See Our Review of the Hobie Mirage i11S Inflatable Kayak

hobie mirage i11S inflatable kayak mango slate
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The  Mirage i11S is small on storage and big on fun. Paired with the Hobie MD 180, it can be used as a pedal-powered kayak.

It can also be used as a SUP or paddled like a kayak. The kayak has an ultra-comfortable seating system. It is an excellent choice for a versatile fishing machine to take when traveling.

The one-person vessel measures 11’3” in length and 3’3” in width, with a 400-pound capacity.

The i11S is made of 1000 Denier PVC. The kayak comes with a storage bag. The purchase includes a standard inflation pump. It is a high-volume pump that can be used with any of Hobie’s kayaks quickly.

There is also an optional electric pump available. You still need the standard pump to get enough pressure to make the boat stiff and rigid on the floor to make it work well. That requires about three to five PSIs of force.

Assembling the Mirage i11s Kayak

To get you out on the water, unpack the kayak and place it flat. There are three chambers to be filled. Remove caps to expose the valves. Turn the valves counter-clockwise until they pop up. The values are one-way valves. As you pump air in, it will not come out.

When the boat is deflated, air comes out when the valve is pushed down and turned clockwise. It holds the valve open to let all the air escape. The valve should be left in that position when placed back in the bag to allow a tight pack.

Seat

The Mirage i11s comes with a Vantage CTI chair that is disassembled when shipped from the factory so that it packs down a little bit. The compact seat comes with two screws that are installed. Once installed, they do not need to be taken out.

seat

There are two leg settings for the chair: a high position and a low position. There are four “legs” that are installed into the seat bottom frame to adjust the positions. There are slots and indexes on the parts that make installing foolproof. It cannot be installed incorrectly.

It is recommended to start in the low position where the longer “arm” is horizontal and the shorter arm goes into the frame. All four legs should be installed at the same level. The rear can’t be in a high position and the front in a low.

The four need to match. When the legs are attached, the seat can be dropped into position. There are three locations on the kayak for the chair. Tall people move the seat back. Shorter people or children move it forward.

When the seat is in position, it is buckled using the four attachment points on the kayak. They are hooked down first then cinched to make them equally tensioned on all four corners. The main adjustable parts of the seat are the seat back angle, which is adjusted with a lever, and the lumbar adjustment which is controlled by a boa that unwinds.

For bolstering on the side, the boa is loose. A tight lumbar is achieved by pushing in the boa and turning clockwise. It tightens the back of the seat for nice support. The seat breaks in after it is used a bit.

Steering

The steering mechanism is attached to the seat. There are attachments on either side. The rudder can be controlled by either hand, depending on the rider’s preference. Two channels on the handle allow mounting in a high or low position.

The high position, the inside channel, gives a little further reach. Closer reach or low position is designed to be closer to the thigh. A set of screws hold the steering mechanism in place. The rudder up/down controls are located on the right side of the kayak.

The green line is pulled to put the rudder in the down position. It is important to cleat the rudder line so that it stays locked down and you have proper rudder function. To raise the rudder, uncleat the green line, and pull on the red tab. It brings the rudder back up. There are covers on either side to route the steering line to one side or the other. The cargo area is kept clean.

Mirage Drive

The kayak arrives with the Mirage Drive partially assembled. The consumer has to install the crank arms and pedals. They are marked left and right. Once the Mirage Drive is fully assembled, the crank arms and pedals stay in place.

mirage drive

The crank arms are put in place and aligned with pins. They are then bolted into the plastic drum. A 9/16-inch wrench or socket is needed to tighten the bolt. Do not over tighten. The crank arm has to be able to move. Tightening too much interferes with the function of the adjustment on the pedals.

To install the Mirage Drive, have the rigid portion of the fins facing forward. Line the mechanism straight to click into place. Squeeze the handle of the crank arms to move them forward or backward.

Give yourself plenty of room. Tall people will move them forward, for a child, they will come back. Keep the numbers on the scale equal to have equal amounts of pedals. The proper adjustment allows a slight bend in the knee when fully extended. The last step of the assembly hooks the crank arms to keep the fins up against the kayak so the rider can come to the beach without worry of hitting bottom.

Other Equipment

The paddle that comes with the i11S is a four piece paddle to assemble. The configuration allows the paddle to be packed down in the bag for shipping or transport. It is clipped to the side.

Because this model can also be used as a stand-up paddleboard, it comes with an optional fin that can be used with an optional stand-up paddle. The purchase also includes a repair kit that contains a valve replacement tool, some glue with a one-year shelf life, and patches that match the material of the kayak.

The consumer also receives paperwork that includes warranty and registration information, the owner’s manual, and an accessory catalog.