I have a Rio, and it is an outstanding boat for what it was designed for....an adventure boat. I bought it on sale at Sportsman's Warehouse, and couldn't be happier. I have two other kayaks (a Pelican Pursuit 100, and an Advanced Elements Convertible), but this is my favorite fun boat. All of the negative comments about tracking are just because they don't know the 'trick'. Just get one, or two of the skegs for the K-79 Tahiti models, and one or two chopsticks. Insert the bottom of the skeg into the trolling motor mount from underneath, place the top behind the top mount and insert the chopstick. It's super secure. if you want two skegs, just repeat for the other side. With these mounted, the Rio tracks as straight as any boat I have ever been in. To remove them, just pull out the chopstick...quick-release style.
The Rio is not as fast as touring kayak, but faster than a lot of Recreational boats out there, and quite a bit faster than a regular canoe. The nylon cover is tough, and the Rio handles fast water beautifully. I have even had it in the ocean, and have paddled as far as 3 miles off shore with no trouble at all. You can't go wrong with this boat, or it's big brother, the Colorado.I bought two of these boats (Rio and Colorado) for moderate whitewater. They are the same boat and only differ in length to accommodate the number of paddlers. I have now ran 20 miles of mild rivers (Class I and II) with them without any issues. My wife paddles the Rio solo and I paddle the Colorado with my daughter in the front. I am very pleased with both the engineering and material of the boats but need to use them more to see how durable they are. I chose these over the Aire Tomcats because of price and so far I think I made the right choice. I expect the Aires to be better boats but for family use these should work great. If it is needed we will upgrade later on but based on review we some care we should be able to use these for many years. These are very stable but I suspect their limit to be rapids III+ or IV.
So far we have got these stuck in rocks several times (low water levels) with no visible sign of wear. The bottom of the boats is a very tough plastic and seems to be doing its job. As some other reviewers commented these are not really designed for flat water so paddling in flat water or slow moving rivers is manageable but tedious. They track reasonably well in flat water for an inflatable but if you expect hardshell kayak tracking you will be disappointed. The paddle choices depends on the number of paddlers. Two paddlers could handle the Colorado with canoe paddles but I would not want to paddle the Colorado solo or the Rio with a canoe paddle. If paddling the Colorado solo or with a child (my daughter weighs 50lbs) you want to invert the seats and paddle backwards as this helps balance the boat lengthwise. It tracks much better this way. If you will only inflate one of these boat you can do with a manual pump but if you have two you definitely want to use an electric pump initially and finish the inflation with a manual pump. Inflating these to the correct pressure without a pressure gauge is extremely difficult so I recommend to invest in a pressure gauge. I bought a "Bravo" and rigged it to my Coleman dual action pump which is a great combo.
The correct kayak paddle length for paddlers irrespective of height is 240cms because of the fat and high side tubes. The problem with this was that paddles this long could not be found locally so we had to order online and wait for the delivery. If you insist in buying shorter paddles locally definitely don't go shorter than 230cms or you will not reach the water comfortably.
My operating procedure for these boats is the following:
1) unfold, 2) inflate main chambers for volume with a 12v pump quickpump, 3) inflate main chambers for pressure with a manual pump with pressure gauge , 4) Inflate seats with the manual pump, 5) tie seats, 6) launch.
After kayaking:Got the Rio for light weight, tough nylon skin, ease of setup and transport to water's edge, and to accommodate my 22 pound dog. All requirements fulfilled!
1) take out of water, 2) unplug drainage valve, 3) lift kayak to drain water, 4) dry with camp towel, 5) deflate manually, 6) deflate with pump, 7) dry again with camp towel, 8) unfasten seats, 9) fold, 10) drive home, 11) inflate for volume main chambers, 12) let dry for a day, 13) deflate with pump, 14) fold.
Get a very good paddle - splurge, and tracking, will be no problem. Of course don't expect hard shell kayak performance. Glad Sevylor keeps the Rio going, sad the Fish Master is no more. The inner bladder with nylon skin is a great way to go, several seasons for me.This was my first inflatable, not a bad boat to start off with but it left me wanting something better.
Way to go!!!
I wanted an open canoe style inflatable that I could easily paddle with a single bladed paddle - well the boat was useless for this! The Sevylor Rio is more of a kayak - shaped like a canoe. You sit in the same position as you would in a kayak and have to use a kayak paddle. It generally tracks well (with kayak paddles). You do get a bit wet as it has no deck and the canvas style material that covers the upperside of the boat takes ages to dry out, gets dirty easily and is hard to clean! The floor valve is one of those rubbery things you find on beach balls, the cap on mine broke off and I had to be careful not to loose it.
I sold this boat after a few months and replaced it with the more traditional canoe styled Gumotex Palava - which is in a different league! If you want to paddle a traditional open canoe it is well worth spending a little extra on the Gumotex Palava, I can't fault it!
I also own a Stearns Spree 1, which I would also recommend over the Rio if you want a Kayak styled boat, it has very similar handling and speed, but is much easier to dry out and has a deck to keep you dry!
The Rio isn't a bad boat, but I think there are better models available!I have read other reviews on the Sevylor Colorado and they prompted me to throw in my two cents worth.
I have the single model (the Rio),I find that the boat tracks just fine, it's all in how you paddle the boat, of course. I actually bought two of them and I was out last Sunday with a buddy of mine and it was his first time paddling and he totally enjoyed it. I had the seat in his boat set up for me, I like the seat as far back as possible because I want lots of room for my dog in the front. With it set up like that I could see that his boat was a little high in the front and he noticed the drag. I gave him the dog and... problem solved.
Even paddling into the wind as well as angling into the wind and we did not have to fight to keep the boats in control. I intend to sell both of these boats and I'm going to purchase the Colorados to replace them as I find the Rio's to be lacking in space. I would not suggest that anyone buy a Rio if they intend to carry along any gear at all. The only thing that bothers me about these boats is that they seem to take on quite a bit of water, nothing major, and I'm not even sure how the water is getting in. I'm very careful not to drip water from my paddle, so, I know that that is not how the water is getting in. The floor and seat is not getting wet from wicking, however there winds up being about a liter or more of water in the space between the floor and pontoon.
I would also agree that the vinyl inflation stems are pretty crude. It's really not easy getting them to pop out once they are depressed. I also find that the seats definitely need to be about four or five inches taller. I intend to deck my boat out for fly fishing and I'm going to install a padded rigid seat mounted to a wooden deck as well as a motor mount and an fish finder/rod holder mount.The inflatable kayak designed like a canoe which does not have the good qualities of either. the pros: the boat is ligts easy to transport, constructed well of good materials and take to rough water very well. I have run it over -III rapids. This yak preforms better in moving fast water better then a lake.
The cons: slow, tracks horrably was designed with fishing/hunting in mind. Needs a skeg desprately to correct the tracking problems.