03-08-2012Submitted by: hmbrw2002
Reviews for AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak by Advanced Elements, Inc.
Based On: 21 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have owned this kayak for 4yrs. At the time I bought it my wife an I lived in an apartment so an inflatable was our only option. I was impressed with the reviews I read so I bought it online.
Set up is fairly easy. I can do it now in about 10mins with backbone installed. Installing the backbone is not hard but you have to be careful to align it PERFECT down the center line. Not rocket science; just a little adjusting. It won't track right if you don't. Once in place it won't budge so no worries there.
In the water it is remarkably fast considering how big it is and how high it sits off the water compared to some touring kayaks. Me and my wife and two dogs fit easily on it. It tracks very straight. On a trip to Manatee Springs last year we had a group of about 50 kayaks. It was a 10 mile trip. Bad weather rolled in 1/4 way into it. Half turned back (only to find they actually turned into the lightning and rain. Wooops.). We and the other half of the group continued forward into 20-30mph sustained winds with 40+mph gusts head on. It was brutal. Many of the hard shells were paddling and not making any headway at all. We however were in the front of the group only to have the Hobie paddle Mirages ahead of us by not by much. When we made it to the end everyone was unbelievably amazed, including the guide, with how well the AE performed. Make no mistake, it was tough, but the performance was really good for any kayak much less inflatable.
Break down is easy, but you will need to let it dry off in the sun. That takes about 1hr. It folds up nicely and stores in my closet.
Now that we bought a house I own two hard shells as well and use those a lot now, but the AE will always be my go to for long trips and travel.
09-01-2011Submitted by: Ruby
- Rating: 9 of 10 The previous reviewers did a great job of describing all the great features, and some of the shortcomings, of the convertible (15 footer). My wife and I have one of these and an Expedition (13 ft., solo). We love them both. We bought the seats with lumbar support and highly recommend them. I also use an inflatable seat (REI) behind my back for added support for my upper back. The seats, when properly positioned offer great seating for every need from aggressive paddling to relaxed lounging. One of both of us can easily fall asleep on a warm day on a lake or slow running river. I started paddling canoes in 1952 and have canoes almost continuously since then until last year when we sold our Kevlar We-no-nah. We love our new AE Convertible so much more. It's easy to store and fits inside our Toyota van. In fact, both kayaks easily fit in back with all the gear we need for camping. It's a relief not having to load and unload and transport a canoe strapped to the top of the car. I put a closed-cell foam pad on the bottom last weekend and took our 12-year-old Golden retriever on a 4-hour paddle. She was a bit skittish at first but settled down. The AE is SO stable that I never had to shift my weight around to compensate for her movements. Not so with a canoe. We've used the kayak as a floating platform for swimming offshore. It's so stable we can stand on the gunwales and dive into the water and it would appear to be almost impossible to tip it over. Getting back in is simple. This would be a great floating dock for children too. Just anchor the kayak in deep-enough water and let the kids jump all over it. The kayak appears slightly more stable with the backbone in, though , given how rigid it is when inflated properly, I hardly notice the difference. I bought the AE handpump with pressure indicator. The indicator works when inflating the floor, but not the main bladders. I have the decks but have never used them. I get a little wet when paddling, but usually cover my legs with a towel when it's hot to prevent sunburn so I don't mind the water. When it's cold I wear neoprene leggings and top so I don't feel the water then either. The kayak paddles easily and tracks at least as well or better than any hard shell I've ever paddled. I'm 5'9" and have a 230 cm paddle. I'd prefer a 240 as I start scraping the side of the kayak towards the end of the day when I'm tired. Buy the lightest paddle you can afford! All the shortcomings other reviewers mentioned are there but they're of little consequence to us considering all the great features. I can't recommend this kayak highly enough.
07-27-2011Submitted by: RT
- Rating: 5 of 10 After owning a Necky Manitou tandem for two years we decided to look for a Yak we could pack into the RV as mounting a rigid Yak on an RV is a BIG pain unless you tow something to mount it on. After reading the reviews it looked like the AE Convertible was a contender. Went to the local REI and of course couldn't try it or even see it set up so bought it to see what it was considering the no risk factor REI offers, thanks for that. We bought the boat with the back bone option.
No doubt that this Yak and it's siblings are the best of the inflatables. Our reaction to the experience is based on an apples and oranges comparison to a rigid Yak but that considered there are several things that would greatly improve this good product and make it better.
Build of the boat and the components
My first impression was very positive. The decking is rock solid double stitched, thick walls, good looking and performing valves (although confusing) and a bright color for visibility on the water.
-Now the reality-
- First set up was in the back yard and was relatively easy but found that installing the optional back bone conflicted with the inflatable floor, we had to curl up the ends to make the floor fit.
- The main valves are confusing as they have an inflate and deflate setting and have to be set in the deflate position to inflate or air will not pass into the chamber(what???).
- The carry bag is JUST big enough but only zippered 1/2 way down the sides so re-inserting the Yak is not easy. It would be a lot better if the zips went to the bottom of the bag allowing it to open like a suitcase.
- Once it was all put together it looked and, in our opinion, it's missing a main and very important component, a top deck! These are listed as options but paddling the Yak w/out a deck is not advised for 3 big reasons: 1) you get very wet (least important) 2) the boat spreads open wider than is comfortable as you have to paddle around the sides and 3) the zipper for attaching the deck sits in the outer edge where your arm passes on each stroke with teeth standing up like saw teeth. Both my wife and I hit them several times while paddling, OK so buy one of the decks when you buy the boat but why not simply supply one AE? Or at least something to fill the open zipper teeth with a material bridge in the center of the cockpit to hold the sides of the boat together. REI needs to have the decks on the shelf and strongly recommend using one of them (they come in single or tandem).
- I did buy the optional back bone, another option that should be standard for an IK unless you like the folding feel of an inflatable and even poorer tracking. After an hour of sitting on the padded 1" rod it got very uncomfortable, (like sleeping on a fold out sofa). By simply adding some padding to the seat you'd never feel a thing and you'd have the badly needed rigidity the back bone gives.
- The seats, well if they were any thinner - - -. AE will sell you a "quality" air seat that probably is nice.
- The inflatable floor, it's low end air mattress quality. AE will sell you an optional "quality" drop stitch floor for another up-charge (am I feelin' nickel and dimed here? Not at what they charge for these "options")
OK, it is an inflatable but I have to wonder;
-Tracking is almost there, better than I expected. There are chines and a skeg welded to the hull but the chines are only 14" long. The yaks got to fold to get into the bag but making the chines full length of the boat may be the answer to the poor tracking and the weathercocking.
Our first (and maybe our last) outing was just OK. we did not expect it to have the tracking and glide our Necky has but due to the factors mentioned I consider this boat an unfinished product. You can, at your expense, make it a lot better buy adding the things AE should build into the boat in the first place and some things AE needs to consider improving in the design would make this yak a much better boat.
I would recommend this boat to a friend with BIG qualifications and add that you almost have to add several expensive options to make it work.
07-19-2011Submitted by: Paolo
- Rating: 9 of 10 Very very nice inflatable.
Use it since 1 year on lakes in Switzerland and now 10 days on the sea (Sardinia) and very pleased with the boat. Inflates in a few minutes, and quickly is ready to use. I'm 1.70m tall and 90Kg and need more place in width then for the legs but the 'Convertible' has enough room for me and my passenger and there is still place for stuff (water, pump, towels and so on).
Nice to use in winter and summer due to the convertible top, in summer for shorts coastal tours you just paddle without the top and enjoy the sun, in winter you close the top and wear a spray skirt and everything will stay more or less dry and warm. I must say that this one is my first kayaks and I'm very happy.
Pros: easy to set up, pretty solid, nice color, in junction with a backbone very stable and fast enough, fun alone, fun for two and sometimes very fun for three. can be used on small to middles Mediterranean waves
Cons: lot of small pieces to carry with you when traveling, takes long to dry. pretty heavy when packed in his big bag but ok for a 2 places kayak
Will now look for a rigid solo kayak after 1 year experience with the AE AF and keep this for passengers and/or traveling. Would I buy it again?? oh yes!
06-05-2011Submitted by: Ryan
- Rating: 9 of 10 I had done a lot of research on kayaks and AE Convertible was the one I finally picked after looking at cost, function, and durability. At this point after taking it out several times when it was semi smooth and at times when the wind was blowing at 10-12 mph. It handled better than I expected and I can say this is one of the best buys that I have ever made. I can say enough about this kayak. And no, I was NOT PAID to say this......
03-14-2011Submitted by: Mcinnoncity
- Rating: 10 of 10 Ordered this AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak and got a little nervous. It came and it works great. Bought the drop stitch floor. Love it. Also put on the spray deck. Came in totally dry. No problems whatsoever. Wipe down the outside and done.
There are two tubes called the main chambers that go all the way around the kayak. These take the bulk of the pumping and it is no big deal. Not worth a DC car pump. That leaves just the floor and some accessories to pump up. The floor takes less than the main chambers and the little stuff only takes a couple of pumps each. Very quick and easy. The thing is the two main chambers share the same pocket so they have to be equally pumped. Not real simple. But doable.
I was interested in the Sea Eagle 385 but could not find a single consumer review after several exhaustive searches. What's that about? I don't want to play! People are lined up to write of their experiences with the AE Kayaks.
We could not find an air gauge for Kayaks locally. You need to get one on a pump or buy a separate in-line gauge. The search for a "best" pump gives me a headache. The good news is there is little pumping to do and any one of them will do fine.
I researched this to death and considering the weight capacity and the width of the vessel, I think this is the best you can do. I don't think I would like to paddle a Kayak that is 38" or more wide. This is a good looking, classy and brightly colored boat that cuts through the water nicely and my and I love it.
12-07-2010Submitted by: AGB1111
- Rating: 10 of 10 I travel to a remote part of Fiji on an annual basis. The waters along the coast are quite protected making the entire coast perfect for a sea kayak. But I needed one that I could easily pack up for transport by local bus and to be stowed away while I was away. Finally as that section of the coast is very tidal it was necessary for the boat to be robust enough to be dragged over sand and coral.
The Advanced Frame convertible kayak meets all my needs. I have used it for several coastal expeditions of a week or more. We have improvised a simple sailing rig to assist when the wind is from astern (it's pretty hopeless on a reach as there's no centerboard and the boat tends to drift to leeward) with the plethora of tie down points, stowing gear is easy and provides lots of options for rigging the sail.
While no greyhound, the boat has proved to be a novel solution to a particular problem
06-04-2010Submitted by: mceb
- Rating: 10 of 10 My wife and I are both new to kayaking so we did lots of research last fall before deciding on the AF convertible and are completely satisfied with our decision. We also purchased the optional 2 person deck.
Our usage the kayak is recreational - day trips in calm lakes and smaller/calm rivers with only mild current. We've already been in shallow water in an upstream river (about a 1 foot of water) and the kayak performed very well. We do keep our eyes open for underwater obstacles when we are in low water.
My wife is 5'and I'm 5'7" so we fit inside with no problems. We also have a good amount of room left for cargo bags which is great since we tend to over-pack a little for day trips. We have a 10L deck bag on the front deck under the lash cords, an 8L dry bag under front deck at my wife's feet. There is room for another 8L bag at my feet if we don't use the thwart (which we haven't so far). We also keep a foot pump behind the rear seat in the event we need some extra air in the middle of a trip.
Stability of the boat is incredible. We have no feeling of tipping at all. The boat tracks well and paddles very easily. I do most of the paddling work from the rear seat and my wife adds where she can. We tend to avoid windy conditions but I've been able to handle a little wind with a little extra effort too. Comfort is also incredible. My wife has some back problems so were a little concerned about that but everything has been fine there too.
After setting it a couple times the process becomes very easy. We use a small rechargeable pump to get the bigger chambers inflated 1/2 to 3/4 way up then top off with the hand pump. The rechargeable pump really helps out and saves time and effort.
Normally we look for a grassy area near the launch to setup. We have a tarp in the car in case a site has nothing but dirt but so far we've always been able to find a grass area. If there is a distance to the put-in I have found that I can carry the inflated kayak myself by unzipping the deck to gain access to the far side. I pull the kayak up on to my shoulder (resting the big gray tube on my shoulder) and it's pretty easy to just walk around with it. The whole setup process takes about 10 minutes.
Deflation is easy too. I use the hand pump in deflate mode to suck out any remaining air. We pull out the floor and wipe down inside with a towel. Then we fold and wipe/dry each section of the underside.
We've decided not to put the kayak into the bag. I know it can be done but for us it's just easier/faster to wrap the folded kayak with 2 adjustable fabric straps (the general tie-down straps with adjustable slider). This method makes it very easy to carry the folded kayak and load into trunk too by grabbing the 2 straps like a handle. It might help to air things out a little too with this outside the bag method. We do use the bag to carry all of the accessory parts - the deck, the seats, the floor, the pumps etc. The whole break-down process is also about 10 minutes.
The only small modification we have done is to add a few bungee cords across the rear deck tying them to the 4 D rings that came attached to the deck there. It helps to hold down a small item similar to the front deck elastic cords.
Overall we are thrilled with the kayak and are having so much fun. All the materials are heavy duty quality and the boat is great looking on the water. Many people ask questions about it while we are setting it up or breaking down. Great job Advanced Elements, thanks!
05-15-2009Submitted by: siner74
- Rating: 9 of 10 I first tried my AF Convertible yesterday and my first impression is very good. Mind you, I have never paddled a kayak before, only canoes. The AF convertible is quite big, so carrying it around can be a bit difficult. When properly deflated it should not take to much storage space.
It takes quite a lot of effort to clean and dry out the kayak after being used. And taking it all apart, then reassemble can be cumbersome. Inflating the chambers does not take much effort.
The good stuff. It is very stable and tracks well on flat water. I tried fishing, casting and trolling for trout and it worked fine (only got one though). It did not seem slow to me and it handled wind and current better than I would think an inflatable would. Getting in an out was not to difficult, although I was surprised that the cockpit seemed a bit small when climbing in (I am a tall and big guy)
There is plenty of space in the kayak, when using it solo. I've not tried tandem configuration, but I am sure it will work fine (as long as you don't have to long legs).
Seating / backrest support could be improved, but I guess it is just a matter of getting used to it. I recommend using the deck and optional spray skirt. If not, you will get quite wet after only an hour paddling.
If your kayak/boat needs to be stable and/or you don't have to much storage space - I believe the AF convertible is a good match.
04-15-2009Submitted by: Venna in Montana
- Rating: 10 of 10 My Advanced Elements Convertible is the first Kayak I have bought and I am in love with it. I am a very small person (about 110 lbs) and it was very easy for me to handle and carry. My maiden voyage was on the Yellowstone River this last weekend and I was very impressed as to its durability and handling on the small rapids. The only thing is that I had to re-adjust my gear because it wanted to keep turning to the right, but after a little adjusting it tracked perfectly!!! I am in love with this Kayak! Every woman should have one!!!
04-03-2009Submitted by: RJ
- Rating: 9 of 10 We have two AF Convertibles, and really like these kayaks. I have the optional backbone and spray decks on both of them. I have never used them without the backbone, so my review applies to the kayak with the backbone.
We really like these kayaks. I live a mile from the Caribbean Sea shoreline in the Dominican Republic. We have had our kayaks out in the swell, rough chop, strong winds and pleasant conditions. They have performed very well. Mine was swamped once and would not sink. I was driven upon some shallow rocks from a large wave once (when I was swamped), and the kayak was unharmed.
It is a very versatile kayak since it can be easily setup for one or two paddlers. It tracks very well, and I paddle it about 3.5mph generally.
I like the fact that I can easily transport it and pack it away when I finish. I do, of course, have to open it up and wash the salt water off of everything when I get home, then leave it out to dry.
This has been a very good kayak for us, and I am very pleased with it. It does not come with sufficient foot support for the front paddler (the rear paddler has this support) or for someone paddling in a one person configuration. This is something to consider. Also, the Convertible sold by West Marine comes with the optional deck, but has to be purchased separately everywhere else (something to consider). I would not take this out very far without the deck and spray skirts. I have also not been satisfied with the stock seat. I am a large man, and I just don't get the back support I need for long paddles from that seat.
Even with these drawbacks (minor fixes really), I have rated the kayak as a 9 since we are so happy with them.
02-20-2009Submitted by: wsd
- Rating: 10 of 10 I agree with the review below.
I have a truck camper whose roof is too high for a hard boat; the AE convertible fits nicely in the back seat of my truck. Although it is a fine tandem for short trips with small to average size adults, it is more comfortable as a solo for long or overnight trips.
I feel that the optional spray decks and backbone are a must. I would add that I use a light fold-up luggage type cart with big wheels to move the boat and accessories down to the water.
02-19-2009Submitted by: CCarlson101
- Rating: 9 of 10 Good price. Fast setup. Very stable, allows you to take out people who are a bit nervous about paddling. They'll be settled down and paddling away in 5 min. I like the backbone for stability. It is nice to have the option of a deck or not. Fits back into bag no problem. A bit heavy when loaded into bag. A bit slow when paddling solo, but overall, well worth the money for the convenience of not having a hardshell.
07-31-2008Submitted by: eric
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is a great kayak. It gives the maximum value for the combination of price, durability, speed, and ability to store. This kayak opens up broad horizons for someone who has very limited means to store hardshell kayaks. We got it for my father, and he is most happy with it.
If deflated properly, it is very easy to put it back in its bag. Some shortcomings - takes long time to dry out, pretty heavy to carry in the bag, and it lacks foot braces, however, it's perfectly possible to work around these limitations. In addition, it looks beautiful - something that all other inflatable kayaks lack. For its price in US, its a steal, and a great value. Highly recommended.
05-13-2008Submitted by: leckig
- Rating: 9 of 10 Advanced Elements Convertible – an unbiased review from a standpoint of an angler.
Reading this review please keep in mind that English is not my first language.
I purchased the Convertible in the early spring 2008. Since that time, I used it multiple times on lakes and rivers. The idea of writing a review came to my mind because I well remember the time I spent researching this kayak before I purchased it. I remember all those unanswered questions I had.
I see three reasons to buy an inflatable kayak instead of a hard shell one.
The first thing you notice when you receive the shipment is that the box is very large and heavy. The kayak comes in a nice, large duffel bag; in the box you will also find two removable seats and a foot rest that will be used also as a back support for the front kayaker. In my case I also received some other gear: 2 break down paddles, a dry bag, a hand pump, and a kayak anchor.
- ease of storage
- suitability for transport long distance (even on a board of a plane) and shuttling (even in a taxi)
- no need for a roof rack and no nervousness that accompanies transporting 15 feet kayak on a roof of the car
I was never able (I never really tried that hard) to put the kayak back to the original bag after use. In my opinion it only makes sense to use the bag to keep and all the gear you will need. Add couple of towels for wiping the kayak after use, gloves, electric pump that will accompany the hand pump and you will find the bag full. I simply just slide the folded kayak into the trunk of my car and put the full bag on a back seat. The folded kayak does not take much space; I could easily fit 2 or 3 of them in the trunk of my Taurus.
Paddling: I should mention that I am not an experienced kayaker at all. I was just looking for a recreational boat that is easy to carry and store but would also let me float a river with another person and fish. Paddling solo and tandem is surprisingly easy and pleasant. My paddles are 230 cm and I hope I will get a chance to try 240 cm one day. Because this boat is quite wide, I suspect that 240 cm paddles would work slightly better.
Tracking: If the kayak is properly inflated, it tracks surprisingly well. The length of it probably helps, but the skeg does its job well too. I use this kayak as a solo most of the time and do not see a reason to buy the backbone. It may be that used as a tandem the backbone would improve the performance.
Inflating: I use rechargeable pump to inflate the two main chambers and the floor. To top of the main chambers I use the largest dual action hand pump I could find, $10 at Wal-Mart. With this type of a pump, you pump as much as you can, it is basically impossible to over inflate the main chambers. The floor should be only inflated until it reached proper shape, but it should be still quite soft. By pushing the top of the floor with your fist you should be able to feel the bottom of it. Over inflating the floor will destroy its internal structure.
There are two more important things to watch while inflating. The floor should be centered as well as possible, otherwise the tracking will suffer. Also, try to have the side chambers straight - the tubes should be kink free. At times, this is not easy. Push the bow and stern all the way in, before inflating the kayak. Again, the tracking will suffer if this is not done right.
On-board storage: In tandem configuration you can expect to have only little room behind the second paddler. For fishing, it is crucial to have more storage and rod holder. Using small pieces of PVC pipe, a wire basket (normally used to dry kitchen plates and glasses) and some cable ties, I constructed a rod holder that I attach to the front deck using bungee cords that are a standard equipment of this kayak. The basket is quite large and it lets me store all the fishing gear I need. I am very happy with this simple construction and I very much recommend it to anyone. The cost was about $25.
In solo configuration there is more room than I ever need. This makes this kayak a perfect inflatable fishing platform. If you are considering buying a inflatable kayak for fishing, I very much advise getting a tandem that can be used solo as well.
Fishing: This boat works great for single person fishing. It works well for two people as well, but in tandem setup storing the rod while paddling becomes a problem (but check the paragraph above for a simple solution). On creeks and rivers I use kayak anchor a lot. It makes a huge difference and makes fishing much more effective and comfortable.
Durability: Because of the thick fabrics and other material used, this kayak is quite heavy. I imagine one person can carry it inflated, but if I go kayaking on my own, I found it much easier to inflate it near the water, load up with the gear and carefully drag it into the water. Many times I felt that the bottom of the kayak dragged on rocks and gravel, I can only notice small scratches. Recently, I found couple of small nicks on the bottom, I just dropped some glue in each of them. So far, I don’t see any damage caused by folding and unfolding the kayak. If I can use this kayak for 5 or more years, I will be more than happy.
Drying: It is crucial to keep the kayak dry, but it is not an easy task. The main air tubes are protected by heavy fabric and water is often trapped in between. Removing the tubes from the kayak is easy, but they have to be properly aligned later – this is not such an easy task.
Using pulleys, hooks and rope, I constructed a kayak hanger in the basement. After a trip, I bring the wet kayak from my car to the basement and partially inflate it. The hooks at the end of two pieces of rope grab the carrying handles of the kayak and lift it up. This makes the kayak to collapse slightly and now the center of it is on the lowest position. Most of the water runs down on the kayak floor and can be easily wiped out. I also installed an old electric fan that I switch on for couple of hours and this finishes the job well. I can email pictures of this setup – the total cost was about $12.
Verdict: I don’t know of a better inflatable kayak that would be so universal, durable and affordable. I very much recommend it. If you plan on kayaking in shallow creeks and drag the bottom frequently, a hard shell can be a better solution, but in deeper water, the Advanced Elements Convertible should last for many years.
08-24-2007Submitted by: B.D.
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have used this kayak over the past year. It is perfect to carry in my truck camper, since I can not get a hard boat on the roof. I have both the single and tandem spray decks, but I prefer open in hot weather. I recently got the stern to bow brace and it really makes the boat stiff. I find that I can easily keep up with hard boats even in wind and chop. I also made a protective floor out of close cell foam pads from Walmart. I have used the boat from Utah to Nova Scotia and love it.
08-08-2007Submitted by: rjswood
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought my AdvancedFrame Convertible from www.airkayaks.com back in April. I live in upstate NY where the Hudson and Mohawk rivers meet. I use it in both rivers for touring, birdwatching and fishing. It has been great. I've also used it in Lake George and local lakes. I took it on vacation to Cape Cod last week and used it in the bay and ocean. I love the stability of it and, compared to the few kayaks I've used in the past, I think it tracks well and moves fairly quickly through the water.
I own a 17ft' canoe and a 14' row boat but I got tired of loading and storing them. This stores right on a shelf in my garage. I bought the convertible because my wife or son will sometimes come with me. I've loaded it with coolers, backpacks and beach chairs and paddled to beaches with my wife. I've also backpacked it about a half of mile.
I did a lot of research before buying this kayak. I liked all the options available for it and the look of it. It did not look like a pool toy. I felt the price was in my range for my first kayak. After reading the other emails I'm happy to know that the company also will stand by its product if I do have any problems. Overall I'm very pleased with the quality of the materials and workmanship and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quality inflatable.
08-04-2007Submitted by: Tip
- Rating: 10 of 10 This was my first kayak.
My requirements: (1)No toy inflatable (2) no need to strap down on roof (3) capable of lake/pond, and lite ocean paddling. (4) A company that would stand behind its product and had a good reputation in the market(5) Would work well as a solo or tandem. (6) Technically current for its price point (7) Family/Friend Friendly - I can let others use without freaking out.
OK -- Did a lot of checking out...and for the money, honestly do not think anything can touch this. Not the lightest kayak offered but packs up great and light enough to heft into my trunk, unload at some Cape Ann, MA locale, pump up and off I (or we) go.
As known, does not have the speed of rigid kayaks...but not a slug at all. As another suggested, if purchase inflate the main tubes. I was told that the test was for one to pick up in front and another in back, and it should not crease.
The real test: After the initial weekend using, took out in a Cape Ann inlet with my dog...and over the next hour found myself starting to hum a song from a child hood movie favorite "Babes in Toyland". (slowly, slowly, he sank into the sea...) Fortunately there were two air channels so made it back to shore, but quite the scene with my my first mate being my dog who has guilt about abandoning the ship (over and over!!). After I got back -- was pretty angry when discovered a seam leak. So, called Advanced Elements, and waited to see how they would handle. I was most impressed. They immediately sent me a new one, even though I was able to repair the current one. The guy was not defensive, very apologetic and let me know how much they are focused on quality (already knew that as they include a very detailed factory quality tick sheet that had the factory initials at each step).
Oh, while it retails for $600, with a little hunting, should be able to pick up for less. (think annual REI 25% off one item sale, ebay, after establish reputation of vendor).
Have yet to determine if getting the backbone -- again the guy at the company was very open about which models it seemed to help the most - and he relayed that it was not the clear step up that it is on a couple shorter ones (If you have one with this kayak -- share your thoughts!) although it appears to add some rigidness.
Taking it to the Adirondack's next week for a week...(lake and stream) may add more after that.
Finally, thanks to paddling.net - you all rock for balancing often conflicting needs - hosting solid unbiased information vs. the need for legal tender.
07-31-2007Submitted by: Pablo
- Rating: 9 of 10 This is a very well-made kayak. It's too pricey outside the US, but probably the best choice among inflatables. It tracks really well and goes VERY fast when paddling in tandem. Maybe not recommended for extremely long trips or difficult situations (air pressure inside the kayak depends on temperature), but extremely reliable in ponds, calmed sea, etc...
06-25-2007Submitted by: samba7
- Rating: 8 of 10 The AdvanceFrame Convertible is a very well made kayak, there are some short comings that I have noticed though, for instance there is not enough Velcro to fasten the foot brace at different positions. During the manufacturing of this vessel there should be a meticulous quality control of measurements where the inside tubing fastens to the shell, this would make an extremely even vessel. The Back Bone should have pockets so there is no guess work of placement. I believe this company has a great product and I foresee them going very far if only they will listen to the end user. I certainly see myself using this kayak in an expedition in Greenland sometime soon.
I will continue with my observations as I get to know the kayak more and more.
04-02-2007Submitted by: d0od
- Rating: 10 of 10 Have used this kayak on 4 trips so far and have been very happy with it. I have always used the boat as a tandem, it is very stable. It is my first kayak so I can't compare it to poly or composite kayaks. Sets up in 10 minutes once you do it a few times. When filling the main chambers put as much air in as possible (A rep from Advanced elements reccomended) I use a electric pump to do most of the filling, then a double action hand pump. I have always been able to fit it back in the bag it came in no problems.
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