Submitted: 08-21-2006 by Ryan
I purchased two of these boats last year, one for me and the other for my wife. We live close to a few rivers and lakes, but portablility and storage was a concern of ours. I researched various hard shell and inflatable kayaks and determined it would cost more to have a hard shell than to have the inflatables when you factor in the cost of the carrier versus throwing the inflatables into the trunk of the car or bed of the truck. As for storage, we were concerned about having a couple of hard shell boats sitting around all the time and that ultimately led me to buy the AdvancedFrame.
The AdvancedFrame is very easy to inflate, in the trips we've done, we were a few steps behind the other canoes and kayaks. I'd say it takes me around 5 minutes to inflate each boat. Deflating the boats takes almost no effort. I've read reviews of people not being able to get the AdvancedFrame back into the bag for storage, but I've never had a problem with this. In fact, I was able to get enough room inside the bag to store our air hammer pump! It's helpful to have a another person help get the kayak into the bag, but one person can do it with ease.
On the water, I've found they are just as fast as a hard kayak when properly inflated. Tracking is okay, I find mine drifts a little, but I think it has more to do with me and my paddling style. My wife's kayak tracks straight and true.
The build quality of these boats is very good. The vinyl is very thick and there are at least three layers of material before you would penetrate the air chambers. I've only had one issue with my kayak, which was the main zipper split in the middle and broke off a few teeth. I didn't think it was a big deal because I was able to fix the zipper. However, the next time I inflated the main chamber, the zipper again split wide open. This happened when my wife and I were on vacation, so I called Advanced Elements and they sent me a new cover at no charge! I did, however, pay for overnight shipping because I was on vacation but I think that's reasonable. Espically since the kayaks are over a year old.
The boats are solid, easy to transport and store, built well, and the company stands behind their product. What more could you ask for?