The cheap and cheerful inflatable kayak seems to be becoming a secondary option in the market, with an increasing number of manufacturers designing products built to combat cheaper models woes of poor tracking and their inability to handle any kind of current.
One such attempt comes from Advanced Elements, the same people who designed the very popular StraightEdge Inflatable. This time, we’ve got the AdvancedFrame Convertible kayak, and before you ask, no it doesn’t have a soft top retractable roof, although that is a million dollar idea.
These kayaks were built to give beginners a better kayaking experience.
Buying a poor inflatable and having it quickly develop a puncture and also wiggle all over the waters surface is enough to put someone off kayaking all together.
That’s something we at Drakkar Kayaks definitely want to avoid. Buy delving a little deeper into the wallet, you can bag yourself a much higher quality experience, as well as a gorgeously designed and constructed kayak, that will have you as the envy of all those using the lake.
Throughout this review, we’ll be putting the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible through it’s paces, to come up with a definitive list of positives and negatives, as well as helpful points about how it relates to other kayaks in a similar price range.
Join us below, for all the information you could need before making a very well informed purchase.
Advanced Elements – AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak, Positives
We’ll kick things off by talking about the most stunning aspect of the AdvancedFrame Convertible, and that’s the design coupled with the build quality.
Similar to the Straight Edge model from the same manufacturer, the AdvancedFrame Convertible features built in aluminum ribs, which define the bow and the stern of the kayak making great strides in improving the tracking ability.
Too many cheap inflatables track in a very interesting interpretation of a straight line, which is a round about way of saying getting one to stay true is very difficult, particularly when it’s windy.
The aluminum shaping helps cut through the water with ease, and adds some much needed strength and stability to the inflatables line.
With the increased tracking power, these kayaks can take a little bit more in terms of current, so feel free to use them on something a little more speedy!
I wouldn’t recommend taking them down white water rapids though, you’re gonna need more specialist gear for that.
Next up, comes the ease of use and assembly, and once again, increased flexibility and versatility. Firstly, there’s the seating arrangements. Yes that’s right, arrangements.
The convertible aspect of this kayak is that two seats can be fitted, in a number of positions, meaning that both tandem and solo outings aren’t a problem with the AdvancedFrame.
Secondly, there’s the seats themselves. Using the same seats that are present in the StraightEdge, comfort isn’t an issue at all.
The fully adjustable, high support padded seats are easy to fit and a joy to sit in.
Hours on the water is more than comfortable, and has none of the back ache of stability problems of cheaper models inflatable seats.
Once again, safety has been considered with this kayak. Opting for a striking, high contrast orange and grey design, you’ll be easily visible when out on the water. This makes it easier for the coastguard to spot you should things go horrible awry, and also reduces the likelihood of any accidental collisions out on the water.
This is ideal for two beginners being out on the water for the first time.
Also, with the capacity for holding more than one person, buoyancy is in ample supply, and the vessel is very hard to topple, meaning no accidental swimming sessions are on the cards.
Advanced Elements, AdvancedFrame – Any Negatives?
As with any kayak, there are few things that have been overlooked, but only tiny little things.
The overall standard of this tandem is a delight, and shouldn’t be underestimated just because we’ve been over it with a fine toothed comb.
The first niggle that we came across is a rather obvious one, and that’s the price. With a current asking price of over seven hundred dollars, this kayak doesn’t come with a great deal of spare change.
It’s the most expensive inflatable I’ve seen to date, since my reviewing days began.
Now the price I can understand, there’s a lot of potential here, particularly with the addition of another passenger. That justifies a certain amount of extra expenditure, as it has the chance of being twice the fun.
However, at $200 more than the StraightEdge Inflatable, that extra person definitely comes at substantial cost.
The second point to make is that there seem to be a couple of quality control issues, with a few customer’s complaining that they are receiving lopsided kayaks. This can happen when the tubes aren’t correctly aligned, and one side becomes more inflated than the other.
It’s worth checking if other people have bought from the same supplier to minimize this very irritating manufacturing fault.
Overall, the AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak from Advanced Elements builds solid on the successes of the StraightEdge Inflatable, with the addition of the extra seat for an additional passenger.
If you’re looking for a high quality tandem, and you aren’t restricted in terms of budget than this is definitely the kayak for you.
I wouldn’t let a very small percentage of quality control issues stand in your way, when the manufacturer and Amazon have a very hassle free returns policy.
If it’s a tandem you’re after, and the perks of inflatable kayaks is appealing to you, then you’ve found the kayak for you.
If you’re just looking for a kayak for yourself though, you can save yourself $200 buy going for the StraightEdge Inflatable, which is effective the same kayak but without the seating flexibility. The choice is yours, but either will serve you excellently.