AdvancedFrame Convertible Description
The AdvancedFrame® Convertible is a fifteen foot kayak that can be paddled solo or tandem. With an open deck design, you can easily enter and exit the boat or utilize the optional single or double decks to convert your AdvancedFrame® Convertible from an open deck to a closed deck kayak in a matter of seconds. The design of this kayak combines our rigid bow and stern rib-frame design with the versatility of tandem or solo seating positions and interchangeable decks.
Read and submit reviews for the AdvancedFrame Convertible.
AdvancedFrame Convertible Specs and Features
- Structure: Inflatable
- Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
- Seating Configuration: Solo, Tandem
- Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
- Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
- Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
- Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
- carrying duffel
- Repair kit included.
- 2 folding seats
AdvancedFrame Convertible Reviews
We bought ours used in April…
We bought ours used in April 2020 and used it a bunch over the summer and into the fall. We live in Michigan where there are many small lakes and rivers to take our kayak on. We haven't had any trouble with it. The material quality seems very good. We've used it on a river with some mild white water and even hung it up on a large round rock with no damage to the bottom. I really recommend getting the double action pump with the pressure gauge. If the kayak is correctly inflated it is very stable and easy to handle. The tracking is good and it rides in the water well. We liked it so much that this spring (2021) we bought the drop stitch floor and really like the more rigid feel. It seems to ride a bit higher in the water too. My wife is about 5'4" and I'm 5'10" and it fits us well. It takes 10 to 15 minutes from out of the car into the water and about the same to get it back into the car. We don't bother to fold it into the bag each time we use it. We wipe it down, fold it in thirds, toss it in the back of our Honda Fit, and spread it out on the driveway to dry when we get home.
Incredibly easy set up,…
I purchased the tandem AE…
I purchased the tandem AE kayak in 2019 and have had it out several times with my wife; I wanted a two person kayak that did not take up the whole garage! It arrived when they said it would and I read the directions before inflating as the sequence is very important. I have owned and also built strip built kayaks and canoes.
I bought the complete package because I wanted all the accessories all at once since I have made the mistake in the past of waiting and not being able to get them at a later date for other products.
The AE tandem kayak checked off my list of 'wants' for an inflatable kayak or any kayak for that matter, I have listed below for easy reading.
1> compact and easy to store (we store it under the basement steps)
2> 2 place, convertible to 1 place
3> converts to single paddler by moving the set to the middle, this is a big plus as most hard two place kayaks do not offer this and paddle badly from the back position
4> the deck can be zipped in or out as needed and I have the single paddle deck too
5> we upgraded to the rigid floor, I think this is a must upgrade>
6> lumbar support! I'm 6'3". Also I have plenty of leg room
7> lots of on deck storage and some below front deck
8> fit and finish are excellent, not to be overlooked at this price!
Paddling it is very enjoyable, tracks straight *(see below on this) even on a windy day and has very little weathervaning problems. you're probably not going to win races with this but it moves along faster then I would have guessed. Inflation time is said to be about ten minutes, weellll maybe 15 to 20 but I'm getting faster each time out so maybe this is not too far off.
*If the kayak has been stored for a long time the skeg can get bent and you will go around in circles, ask me how I know, so to remedy this after inflating turn the kayak over and let the sun heat it up a bit and use your hands to knead it back to straight, this is not hard to do and should be done each time out.
I think stars are silly, except the one that keeps us alive but ok I give it a 5.
We have had this kayak for a…
We have had this kayak for a couple years and have really enjoyed it. It is well made, tracks well in the water and folds nicely for transport. We use it as a safety kayak for paddleboarding and open swimming on mountain lakes and for day trips. We did purchase the drop floor and extra supportive seats and are glad we did. Our adult daughter has had so many fun adventures in our kayak that she plans on purchasing the single model this year.
We purchased an Advanced…
We purchased an Advanced Elements DS Series special (color) edition from AirKayaks before heading out on a 3 month, 8,500 mile multi-state RV trip. Everything compacted perfectly in one of our RV "basement" bays. Setup just gets easier each-and-every time we take it out. We love the immediate flexibility it gives us (our blue version from AirKayaks comes with the two-person zip-in deck and solid drop-stitched floor). Everytime we take it out someone inevitably stops to ask "is that an inflatable?!". It just doesn't Look like most other "tub-boat inflatables", because it's so Swift, Slick, and Sharp. I'm confident we'll still be using our Advanced Elements DS for years after we finally "retire" the RV.
It’s a winter outside and…
It’s a winter outside and unfortunately I did not have a chance to use my boat on the water, so these are the first impressions I got during unpacking and assembly at home.
For tandem touring we chose an AE Convertible Elite with improved seats and most importantly rigid inflatable drop stitched floor.
From the very first look and touch this product displays high level of quality and attention to details. Robust and strong outer shell, 2 chambers for greatly improved safety measure, solid stitching throughout, high quality and very nice red/orange colour deck, D-rings and bungee cords, velcro for paddles and really cool inflatable back support on the seats.
Drop stitched floor is really impressive to say the least - in just a few pumps it becomes almost as rigid as a real solid thing. Unbelievable. Have no doubts it will benefit comfort, stability and tracking of the boat.
Also I was concerned with required time and difficulty of inflating the 15 footer, turned out to be not an issue at all. First recommended 55 pumps with my double action AE Pump did most of the job, inflating second chamber was even easier. So very pleasantly surprised here.
Another part which turned me towards AE are 2 internal aluminum frames in the bow and stern - in combination with the floor it creates an impression of the boat being more “solid” then inflatable, kind of the best of both worlds. I guess it goes without saying that when deflated and packed in supplied high quality duffel bag it literally becomes the size of the large check-in suitcase. No problem to keep it even in small apartment.
So far I couldn’t be happier and can’t wait to put the boat to action in the spring.
I reviewed several makes of…
I reviewed several makes of kayaks before making the purchase. Several friends who also own AE Kayaks strongly suggested their value for money. Sales staff were very knowledgeable about their product & I ordered the AE Tandem. Again, on a suggestion from a friend, I did the initial setup of the kayak at home so I would understand the process & that everything was working properly. There is a 'trick' to getting the drop stitch floor inflated properly but there are very helpful youtube videos clearly showing the process. The kayak itself seems to sit low in the water however, it's as sturdy as a Coast Guard ship. I've been out in fairly rough water & didn't have an issue. My next purchase would be the deck cover. I did experience a hole along the seam & AE (once informed), immediately sent me a replacement. Top notch staff. So if you're looking for a great kayak and don't want to buy the additional roof racks etc, this kayak is for you!
I have both the blue XL…
I have both the blue XL convertible and the orange kayak...I love them! I have a small hatchback VW and can take my kayak wherever. The only bad thing about them is the bag they come in. It is almost impossible to get the kayak back in the bag like the way it came when shipped. Best advice I can give is to invest in a bigger bag to avoid frustration! Seriously, it's going to take a least two beers and two people to fold it up and cram it in the carrying bag!
I purchased this boat 2…
I purchased this boat 2 years ago. When I purchased it, it came with the drop-stitched floor. Overall, I like the boat. But, it has some blemishes.
The good: This is a nice boat. The boat looks great. Advanced Elements has, by far, the best looking inflatables I've seen in the market. They just look great, and half the time no one would have a clue you're on an inflatable until they get up close. When you're setting it up, you'll have a bunch of folks drop by to ask questions about it.
The build is rock solid. AE uses the same materials as rescue rafts/whitewater rafts in construction so they can take a bit of a beating.
With a 550lb capacity, you could definitely use this to packmule for a group of boaters. You could also use it for a fishing trip with a buddy.
You'd have to do something incredibly stupid to tip this guy over. I've literally laid my body off the side trying to make it tip, and it refuses to. You may as well be on a great big raft. If you want that stability, you'd be hard pressed to find something better.
The bad: I personally don't use this boat much because it takes awhile to set up. You're looking at 15-30 minutes of pumping to get it fully assembled. Sure, you can use an electric pump, but then expect annoyed looks from everyone around you as the pump screams over the quiet launch area. They also sell foot pumps, but I haven't had a chance to use one.
Same thing for teardown. While your buddies can wipe off their hard bodied kayaks, throw them on the roof, and go in about 5 minutes, you're going to be deflating for a good 15-30 minutes, then carefully folding, and stowing. Add in even more time to both setup and teardown if you add on a rudder.
I've also found that with the drop stitch floor, if everything isn't PERFECTLY centered and lined up prior to full inflation, you end up having tracking problems. This was surprisingly hard to do consistently. Constantly having to correct a big boat gets exhausting after awhile. Also regarding the build, the rubber skegs that are built in sit directly where the manufacturer tells you to fold the boat. They will develop creases from being folded over time. These will probably self correct if you leave it unfolded for awhile, but since mine mostly lives in the bag, they never get a chance. I think this contributes to tracking problems.
Because of constant corrections for tracking issues, I find myself always falling behind my other buddies on little their 10' kayaks. I ended up purchasing a rudder for it, but the rudder from AE only provides cables for one configuration, so you'll need to choose either tandem or solo and stick with it. You can purchase an extra set of cables, but those aren't actually sold by AE - they redirect you to a 3rd party seller (warning flag to me since it means they most likely won't provide support if there are issues).
It's a big boat for solo paddling (my wife doesn't like tandem boating). Because of this, I ended up purchasing a solid body boat that I can throw on the roof of my car for faster setup/teardown, and fewer tracking issues. For now, I am going to see about using this boat for fishing trips with a buddy of mine, since we won't be moving around too much. Then the tracking issues are less of an issue, and I'll have a second paddler to help correct.
Definitely give this guy a shot on the water before purchasing if you can. It's a great boat once you get used to it, but it can be tiring for longer trips, especially if you happen to misalign the dropstitch floor.
I love not having to stick a…
I love not having to stick a boat on the roof of my car! This past summer we took it out in the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Lake Superior. It preformed great! In Yellowstone a branch poked a small hole in the bottom of the kayak. Did not even notice it until we took the boat out and saw the water in the bottom. Patched it up, and no problem.
Unfortunately, a few week later the tube developed a leak around seal by an inflation point and will require replacing. Support is great and the price of the replacement tube reasonable.
We enjoy this boat much more than the canoes I own. Have not used them since!
This is a great multipurpose…
This is a great multipurpose kayak. I use it for both solo paddling and paddling with the family. It inflates quickly just using the foot pump. I use the backbone accessory for increased rigidity and find it really improves tracking. While it is a good kayak for all it's intended purposes, it doesn't really stand out in any single one.
Back in 2010, my colleague…
Back in 2010, my colleague was getting into kayaking and wanted a reco for something easy to port in the back ofhis car. I was then using a self-built Tom Yost design SOF -16 footer. The AE-1007 was one on my wishlist and thats what I suggested. A year ltaer he had to move back to the FarEast and put up his kayak for sale-- you guessed it -- I acquired it at about half the price. Been with us -- wife and self since 2011 and we kayak April to October, practically every weekend-- in the lakes, bays, river around Vancouver, BC. I had to change the inner tube once in 2013 due to a small leak at the seam. Maintenance is simple: wash with fresh water if kayaking in the sea, Protect the top sides with "water-resistant" spray used for shows. The kayak looks as good as new after all these years and just waiting to get over this winter for the next purlieu.
We've been very pleased with…
We've been very pleased with this kayak. I previously had a 17-foot Prijon Kodiak kayak and loved it. Since my girlfriend was interested in us kayaking a tandem, and we didn't want to have to deal with a kayak rack (been there, done that,) I started looking into folding and inflatables. This kayak came up with top reviews and I have to say I've been very impressed. Having been used to a rudder, and a rigid kayak, I had low expectations and I'm pleased to report it has exceeded my expectations. That said, we haven't been out on a windy day, when you would expect the lack of a rudder to be an issue. So, far, so good!
Easy to take with us, the…
Easy to take with us, the versatility of paddling as a tandem or a single makes this kayak our favorite. It fits in the back of my Wrangler and can be on the water in minutes. Properly inflated I have had no Problems with ridgidity or abrasion.
I love this inflatable. I have used on rivers and lakes. Tracks real well even with a single person in the rear position. Will float in as little as 5" of water. Takes about 20 minutes to setup using the backbone and the durafloor. Easy to repack back into the case. I can fit seats, pump, boat and the floor in the case no problem. Had I known about these inflatables before I bought my hardshell I'm not sure I would have bought a hardshell. The convenience is awesome. This one weighs around 55 lbs or so with the backbone and durafloor in it. I have both tops (single and tandem) and also bought the lumbar inflatable seats.
We decided that we would look…
Some other reviewers have said that the backbone is a must but we don't agree at all. We did get a backbone but only after using the boat without it quite a bit and we were quite happy with how it performed. The backbone is an improvement but not a necessity. It feels very stable and secure in the roughest water we have had it out in, which is admittedly not that rough (we are new to this) but have no doubt that when we are ready for more the Convertible will be well able for it.
Short version: with a few…
The Good: it packs down to the size of a very large suitcase - you could fit 4 of these in the back seat of the average mid-size car! With the Backbone, it performs very much like a 14ft hardshell rec tandem. And it can be rigged as a single if/when desired.
The Bad: It does take time to set up (every time), and the Backbone is an absolutely essential "accessory" not included in the base price (the boat is pretty sucky without it), also not included are enclosed decks - even so, you're still a bit below the typical hardshell price even after adding those options.
Ugly: nothing really awful, although it does need to be dried after getting wet, and you will need wide paddles (230cm is not really wide enough).
Verdict: a recreational tandem equal to rec hardshells in the same price range (once you've added the Backbone), without the need for a roof rack, but requiring some setup time every time. A very good starter kayak for couples starting to investigate paddling but not ready for a "serious" boat (and the investment required).
I have had my Advanced Frame…
The only issue I have with it is a leak under one of the valve patches on a main chamber. I have not been able to successfully repair that due to the location. It has been a problem from early on and now is so bad I cannot use the kayak. Seems to clearly be a manufacturing defect, unfortunately it appeared after the warranty expired. So will need to replace that chamber.
Otherwise it is a good kayak.
We bought the Advanced…
The triple-layer polyester material with double PVC coating gave us a high degree of confidence as we set out on our maiden voyage on Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The kayak was very stable and extremely comfortable. Our trip ended up going 6+ hours so we appreciated the comfort. Kurt has long legs and he had plenty of room. As I mentioned it was a long day and I am a novice so I appreciated the tandem design so I could leave all the paddling to Kurt when I got tried in the final stretch. We packed extra gear and plenty of water since the conditions on Lake Superior change quickly. There was lots of room for everything while we got loads of fantastic pictures.
We had no problems packing it all back up and putting it back on the motorcycle trailer. It dried out easily when we got back home. I am glad we made the purchase it was perfect for the way we like to travel and play!
Fantastic boat for one or two…
I have been using this kayak…
I purchased a special edition of this kayak online that came with the dropstitch flooring, single and double zip top decks, paddles, pump, high lumbar seats, and backpack which ended up driving the price to exactly $1200 but made the experience worth it. The dropstitch flooring improves stability while out in any swells or running into the wake from large boats/ships. Another option to improve stability is the backbone, which is also cheaper. I chose the flooring because of the convenience. The high lumbar seats are much more comfortable than the regular seats. This is really important if you are looking to take this kayak out for more than just an hour or so.
Setup can take a couple times to get used to but is easy. It took me about 20 minutes to prepare everything when I first took it to the water, but now takes me about 15 minutes to pump up the kayak and set up the zip top deck. Once out in the water you can feel how stable this boat is. While it is big and bulky it moves quickly in the water. My friend has a 14 foot hardshell and I was able to fly right past him.
This boat has been great on long trips. The longest I have taken it out was for 6 hours and it handled excellently in salt marshes of Long Island, the Long Island Sound, Jamaica Bay, and the New York Harbor. It tracks excellently and has plenty of storage under the zip top deck for a solo trip. When riding tandem your storage space becomes limited to any deck bags or anything tied down to the bungee cables on top of the kayak. I have bumped against some rocks and scraped along rocks underneath and have only received some light scratches on the outer hull. This thing can take a beating and you still feel safe in it.
The only con to this boat is that it is heavy. At 56 pounds, carrying the kayak in its duffle bag over one shoulder can be painful. I recommend purchasing the Advance Elements backpack to help even the load on to both shoulders. It can fit the boat, paddle, seat, PFD, and zip top deck all in the bag. The backpack straps are wider and more padded than the original bag's straps. I know a few people that would consider the weight of the convertible to be a deal breaker and I can't blame them. A long walk can seem much longer with a big pack like that strapped to your back. I have seen online that many people have purchased a dolly cart to help transport the boat around. I personally can handle the weight so don't mind the walk but it should be a major consideration when purchasing this kayak. It also takes some time to dry out if you get it wet but if you leave it out in the sun for a while it will dry out.
I really like this kayak and if I had the choice to go back and purchase anything else I would still pick this boat. Being in an apartment and not having a roof rack on my car this has given me the ability to kayak when I want and where I want without losing anything in the paddling experience. I will be taking it out many more times and hopefully can get my friends out to take advantage of the tandem use a little bit more.
My wife and I are avid…
We have had our boat nearly a decade now and have used it to explore rivers lakes and wetlands throughout the southwest. It never disappoints. This boat performs almost as well as a similar length hard shell. If I added the new drop stitch floor I am not sure I would be able to tell the difference between this boat and a hard shell. If I had a complaint it would be cargo space. The Airframe uses up space that could otherwise store cargo. This is the trade off for compact portability.
I do not feel we made a compromise in buying this boat, it is ideal for our purposes. I have nothing but confidence in its reliability, the thing is TOUGH. I would not hesitate to get another, although this boat will likely outlive me.
I like the performance of…
Speed - when fully inflated, this yak cruises nicely (especially for an inflatable), even with the standard low-pressure floor and no back-bone. Tandem paddling achieved 3.9 to 4.7 mph w/ steady to firm paddling, and up to 5.5 or so at a sprint (subtract about a half a mph for solo). Adding either the drop-stitch floor or the backbone should increase that capability. Note that if it is under-inflated, it will under-perform. Really, Advanced Elements should include an accurate, low-pressure-range gauge with the necessary adapters with each boat they sell to ensure proper inflation. Note also that if it is properly inflated, their customer service said that when you lift it on one end, it should have minimal sag in the middle.
Portability - I recently was checking out what it would take to take this on an airplane, and it seemed pretty bulky, so we took a smaller one along instead (but you could make it fit within the dimensional limits).
I actually use inflatable Sea Eagle seats in this boat at times as they are more comfortable, especially for the front paddler. With our inflatable kayaks, at times we like to lay back and get really comfy if we are not in a hurry, or are enjoying the full moon, etc. With the standard AF seats, the rear paddler can adjust the seat back so he can lay against the back tubing - but the front paddler can't really lay back as there is not enough support unless vertical.
Their bright orange color is almost gaudy, but it does make it look pretty striking. Likewise, the boat does have a rather slick appearance. Boat seems very durable. One potential drawback is that it does take a while for it to fully dry out after use. Another could be that there is no drain valve.
Overall an excellent boat and certainly a keeper!
I have owned this kayak for…
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.
The previous reviewers did a…
After owning a Necky Manitou…
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.
Very very nice inflatable. Use it since 1 year on lakes in…
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!
I had done a lot of research…
Ordered this AdvancedFrame…
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.
I travel to a remote part of…
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
My wife and I are both new to…
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!
I first tried my AF…
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.
My Advanced Elements…
We have two AF Convertibles,…
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.
I agree with the review below. I have a truck camper…
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.
Good price. Fast setup. Very…
This is a great kayak. 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.
Advanced Elements Convertible…
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.
- 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.
I have used this kayak over…
I bought my AdvancedFrame…
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.
This was my first kayak. My requirements: (1)No toy inflatable…
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.com - you all rock for balancing often conflicting needs - hosting solid unbiased information vs. the need for legal tender.
This is a very well-made…
The AdvanceFrame Convertible…
I will continue with my observations as I get to know the kayak more and more.