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Touring on Lake Superior in the x500 inflatable kayak

Nicolas tells us about his trip to the States and his trek on Lake Superior, near Chicago, in his X500 inflatable kayak.

Touring Lake Superior inflatable kayak

TOURING ON LAKE SUPERIOR IN THE X500 INFLATABLE KAYAK

“Sometimes, our job offers some fantastic opportunities to travel!I had the opportunity to travel with my colleagues to the USA, near Chicago. After finalising all my business meetings, I started looking for the ideal kayaking destination. I was looking for some real adventure. I wanted to experience the wilderness, made in America. Huge and beautiful landscapes, where I could come across wild animals.~My quest took me to northern Wisconsin, and the Apostle Islands. This collection of islands looked like the perfect place for a trip in my kayak! ~And since it is a national park, camping is regulated. So, you have to plan your route, declare the size of your group and book the camping sites.”

Chicago lake inflatable kayak

Choosing the kayak and the route

Every touring kayakist faces the same question:should I rent on the spot or take my own kayak with me?~There were five of us in the group.Four of us rented a kayak on the spot (https://www.lostcreekadventures.org/skrental.) The rental company also supplied safety equipment (life jackets, high-visibility jackets) and camping equipment (tents).Quite a relief, because it allowed us to travel light.~But I decided to take my own Itiwit X500 inflatable touring kayak. It fits in a large backpack, so I could put it in the hold of the plane. The bag is big enough for the pump and the skirt too.But my two-piece paddle does not fit in the bag, so I decided to hire one on the spot.~~There were no problems checking in the kayak bag at the airport. It weighs less than 23 kg.On arrival, I noticed that the bag was very dirty.Next time, I’ll wrap it up in cellophane to protect it during the handling operations and against friction on the conveyor belts.

inflatable kayak trip usa

A smooth start, then some tough conditions...

Apostle Islands Day 1 ~We spent the morning at the rental company. In the afternoon, we took a shuttle service to the starting point for kayaks in Sand Bay.Then, we could reach Sand Island in the evening and spend our first night camping. The weather was quiet, the water was calm and the fully laden X500 performed very well. I was able to paddle at the same speed as the rigid kayaks that my colleagues had rented. It took us less than 2 hours to reach the beach where we intended to camp. Apostle Islands Day 2 ~A rough night with heavy storms. The water looked completely different. A small 80 cm swell kept hitting the side and it was difficult to climb onboard. ~The small pond next to the camp site had turned into a river. We set off against the current, which meant I had to attach the skirt.Then I went down the river and gathered pace in order to cross the waves and enter the lake.

superior lake usa kayak
inflatable kayak trip chicago

Time to go home already...

Apostle Islands Day 3
By the third day, we already had to think about getting back. We had to change our route due to the strong wind. We set off in the direction of York Island with a tail wind and were lucky enough to surf on a few waves.We went round the island and headed for the beach on Sand Island for our last mooring.The end of the trip was already approaching.This last stretch into the wind used up all our last forces. The Bayfield Peninsula coast looks magnificent from the water. Apparently the coastal path is magnificent too.We made the most of the last rays of afternoon sun to unpack and dry our belongings. After 20 minutes in the sun, the kayak was dry and I could pack it in the carry bag.By folding it properly, there was even enough room for my wet neoprene clothes.

Conclusion

The main advantage of the X500 inflatable kayak is that you can travel with it. The bag is quite big and heavy, but you can travel by air with it and it fits in the boot of a car. So I can go anywhere in the world with my kayak.That’s what I call freedom!~And it inflates in 3 minutes.It is really easy to use and the load capacity is enough for a trip lasting several days, provided you only take the strict minimum. ~Once loaded, the kayak sits comfortably in the water and becomes more stable. When loaded, it is more difficult to get started, but the kayak keeps its impetus and glides just like a rigid model. I really appreciated the manoeuvrability of the X500. It was ideal for exploring the caves on Sand Island. My colleagues found it much more difficult to manoeuvre in their rigid sea-going kayaks.~~In a word, if you try it, you’ll like it." Nicolas, Itiwit kayak engineer

chicago apostle islands
inflatable kayak chicago trip

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