The popularity of inflatable kayaks has really blown up in recent years. Terrible puns aside, inflatables have gone from being a commodity used in swimming pools and the pond at the end of the garden to a really viable means of kayaking.
This exponential rise in popularity comes from advancements in manufacturing, meaning better quality products can be sold at a fraction of previous costs, making them more accessible to kayak novices who perhaps don’t have the biggest of budgets.
Their appeal is clear, they’ll compress down into a manageable size, making them ultra portable and very flexible to your needs.
They’ll also track with minimum effort, and are extra buoyant, making them really ideal for anyone who isn’t at home on the open water.
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for inflatables.
Hard core kayakers complain that they don’t track in a straight line, and they can’t handle any kind of water with a relatively mild current or higher.
Because of this, Advanced Elements have come up with the StraitEdge Inflatable, which is precision engineered to address the above complaints.
Coming with a professional price tag as well as professional materials, is it really worth the extra expenditure over the cheap and cheerful inflatables that people have come to love?
We’ll address that question in our review below, as well as focusing on the positives, negatives and as usual, how it compares to brothers and sisters in it’s kayak class.
Read on below for everything you need to make an informed purchase.
So as I mentioned in the introduction, this inflatable is built to be the best on the market.
There’s not beating around the bush, Advanced Elements had a vision and they’ve gone a long way to realize it, as well as lay to rest the most common complaints about inflatable kayaks.
Where your average inflatable kayak is shaped by the tubing that forms the outer rims, the StraitEdge Inflatable has built in aluminum ribs, to clearly define the bow and the stern.
This is an exceptionally effective way of improving the tracking ability of the kayak, as the defined points cut through the waters surface in a smoother and cleaner motion than the chubby noses of the cheaper models.
The kayak is pre-assembled at the factory, meaning all that you need to do is unfold, inflate, attach the seats and you’re good to go.
While we are on the topic of seats, this kayak has truly brilliant ones. The fact that they have to assemble as standard, means there’s an extra aspect of flexibility and modification to personal preferences, as comfort is different for everybody.
With high support as the default, these adjustable padded seats help make those extra long outings all the more enjoyable, no creeping back ache and definitely no fidgeting to find that one sweet spot of comfort.
When you compare this with the spongy, inflatable backed seats of the cheaper models, the difference in quality is clear to see, with the Straight Edged Inflatable winning convincingly.
The last aspect of the positives I want to discuss is the overall build quality of this kayak in comparison to it’s cheaper competitors.
These kayaks are the pinnacle of manufacturing, for inflatables at least. Every last inch of heavy-duty PVC Tarpaulin material, which is extremely puncture resistant to boot, is meticulously thought out and expertly crafted into practice.
Cheaper kayaks often have issues surrounding valves and the sealant between seems, but this kayak has none of these issues.
It’s a level of quality I had previously only associated with the precision crafted fiberglass models, that tend to be at least double the price that you’ll pay for this beauty.
To finish off with my usual safety comments, this kayak is spot on with it’s bright yellow color scheme, complete with striking decals.
You’re going to be clearly visible to other water users, and therefore the envy of the lake, reducing the risk of any unintentional collisions and risk of capsizing.
Also, in the rare event of taking a tumble, this kayak is buoyant enough to provide a stable platform to get back on board.
With so many things going right for this kayak, I feel as though it shouldn’t be judged for a few niggles that I’ve found.
I can’t stress enough what a high quality product this is, but unfortunately, with a high quality product comes a high price tag.
Currently retailing at just under $575 on Amazon.com, the StraitEdge Inflatable is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination.
This is a particular issue when you compare it to the cheap and cheerful kayaks it set out to beat, which you can pick up for about 20% of the cost.
That is already limiting it’s market, as beginners on a budget are going to overlook this gem of a kayak and get something more in their price range.
Well to those people I say, save your money! Treat this as an investment, as it’s one that will definitely pay dividends in the end.
Other than the price, it’s tough to pick faults in this kayak, and to be fair, I think the quality in itself justifies the price tag.
To wrap up this review, the StraitEdge Inflatable Kayak from Advanced Elements is a real winner.
If you have the budget to buy this kayak, then there’s nothing that should stand in your way.
If an inflatable is what you are looking for, this model is one of the finest on the market, and well worth the slightly inflated price tag over other models.
The superior tracking puts it in a class of it’s own, and is something that will really make a difference to your overall kayaking experience.
The aluminum shaping not only increasing tracking speed and precision, but also provides some welcome wind resistance and overall ‘oomph’ to a product line where it was previously lacking.
Good job Advanced Elements, you’ve got yourself a sale.