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196 of 196 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Recreational Kayak
For those that don't have the space or the budget for a nice fiberglass kayak, the Advanced Elements is the next best thing. I purchased this early this year for my wife (having purchased the Expidition model for myself) and I have had the opportunity to use it a few times this season. I continue to think it's one of the best purchases I've ever made. It's easy to store,...
Published on June 22, 2008 by waetherman

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142 of 154 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great if you can't store a hardshell.
I think many of the reviews here are given after just one use or once they get it in the mail which is not really helpful. Also I think many people are excited because kayaking is awesome! So they leave reviews based on a fun experience, and not the product alone. I wish I had heard more critical reviews about this item before I bought it.
This review will be...
Published on June 10, 2011 by Brian A. Adams


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196 of 196 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Recreational Kayak, June 22, 2008
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This review is from: Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak (Sports)
For those that don't have the space or the budget for a nice fiberglass kayak, the Advanced Elements is the next best thing. I purchased this early this year for my wife (having purchased the Expidition model for myself) and I have had the opportunity to use it a few times this season. I continue to think it's one of the best purchases I've ever made. It's easy to store, easy to set up, handles well, performs well, and is very comfortable. All around a great recreational kayak.

Setup is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. This model has 7 chambers to fill, which sounds like a lot but it's really not. There are two main chambers which get filled up first, and then the floor and the deck lift chambers, and finally the combing for the skirt. The two first chambers take the longest - maybe 10 minutes total using the bi-directional hand pump. The rest can be filled in under 5 minutes, making the total time for inflation about 15 minutes.

Construction of the AF Expedition is excellent. All materials are sturdy, and the coating on the bottom (the gray part) seems to be tough enough for years of use. The top part of the construction (the red part) is a thick nylon that is not waterproof but which provides some protection from the elements. I would recommend using a waterproofing spray on the top part to ensure that there is minimal water absorption, since this makes drying it out before storage a lot easier. The material on this model is particularly nice - it has a sort of sheen and a subtle pattern to it that is very cool. Wish I had it on my Expidition, actually, but I think that might be a difference between last year's model and this.

Once inflated the AF is very sturdy and firm. It does not flex at all, and feels much like a hardshell kayak. In the water it is very stable, a product no doubt of its relatively wide stance (32 inches). The byproduct of that wide stance is that in the water it is a bit slower than a top-notch hardshell kayak (that generally run about 26 inches wide). It tracks well and is actually pretty fast -- my wife hasn't had any trouble keeping up with other recreational kayaks. Because the shape is rigid (reinforced with the aluminum bits in the front and back) it cuts through the water easily.

Paddling is comfortable so long as you use the right length of paddle; we use a 220cm and it seems to be the perfect size. I tried using a shorter paddle at one point and fount that it was not as comfortable and often found myself brushing the sides of the kayak with my knuckles. But with a longer paddle that's not a problem and paddling is a breeze.

The interior of the kayak is largely taken up by the inflatable chambers. There's a little room behind the cockpit to store things, but really not more than what you might take on a day trip. People looking for more storage should get a deck bag.

Deflating and storing is very easy to - the whole thing breaks down in about 10 minutes and is back in the case and ready for transport. This model stores in a bag about the size of a medium sized suitcase, and weighs about 30 pounds, which makes it quite easy to carry. The fact that it stores so easily is obviously the best "feature" of this inflatable kayak - it can be easily transported in the trunk of a car or even on a plane, and can be stored in a closet of an apartment. Being able to transport it for weekend trips without worrying about lashing it to the top of the car or having to go get it out of a slip somewhere just makes kayaking that much easier to do on a whim.

As for whether or not to buy this one or the larger AdvancedFrame Expedition model, I own both so I have some insight. I bought the smaller one for my wife after I had tested the Expedition model. The smaller one is even easier to inflate (since it has fewer chambers) and is lighter and smaller to store. But the trade-off is a smaller cockpit with less storage space. For me, at 6' 175lbs, the Expedition model seems just right or a little large. For my wife, the smaller one is a perfect fit. I think a person of my size might feel somewhat cramped in the 10' model, as she described it as comfortably snug. So if you're under 5'10" the smaller 10' model might be just fine, but larger folks should consider the Expedition.

Overall this kayak is a great purchase for someone looking for a first kayak to take on casual trips, or for a second kayak for those who might want to travel where they can't take their hardshell. Performance is on par with other hardshell recreational kayaks, but without the hassle of storage or transport. Highly recommended.
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89 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Product!!, November 12, 2007
By 
J. Ida (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak (Sports)
This inflatable kayak is just great! It is inexpensive and made of strong material. It looks great, like a hardshell, not like a boat-shaped balloon costing 3 times as much. It is lighter than hardshells and you don't need to buy a $600 roof rack to take it places. Unlike other reviewers, the first time I assembled it, it took about 20 minutes. 8 or 9 assemblies later, it takes less than 10 minutes. It is the most comfortable kayak I have ever sat in or on, and has been quite durable. If you are purchasing this product, you ABSOLUTELY MUST also purchase the floor beam. Advanced Elements BackBone-Bow & Stern Frame-Advanced Frame I This beam goes under the floor mat of the kayak and converts the base of the boat from flat to v-shaped, drastically improving tracking and speed, as well as efficiency, allowing one to paddle further expending less energy. It makes an enormous difference. Also, Advanced Elements makes a large line of products to accompany this boat, and most accessories for standard kayaks fit this boat. If you are in the market for an inflatable kayak, buy this one!!
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103 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A convenient pleasure, April 3, 2007
By 
Michael Sands (Jacksonville, Florida) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak (Sports)
We've been doing hardshell sit ins and sit upon kayaking, both touring and in the ocean for years. This year we thought it would be fun during a visit to Venice, Italy to kayak the canals and participate in the Vogalonga. After extensive internet research, it didn't appear that there were any kayak rentals easily available in Venice. A little more research and we stumbled on Advanced Elements 10 foot inflatable as a good possibility to take with us to Italy.

We've now tried it out locally touring on flat water 4 times and my wife wants to throw out all of our other kayaks. Warning, the first inflation takes about 20 minutes with the manual; after that it takes about 5 minutes. Fully inflated it tracks pretty well and can keep up a good touring pace with hardshell sit ins. It's comfortable to sit in; my wife keeps on asking if it's OK to inflate it and put it in the water just to nap in.

The take down is simple, quick and the reverse of inflations. We wipe it down with one of those super absorbant camp towels before stowing it in the carrying bag. Then off it goes into the back of the SUV and laughs at us while we spend the next 45 minutes hoisting and securing the remaining kayaks on top of the truck.

I would definitely recommend it as a well designed and constructed inflatable. It's not a pool toy. Let you know how it likes the Italian food.
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142 of 154 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great if you can't store a hardshell., June 10, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak (Sports)
I think many of the reviews here are given after just one use or once they get it in the mail which is not really helpful. Also I think many people are excited because kayaking is awesome! So they leave reviews based on a fun experience, and not the product alone. I wish I had heard more critical reviews about this item before I bought it.
This review will be mostly negative so let me say here that I have loved almost every minute I'm in this kayak. I rent out a room with only a car trunk to store the craft so this was my only acceptable alternative to renting. However I want to warn others about the drawbacks to this very portable kayak. After reading the outstanding reviews of this product I expected a great experience and after the first use it seemed I got want I wanted. Then with each further use it seemed I would find something new that was a little disappointing. This is what I intend to explain.

1. I have 100lbs before reaching the weight limit of this kayak, but I found after 3 uses that I NEED the backbone sold separately. This turns an overpriced product to a ridiculously overpriced product. I inflate the craft to specifications (more on that later) and have found that with each use I'm getting lower between the bow and stern. In other words it seems that I am sinking in the middle while the bow and stern remain ultra-buoyant. This becomes a greater issue once I realized that I'm taking on water as it seeps through the fabric above the pvc plastic bottom. Personally I feel (Especially with the price) that the upper decks should be waterproof too. At the very least, more water resistant.
2. I had no idea how specific the inflation would be. The manual and tags hanging from the kayak stress multiple times that if you inflate the kayak improperly you can cause damage to it. If you wish to heed their warnings you need the pump with the pressure gauge (Another separate expense). Now common sense says that proper inflation is obvious, but it's to the point that you may need to deflate a bit once the day gets hotter (I'm in the south where the morning is 75+ degrees and the afternoon is 95+ degrees), or inflate further if it gets colder. So what if the day is warm and the water is cold? And if you are up the river how do you inflate it more? The pump is gigantic and there just isn't space to keep it with you. They say if you over inflate it, even just a little too much, you can damage the kayak. This is not very encouraging and causes me stress during an event that was meant to relax me.
3. When paddling in glassy water the kayak drifts STRONGLY to the right. So much so that if I stop paddling I'll turn completely around. This may have something to do with inflation, but as I said before I have inflated it to specifications. I think it's because I need the $80 backbone. By the time I get back from paddling my right arm is shaking because there is twice as much paddling on that side.
4. Storage behind the seat? Maybe for lunch. I stick a life vest back there and have NO room left for anything else. On a positive note, the deck straps help alleviate this a bit. There is enough space for a few water bottles, dry sacs, etc. Also, related to this issue is leg room. I'm only 5'7" but I fit perfectly in there with the seat all the way back. My feet get a little sore due to the constriction of the side tubes, but that is a small issue. I read here that some guy says it's okay as long as you keep your legs bent. This is not a "sit on top" kayak. It is meant to contain its occupant and it is difficult to move my legs around once inside anyway. Don't get me wrong, it's perfect for me, but I thought taller people should be warned again.
5. This is to expand upon a previous review. One review mentions the valves on the kayak fell apart on them. I'm sure the statement was a little bit dramatized out of frustration, but I had the same experience. On my second use I unscrewed the valve for deflation and found that the friction of the cap caused the base plate to unscrew from the hull tube. This was not hard to fix as it is simply two plastic pieces screwed together on either side of the fabric that contains the buoyancy tubes. However, for the price I paid for this thing I expect those plates to be sealed. It is an easy fix, but frustrating.

For the price I could have bought a kayak of superior quality. In fact, I could have bought two. I paid the "sale price" of $370 for this yak, and over $30 for the pump. If I now add the "optional" $80 backbone that is required I will have paid over $480 (Lucky for me I got the super-saver free shipping). A local store sells two basic flat-bottom kayaks for that price. By-the-way, I have read that this backbone makes the craft uncomfortable to sit in. The rod fits right below your tail-bone like an aluminum thong lol! I guess you can add some padding, but how much more are we expected to alter this yak after paying so much for it? I don't know about you, but I expect a lot when I pay this much for something.
So basically you need to ask yourself this question, are you willing to pay $500 for an uncomfortable (if you use the backbone) kayak of inferior quality? That is, inferior to hardshells of equal price. In my case I guess that answer is yes because I save the money from rentals, but I can't hit whitewater, it's a pain in the butt to drain/dry out, and I have little to no storage.
Again, let me state that I loved the times I have used this little yak. And it is very durable too. I have hit many unseen river rocks. Even to the point that I was lifted out of the water and dumped once, and there are little to no scratches on the hull. Although getting the water out of the kayak was a pain. I have a toy squirt gun as my bilge pump because of the lack of storage. Anyway it is very tough and fun to use, but I am highly disappointed because for the money I expected to have trouble free use. If you have no way to store a hardshell then this is a great purchase, but be aware of what you will get so that you are not disappointed.
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I t does the job, December 5, 2007
By 
This review is from: Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak (Sports)
I've been using this kayak for a couple years. I mainly wanted something to get me out on the water for photographing wildlife in the bay. I paddle it around a wetland wildlife reserve, through a large, heavily-trafficed harbor, out into the open ocean. The boat is slow compared to 17' to 19' touring kayaks I've paddled, but far more stable. I bought the AE Backbone to stiffen the boat - which helps.

I use a relatively heavy camera to shoot birds, etc., so stability is more important than anything else. I can maneuver this boat however I need it with total ease, and lean way over to get a low-profile shot.

Setup only takes 5 minutes now that I'm used to the process. I use a double-action pump to push air on both the downstroke and the upstroke (nice and fast). Cold water causes air in the main tube to compress, so a good pump is needed to provide enough pressure to compensate.

I can't really complain about quality. I've run the boat up onto rocks and into all kinds of muck. I got one tear in a top seam, but patched it with the provided patch kit. The longer I've had it, the less care I take with it, but it still performs and holds up well.

It's not ideal for long or fast trips, nor for open-ocean swells, but it does exactly what I wanted it to do. Calm-water paddling and riding currents are great, while chop makes it sluggish. Keep it recreational and all will be fine.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great in a lot of ways, a few pointers, July 4, 2009
By 
Cedar's mom (Northwest, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak (Sports)
This is not your cheap inflatable. VERY good quality. I bought both the single and the double used. They are great for hot days when you have your bathing suit on. The boat is very comfortable and cushiony, and incredibly stable. it's great for adults and kids rowing around a lake, jumping in for a swim and getting back on. the problem with sitting on the floor instead of a seat is if you get any water in the boat--like with your feet or from paddles, it will go right to the seat of your pants and get you soaked. (The double has a blow up back rest option rather than the click in seat, so you're sitting on the floor). I only use these kayak in the summertime. the kayak works best when everything is blown up to maximum capacity--eventhough they say "don't overfill". When it's full, it's hard and acts like a fiberglass boat.
Don't think it's easy to carry, however. Eventhough the deflation and bag with handles make it handy for storage, these are HEAVY! park near the water! Don't drag the boats to the water, because they do get holes in the bottom--i have had to patch a few, which works well.
I really like the boats, but the main negatives are: 200lb or 5"10" max for the single (or boat will bend in the middle), you have to dry it well before packing it away, watching out when you get in and out close to shore that the bottom doesn't drag on pebbles and punch holes, and the tracking, I have found, isn't great. Tracking is better when care is taken that the plastic guide on the bottom doesn't get bent. If it's not straight, it won't help you row straight. It can get bent in storage or by sitting to long on the ground upright. Tip boat over when blown up but not in use; and lay the bag on it's side when not in use if the bottom of the kayak is at the bottom of the bag.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun boat!, August 10, 2009
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This review is from: Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak (Sports)
This boat met all my expectation and then some. I used to do some white-water kayaking but these days mostly want to paddle around on lakes and such. I just got this kayak about 10 days ago. Did a quick float on a lake and then took it on a week-long river trip. On the lake trial run, I realized a couple useful things. First and foremost, I really like the kayak! You should know that the 12V electric pump, will not be able to fully inflate the kayak. It says that in the Kayak manual, but I didn't know that when I ordered it and didn't have anything else to use on this first attempt. I also didn't have the backbone in on this first float. Still even though it was somewhat under-inflated, it performed pretty well on the lake. I didn't like sitting down that low, and my butt sank even further down than normal due to the under-inflation. Also made the paddle angle kind of weird - every stroke kind of like a sweep. It tracked well on the lake and was still fun.

So for the week-long raft trip, I had a hand pump, the backbone installed, and a 3" canoe cushion to sit on. The kayak was well inflated and I was sitting up higher, which is more comfortable for my back. It was a blast! We were on a pretty flat stretch of the Colorado River, but there were still a few class 2 rapids to play in. As one might expect trying to surf waves in a kayak with a keel is pretty challenging, but still fun to try. It did great just running the class 2 rapids. The only problem was that I didn't have a spray skirt in and took on a lot of water over the bow in the waves. It still performs great even with a fair amount of water in it. It is very stable. Emptying it is a little tricky, but the standard kayak rocking on the shore will work pretty well. I am definitely going to get a spray skirt for it. BTW, the canoe on our trip took in even more water on the same level of rapids and didn't handle well at all until we could get it pulled over to the shore and bailed. No big surprise there, but definite points for this kayak.

The other cool thing about it that even though it performs well as a kayak, it is so stable, that I could slip out of it on the river and lay down on the top like a lounger or hang my feet over one side and relax. Also, I could put one of the kids on the trip sitting on the cargo area in front of me and paddle them around. I love this boat!

With all the internal pieces parts, it is a little hard to get all the the river sand and debris cleaned out of. I totally took it apart after the trip. For my more typical lake kayaking, this won't be as big a problem.

------------------------------------

Later took this boat on a week-long sailing trip in the San Juan Islands. Because it packs into such a small package, some friends tossed it in the back of their car for me to get it out there. I stowed it in the dingy while I wasn't using it and took it out early every morning to paddle around the areas where we anchored. Strapped my morning tea to the front cargo area. Because it is so stable, I sometimes just slipped into it wearing my pajamas. Always smooth water, so I don't know how it handles in rougher seas. It tracks so well, I could take a couple strokes and then silently glide in the morning San Juan quiet while sipping my tea. Had to top it off every couple days, so make sure you take you pump with you for multi-day adventures. No surprise. The manual mentions you may have to adjust inflation. Hard to dry out thoroughly at the end of the trip. Count on having to completely disassemble it to get it completely clean and dry. Not that big a deal once in a while.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love it!, May 31, 2009
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This review is from: Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak (Sports)
I was hesitant about buying an inflatable because I had a hard shell before, and frankly I just didn't think an inflatable could come close to matching a hard shell on the water. But I had to sell my hard shell because it was too impractical- I live in a small apartment, so storage was a MAJOR problem, and I have a small car so transportation was a problem. So I decided to try this inflatable, and I could not be happier with my purchase. It has all the benefits of a hard shell kayak, like tracking, speed, durability, without the hassle of transporting it and storage. THe skegs on the bottom of the boat really help with tracking, and the weight also gives it more durability. I pick up about as much speed as I did with a hard shell, and it handles currents well. Set up and deflation is pretty simple, I can get it up and ready in less than six minutes. I'm about 5'5, so I've got plenty of leg room, the cockpit is super comfy, lots of cargo room and storage on top too.
Solid purchase, gotten a ton of compliments on it from friends and strangers who lay eyes on it. Great boat!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceeded My Expectations!, June 2, 2008
This review is from: Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak (Sports)
The Advanced Frame kayak is simply a joy...end of story! Affordable to buy, high quality materials, quick $ easy inflating, and great tracking.

I considered other products, but purchased the Advanced Frame after reading the reviews, and speaking directly with the techs at the Advanced Elements Company. (The techs there are VERY helpful, before and after the sale.)

I wanted a kayak with the convenience of an inflatable and the tracking of a hard shell. I've never owned a hard shell to compare, but the tracking of the Advanced Frame exceeded my expectations.

Inflation, after you learn how the valves work, takes about 5 minutes. Deflation is even faster. Then I simply fold it into thirds, put it in the car, and I'm off.

It comes shipped in a carry case, but I think it's more work to get it back in the case than it's worth. I use the case for accessories.

I do wish this model had an adjustable foot rest, but I'm going to try an air bag to give me a push-off. (The 13 foot model, The Expedition, I think does have a foot rest.)

Overall, I am very happy with the Advanced Frame product and will be purchasing another one soon.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greak Kayak... a Few Considerations, September 27, 2011
This review is from: Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak (Sports)
I purchased this Kayak to paddle on flat water. So far, I am very impressed with it and have had fairly good experiences.

If you are looking at an inflatable, you probably either have limited space for storage and/or you want ease of transport. Both considerations were important for me. Being a female who is out alone, I wanted a kayak that I could easily bring to the river without the need for help loading it onto a vehicle. It is approx. 40 lbs inflated, and can be a little tricky to carry alone as it doesn't have side handles. This kayak folds up well, but it is difficult to squeeze it back into the bag it came in.

It is much easier to inflate than I imagined it would be, and takes much less time. The manufacture states 10 minutes for inflation, but with the Advanced Elements dual pump, it only takes 4 or 5 minutes. Deflation occurs in moments. I do have to move around some of the chambers as I am inflating to ensure everything is in the right place after inflation is complete. Specifically, the floor chamber moves around and you have to situate it directly in the center of the kayak as you inflate to ensure it is not set slightly off to the side once it is fully inflated. Also, the main chambers located on the sides/inner section of the boat can move in different positions, and can even bow in towards the legs if not positioned perfectly. I spend a few moments adjusting the chambers as I am inflating and it seems to be well worth the extra effort.

Once on the water, the bow moves slightly left and right with each stroke. If you maintain equal pressure with your strokes, you stay in a straight line with minimal effort. This is surprising given how short the boat is. I was pleasantly surprised that it doesn't take more work to hold the kayak straight. The kayak is wide and very stable. I've only used it in choppy and flat water, and stability isn't an issue. I have no idea how it would maneuver in white water.

One problem I had once was the boat pulling right with each stroke. I determined it was coming from the fin. It was bending slightly off center. I used a hair dryer to soften the plastic then re-positioned it back to center. That seemed to fix the problem, but I have to be very careful while the kayak is on dry land so as not to bend the fin again. Other problems include the inner chamber occasionally bowing in while paddling (already mentioned) and drag. Paddling is slower and requires a little more effort than a longer, traditional kayak. Having it fully inflated is a must! Also recommend a 230 paddle or longer, as it is so wide.

I would not recommend this model for anyone over 6 feet tall. I'm 5'6 and my feet touch the inner chamber with legs straight. I would recommend the Advanced Elements Expedition Model for taller people. Good storage space behind the seat and some on top. Seat is comfortable and slightly adjustable. I use a towel in the lumbar area for additional support.

Overall, I am quite happy with this kayak.
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Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak
$499.99 $487.10
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