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Reviews for AdvancedFrame Kayak by Advanced Elements, Inc.


Rated: 9.26/10 Based On: 27 Reviews


AdvancedFrame Kayak by Advanced Elements, Inc.

Length: 10' 5" - Width: 32.00" - Starting at: $499.99
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08-13-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     This 10-footer is stable and comfortable. It tracks well, but still has good maneuverability. It might not be the best option for taller people, but if you are not using a spray skirt and want more leg room, you can open the zipper of the bow a bit to allow you to bring your knees up a bit. The boat does have a rather slick appearance. Seems very durable.

Since having it fully inflated is important for best performance, but the instructions warn you to NOT over-inflate, it seems that Advanced Elements should include an accurate pressure gage with the necessary adapters with each boat they sell to ensure proper inflation. At least they have said that if you pick it up on one end, if it is properly inflated, it should not have much sag in the middle.

One drawback is that it does take a while for it to fully dry out after use, and it has crevices that you have to reach down into to try to dry it out; if you don't have the option after a given paddling to leave it inflated for a while to dry out, you would likely need to lay it back out again later to let it dry out completely. A drain valve would be nice. Overall, a good quality boat w/ decent performance.

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08-12-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought the AdvancedFrame DS for my wife three years back and it has proven to be a good fit for what we wanted it for. It is used primarily on calm to slightly choppy lakes and often on vacation trips outside of our immediate area. When traveling within driving distance the inflatable provides us with the flexibility of being able to toss it in the back of our vehicle as opposed to having to transport a unit on our vehicle's roof. Where in the past we had to decide between renting a kayak for a week or picking a day or two and hoping for the best in terms of availability, weather and scheduling we now have the luxury of anytime availability at our convenience. With three years of use in the unit has paid for itself at this point and despite going over rocks in shallow conditions on more than one occasion the unit more or less still looks like new.

My wife has found the AdvancedFrame DS to be among the most stable of kayak's that she has used. When purchasing the unit I opted for an AdvancedFrame DS which included a drop-stitch floor add-on as a part of a packaged upgrade deal. In addition to the drop-stitch floor the option included a fabric upgrade to a very attractive blue color which she liked. With the drop-stich floor she has found the AdvancedFrame's tracking to be very good. The build quality of the AdvancedFrame is more similar to what you would expect in a whitewater rafting unit than what you may typically think of when you hear "inflatable" – the unit is capable of standing up to abuse. Quite often when we get up closer to others out on a paddle we will get a double take and be asked if the unit is an inflatable and compliments soon follow. In many cases we've been very close to folks and they still have asked if it is an inflatable and they are a bit surprised when it is confirmed that it is.

The unit is a bit short on storage due to the chambers taking up quite a bit of the interior space not allocated for your person. If it were to be used for more than a long day trip I'd pick up a deck bag. Assembly goes pretty quickly and like anything else the more frequently you do it the better you get at it and the quicker it goes. When it comes to storing it do yourself a favor and allow it to dry out prior to socking it away. More often than not this means taking it out of its duffle upon returning home, laying it put open out in the sun or in my basement prior to folding it up for longer term storage.

All things considered (function, flexibility, durability and price) we are quite happy with the unit. I recommend that anyone who finds themselves looking for a "portable" kayak to put the AdvancedFrame at their top of the list for consideration.

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07-20-2014
Submitted by: Ron RSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My wife and I recently bought advanced frame kayaks. We loved the mobility and ease of transport. We took them to Lake Powell for 5 days on a houseboat and used them to explore the awesome beauties of small corkscrew canyons. We also used them while traveling to kayak the Animas and Rio Grande. The kayaks did great on the water. They were stable and easy to maneuver. In the rivers we mainly saw class 1 & 2 rapids but did encounter some that pushed class 3. For any rapids class 3, I would suggest purchasing and using the skirt since we did take on a bit of water. The kayaks performed great even with added water weight. We are very pleased with our purchase and can't wait for more adventures.
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07-03-2014
Submitted by: Susan OttevangerSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     After 10 years I still give it a 10. Spent last 8 years on a 31' sailboat up and down east coast US an to the Bahamas. Tracks better than some hard bodies. (I have had a long hard dive kayak) This inflatable is like wearing a life jacket all over. I can get distracted watching wildlife or shooting video and bump into a rock or a dock or sea bottom and get only a gentle reminder.
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08-15-2012
Submitted by: Jeff WaltonSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought two of these Kayaks six years ago and love them even more today than when I bought them. I have had these Kayaks in lakes, rivers, the ocean and Puget Sound. Unreal! Anyone who gets in one of these kayaks will fill totally at ease with how stable and easy to maneuver they are. The only reason I didn’t give this kayak a perfect 10 rating is because nothing is perfect … right! Customer service at Advanced Elements is excellent as well.
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06-19-2012
Submitted by: MaggieNMSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had my AF for almost two years and finally feel like I can write a complete review. I have had it on lakes and calm rivers and have enjoyed it thoroughly. But yesterday made me love this kayak even more. I did a day run on the Lower Chama River (Northern NM) with class Is, IIs, and some easy IIIs. I ended up using the skirt (for the first time) and after getting some water in the boat finally got it cinched just right around the combing and stayed dry through the last class III.

This boat is so agile and stable. I never felt unsafe, even while zooming towards rock walls through the rapids. It was also so much faster than the ducky (good quality one) and the two packcats I was traveling with. I spent quite a bit of the day backpaddling because I did not want to be in front.

As far as packability, I like to fold the boat, with the seat and floor, after it has been out in the sun because it is so much more pliable. I do wish the carry bag had a shoulder strap or longer carry straps.

The construction is exceptionally tough. I did go over a couple of rocks but the hull shows nothing. It still looks like it is brand new. For extra comfort I put a little inflatable pad under my seat. It keeps me up a little higher and is just more comfortable. I am 5'3", 110 pounds, and can carry this boat inflated with no problem. I put my dry bag in the front and push my feet against it. The pump goes behind the seat with the skirt and my lunch.

People seem to be fascinated with this boat when they see it. Love this boat.

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06-03-2012
Submitted by: RickSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Bought this one for my wife. Easy set-up, light and track great. We do lakes and calm rivers mostly. Even though it is filled with air and has a good freeboard wind hasn't been a problem. My wife can toss the bag in her car and go. No roof stuff to worry about.
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05-18-2012
Submitted by: J NovakSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     What can I say about Advanced Elements? Incredible. No other way to put it.
Advanced Elements blows my mind, not only with their amazing products but their customer service is dedicated, friendly and loves kayaking. I've had my AdvancedFrame for nearly 2 years now and it's still as amazing as day 1. I take it everywhere and try to get out on it every chance I get. Whenever I tell people I have an inflatable kayak, they think I have a toy but if you have an AdvancedFrame or have seen one, then you definitely know how amazing they are and can hardly be called a toy.

Hands down, the best purchase I have made in a long time and you can't and won't go wrong buying a product from Advanced Elements.

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09-14-2011
Submitted by: LynnSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I love this boat! It's so easy to throw in the back of my Prius and head out. It does collect a little water and the seat needs to be higher to stay out of it. I'm using a backjack (which also has a pocket on the back which is nice) and a donut cushion for comfort. I would definitely recommend this boat.
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10-22-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have 20 years experience in kayaks: rivers, rapids, and surf. Got this because it was on Craigslist for $150 with paddle and vest included, and the guy had never even used it. Yeah, I was pretty happy.

But after pulling it out and using it about eight times on lakes, moving rivers and some easy class III rapids, I am in love. Don't have the skirt, but just got a little wet. All part of the fun. I have no doubt I could get this boat through some easy class IVs with a skirt.

It's very light, which makes it maneuverable in moving water considering how well it tracks. People who complain about the nose moving slightly back and forth when they paddle are used to sea kayaks and don't realize that if it tracked any better it would be no good for smaller rivers and rapids. It's not meant to be a sea kayak or white water boat, but it's a great little all arounder if you like doing a little of everything.

My 9 yr old step-daughter is tiny (looks like she's 7) got in it and paddled all over a lake in 15 to 20 mile/hr winds with no problem. She'd never been in a kayak or canoe before. She was tired, but happy as can be and felt very empowered.

I like to camp out of my boats, and this one's a little small inside (all the tubing) for storing much. If I had a water purifier and some MRE's I could go out for a few days if I made use of every inch of deck space.

I really enjoy putting my hardshell ontop and this goes easily in the back of the minivan. I've had a Folbot (great boats) and was really surprised how quick I could get the AF pumped up and in the water, and then deflated again. No problem at all getting it back in the bag. When in the bag it's not heavy at all (for an average male) and not very large.

The screw in caps for the big valves have a little tether that breaks right away. So I keep mine in the little pouch on back of the seat when it's packed which keeps them safe (Don't lose the caps).

For an overnighter or going far from shore, I recommend the wedge pump. The hand pumps won't fit in the boat. I got the Coleman pump from Walmart for $9; it works just fine. Can do it alone, but it's a little easier to have someone else pump. I won't tour in it, though, until i get the wedge.

My overall impression is that this is a VERY high quality boat. I feel very safe in it, and have dragged it all over rocks around rapids and ground it into sand with very little to show for it on the hull. Almost couldn't believe the lack of scratches. I sprayed the top with Walmarts cheap orange water repellent spray. Dried beautifully and repels water even better now. The boat does collect a little water on the deck above your legs.

I really love this little boat.

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07-22-2008
Submitted by: FelicitySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     We bought our AF based on the reviews on this site and I'm happy to say that we chose correctly! We have been out twice now and are delighted with them, they feel very stable and comfortable, we are fairly new to kayaking though I have been in hard shells before and although they are faster I prefer the AF. The ease of use and storage is fantastic. The only negative is that the storage bag is difficult to carry (as you can get the kayak into it easily but its impossible to zip up again-then its hard to carry) and our 4 part paddles don't come apart completely. But in all we are delighted with the product, if you are looking for a good kayak to use on leisurely weekends I highly recommend the AF. We purchased from airkayaks.com, they shipped to Europe very promptly and saved ALOT of money when compared to our local supplier, worth checking out if you are paying in euros as you save alot against the dollar.
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06-26-2008
Submitted by: Chris GSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Just wanted to add to what's been remarked about this very nice product.
I've found that in shallow water, leaning back to a horizontal position improves its drafting to pretty shallow levels (between ankle and shin depth). I realized this when observing how shallow it drafted after getting out of the kayak. This flattening of the bottom profile helps.

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06-13-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is a great kayak for someone starting out. It's very comfortable and stable to use.
One thing I advise to do is make sure you're completely familiar with the kayak before venturing out with it. A customer of mine was in the middle of a lake when his began to deflate because he didn't properly tighten the air vent. Although the remaining air in the chambers was enough to get him aground it was quite a nervy experience for him.

Other than this I like this a lot. You can pop it easily in the trunk of your car and take it anywhere.

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05-12-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have used the Advanced Element AF for a month now. My last trip was the first one with hardshells. I pumped more air than before making a big difference in performance. I guess my 4 or 5 previous trips and home trials finally helped me decide how much air I could feed into this kayak. The more I use the AF, the better it feels. I was kayaking with two friends for at least 4hours at the Jobos Bay National Reserve trail (an estuary), at southern Puerto Rico. Sit on top hardshells are popular in this area because of the all year round warm weather. We are not pro’s, but more like weekend kayakers.

We knew that the hardshells are faster than the IK and planned the trip ahead. Other than that I had nothing to be worried about. We were several miles away when the weather changed suddenly against us, increasing winds and choppy waters. Water was splashing in my face and the trip became a little rocky. I was nicely surprised to see that the AF tracked very well against the wind and was much more stable than the hardshells. We even decided to return in order to prevent any rescuing situation. Again, I was not worried because I felt very secure in this kayak.

The AF had plenty of cargo area for water, snacks, first aid and more. They (my friends) were impressed with the quality and sturdiness of the materials and also commented about how rigid was this IK. So, if you plan to go out solo or with friends in hard kayaks and are not in a hurry, you will definitely love this kayak.

Pros: Very stable, good quality, room for an overnight, nice, easy to handle (lightweight), packs in a bag, tracks very well, ready to use in 10 – 15 min. Great in bays, estuaries and flatwater.

Cons: as I mentioned before, too slow when accompanied by hard-shells, you need to choose a PFD that fits with the seat, hard to tell when it is properly inflated (for beginners). Cleaning and drying.

So, if you plan to go out solo or with friends in hard kayaks and are not in a hurry, you will definitely love this kayak.

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12-10-2007
Submitted by: Phil BillingsSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     
  1. This kayak is easy to paddle and is safe even in waves. I use the kayak for photography and never have felt that my equipment or myself are in danger.
  2. The inside valve does not release as easy as the outer valve. I think it is a design issue. When the unit is folded one of the folds is much too close to the valve. This has caused the spring unit to bend out of shape. This can be corrected if the inside valve were positioned away from the fold.
  3. I do not find this kayak easy to fold and repack into the bag. Most of the time I just store is folded in half. It is not a big deal so far. If I were going to ship the kayak ahead then it might become more of an issue.
  4. I have spent many hours in this kayak on rivers and ponds in Wisconsin. My collection of wildlife images has increased because it is my opinion that wildlife is more approachable while on water.

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09-05-2007
Submitted by: David S.Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased the AdvancedFrame at REI a couple of weeks ago, and my only regret is waiting so long to take the plunge! I've been wanting to kayak more ever since my first trip out in a hardshell... the only thing that's been stopping me is storage and transportation. Then I discovered inflatables...

Dollar for dollar, the AdvancedFrame is a high quality, serious watercraft. This is not a toy, and after having seen its construction, I see how silly my fears of bladder punctures were. It has much more in common with a whitewater raft than it does with inflatable pool toys.

Packaging: It comes in a nylon zippered bag with two carry handles and a reinforced floor. No shoulder strap, and no backpack straps. I must admit that I was more impressed by the storage bag that Innova uses, which has backpack straps and doubles as a drybag... but then again the Innova is twice the price. This is a high quality bag, and with the reinforced floor and the heavy-duty zipper, I'm sure it will last for years. Not a lot of spare room in the bag; I can't fit my pump in the bag, but then again my pump is a fairly large floor model.

Overall construction: The vessel breaks down into several parts: there is the "skin," which has the same basic shape as a closed cockpit hardshell. This has inflatable coaming made to work with a spray skirt, but there is a velcro/zipper opening to allow complete access to the entire length of the cockpit (fore and aft) for cleaning/maintenance. There is also a bungee on the bow for storage, and there is a place to do the same thing in the aft, although no included bungee. There is also a small amount of storage behind the seat. I can keep a pair of shoes (size 13US) and a small drybag behind the seat with a little room to spare.

Inside the vessel one will find the main bladders, which are housed in a heavy nylon sleeve (1200 Denier I think), with a zipper to allow access to the bladders. The bladders have two chambers, so in case of a puncture the vessel will not fully deflate. There are also two small bladders on the top inboard side of the main bladders...these lift the front deck of the kayak to provide additional legroom.

The main bladder assembly forms a large oval shape, and on the fore and aft of the oval are ballistic nylon sleeves which hold mostly "U" shaped aluminum bars. These provide the shape for the bow and stern of the vessel, allowing for better hull shape (hydrodynamics and all that). These bars are also what make this vessel a sort of "hybrid" between a folding and an inflatable, since they form a rigid bow and stern frame.

The final components are an inflatable floor and a cushioned seat. The floor looks and feels to me like a miniature camping mattress. It is approximately 1-2 inches thick when inflated. The seat is also only about an inch thick, and clips to the main bladder on each side with large nylon straps.

Operation: This vessel seems to perform very well for its size. It's only 10.5' long, but it tracks reasonably well, and has a decent speed. It is wider than most hardshells, and so it also feels a bit more stable. Of course the wider width makes a longer paddle desirable: I've got a 240mm, and it feels about right. There are neoprene reinforcements sewn onto either side of the cockpit to prevent wear from rubbing when paddling.

Setup time is a breeze. The two main bladders inflate in about 5 minutes, the auxiliary bladders, coaming and floor all inflate in about half that. all in all, you can go from trunk to water in under 10 minutes if working quickly.

Cockpit size is adequate. I am 6'4", 200+ lbs, and I have just enough room, but not much to spare. I have to lift up on the coaming slightly to get my legs into the footwell once seated, but I can do it without having to "worm" my way down in like with some hardshells. This makes it easier (although not exactly easy) to get back in if I want to take a swim. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone larger than myself, especially if you have big feet (I wear size 13US shoes, and my feet just barely fit). It is comfortable for several hours on the water at a time. I don't know about longer times than that, but I get the feeling that I could spend all day in it comfortably.

The cockpit is relatively dry, although there is a small amount of leakage around the bow zipper in moderate chop. I had it out the other day in about 8 inch chop, and the bow was getting pretty wet paddling into the wind. I could feel a drop or two of water every 10 seconds or so coming through the zipper, but this was partially because I had a drybag bungeed to the front deck. It was making the deck sag just a bit, and was causing water to pool. I moved the drybag after a few minutes and the water stopped pooling; after that I didn't notice any water coming in to the cockpit at all. With a spray skirt, I would imagine one could stay very dry in just about all weather conditions, but without it I wouldn't recommend going out in larger chop than 8-10 inches unless you don't mind getting water in the cockpit.

All in all, this is a well constructed, first class vessel. I deliberated long and hard about which kayak to get, and it finally came down to this or an Innova. I went with this one primarily because of price, and because of the closed-cockpit design. I like the way it looks, and would like to use a spray-skirt for colder weather conditions.

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07-30-2007
Submitted by: EVSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     What a wonderful "machine". Googled it and bought it after reading a multitude of reviews. Got it for $359.95 + $69.95-backbone at kayakproshop.com. Adding the free shipping, I think this was the best price for the summer of 2007.

Boy, was I circumspect before, but now, after I've tried it on my very own skin, I swear that if the BMW is "the ultimate driving machine" this boat is the beemer of all kayaks. It is more stable than a hardshell while the trackability is the same. And, wait, there's more: transportability due to inflatable feature, good looks due to the quality of the materials/manufacture ship, customer oriented service people etc. If recreational is your purpose, than look no further. AE really took the kayak world to heaven.

By the way, I'm a 230lbs/6ft Romanian guy that had no problem with the inflated chambers' snug-ness or the backbone's stiff-ness "downunder", as some dudes mentioned before. This kayak really cuts through water like a knife.
PS. For something funny, check out the Quality Assurance checklist that comes with the kayak. It is in Chinese. So... Viva Mexico!

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07-10-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have been eager to find an easy way that I might be able to go kayaking on weekends. I didn't want to fit my car with a carrier, and, in any event, I didn't think that I'd have a second person to help me get a boat on and off the car.
So, I began looking for an inflatable. I found the Advanced Expedition at REI, and did research (here, in particular), before buying a 10.5 foot Advanced Frame. I also got a 230cm paddle, the AE hand pump, and a life jacket. About $400 for the kayak, $100 for the paddle, $20 for the pump, and $50 for the jacket. I have very little experience kayaking or canoing, probably an hour once every two or three years.
I brought the kayak to a nearby dock, and laid it out on a grassy hill nearby. I opened the first valve (no pliers necessary; I just pushed on it with my finger and turned). It took about 2 minutes to pump up the first chamber. This is the "hardest work" -- I spent about 30 seconds catching my breath (!). There are 6 other valves, each of which takes about 20 seconds. None is hard at all. Total time is about 5 or 6 minutes. If we count the time I spend getting the boat from my car and putting the pump back in the car, and dragging it down to the water, we're talking 12-15 minutes. When inflated, it's actually easier to handle, since there's "more" to hold onto.
The boat is very stable in the water, and perfect for something still like the Charles River near Boston. I can paddle for 2-5 minutes and take a break for 30 sec to 2 minutes, and the boat just goes straight where it's pointed the whole time. I've used it 5 times now, and I've never felt the least bit of tippiness.
I'm about 5-11 with a 32 inch inseam, and 200 lbs, and it is a bit snug. Although the boat is "wide", the width is taken up with the air chambers that bring it close to my thighs. Actually, it's quite comfortable, and the inflatable floor provides good support for my rear end. It is a bit tight for my feet which wind up being doubled up in the bow of the boat. If you are bigger than I am, you might want a bigger boat.
The seat could be better. I use an extra seat cushion behind my back, and that works pretty well. Others may not have this problem (I like to keep my car seat pretty straight up too).
The width of the boat means that there's a place to rest my arms, but it also means that you might want a wider paddle. I have a 230cm, and I'm quite used to it already, but I wonder if a 240 might fit the boat better.
Taking it apart is VERY easy. Open the valves, fold it over itself lengthwise, and then two folds the other way, to make it 4 layers. Lean on it a bit to squeeze the air out. The entire process takes about 2 minutes, maybe 3. There's a bit of a streak from the water line along the bottom of the boat (I didn't leave it out or rinse it last week), but no scuffs or marks on the bottom of any kind, although I went over some hidden rocks and branches in my last trip.
Overall, I found the AE Advanced Frame an exceptionally good value that thoroughly provided just what I was looking for.

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06-08-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is a review of the 2006+ version of the AdvancedFrame, model AE1012.

I spent weeks researching inflatable kayaks here on p-net and elsewhere, and finally settled on Advanced Elements after looking at the sophistication of their products and comments from other users about their customer service record.
I was undecided about which model to buy, and after soliciting comments on the pnet message boards and having a long and very helpful conversation with AE's customer service rep, I settled on an AdvancedFrame.
I could not be happier with my choice.

Easy to set up and inflate right out of the bag (which, by the way, it actually fits back into pretty easily), it has so far provided me with quick and hassle-free days of paddling. I find it easy to carry and launch with only one person. The AF tracks very well and has amazing stability; I found it difficult to even deliberately flip it. It sits into the water like a hardshell and glides smoothly through it, and I can paddle circles around friends who borrow my old Sevylor sit-on-top.

The only bit of trouble I've had was when I was inflating it before my last outing and a few inches of stitching on the main tube cover (the AF has a waterproof nylon canvas cover on its two main inflation chambers inside the hull) popped, causing it to rapidly unzip. I deflated the chambers, re-zipped the cover, reinflated them (cautiously using less pressure), and was still able to enjoy a day of paddling without further trouble. I emailed AE about the problem and they responded in a matter of hours. Admittedly, the problem could just as easily have been my fault as it could have been weak stitching. I didn't think I'd over-inflated, but it's a difficult thing to eyeball without a gauge-equipped pump. AE gave me the benefit of the doubt and volunteered to send a replacement tube cover at no cost.

I would consider Advanced Elements to be the top of the inflatables industry not only because of innovative design, but also because of amazing customer service. They really take care of their people. I'd encourage all prospective customers to do their research here on p-net and on AE's website, and then contact them directly with your questions.

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03-27-2007
Submitted by: Mark M.Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've got two Advanced Elements kayaks. The UltraLite Expedition is a magnificent boat. After having folding kayaks, with their simple one-hour, 22-step assembly, this is a dream come true. Ten minutes from trunk to the water and, at 34#, no risk of a hernia. The craft is capable of comfortable speed and handles surprisingly well in the water. The boat is sturdily constructed and sells for less than $700. If you want a packable kayak for day paddling, this is the boat to have.
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12-11-2006
Submitted by: MarkSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Bought 3 Advanced Frame Model AE1012 earlier this year. Used them several times over the summer in lakes, rivers, and coastal water in SC. They really do well. Easy to inflate, easy to put away. Very stable, and comfortable to slow paddle around. I would recommend them. The only pain is making sure they are completely dry before stowing for a long period. After getting them home you must unfold them, and lay them in the sun, or dry them well with towels before stowing them in the bags for the next use.
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10-23-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Advanced Frame Ultra-Lite Expedition (13 ft). Just bought it and took it out for a 12 mile paddle. Four hours including a lot of bird watching and chatting with other kayakers in fiberglass and plastic boats. I was favorably impressed with the manouverability (response to sweep strokes and draws) and tracking. This sucker is WIDE but the payoff is incredible stability. Forget trying to carve a turn - you just can't lean the thing. I thought it would be a bit slower, but averaging three MPH over 12 miles was a nice surprise. No, it's not fast, but it isn't a barge either. Easy to set up. I was in the water paddling 15 minutes after parking the car. for $less than $700 it's a lot of versatility.
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09-18-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've never used a kayak before, this was my first one - so I have nothing to compare this to. But it handled very well and was very stable. Easy to set up for the most part. The little valve nozzle thing inside the two bigger valves are a little hard to twist by hand - I had to use a needle nose plyers. Not much storage space behind you - only enough for day trip. But I'm very happy with it - it's a cool boat and seems durable. I had emailed Advanced Frame with questions a few times to help me choose a model, and they were very helpful.
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09-11-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just bought the AdvancedFrame Convertible and just took it out to the lake for the maiden voyage. I am very impressed with how fast and easy it sets up. No more than ten minutes. The valves could not be easier. It paddles easy and tracks straight. Two of us had it out in about ten knots of wind with a good chop and I was surprised at how fast we could go - especially into the wind. Although most of the construction seems to be very sturdy, I was a little worried about the relatively flimsy looking inflatible floor so I trimmed two pieces of blue foam sleeping pads ( Walmart $ 5.50 each) to fit the contours of the bow and stern and lay them on top of the floor and let them overlap in the middle. This protects the floor and keeps your seat a little drier. I will use these pads to sleep on when we overnight. We plan to use this boat for coastal and lake paddling on the month-long trips we take in out truck camper where an inflatable was the only storage option. I knock off one point because I wish it was a little lighter.
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08-21-2006
Submitted by: RyanSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     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?

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08-09-2006
Submitted by: VBCSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We just bought our third Advanced Frame kayak from Advanced Elements. We love them! We have the single, the double, and now the convertible double. Besides taking them out frequently on lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we used them for a 60 mile/five day river trip on the Green River in Utah. They held the air and we didn't even have to top them off in the five days we were on the river. They track as well and most rigid flat water kayaks we've used. There was plenty of room for gear, and they feel incredibly stable even in high winds. The stability also makes them great for our fearful non kayaking friends. They are a little pricey for inflatables, but I think they're worth every cent. One caution...if you use them in very cold water (Lake Tahoe for instance) be sure to put them in the water for a while and check the air pressure to see if they need more air before you set out. I can't say enough for this great product. And the best part about it is that we can pack three kayaks and associated gear in the back of our little Suburu. Advanced Elements has a short set up video on their web site that shows how to fold the kayaks for repacking in the canvas case they come in. It's worth watching or you might get frustrated.
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07-31-2006
Submitted by: A.B.SSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Amazing. I got this kayak for my 14th birthday, and I've used it many times on lakes and rivers. I can store it easily, and it's so much more convinient than a rigid kayak. At first I was skeptical about inflatable kayaks, but this is an amazing kayak.
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