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NIXY Tahoe Inflatable Kayak 2023 – Versatile and Stiff Inflatble Kayak

Updated January 3rd, 2024

A great performing inflatable kayak with a drop stitch floor that can be set up as a tandem or single kayak.

NIXY Tahoe Review

Top Pick – Best $500 Inflatable Kayak


Manufacturer and Model: NIXY Tahoe
List Price: $695
Available from: NIXY & Amazon

Overall Score

86
Construction9.0


Stability9.0


Speed Performance8.0


Tracking8.5


Accessories9.0


Portability7.0


Summary

The NIXY Tahoe is a new inflatable kayak from NIXY Sports. It is a large 12 foot long inflatable kayak with a PVC drop stitch floor and 2 side air chambers. It has heavy duty feeling construction and feels stiff and rigid after inflation. It includes 2 carbon shaft kayak paddles along with 2 seats, footrests, and inflatable seat bottoms. On the water, it feels stiff. It does not feel like a flexible soft inflatable boat. It has enough accessory mounts and D-Rings to create a fishing setup or any other custom setup you want. At under $700 it is a great deal for a big inflatable tandem kayak.

What we liked:

  • Comfortable seats with inflatable seat bottoms
  • Many accessory mounts and D-Rings for customizing
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Rigid drop stitch floor construction
  • Heavy duty feel
  • Includes 2 carbon shaft paddles
  • Triple action hand pump included
  • Uses standard H3 valves similar to inflatable SUPs
  • Velcro floor rails and many D-Rings give you lots of options for seat positions
  • Adjustable position footrests

What we didn’t like:

  • Everything doesn’t fit in the carry bag
  • Holes aren’t cleanly cut in the paddle shafts leaving some carbon splinters

Specifications

  • Size – 12′ 6″ x 39″
  • Weight Capacity – 400 lbs
  • Kayak Weight – 33 lbs
  • Construction – PVC with Drop Stitch Floor
  • D-Rings – 28 D-Rings, 6 Action Mounts, 4 Scotty Mounts
  • Paddle – 2 * 3 piece carbon paddles
  • Pump – Hand pump

NIXY Tahoe Review and Test

We really like NIXY inflatable paddle boards. We reviewed 2 of them last year and they both have good performance and above average construction and accessories. We were excited when we saw the NIXY Tahoe inflatable kayak show up on their webpage and wanted to try one. We picked one up this spring to see if the kayak would live up to their paddleboards. We are happy to report that it does.

The NIXY Tahoe is a 12 foot 6 inch kayak that can be a tandem or solo kayak. The first thing you’ll notice when you inflate it is how big it is. This is not a small inflatable.

NIXY Tahoe Inflatable Kayak sitting on grass

6 – Tandem or Solo Kayak

The Tahoe comes with enough seats and paddles to use as a tandem kayak. It also works very well as a solo kayak. The floor construction and D-Rings makes it easy to set up either way. We use it most of the time as a solo kayak. It paddles well either way. It’s long enough to have good glide. It still turns easily with a solo paddler.

NIXY Tahoe tandem kayak
NIXY Tahoe solo kayak

6 – Construction (9/10)

The Tahoe uses a PVC drop-stitch floor that gives it extra rigidity compared to most inflatable kayaks. This is the same construction as used in inflatable stand up paddleboards. NIXY inflatable paddleboards are some of the stiffest inflatable SUPs we have tested. The 2 outer tubes inflate to 4 PSI making them stiff and rigid. The Tahoe is a very stiff feeling kayak after setup. It doesn’t flex or bend much even with very heavy paddlers in it.

The Tahoe has several drain plugs inside to make getting water out easier. There are 6 along the edges of the floor sides. This is a nice touch for an inflatable. The front and rear of the kayak have fabric covers to help keep your gear dry and out of the sun.

7 – Stability (9/10)

The rigid floor and stiff construction make the Tahoe very stable on the water. It is 39 inches wide which also contributes to its stability. The Tahoe is perfectly suitable for beginner kayakers with no kayaking experience. It handles fine in choppy water or going through boat wake without feeling like it’s going to roll.

The seat cushions put you high enough up in the kayak that it is not difficult to load and unload from the Tahoe from shallow water. You don’t sit way down into it.

8 – Speed (8/10)

The Tahoe is 12’6″ long which gives it good glide on flat water. It’s not quite touring kayak length and shape. It will glide better than a shorter 10′ or 11′ kayak. Once you get it moving with water going over the fin it glides well.

9 – Tracking (8.5/10)

The Tahoe has a single fin that can be put on the bottom to give it better tracking. Its length and shape give it decent tracking without the fin. If you use the Tahoe in shallow water such as a river, the fin can make it too deep to use.

For both tracking and glide it helps to get the weight balanced well in the Tahoe. If you have too much weight in the rear, the front end lifts up too much which gives you a short waterline. This will hurt the glide and tracking. You can move the seats and mount them anywhere in the kayak.

When using the kayak as a solo kayak you need to sit a little more forward to get good tracking. If you sit too far rearward, the nose lifts out of the water too much and the kayak doesn’t track that straight. It takes some experimentation to find the right place to put the seat.

10 – Accessories (9/10)

The Tahoe comes with the kayak version of the NIXY G4 accessories. The G4 pump, bag, and paddle are some of our favorite inflatable SUP items from any manufacturer. It was nice to see them carried over into the kayak design.

NIXY Tahoe accessories

Roller bag

The bag is very well made with 3 wheels for rolling around. It has a big zipper pocket, mesh pockets on the side, and lots of molle style webbing rings. It’s got 3 handles and nice padded back pack straps for carrying.

The bag is not realistically anywhere close to big enough to fit everything that comes with the Tahoe into it. It will fit the rolled up kayak and the 2 inflatable cushion. You can easily get maybe 1 seat into it at the same time.

I tried once to put everything in or on the bag. I was able to shoehorn both seats, footrests, and cushions along with the kayak into the bag with a lot of effort. I put a paddle on each side of the bag on the outside. I put the fin and pump into the outside zipper pocket (without zipping it closed). I only did this one time and will not do it again.

You can fit the rolled up kayak, 1 paddle, 1 seat, 1 footrest, and 1 cushion easily inside the bag. We never use the hand pump so we leave that at home. We put the second paddle, seat, and cushion into a separate bag that we bring along only when we’re going to set it up as a tandem.

Tahoe Bag
Tahoe Bag

3 piece carbon paddles

The Tahoe comes with a kayak version of the NIXY G4 paddle. It has a carbon shaft. It has 3 positions for feathering at the center. The 2 blades are kayak shaped with drip rings. You get 2 of them with the Tahoe.

These paddles have a good feel and are much higher quality than the cheap aluminum paddles that come with many $500 and below inflatable kayaks. We did notice that several of the holes cut into the carbon shafts had some splintering and weren’t cleanly drilled which is a minor problem. The drip rings are big enough to help keep you from getting wet while paddling.

Tahoe paddle
Tahoe paddle
Tahoe paddle
Tahoe paddle

Pump

The pump is a short version of the NIXY G4 Typhoon pump. This pump can inflate or deflate. The half height version fits the shape of the kayak bag better than the full length Typhoon. You inflate the kayak to a much lower pressure than the NIXY SUP boards (4psi vs 15psi) so the mini-pump works well. The handles can unscrew and the feet fold up. This helps make the pump even more compact for fitting in the bag or wherever else you store it.

The only downside to the Typhoon Mini is that you have to lean over more to use it because it’s shorter.

Tahoe pump
Tahoe pump

Seats and cushions

The Tahoe comes with 2 kayak seats and 2 inflatable bottom cushions. The seats have thicker padding than the generic kayak seat we see with many inflatable kayaks. The extra inflatable bottom cushion helps you sit up above the kayak floor for more comfort. It also makes it easier to get in and out of the kayak when you don’t sit on the floor. The seats have velcro on the bottom that attaches to 2 velcro rails at the bottom of the kayak. This keeps everything in place from sliding around. The seats are comfortable and provide good support after you get them set up correctly.

Tahoe seats
Tahoe seats
Tahoe seats

Footrests

2 padded footrests are included. They are attached to the velcro rails on the floor. They provide you with something to push your feet against while paddling. They work well and are easy to adjust. This is a feature not included in many inflatable kayaks. It makes controlling a kayak and paddling much easier.

Fishing rod holders (not included)

The Tahoe does not come with any fishing rod holders. Nixy sells some nice rod holders that work very well with the Tahoe and mount to the action mounts built into the kayak.

11 – Portability (7/10)

As we mentioned with the bag, not everything realistically fits in the bag. You can get it all attached to the bag but it’s not easy. You end up with a really heavy 45 pound bag that is big and awkward to carry.

We find it much easier to just put the kayak in the bag. Just put one seat and paddle in the bag with the kayak and put the second seat and paddle in a separate bag. This makes managing the Tahoe much easier and gives you a more reasonable weight bag to carry. We store our inflatables in our basement and have to carry them upstairs every time we use them. Carrying the Tahoe in a couple bags makes carrying it up the stairs much easier.

10 – D-Rings and Accessory Mounts

The Tahoe is loaded up with a ton of D-Rings and accessory mounts. We counted 28 D-Rings on our Tahoe. There are 6 regular action mounts and 4 Scotty mounts as well. The D-Rings allow you to easily adjust the position of the seats. There are enough placements to set the kayak up as a tandem or single kayak.

Tahoe accessory mounts

10 – Setup and take down

It takes me about 20 minutes to put the Tahoe together including taking it out of the bag and inflating it. You inflate the floor first and then inflate the 2 side chambers. All the chambers use H3 valves.

It took me about 8 minutes to inflate the Tahoe to the specified 4 psi for the floor and 3 psi for the side chambers. It takes another minute to inflate each seat cushion.

  • After inflating the Tahoe, figure out which end is the front and back. I have to flip it over and find the fin box to figure it out. It’s very easy to mount all the seats facing the wrong direction if you don’t pay attention.
  • Place the seat cushions into the Tahoe floor and attach them to the velcro strip.
  • Attach the seats to 4 D-Rings each. See the photos for where we attach the seat which has worked well for 2 adult paddlers. Setup goes much faster after you get the seat straps set to the correct length and just need to attach the buckles. It helps to mark one of the seats to know which is front and back.
  • Attach the 2 foot rests to the floor in front of the seats.
  • Flip the kayak over and attach the fin to the fin block.
  • Put the 2 paddles together and you are ready to hit the water.

The Tahoe is very versatile and you can mount the seats anywhere along the velcro track which helps to balance the weight in the kayak. It also lets you adjust the kayak for larger or smaller paddlers.

We find setup to be much easier with an electric pump. NIXY makes an excellent electric pump that could inflate a bunch of Tahoe’s in a row. We use an electric pump most of the time with our inflatable kayak and SUPs instead of the hand pump.

See our review of the NIXY Ventus Pump to learn more.

NIXY Tahoe with Ventus
NIXY Tahoe with Ventus

Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?

We give the Tahoe a big thumbs up and recommend it to anyone looking for an inflatable kayak. It is very reasonably priced. The drop stitch floor makes it much more rigid and gives it a non-inflatable feel. It is versatile and can be a tandem or solo kayak. It comes with comfortable seats with air cushions. The carbon paddlers are much better than the typical aluminum paddles that most inflatable kayaks include.

NIXY Tahoe product image

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Doug Ryan
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.

doug@adventuregearinsider.com