The AdvancedFrame® is a hybrid of a folding frame kayak and an inflatable kayak. Utilizing built-in aluminum ribs in the bow and stern, it slices through water like a knife and rivals the trackability of hard-shell kayaks. The stern acts as a skeg, increasing the tracking performance. It uses extremely durable materials in a 3-layer construction and features many high-end components. There is plenty of on-board storage room for extended trips. It sets up in just a few minutes and is compact enough to take along on a weekend adventure.
Read and submit reviews for the AdvancedFrame.
The AdvancedFrame® is a hybrid of a folding frame kayak and an inflatable kayak.
We recently purchased the tandem Advanced Frame Kayak for use in primarily in the plethora of central Tennessee lakes. Our decision making process included single and tandem hardshell kayaks along with inflatable options.
We are hobbyist boaters who most often take canoe trips a couple of times a summer on various local rivers. We wanted to purchase our own craft in order to have a little more flexibility in terms of where and when we went out on the water.
The idea of inflatable kayaks was immediately appealing in the interests of space saving, but we didn't want to make huge sacrifices on quality, or wind up with something that wasn't good quality or able to stand up to the occasional bottoming out on lake beach / river bottom.
Apparently, inflatable crafts have come a long way over the years.
We discovered the Advanced Elements craft and was immediately impressed with the quality of the materials, the durability of the boat, the styling, and review that spoke to how well it handled. We also liked that there was a range of accessories available that we could outfit the boat with, including some that could help improve tracking.
In the end, we settled on the tandem kayak and were able to take it on a maiden voyage before fall kicked in.
Setup was easy and straightforward. The boat is heavier than we were expecting, which just means we'll probably wind up purchasing a trolly for getting it down to the shore... but the heaviness also speaks to the quality of the materials. Two people can carry it and gear successfully, you just wouldn't want to for a very long distance.
Handling was on point even without added backbone or drop-stitch floor, but it's nice to know that those options are out there as we improve our skills and tackle more challenge bodies of water.
Finally, it's worth noting that the customer service is awesome. We purchased the AE pump with gauge from a 3rd party retailer and the attached gauge wasn't working (unfortunately, we didn't notice before we took the boat out for the first time, which added an extra level of challenge to the inflation process!). On a whim, I emailed their support to see about what would be the best bet to handle the issue... and they immediately shipped out a new gauge to us to replace the faulty one. All within about one day.
Combined, all this makes the AE inflatable kayak an excellent buy.
This Kayak has been the best value for my money spent in a long long time. My wife and I have two Advanced Frame kayaks that we have traveled all over the US. We take them with us whether we have water adventures planned or not because sometimes you just see a lake or a river and say, "Let's check it out". We have had hundreds of people come up and ask,"Is that an inflatable", because they just can't believe it. We just bought two more Advanced Frame Kayaks so we can invite friends to join the fun with us. We have received much more fun and adventure out of these kayaks than what we paid money for.
One of the Better Inflatable Kayaks especially for the price. It's a great Kayak for Day trips in calm waters and is very durable. Tracking is better compared to many other Inflatable Kayaks but can be improved by getting either a Back Bone or a Drop-Stitch Floor. I do not advise getting both at the same time though. The Manufacturer is one of the better quality Inflatable Kayak makes.
All in all I luv it to death. My fav toy
I'm only a beginner and this is my first kayak, but it suits my needs perfectly. My biggest concerns were 1) storage and 2) portability. The AdvanceFrame is easily transported when I want to go solo since it all fits in a bag that I can carry to and from my car. When I pack it well, my PFD and paddle also fit inside the bag. My only wish is that the bag was a backpack instead of a duffle.
Inflating is a breeze and takes less than 10 minutes using a dual action pump. The first go, I under inflated a little, but the second time I made sure to get it full and had a much better ride. It's comfortable, tracks well (for an inflatable) and I appreciate the built in skegs. There is not a lot of storage inside the hull--small space behind the seat and little to no storage in the front for me (I'm 5'8"). However, there is ample deck space so with a dry bag or a deck bag you could potentially pack enough for an overnight trip (but I'd rather bring a friend that has more storage in their boat).
I would not recommend this for anyone taller than 5'8". It's a good fit for me, but anyone with longer legs will probably feel crammed.
I've taken it on both lakes and Class I/II rivers. On the river I can keep up well with my friends in hard boats, and essentially there is no difference. In flat water, I have to paddle a little more to keep up, but the positives in portability and storage far out-weigh these small downsides.
Overall, this is a great kayak for beginners, especially for someone who will be transporting the kayak alone and doing a few solo paddles.
The kayak tracks well. The storage capacity is limited. There is a bungee cord on the front, and some space behind the seat, but this space is hard to access if you are in the kayak. The kayak tracks well, not like a touring kayak, but better than an entry level hard shell.
The kayak is not very easy to get in, I am 5'11" 230lbs and I need to open the zipper on the front deck, thus it is almost impossible to take a splash on the middle of a lake as going back inside the kayak will be hard.
With regards to the weight capacity, I am a pretty heavy guy (230lbs) but I had no problems using the backbone. The kayak does not bend on the middle.
If water is cold, it's a good idea to inflate the kayak, let it rest on water for some minutes, and then top up the inflation. I have tried to over-inflate a little bit as well, it works, but it is not recommended by the manufacturer.
A couple of times people came to ask me about the kayak, because it doesn't look like and doesn't performance as the usual inflatable boat that people have in mind. I am very happy with this kayak, but For the price, it could come with an inflation pump.
We have never been in trouble. We have been in high waves, without being nervous. Great kayaks, we love them!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other than this I like this a lot. You can pop it easily in the trunk of your car and take it anywhere.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?