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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another high quality kayak from Advanced Elements...
This is my third AE kayak (have the AdvancedFrame 10.5 solo & StraitEdge2 tandem) and after a 1 hour paddle, will probably be my favorite. The workmanship and high quality materials are top notch. I'm a decent sized guy at 6-2/215 and it fits very well. This kayak will work great for someone up to 6-6 or so due to it's large capacity and plenty of legroom. Tracking: very...
Published on October 25, 2007 by Jim

versus
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for flat-water, not for white-water
I bought this kayak initially because I was concerned about storage space. Inflating it seemed pretty easy (maybe 10 minutes). The construction of the top half of the kayak seemed more durable than the bottom half, this concerned me. When it said the bottom was made of a PVC material, I was thinking "ok, PVC pipes, those are sturdy, it'll be something like that." Lol,...
Published on June 25, 2010 by Countryman


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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another high quality kayak from Advanced Elements..., October 25, 2007
By 
Jim (N. California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak (Sports)
This is my third AE kayak (have the AdvancedFrame 10.5 solo & StraitEdge2 tandem) and after a 1 hour paddle, will probably be my favorite. The workmanship and high quality materials are top notch. I'm a decent sized guy at 6-2/215 and it fits very well. This kayak will work great for someone up to 6-6 or so due to it's large capacity and plenty of legroom. Tracking: very good.Stability: excellent. Speed: very good. Has a huge weight capacity of 450lbs so you can load it up with camping gear. Advanced Elements has some of the best kayaks in the market...regardless of price, and excellent customer service who will answer your questions immediately.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First time kayaker, August 14, 2009
By 
Bob T. (Alexandria, Virginia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak (Sports)
I've done a lot of small boating like canoes and rowboats, but never kayaking before. I received my kayak yesterday and stared it all day until the air pump arrived today. Just for practice, I inflated it on my deck. Once I figured out how the spring valves and the twist valves work, I didn't have any problem. Be aware that not all pumps have the proper adapters for spring valves, especially those made by Sevlor and some other companies, so I would recommend only Advanced Elements pumps for this boat. Although the kayak is advertised to have 9 air bladders, only three of them are critical...the first and second side bladders, and the floor bladder. The first side bladder valve is outside the kayak and very obvious, however, the second valve is inside the kayak and I couldn't find it until I inflated the first bladder. These three critical bladders are the only ones that require any significant inflation effort, although that wasn't really much at all. I am 62 years old with lower back problems, and didn't have any trouble doing it. The other 6 non-critical bladders each require less than one stroke of the Advanced Elements pump to get to 1 psi. I found that the twist valves are tricky because starting to pump air into them tends to make them close unexpectantly and causes the pump to resist. I found that opening the twist valves only slightly, rather than full open, prevents this problem.
The only problem I had in deflating the kayak was in not being able to count to nine. Once I learned that, the kayak folded up neatly and fit into the canvas bag.
Tomorrow or soon after, depending on weather I'm going to take the kayak out for a spin on the Potomac
Like I promised, I took the kayak out on the Potomac River for a little over an hour today in 91 degree heat. Where I went, the Potomac is about a mile wide and very smooth. The kayak tracks very well and makes great speed. I tried to find some sports boats with big wakes, but there wern't any today. I guess the only problem I had was preparing the kayak in the heat. I had some trouble with the twist valves which caused me to spend a lot of time in the hot sun sweating bullets. I think that 6 of the 9 bladders could be inflated by mouth easier than by using a pump because the pump requires less than one stroke before the pressures reaches 1 psi. My 110 lb wife also tried it out and didn't have any trouble but says she wants to order the shorter version. So far, I'm really glad I got this product and can't wait to take it on a more turbulent river with rapids.
I took my kayak out on the Potomac today for three hours in 93+ degrees heat. The worst part was setting it up and packing it in the heat. Out on the water, it was wonderful. Several people at the marina asked my why I would want an inflatable when rigid kayaks are much less trouble. I just told them that when I travel by car, I don't want to have a boat on the roof of my car. It doesn't always make a great impression with business clients.
My wife got her 10.5 foot kayak today and we set it up on our porch. What a difference in weight! The actual differance may not look like much, but the smaller one sure feels a lot lighter when you carry it. However, I noted that the smaller kayak does not have anywhere near the internal storage room that the Expedition has.
Also, I've established a method of getting the kayaks back into the bag which works well for me. First, fold the kayak normally and place it so that part to go in the bottom of the bag is up. Then pull the bag down over the kayak as far as you can. Then flip the bag and kayak over and pull the cover up to its maximum extent. Then here's the real secret...put the bag on its side and kneel on it. You will find that the zipper closes fairly easily.
So far I've only done still-water kayaking (not counting boat wakes). I plan to take my Expedition on a river trip with class 1 to 3 rapids in the near future. I've done class 1 to 4 in rafts, so it should be interesting to see how it works in a kayak.
Since the above, I've been on the Potomac several times in various locations in this kayak...but not whitewater yet. Since the top fabric is definitely not waterproof, I suggest using a heavy application of Scotch Guard on it...that worked for me. However even the Scotch Guard will not prevent water from coming through the zippers. I encountered some rough water last week which broke over the bow quite frequently. No water came through the Scotch Guarded fabric, but I had a waterproof pack fastened in the front bungee area which created a depression. Obviously, the water tended to pool there and came right through the zipper onto my legs. It was not a big problem, but it was cold and uncomfortable. In spite of the 18-inch waves and 2-foot swells, I never had any feeling that the kayak might flip over, even when I was sideways to the waves.
I've also done some rigid kayaking recently and one big difference I've noticed is that my inflatable kayak has a much narrower cockpit because of the air bladders on either side. So if you've got a wide bottom, or simply like to twist around in the cockpit to access the rear storage area, you may want to stick to rigid kayaks.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review from a different perspective...call it 3 and a half stars., January 19, 2010
By 
This review is from: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak (Sports)
I was prepared to write a long, in-depth and detailed review of this kayak and it's features but I decided to stick to the basics and provide real world conditions I have experienced in the month I have had the Expedition.

If you choose to stop reading this review from this point forward, let me leave you with one thought...The Advanced Elements Expedition is never the same experience twice. In this case, that's a bad thing.

First off, you should know I have no experience with any other kayak. I did not test any others and bought the Expedition site unseen from Amazon. My main reasoning for purchasing a kayak was for a unique form of fitness not for recreation. I wanted something that would allow me to increase my heart rate, strengthen my shoulders and core, burn some calories, and ultimately lose weight. I have taken this kayak out a lot in the first month - an average of 3 times per week for 4 weeks.

The majority of my paddling has taken place on a large lake in both calm, glassy conditions and with a light wind chop. I have also recently taken it on a swift moving river with a small amount of white water - probably Class 2.

The very nature of a folding kayak lends itself to great portability but each time you fold and unfold it something will shift or reposition. I spend a great deal of time during setup moving, squeezing, dragging, and turning the inflation chambers and floor to make sure it lines up just right. If you don't and it's slightly off center or the main chamber is kinked you will not track in a straight line. Other reviewers have praised how well this boat tracks but only 2 times I can think of did it move straight when coasting. Like a car with suspension problems the Expedition either pushes to the right or pulls to the left. Some days are worse than others. One day I can go out and have a nearly effortless time but the very next, following the exact same setup routine I end up working twice as hard trying to keep it straight with each stroke. Last Saturday after setup the kayak looked perfect, everything was aligned, inflation pressure was dead on, and the skeg on the bottom was straight - but for every stroke to the left I took two strokes on the right because it wanted to swing hard to starboard. It was so frustrating I quit after 15 minutes. Upon inspection I could see no visible reason for the drift. But on Sunday - same setup, same conditions, same everything and, you guessed it, straight as an arrow.

If you're not committed to spending a little extra time when unpacking it to get everything aligned just right you could end up being frustrated. Personally I would rather have the same predictable ride each and every time. You won't get that with an inflatable and you need to know that going in.

Expedition supporters will undoubtedly question whether or not I have been following instructions and I can assure you I have been. Not only have I committed the manual to memory but I have been an active participant on the Advanced Elements website and make use of their user group site regularly and I have talked with the company directly as well. Keep in mind, I'm not bashing this kayak, I'm just stating facts I have experienced. I still like it overall.

Now having said all that, I don't think you can find a much better value. I bought mine the day Amazon just happened to be having an extra sale. I only paid $479. You would be hard pressed to find a 13' touring kayak for that price anywhere. But there is a big "gotcha." If you are on a budget and expect to become a regular veteran paddler expect that price to double once you factor in all the other gear you will need. By the time you add a class III life vest, waterproof jacket or shirt, water shoes, a paddle, dry bags, and a few other odds and ends like a spare paddle (if your main paddle slips away from you) you will be in for about $850. Some things you simply can't skimp on. Safety is important - especially if you start your paddling adventures in the dead of winter like I did. One spill in 35 degree water and you only have about 15 minutes to find safety and warmth before hypothermia sets in. Again, that's not complaining just something you need to be aware of when you start thinking about your overall budget.

The Expedition keeps you warm and cozy though and the fact it's inflatable means it is comfortable - no hard spots. I continue to be amazed at how rigid this boat is despite that fact it's full of air.

Okay, so where does that leave this review? For me it's easy. No matter how frustrating the setup process is (like others have described as well) and no matter ho much energy I expend inflating it with the hand pump all of the negatives are neutralized completely by the fact that you can fold it up and take it with you anywhere! I love knowing that I can store this thing in my car and spontaneously explore the local waterways wherever I am. You can't do that with a plastic kayak and have to plan ahead. Just keep you paddling gear and kayak together and you''re ready to explore. It fits in the back of my pickup truck or in my wife's Honda Accord.

So despite the challenges, I would recommend this kayak to anyone wanting to have something easy to transport. It's a little more work to achieve a smooth ride but provides the freedom to explore that others don't.

I hope this was helpful. Happy paddling.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High-performance in a suitcase, November 30, 2010
By 
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This review is from: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak (Sports)
I've had my Expedition for about four months now and she's been exclusively in the San Francisco Bay countless times so far. For performance, quality, and portability, the Expedition is king. A few observances:

Performance: I'd say she's about 90-95% as efficient as a high-end sit-in hard-shelled kayak (when the optional backbone is installed). I have no problem keeping pace with the hard shellers. I've read other reviews of people complaining of tracking problems, but I don't have any problems tracking, but I'm 100% in the sea and haven't taken her out on a smooth lake where tracking would be more noticeable.

Set-up/Take-down: I was clocked at 30 minutes the first time I set her up, and I've gotten it down to about 15 minutes. Inserting her backbone adds an additional few minutes. Take-down runs about 15 minutes when dry. Reverse-pumping the air out is essential, otherwise you'll never get her back in the bag. I usually wash her down with freshwater to get the salt off and let her bask in the sun for a while, otherwise she needs to be unpacked later to dry off.

Portability: She fits nicely into the included large suitcase-sized canvas bag. I carry everything else in a backpack/drybag. I've actually walked from my house to the bay with the kayak bag on a small collapsible hand cart and the rest in the backpack. Everything can fit into her fore and aft storage spaces except for the hand truck, which I leave on the dock. So, with the exception of a cart, you can hit the water completely self-contained.

Lessons Learned: (1) Stay away from beaches unless you want to go home and do a complete wash down of everything. The sand gets everywhere when packing up. (2) The Advanced Elements collapsible oar tends to completely seize up after several uses and you'll never be able to break it down into its four pieces anymore. Invest in a good carbon-fiber collapsible oar.

Advanced Elements must be thriving on word-of-mouth marketing. I learned about them when I first came across a group paddling the Expedition models, and I've had countless people ask about mine. You'll feel like a spokesman for the company when you hit the water.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Inflatable., April 5, 2009
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This review is from: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak (Sports)
So far I have really enjoyed this kayak. After the first few uses, I did decide to buy the backbone for it. This makes it much more rigid and easier to use. I would highly recommend you buy it if you decide on this kayak. This boat is easier to dry off and deflate than others. I'm 6'6" and 275 and this kayak was fine for me. However, I do believe I inflated beyond what is recommended.

Update:
I have now used this several times and let others use it at family reunions and such. This is not made for two people but if I were to take a child with me in a kayak, this would be the one I would use. It is more stable and comfortable than hard-sided kayaks. My biggest complaint is being able to feel the backbone (sold separately) through the seat. It can become quite uncomfortable during long outings. I always place a folded towel that has both ends rolled up towards the backbone under the seat.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Pleased....., February 7, 2012
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I bought the Expedition and a few days later set it up, stuck it in the SUV and took it over to the river when it was sunny, 47 degrees and calm on the James River. It was very easy to enter and amazingly rigid and comfortable after foot rest adjustments, etc. I paddled over a couple hours about 3 miles and went through a couple speedboat wakes, though I could use a 250 cm long paddle instead of 240 cm since I'm tall and it's wide and generally loved it. It took about fifteen minutes to get used to the little movements of it but when I discovered most were ccaused by me and learned how to actually paddle and shift correctly I became very comfortable using it. NO fear of tipping it as it's wide with lots of tubes in it and you sit well down. It is very comfortable and two plus hours of paddling without getting out and only moving my legs by unzipping the front zipper a litte just to change positions. I drifted in the sun with my thermos of coffee and sipped, listened to the birds, watched the fish and saw eagles above and the Canadian Geese flying by in the hundreds. I've been on and in water my whole life from sailing my 35' boat for 20 years to racing and now my 19' inboard/outboard, canoes that I never liked the balance of and all the rest but I swear this Kayak is a dream. I will keep using it then take it to Maine with me early this summer for a two week trip and use it periodically along the stops on Maine waters though I'll be careful of the tides. It is surprisingly good quality and easily matches the quality of inflatable sailboat dinghies which are very durable. It tracks easily, paddles easily, is comfortable and very stable. I am really happy I own one. In reading I see they are used by satisfied users all over the world. Deflated easily, inflated easily and even putting the backbone in and taking it out was easy. I'm a big guy at 6'4" with size fifteen feet so the backbone was a good investment.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun, Great Buy, July 2, 2008
This review is from: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak (Sports)
My wife and I were looking for light, easily transportable boats to replace our heavy, polypro tandem. We got this boat for me, which is a little bigger, and the very similar smaller boat for her. Once you get the hang of it, the setup is easy, though breaking it down to fit in the bag is a little more challenging. It performs very well and is a lot of fun. Though it rides higher than our tandem, and therefore catches more wind, it also takes on less water in chop (without a spray skirt). It's maneuverable and tracks fairly well. It's also very comfortable, as I had no pain in my low back like I get in my tandem and similar boats I've tried. The construction seems durable, though I've only used it for a week at Long Pond on Cape Cod. For the price (under $500) it's unbeatable.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just came back from maiden voyage, October 21, 2010
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This review is from: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak (Sports)
I took my new kayak down to the Little Tennessee River in Franklin, NC, this morning. I had no trouble inflating the kayak. The inflation valves were easy to find and the Advanced Elements double action pump fitting (only needed the one fitting for all valves) seated firmly with each valve. Advanced Elements Double Action Pump with Pressure Guage don't want you to over-inflate the air chambers, so a pump with a pressure gauge is a must. I was taken by surprise at how quickly the first air chamber inflated and had overinflated it before I knew what was happening. Had to let some air out of the chamber and re-inflate more carefully to the proper air pressure. I also purchased the Advanced Elements 4-part packlite paddle (I live in a motor home and everything must fit into a limited space). I am a gear junkie, but even I didn't think buying a paddle that cost half as much as the kayak was necessary, no matter what the self-styled kayak experts said. This paddle worked just fine.Advanced Elements 4-Part Packlite Paddle

I looked at a few videos that showed proper methods of paddling a kayak. There were a few whining reviews that said that this kayak didn't track well. Imagine blaming the kayak for their inability to paddle properly. I practiced my paddling style and the kayak tracked perfectly. I could control it by paddling a little harder on one side every few strokes when necessary. Only a couple times did I have to make two strokes on the same side to keep it straight (and I don't blame the kayak for that). There was hardly any wind today, so I can't really comment on paddling in the wind, but I am heading to the Outer Banks next and I hear it can be pretty windy there, so I'll get to learn about paddling in the wind. Maybe I can blame the kayak for my shortcomings in paddling in windy conditions.

One thing that I didn't get that I wished I had was the spray skirt. Advanced Elements Advanced Elements Spray SkirtI got a little water in the boat and wound up with wet cargo shorts. I will order a spray skirt as soon as I get to the Outer Banks. Paddling in the winter is not so good if your pants are wet. My rigid tennis shoes were not the best choice for footwear, either. I had to stick the soles of the shoes straight up and down and the toes poked into the top cover of the kayak. I'll probably get a pair of flexible kayak shoes which will also satisfy my craving for buying gear.

When I finished for the day, I carried the inflated kayak up a flight of steps from the river to the parking lot to deflate it there. So much for it being too heavy. Can't comment on putting it back into the carrying bag because I folded it up somewhat and carried it to the RV park in the back of my Jeep. It's outside now, drying on the picnic table. Also I will use it again before heading east.

I also like that this kayak can hold 450 lbs. I'm 220 lbs at 6 feet tall and the kayak didn't settle much into the water when I got in. It was very rigid, so I think I'll hold off on buying the backbone, too.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I love this kayak, September 13, 2009
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This review is from: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak (Sports)
The Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak has exceeded my expectations. I knew it would be convienient and portable, which is the main reason I purchased it. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would give up some of the performance and comfort of a hard kayak, well was I suprised. The Kayak handles very well, has great glide, and is very comfortable. I can paddle for hours in this kayak. I have also purchased one for my wife and she loves hers too. I would highly recommend this product. The only thing I can say negative is that on a hot day it takes a little of your paddleing energy to inflate, but I have overcome this by a battery powered inflator. You will still need to top it off by hand though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent inflatable for taller paddlers, September 24, 2011
By 
PatrickH (Hallsville, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak (Sports)
About a year ago my wife and I decided we were interested in getting into kayaking, both as a form of excercise and so my wife could have a way to get out on the water (she lived on a boat for 5 years and being in East Texas, 5 hours from the sea, was getting to her). Two problems though, both of us drive relatively small cars (Prius and a Versa), and storage space at home is limited, so hardshells were out of the question, not to mention price range.

We decided to go cheap since we weren't 100% on whether we would even enjoy kayaking in the first place and bought a Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package The kayak was OK, very basic and had the hydrodynamics of a VW Bus, but we were hooked on the sport. After a few excursions we determined that if this was something we'd be doing long-term it was time for an upgrade and started shopping. After some extensive research online here at Amazon and a few other outfitters we narrowed in on the Advanced Elements Af Expedition Kayakfor me and the smaller Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak for my wife.

If you're concerned about price, let me just say the boat is worth every penny. It tracks straight, is easy to inflate with the Advanced Elements Double Action Pump w/Pressure Gauge, and very comfortable for taller paddlers. Not to mention it looks fantastic on the water. I'm 6'3" 260lbs and fit very nicely in it, there is a slight sagging in the center of the boat when I'm in, not enough to effect performance of the kayak and seeing as how we bought them for excercise, I'm hoping that is not a long term problem. We're still trying to decide if we want to get the optional backbones, I've read that they would also help the problem of sagging, but the kayaks perform great without them.

Overall we could not be happier with our decision to get these two kayaks, so far we've only gotten them out on quiet rivers and a few flat water lakes but are looking forward to many more excursions. In fact, as I write this the two boats are packed up in the back of my Prius with all our gear and we're hoping to get on the water as soon as I get off from work!
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Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak, Yellow
$679.99 $599.00
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