, but they’re still too big or not convenient for transport — and many don’t offer the performance suited for challenging conditions or long miles. That’s where Aquaglide’s Cirrus Ultralight 110 breaks the mold.
This inflatable kayak is performance-driven, efficient, light yet capable of carrying cargo, and a joy to paddle. It can be a kayak for a casual paddle down your local river, or a vessel for a bigger adventure. And at under 15 pounds, the boat, which packs into a dry bag, is also extremely easy to travel with.
In short: Aquaglide’s Cirrus 110 is the most high-performance open cockpit kayak that we’ve tried. At sub-15 pounds, it’s also the lightest and most compact when it’s rolled up and stored in the included drybag. At first glance, it’s similar in concept to the Kokopelli Chasm Lite. When assembled, the boat is comfortable enough to paddle for long hours over multiple days, with the storage space to carry the gear you need for overnight trips. We were most impressed with the boat’s straight tracking and efficient handling, and capability to carry extra weight. It’s also fast to set up — inflation only took a couple of minutes.
63″ x 15″ x 10″
TPU/nylon and dropstitch fabric
Bungee on bow and stern, behind-seat D-ring attachments, MOLLE plates
14 lbs., 12 oz.
- Drybag included, paddle and pump not included
Plenty of room for cargo (or a dog)
Stable under load
Extremely light and packable
Great for travel
Tracks well compared to other inflatables
Can handle person plus cargo, but only up to 300-lb. weight limit
Not suitable for all waters
Paddle not included
Aquaglide Cirrus Ultralight 110 Inflatable Kayak Review
Aquaglide’s Cirrus Ultralight 110 and its sister boat, the tandem Cirrus Ultralight 150, are high-performance touring boats that are the lightest and most packable you can buy. They’re easy to set up and to pack up, they track straight and paddle efficiently, and they’re fun for casual outings as well as overnight trips.
The boats are made from TPU/nylon construction with a TPU drop-stitch floor. This is the lightest construction for an inflatable kayak that’s also stiff enough to be enjoyable and efficient to paddle for miles or days. The hull of the boat is double-coated 0.13mm TPU 70-denier nylon fabric, which is rigid when inflated, but supple and easily foldable when deflated.
The floor is made from Ultra DropStitch TPU (TPU ULDS). It gives the boat comfortable padding and adds additional rigidity. Because the boat is TPU and not PVC, it can be recycled at the end of its life.
The boat comes in a drybag that can be filled with clothing or gear and stashed under the boat’s bow or stern webbing. It can also be stored in the cargo bay behind the seat once the boat is out of the bag and on the water.
The open-cockpit Cirrus 110 Ultralight is a single-person boat made for touring, expeditions, and overlanding. Because it packs so small, it’s the ideal boat for van lifers, or anyone with limited storage space, from apartment dwellers to RVers. The 11-foot boat is 35 inches wide and 10 inches high, with a 9.5-inch tube diameter.
The 14-pound kayak comes packed inside a drybag that also includes an inflatable seat, footrest, and fin with pin. Folded, the boat is 19 x 19 x 8 inches, and if you really focus, you can pack it even smaller than that. A pump, paddle, and PFD are sold separately.
Inflating the Boat
The Cirrus Ultralight 110 has three primary inflation chambers, the two sides of the kayak, and the floor. You can use a standard pump for this. The chamber valves have the same connectors as a SUP — a Halkey-Roberts valve. The seat is also inflatable, but it needs to be manually inflated (by mouth).
Both when I used a manual pump and when I used an electric pump, the boat was extremely quick to inflate. Chambers are inflated to 3 psi and 6 psi, which is very low pressure compared to what it takes to inflate a SUP. Because the dual side tubes and the floor each inflate separately, this boat feels significantly more rigid than other inflatables I’ve tried.
Inflate the boat with the valve in the extended position, the air goes in but doesn’t come out (one way). If the valve is locked into the compressed/open position, as soon as you remove the connector, the boat will deflate.
When I wanted to deflate the boat, I pressed the valve in and was able to lock it open for passive deflation. This is also a fairly common setup across inflatable kayak models and brands.
The Fin and Tracking
Once the boat is inflated, it’s time to attach the fin. Aquaglide’s weed-free fin design was super easy to set up, and it helped the boat track straight.
The plastic fin slides into a track on the bottom of the boat and secures with an expanding toggle pin, which can be squeezed to release the fin when you’re ready to repack the boat. The toggle is also attached to the fin so that it doesn’t get lost (again, a common feature of inflatable boats).
Because the fin is low profile, even paddling a pond with milfoil, the fin didn’t get bogged down and wrapped in weeds. We found the low-profile fin cleared any vegetation almost instantly. And, the Cirrus Ultralight was easy to both steer straight and turn on flatwaters and in rivers.
The Seat and Footrest
With the fin installed and the boat inflated, I placed it in the water and installed Aquaglide’s high-back inflatable seat. It clips onto D-rings on the sides of the boat, and wedges between inflatable chambers that hold it in place. Side straps are adjustable with a pull on the end of the webbing, which gave me enough range to paddle sitting up very straight and also semi-reclined.
The floor of the boat has long Velcro loop strips that gave me a huge range of options of where to attach the fabric-covered TPU foam footrest, which has long straps with “hooks” that attach to the loops. The footrest has a low-profile triangle shape with enough space to brace my heels.
Aquaglide Cirrus Ultralight 110 on the Water
I expected this boat to paddle like a duckie. Instead, it was a straight-tracking, easy-to-maneuver craft that was rigid and responsive, and a delight to paddle. Whether I was paddling it around Vermont’s lakes and reservoirs, or floating down the Winooski River, the boat was responsive and went where I wanted it to without a struggle. That included when I paddled with just me in the boat, and when I loaded the boat with 50-75 pounds of “cargo” — my dogs.
While this boat is open cockpit, it’s not a sit on top. Sitting on the boat’s inflatable seat, I was inside the sidewalls of the boat, so there was none of the tippiness of a standard sit on top.
The seat was comfortable and easy to adjust to keep my back comfortable on long paddles. I could bring myself into a more upright position by tightening the side straps, or I could settle in to a more reclined position when the conditions were appropriate.
I love to paddle with my dogs. This boat has a spacious rear cargo zone that easily accommodated my 75-pound rescue, Maple. When I first loaded up Maple, I thought that her nails might puncture the boat. But the boat proved shockingly tough for such lightweight construction. Even when Maple moved around while we were paddling in waves or got a change of scenery, the boat was stable and I never felt like I would capsize.
For touring, the cargo storage bay (behind the seat area) could hold camping gear and a cooler for an overnight or multiple overnights. There’s was also plenty of room in front of my feet for gear, and both the bow and stern had bungees that held a PFD, flip-flops, and dry bags. The cargo storage bay could also easily hold a child.
In addition to bungeed storage, the boat has a Mini-MOLLE Attachment System on the cockpit right next to the seat. It’s a great place to clip in a knife, sunscreen, GPS, and other gear I wanted to keep at my fingertips.
In waves or in water fights, the boat sometimes got water inside. In many instances, it was easy enough to pick it up and dump it. A drain port on the bottom also unscrews to drain water from inside the cockpit if necessary.
Expedition-Ready? (With Exceptions)
Aquaglide says that this boat is suitable for expeditions. It has the stability as well as the storage for multiday trips. Most importantly, it can support a person plus gear.
But, the boat can’t accommodate a spray skirt. It’s not suitable for ocean or other cold-weather paddling where you’d need a spray skirt, or where conditions could involve the boat rolling. Yes, you could use this boat for some great trips, within these limitations.
Aquaglide Cirrus Ultralight 110: Conclusion
I loved paddling this boat both for a cruise around a lake, and for longer river adventures. While I never got to go camping in it during the time I had it for testing, I plan to soon. And if I get to travel to some tropical beach destination this winter, for sure I’ll pack this boat.
It’s so light and small — it will fit inside a checked bag with clothes, mask, and snorkel. The Cirrus Ultralight 110 is dog-approved for being unlikely to capsize, and for being plenty spacious to lie down in.
It’s human-approved for its big carrying capacity-to-weight ratio, practicality in muddy and grassy waters, and being a whole lot of fun. The fact that I could carry dogs, gear, and myself is an impressive point and a big draw for this ultralight boat.
Finally, we’ve got to mention the price. For all that fun, capability, and performance — in an ultralight package — it’ll set you back $1,300. Not bad for a kayak, but definitely more expensive than some of our favorite alternatives (performance SUPs and packrafts).
Aquaglide’s Cirrus Ultralight boats come in two sizes. The 110, which I tested, is 11 feet and weighs 14.75 pounds. The 150 is 15 feet and weighs 18 pounds. Note: the latter is intended for tandem. While we only tested the 110, based on its performance, we hope the 150 paddles just as well.