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Are Inflatable Kayaks Any Good?

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So you’re looking for a lightweight and portable kayak, but you’re wondering, are inflatable kayaks any good?

Inflatable kayaks cop a lot of flak and quite frankly, I’m sick of it.

Because, like everything in life, you get what you pay for.

If you only want to spend $200, then your inflatable kayak will not be any good.

*** spoiler alert ***

Our inflatable kayaks are going to cost you more than $200.

BUT, if you spend more than $200, are inflatable kayaks any good???

“Good” would be an understatement … they’re AMAZING!

Durable and Reliable

Imagine you’re on a multi-day kayak expedition in the middle of nowhere. You really can’t afford for something to go wrong. To some people, it might seem crazy to take an inflatable kayak on a big trip like that.  And yet, I have had several customers take on some amazing adventures in their inflatable kayaks.

advancedframe expedition vs expedition elite inflatable kayak review

What gave them the confidence that their inflatable kayak was durable and reliable enough?

Quality Brand

Firstly, the Advanced Elements brand is synonymous with quality.

All their kayaks meet the safety standards set by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the American Boat and Yacht Council.

 

advancedframe expedition elite kayak gear

They use the thickest materials

Advanced Elements use the highest quality of PVC Tarpaulin on the hull of most models (some have PU Tarpaulin). PVC Tarpaulin is a multi-layer material that is VERY thick and durable. It is also stretch-resistant.

 

PVC Tarpaulin Illustration 1

Their designs incorporate multiple chambers

Most Advanced Elements models have multiple main air chambers. This is a safety precaution that means that you have buoyancy if something was to happen to one of the chambers.

 

MultiChamber Construction 2

You have multiple layers protecting your precious air

On most Advanced Elements kayaks, you would have to puncture SEVERAL layers to get through to the air that is keeping you afloat. This is because of the covers on the inner tube. The covers stop the inner tubes from stretching under pressure, which helps protect the seams and makes the kayaks rigid. BUT, the covers also give you a second layer of protection from submerged obstacles.

And with the Advanceframe and AirFusion models, you get a third layer of protection from the outer shell.

 

MultiLayer Construction 1

The seams are carefully welded

The most vulnerable part of any inflatable kayak is the seams. Advanced Elements use RF welding technology for consistently joined seams – this reduces the defect rate and is much cleaner than glue.

 

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Quality Control is taken seriously

Every kayak is inflated and left overnight at the Advanced Elements factory, so you know you’re not getting a dud!

Advanced Elements track all their warranty claims meticulously so that if an issue comes up repeatedly, they can address it at the design stage.

 

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Stable and Easy to Paddle

This is the second biggest concern people have, after durability – are inflatable kayaks any good when it comes to actually paddling them?

Most people that call me have not had a huge amount of kayaking experience. So it is not okay to sell them a kayak that goes in circles and tips them out!

Most of our kayaks have a wide, flat hull, which means they are very stable.

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To make the kayaks easy to paddle, Advanced Elements added some patented design features that help you glide straight.

For example, in the AdvancedFrame line, the kayaks have an aluminium rib in both the bow and the stern. They sit inside the kayak’s shell, so you don’t see them or have to install them. The bow rib creates a narrow, sharp bow with a raised deck – it cuts through the water wonderfully. The stern rib creates a narrow, sharp stern – this acts a bit like a skeg, keeping the kayak on track.

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Relaxation Without the Hassle

 

The truth is that kayaking is absolutely delightful. It connects you with nature and allows you to relax.

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But installing roof racks is expensive and a hassle.

You’re wondering if inflatable kayaks are any good – when it comes to reducing hassle, they are awesome!

  • Hauling a heavy hard-shell kayak from your garage (if you have one) onto roof racks is hard work and a hassle.
  • Hauling it from your roof racks to the shore is hard work and a hassle.
  • Hauling it back onto your roof racks when you are done is hard work and a hassle.
  • Not being able to stop anywhere on the way home because your kayak might get stolen from your roof racks is a hassle.
  • Hauling it off your roof racks and squeezing it back into the garage is hard work and a hassle (any by now you’re pretty tired).
  • Arranging oversize baggage at the airport so you can take your kayak travelling is expensive and a hassle.
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Here I am setting up the hassle-free AdvancedFrame Sport. This kayak has such a clever design, I can get it from in the bag to on the water in 4 minutes and 10 seconds. About the time it takes to make a cup of tea.

It weighs only 11.5kg and packs up into a bag the size of a small suitcase – you can take it anywhere!

The Verdict - Are Inflatable Kayaks any Good?

In my totally unbiased opinion (lol) I think they’re AWESOME!!!

BUT…

Only if you get a good one. Don’t mess around with those cheap and nasty ones.

Fortunately, we sell the Advanced Elements range of quality inflatable kayaks and they are all durable, reliable, easy to paddle, stable, lightweight, portable and quick to set up.

So now you know which brand to buy, which model is best for you?

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