Posted by: airkayaks | September 20, 2018

Video: Advanced Elements Sport DS High-Pressure Inflatable Kayak

Our latest video on the new Sport DS Inflatable Kayak – manufactured by Advanced Elements exclusively for AirKayaks.com.

The new Sport DS high-pressure inflatable kayak is fun, nimble and paddles beautifully. Compact and lightweight with a 4-6 PSI floor, the Sport DS features a simpler, streamlined, open cockpit design best suited for lakes, bays, calm rivers and inland waters. At 10 feet 5 inches, 28 lbs and a payload of 250 lbs, the Sport DS is perfect for all ages and experience levels, appealing to price-conscious individuals who simply want performance.

The Sport DS is fourth in AirKayaks’ high-pressure inflatable kayak series, joining the 10’10” AdvancedFrame DS XL, the AdvancedFrame DS XLC with zip out deck, and the Convertible DS tandem for one or two paddlers.

The Sport DS series for AirKayaks comes with upgraded accessories:

  • High-pressure double action pump with a pressure gauge
  • High-backed lumbar seat
  • Blue diamond rip stop fabric
  • 4-6 PSI inflatable drop stitch floor for extreme rigidity compared to the standard pvc floor.

For more info on set up, features, specification and performance, see our detailed product review/write-up with photos on the Advanced Elements Sport DS inflatable Kayak. To purchase, visit the Sport DS product page at AirKayaks.com. You can also contact us at info@airkayaks.com or give us a call at 707-998-0135.

Advertisements
Posted by: airkayaks | September 9, 2018

2019 Red Paddle Co Inflatable Paddle Board SUP Lineup

We recently received details on Red Paddle Company’s new inflatable SUP lineup being introduced for 2019.

Compact on the water.

Red Paddle Co inflatable boards are well-known throughout the world for their ruggedness, innovation and performance. Over the past 10 years, Red Paddle Co has been the industry leader, introducing the game-changing Tital dual action pump, Monocoque Structural Laminate (MSL) fusion material technology, Rocker Side Stiffening (RSS) system and the Forward Flex Control (FFC) nose rod on the racing boards.

(AirKayaks note: All in-stock 2018/2019 Red Paddle Co boards are currently on sale at 15% off through January 15th at AirKayaks)

Over the years, Red Paddle racked up numerous awards throughout the product line, including Gear of the Year from Outside, Men’s Journal and Backpacker magazines.

2018 heralded the 10 year anniversary of the brand, commemorated with the introduction of the Ride 10’6″ Limited Edition model.

Revolutionary new Compact inflatable SUP from Red Paddle Co

Red Paddle Co launched the 2019 season by unveiling the Compact 9’6″ inflatable SUP package, a revolutionary new board that rolls up to half the size of a standard inflatable paddle board.

Rolling up the compact

Based on the popular Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6″, the 9’6″ Compact features a 32″ width with 4.75 inch thickness, yet packs down to half the size of a conventional Red board. Red Paddle accomplished this through a series of material breakthroughs and innovative design, starting from the ground-up and re-engineering each part. Very simply, by redesigning the board layout, adding quad stringers as well as technological advances in base materials, the Compact 9’6″ can be folded in half and rolled up tightly without sacrificing performance, rigidity or durability.

For more information on the new Compact, read our article Red Paddle Co’s Ultra-Packable Compact 9’6″ Inflatable SUP Package.

Compact paddle inside the backpack

The Compact 9’6″ package comes complete with Titan pump, backpack, cell phone case, fins, gauge, coil leash and a 5-pc. carbon breakdown paddle; the entire package weighs in at roughly 28.5 lbs (12.7 kg), with the board alone at 16.65 lbs/7.4 kg. All components fit into the included backpack, which measures 22 by 16.5 by 11 inches. Rider weight capacity is 209 lbs. MSRP $1899.

Red Paddle Co Original Gear Line

Also for 2019, Red Paddle Co is introducing the Red Original line into the US and Canada. Available previously in Europe, the Red Original series features high-end gear and apparel designed to enhance the “Red Experience.”

Red Paddle Co Original Board Lock

The Red Paddle Co Original Board Lock ensures your board remains secure. Featuring a programmable combination lock and 340cm length, the 3.2mm marine-grade, twisted stainless steel cable slips through the ankle leash d-ring and is capable of tethering one or multiple boards. MSRP $59.00

Red Paddle Original UV Board Bag

A new Board Bag “body bag” offers UV and element protection for your Red Paddle SUP. Available in two sizes, the bags can be used on the Rides, WindSUPS and the two smaller Sports. MSRP $199.

Red Paddle Co Original Deck Bag

The Red Paddle Co Original Deck Bag is an easy access, 22 liter waterproof deck bag made of a rugged 100% waterproof TPU fabric and featuring a YKK aquaseal zip. The bag is loaded with features and built to last. MSRP $199.00

Red Paddle Co Original Insulated Drink Holer

A Red Paddle Co Original 750 ml Insulated Drink Bottle is constructed from marine grade stainless steel and is capable of maintaining hot liquids for 12 hours or cold liquids for 24 hours. MSRP $39.

Red Paddle Co’s breakdown paddle design will also be undergoing an update in the US; details will be available and posted in a couple of weeks.

All 2018 Red Paddle Co inflatable board models continue into 2019 unchanged in design, construction, graphics, features or pricing. The current 23 models range in size from the 8’10″ Whip to the 22’0 Dragon with models focused on surfing, whitewater, all-round, touring, racing and specialty activities.

For details on each of the boards, read our blog entitled 2018 Red Paddle Co Inflatable SUP Lineup and our Guide to Choosing Your 2018 Red Paddle Co board. This will be updated shortly with the Compact 9’6″.

Titan twin cylinder pump

Currently available gear – such as the Cargo Net, smaller Dry Bag, Schraeder valve adaptor, Titan Pump, Coiled or Flatwater leashes and standalone All Terrain and Original wheeled backpacks – continue, with some slight price increases.

2018 Red Paddle Co Voyager 13'2

As an End-of-Season incentive, all in-stock 2018/2019 Red Paddle Co boards are currently on sale at 15% off through January 15th. With no changes in 2019, this is the perfect time to pick up a Red Paddle board before the season starts. AirKayaks is also including a free adjustable, carbon breakdown paddle ($199 value) with each purchase. Prices start at $899 for the Snapper 9’4″, running up to $2799 for the 17 foot Ride XL multiple paddler board.

The Red Original Gear is in transit and should be available in October 2018. Compact 9’6″ SUP Packages will be arriving soon after; pre-orders are being accepted. To order or for more information, visit the Red Paddle Co product pages at AirKayaks.com.

Posted by: airkayaks | September 2, 2018

15% off All In-Stock 2018 Red Paddle Co Inflatable SUPs

AirKayaks is pleased to announce a special purchase of 2018 Red Paddle Co inflatable standup paddle boards, now 15% off, with savings as high as $490.

Extended bungee deck lacing.

Considered the number one inflatable paddle board, Red Paddle’s SUPS are known for their ruggedness, featuring MSL Fusion construction, super-reinforced dropstitch material, machine-pressed deck pads, double layered rails and heat-treated seams. Each board comes with the Red Paddle Titan pump, allowing one to inflate a paddle board to 18 PSI in less than 10 minutes, as well as the popular Roller BackPack.

 

Red Paddle Co 2018 Lineup

The 2018 Red Paddle line featured 23 models for surfing, whitewater, recreation, touring and racing, ranging in size from 8’10 to 22’0. This included the introduction of 1 new model – the Voyager Tandem 15’0″ – 6 renames, a Limited-Edition Ride 10’6″ 10-Year Anniversary model, a consolidation of the racing boards, revamped graphics and added features on several of the current boards.

AirKayaks is clearing out the 2018 inventory. Now is your chance to get one of the best inflatable SUPs on the market, with prices ranging from $899 for the Snapper 9’4″ to $2799 for the megalithic Ride XL. The incredibly popular Ride 10’6″ is now $1099, the Voyager 12’6″ is now $1359, while the Sport 11’3” is at an all-time low of $1279. AirKayaks also has a handful of 2017 boards at even greater savings – as well as closeout Red paddles (from $143) and Roller Backpacks ($79.95).

While all 2018 boards have a one year warranty, by registering your board with Red Paddle, you get a free upgrade to a 24 month warranty.

If that isn’t enough, AirKayaks is throwing in a free adjustable, breakdown carbon SUP paddle – a $199 value – with many of the 2018 boards. Check out the remaining available inventory on the Red Paddle Co product pages on AirKayaks.com – but shop early for best selection. Sale ends Jan. 15th, 2019.

Each board comes with the rugged Titan hand pump, cell phone case, repair kit, instructions and wheeled roller backpack. Not sure which one is right for you? See our

2018 Guide to Choosing Your Red Paddle Co Inflatable Paddle Board.  Or, give us a call at 707-998-0135, email info@airkayaks.com or visit the website at www.AirKayaks.com.

With 15% off, free paddle, free shipping in the continental US and no US tax – what are you waiting for!

 

Red Paddle Co has announced the launch of their new 9’6″ Compact Inflatable SUP Package, a revolutionary game-changer in the inflatable paddle board industry.

Revolutionary new Compact inflatable SUP from Red Paddle Co

Based on the popular Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6″ with similarities to the original 9’6″ All Water, the 9’6″ Compact features a 32″ width with 4.7″ thickness, yet packs down to half the size of a conventional Red board without sacrificing performance, rigidity or durability. The package comes complete with Titan pump, backpack, cell phone case, fins, gauge, leash and carbon breakdown paddle; the entire package weighs in at roughly 28.5 lbs (12.7 kg), with the board alone at 16.65 lbs/7.4 kg.

Compact on the water.

Red Paddle accomplished this through a series of material breakthroughs and innovative design, starting from the ground-up and re-engineering each part.

Top and underside views of Red Paddle Co's new Compact inflatable SUP

The 9’6″ Compact is constructed from a newly-developed core material, featuring a high-resolution thread matrix called PACT technology. Ten years in the making, PACT technology is a new weaving process which creates a high-tensile thread matrix at the core of the board, with a super-strong, malleable outer layer.

A unique “quad stringer” system is placed on the top and underside; as the board is inflated, the stringer becomes tighter making the 9’6 Compact more rigid without the bulk.

The Compact design allows it to fold in half.

The deck pad is now “split” with the handle placed just left of center. Both the inflation valve and leash have also been placed off-center, in essence creating a “living hinge,” allowing one to fold the board in half and easily roll the Compact into a smaller package.

A bungee deck-lace system with 6 d-rings provides enough space and attachment points to secure extra gear.

Red Click Fin System

The removable Red Click Fin System features two fully recyclable FCS fins and fin box with an integrated pin system ensuring the fins are not lost while paddling. The fin box is compatible with most FCS fins.

New backpack for the Red Paddle Co Compact inflatable SUP

The bag went through equal scrutiny and now touts a smaller footprint; dimensions are roughly 22″x 16.5″ x 11″ as compared to the current roller backpack of 38″ x 14″ x 12″. The entire bag was redesigned to enhance comfort. New features include lumbar support which can be customized by adjusting the height, a cushioned, adjustable waist belt and adjustable backpack straps with concentrated shoulder padding. Each of these allow one to personally optimize the backpack for a more ergonomic fit.

Compact paddle inside the backpack

The carry handle is constructed from a tubular, closed-cell foam padding, with reinforced handle and strap anchor points and rollover seams. The interior features a fin pocket, water bottle pocket and paddle storage straps. Weight reduction is saved via the smaller size, and removal of the wheels. All this makes a lighter-weight, 4 lb./1.8 kg backpack that features 53% less downward force applied on the lower back.

New carbon 5pc breakdown paddle

Included in the 9’6″ Compact Package is an innovative 5-piece, breakdown paddle, with a shaft constructed from a rigid, high-modulus carbon. Individual shaft sections have been cut on an angle to minimize twisting and are assembled with a push-pin system. The laser-etched nylon blade delivers durability and performance.

Paddle blade

The paddle weighs 1.8 lbs/0.8 kg and can be adjusted from 70.8 in to 82.7 in (180-210cm) with a longest shaft length of roughlly 17.7 to 20 inches. In addition, the individual shafts can be removed to create a paddle suitable for smaller riders (53 in to 65 in/135cm to 165 cm), making it a great choice for families.

Last but not least, the 9″6″ Compact System comes with the popular Red Paddle Co Coiled Leash, as well as the remarkable Titan Dual Chamber pump, which lets you pump up the board to high pressures in no time.

Rolling up the compact

Each of these components worked together to create a board that is as rigid, high-performing and durable as the standard Red boards, yet easily folds and rolls up to half the size.

Easily carried in the smaller backpack

The 9’6″ Compact Package is perfect for the outdoor urbanite planning weekend escapes or wanderlust riders wanting a packable option without sacrificing performance. The 9’6″ Compact is also a great choice for families, easily packed in a car or RV, light enough for most members to carry, and a carbon paddle that can be adjusted for most sizes. Max payload is 209 lbs person and gear.

Red Paddle Co Compact Inflatable SUP

The 9’6″ Compact System includes Titan pump, gauge, repair kit, Compact backpack, two fins, 5 pc-carbon paddle, leash and cell phone case.  MSRP is $1899.

AirKayaks note: Very limited quantities are expected to arrive November 1st, but pre-orders are being accepted. For more info, visit the Red Paddle Co Compact 9’6″Package product page at www.AirKayaks.com. See a video on the new Compact, below.

Red Paddle Co has announced the launch of their new 9’6″ Compact Inflatable SUP Package, a revolutionary game-changer in the inflatable paddle board industry.

Revolutionary new Compact inflatable SUP from Red Paddle Co

Based on the popular Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6″ with similarities to the original 9’6″ All Water, the 9’6″ Compact features a 32″ width with 4.7″ thickness, yet packs down to half the size of a conventional Red board without sacrificing performance, rigidity or durability. The package comes complete with Titan pump, backpack, cell phone case, fins, gauge, leash and carbon breakdown paddle; the entire package weighs in at roughly 28.5 lbs (12.7 kg), with the board alone at 16.65 lbs/7.4 kg.

Compact on the water.

Red Paddle accomplished this through a series of material breakthroughs and innovative design, starting from the ground-up and re-engineering each part.

Top and underside views of Red Paddle Co's new Compact inflatable SUP

The 9’6″ Compact is constructed from a newly-developed core material, featuring a high-resolution thread matrix called PACT technology. Ten years in the making, PACT technology is a new weaving process which creates a high-tensile thread matrix at the core of the board, with a super-strong, malleable outer layer.

A unique “quad stringer” system is placed on the top and underside; as the board is inflated, the stringer becomes tighter making the 9’6 Compact more rigid without the bulk.

The Compact design allows it to fold in half.

The deck pad is now “split” with the handle placed just left of center. Both the inflation valve and leash have also been placed off-center, in essence creating a “living hinge,” allowing one to fold the board in half and easily roll the Compact into a smaller package.

A bungee deck-lace system with 6 d-rings provides enough space and attachment points to secure extra gear.

Red Click Fin System

The removable Red Click Fin System features two fully recyclable FCS fins and fin box with an integrated pin system ensuring the fins are not lost while paddling. The fin box is compatible with most FCS fins.

New backpack for the Red Paddle Co Compact inflatable SUP

The bag went through equal scrutiny and now touts a smaller footprint; dimensions are roughly 22″x 16.5″ x 11″ as compared to the current roller backpack of 38″ x 14″ x 12″. The entire bag was redesigned to enhance comfort. New features include lumbar support which can be customized by adjusting the height, a cushioned, adjustable waist belt and adjustable backpack straps with concentrated shoulder padding. Each of these allow one to personally optimize the backpack for a more ergonomic fit.

Compact paddle inside the backpack

The carry handle is constructed from a tubular, closed-cell foam padding, with reinforced handle and strap anchor points and rollover seams. The interior features a fin pocket, water bottle pocket and paddle storage straps. Weight reduction is saved via the smaller size, and removal of the wheels. All this makes a lighter-weight, 4 lb./1.8 kg backpack that features 53% less downward force applied on the lower back.

New carbon 5pc breakdown paddle

Included in the 9’6″ Compact Package is an innovative 5-piece, breakdown paddle, with a shaft constructed from a rigid, high-modulus carbon. Individual shaft sections have been cut on an angle to minimize twisting and are assembled with a push-pin system. The laser-etched nylon blade delivers durability and performance.

Paddle blade

The paddle weighs 1.8 lbs/0.8 kg and can be adjusted from 70.8 in to 82.7 in (180-210cm) with a longest shaft length of roughlly 17.7 to 20 inches. In addition, the individual shafts can be removed to create a paddle suitable for smaller riders (53 in to 65 in/135cm to 165 cm), making it a great choice for families.

Last but not least, the 9″6″ Compact System comes with the popular Red Paddle Co Coiled Leash, as well as the remarkable Titan Dual Chamber pump, which lets you pump up the board to high pressures in no time.

Rolling up the compact

Each of these components worked together to create a board that is as rigid, high-performing and durable as the standard Red boards, yet easily folds and rolls up to half the size.

Easily carried in the smaller backpack

The 9’6″ Compact Package is perfect for the outdoor urbanite planning weekend escapes or wanderlust riders wanting a packable option without sacrificing performance. The 9’6″ Compact is also a great choice for families, easily packed in a car or RV, light enough for most members to carry, and a carbon paddle that can be adjusted for most sizes. Max payload is 209 lbs person and gear.

Red Paddle Co Compact Inflatable SUP

The 9’6″ Compact System includes Titan pump, gauge, repair kit, Compact backpack, two fins, 5 pc-carbon paddle, leash and cell phone case.  MSRP is $1899.

AirKayaks note: Very limited quantities are expected to arrive November 1st, but pre-orders are being accepted. For more info, visit the Red Paddle Co Compact Package product page at www.AirKayaks.com. Early bird special – pre-order a 9’6″ Compact Package from AirKayaks and get a FREE Red Paddle Co HP EZee pump, a $69.95 value. The HP EZee pump weighs 2.5 lbs less than the Titan pump, while the slimmer barrel will allow you to roll up the 9’6″ Compact into a smaller package – great for backpacking! 

Earlier this spring, our first shipment of the new AdvancedFrame Sport DS arrived in port, becoming the fourth addition to the popular Advanced Elements DS series™* of high pressure inflatable kayaks.

Manufactured by Advanced Elements exclusively for AirKayaks.com, the new Sport DS™ features the same footprint as the current low-pressure AE1017 Sport, but with high-pressure floor and upgraded accessories for added comfort and performance.

Advanced Elements Sport DS Inflatable Kayak

Following are details on the AdvancedFrame Sport DS AE1017DS, a 10’5″ hi-pressure inflatable weighing in at roughly 28 lbs with an MSRP of $499. (Please note: some of this will be repeated from prior reviews.)

Getting Started with the AdvancedFrame Sport DS Kayak

The box as received weighs 36 lbs, measuring 31 x 18 x 11 inches.

What's inside the box

Inside, the rugged carrying case measures 33 x 19 x 11 inches, and houses the kayak body, high-backed lumbar seat, high pressure floor, repair kit, double action pump, gauge and instructions. The kayak and pump in the case weighs 30 lbs, while the kayak and seat alone are 28 lbs. The case has just enough room to include a breakdown paddle (not included). AirKayaks note: Take a good look at how the kayak is folded BEFORE setting up, this will help during breakdown.

AdvancedFrame Sport DS Kayak Setup/Inflation

The instructions are located in a small plastic pocket inside the carrying case. The manual included is for the standard low-pressure Sport, with an additional sheet on using the high-pressure DS floor. The inflation procedure is similar for both versions of the Sport, with the one difference the floor inflation pressure of 4-6 PSI for the dropstitch floor.

Instructions attached to the rear handle

Additionally, a short version of the DS inflation can be found on the tag attached to the rear carrying handle.

First step, unfold the kayak. The AdvancedFrame Sport DS – along with all AdvancedFrame models – features an “inner rib” in the bow and stern, which is basically a u-shaped aluminum rib, about a foot long and one-half inch wide.

This comes “pre-assembled” meaning it arrives already inserted into two sleeves inside the kayak cover. Unless you remove the inner bladder, they remain in position. When the kayak is pumped up, the inner bladder with rib presses against the kayak cover – that, in conjunction with two bow and stern plastic sheets, give the kayak a sharp silhouette which aids in slicing through the water.

Closing the main valve

The kayak features 5 inflation chambers – two military valves and 3 twist-loks. The military-style plunger valves are simple to use – twist up to inflate (this is the closed position where air goes in and doesn’t come out) and down to deflate (air goes in and comes back out).

Screw-on adaptor

The pump comes with a screw-on adaptor for the main chamber, but a standard Boston valve adaptor will friction fit into the opening. While the floor also uses a military valve, the adaptor is different; this is found in the repair kit, located in the mesh pocket behind the seat. AirKayaks note: Make sure to attach the floor adaptor to the pump tether, so that it doesn’t get lost. In a pinch, one can duct tape the Boston valve adaptor to the floor, creating a vacuum and allowing you to pump up the floor.

Pumping up the main chamber

If this is your first setup, attach the gauge (taped to the pump base) between the pump body and hose, making sure you attach it to the INFLATE side of the pump handle. The AdvancedFrame Sport DS features one main chamber, located on the top-rear of the kayak. Pump this up to 2 PSI; in this case, it took about 49 strokes with a double action hand pump. We did stop at about 40 strokes to double check that the bladders were centered inside the kayak cover, and the floor was centered under the bladders.

At this point we should note there are two pieces of velcro holding the bladder cover to the kayak cover – these are located roughly mid-center on the sides. Sometimes these “grab” at the wrong spot, causing wrinkling or skewing. If you experience this, try separating the velcro pieces (you can use two pieces of paper), making sure the kayak is centered as you pump it up. When finished, let the velcro “fall where it may.”

Screw on the black wing nut cap so the plunger isn’t accidentally twisted open later.

Now for the floor. Turn the spring plunger to the UP/inflate position. Included inside the repair kit is another adaptor that locks onto the end of the pump hose. Attach the bayonet fitting into the floor’s military valve with a slight twist until it locks into place.

Pump up the floor to 4-6 PSI; it will be very rigid, but it doesn’t take long at all – we measured about 14 to 16 pump strokes. Remove the floor adaptor and screw on the wingnut cap. AirKayaks note: as there is so much back pressure when removing the floor adaptor, one can accidentally twist the adaptor off the hose, rather than the floor, allowing the air to come back out. By grabbing the “lip” on the adaptor, one can more easily screw off the valve.

Move onto the two deck lifts inside the kayak “shoulders” which use twistlok valves. In conjunction with the thin coaming tube that encircles the perimeter of the cockpit, the deck lifts “sculpt” the body so that water has a tendency to run off – and not into – the kayak. Twist open the orange cap. Then using the Boston valve adaptor (conical nozzle about ½ inch in diameter), fit it OVER the twistlok valve. As each deck lift took only 1.5 pumps to 1 PSI, it is sometimes just as easy to blow them up with your mouth.

The seat is not mentioned in the instructions, but is very simple. First, inflate the lumbar portion of the seat, which also uses a twistlock. This also can be adjusted later for comfort.

Side seat clips

Then attach the seat by clipping the two straps into the appropriate side clips. The straps can be lengthened or shortened later, dependent on the paddlers size and comfort.

Installing the plastic inserts

Last steps, insert the two plastic sheets into the bow and stern sleeves.

Easy to carry

Just over 5 minutes and you’re done!

About Drop Stitch Floor Technology

The term “drop stitch” is a method of construction which allows for much higher inflation and pressures than a standard PVC floor.

In a standard PVC floor (as shown above, PVC on left, DS floor on right), long “I-Beams” run the length of the floor, connecting the floor ceiling to bottom. This allows the floor to maintain a fairly uniform thickness, but if one of the I-Beams pops (due to over-inflation) the floor will become more like a blob.

Dropstitch floor

With drop stitch construction, thousands of tiny threads connect both the top and bottom layers, creating a stronger link that can withstand much higher pressures.

Higher pressures make for a more rigid floor, which can enhance paddling performance – the photo above shows the Convertible drop stitch floor sitting on top of a PVC floor. This is the technology used in inflatable SUP paddle boards. The image below is from an Airis Inflatable Sport Kayak showing the interior drop stitching.

Features and Specifications of the AdvancedFrame Sport DS Kayak

The kayak consists of three layers. Inflatable PVC side bladders are housed in a zippering fabric cover, allowing the bladders to be replaced if necessary.

Diamond ripstop material

The covered bladders sit inside the kayak outer shell. The kayak upper is comprised of 600 denier polyester/PVC laminate in a diamond ripstop material.

Landing plate

The hull is a rugged, puncture-resistant PVC tarpaulin with electronically welded seams and 16.5 inch landing plate.

Integrated tracking fin

There is an integrated 2.5 x 7.5 inch tracking fin.

Molded rubber handle

The AdvancedFrame Sport DS is constructed with two molded rubber carrying handles (bow and stern), but it is fairly simple to carry by hooking the side of the kayak over your shoulder.

Front bungee deck lacing

Front bungee deck lacing begins 30 inches from the kayak bow, and measures 12 to 13 inches wide by 6 inches deep.

Front bungee deck lacing.

There are two plastic d-rings featuring a new, lower profile, making it easier to attach the optional accessories, as well as four cloth loops. One quick release clip and tensioner allows one to easily stash gear on the hull. The front decking system is roughly 36 inches from the paddler.

Open cockpit design

The wide 43 x 20 inch cockpit area features a low profile coaming tube to keep water from running in.

Neoprene knuckleguards

Neoprene knuckle guards span each side, measuring 21 x 7 inches at the widest points.

Velcro paddleholders

Two sets of velcro paddleholders – one on each side of the kayak – are located 40″ inches from the bow and 44″ from the stern.

High-backed lumbar seat

The high-backed padded lumbar seat features adjustable side straps which quickly clip into position while rear stiffening rods create a comfortable option for those needing a bit extra back support than the standard seat offers. The seat back has an inflatable bladder with an extra long 36 inch TwistLok hose, allowing you to change the support level from 1-5 inches while kayaking! In addition, a side zipper allows you to open and move the bladder up or down until you “hit the right spot.”

Mesh pockets behind the seat with ladder locks and d-ring

Seat measurements are 14 x 21 x 0.5 inches for the base, while the back is 15 inches tall, by 21 wide and 1 inch thick; there are two mesh pockets on the seat back which allow you to bring gear or supplies – one houses the repair kit. Two side cinching ladder locks can be used to attach more gear, or to use optional fishing rod holders.

Rear d-rings

Four more d-rings are located just behind the cockpit, measuring 10 inches deep by 12 to 15 inches wide. This is located just behind the paddler and could be a great candidate for some additional bungee deck lacing.

Military valve

There are two military valves and 3 twistlock valves (2 deck lifts and seat).

Open cockpit

We did measurement tests. The kayak inflated is 10’4″ long and roughly 33 inches wide. There are 43 inches of the upper hull before the cockpit, and 36″ upper hull behind the cockpit. The side bladders are roughly 7 to 8 inches in diameter, making a well about 8 inches deep with the deck lifts.

Interior dimensions are approximately 65 inches long by 17 inches wide. When the seat is positioned just behind center (seat back is roughly 5 to 6 inches from the back coaming), there are approximately 46 inches from the seat back to the inner nose with 13 inches covered. Another 18 inches is located behind the seat to the inner tail, creating a storage well about 15 inches wide, tapering. By adjusting the seat straps, the seat can be repositioned roughly 2-3 inches back or another 8 inches forward. Weight limitations suggest 235 lbs for a person, or 250 lbs for person and gear.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport DS Kayak On the Water

We took out the “new” Sport DS on a mildly choppy day with a light breeze. While we were always fans of the standard AE1017 Sport, we were very interested in seeing the upgraded package in the Sport DS.

AdvancedFrame Sport DS on the water.

The new Sport DS didn’t let us down – it’s zippy, tracks well and is pretty maneuverable. For my size of 5’4″, it is quite roomy – and it’s easy to carry. Heading into the wind, the Sport DS rode over small swells easily, though I paddled a little harder.

With the high-pressure floor, the kayak felt solid. To begin with, the dropstitch floor is remarkably rigid, allowing one to sit up slightly higher. Paddling is a bit smoother and faster than the standard AdvancedFrame Sport. Years ago we did tests to compare the standard PVC floor to the dropstitch floor; we were running from 3.1 to 4.3 mph with the PVC, while we ran 3.6 to 4.7 mph with the dropstitch floor. There is also an intangible that I can’t quite put words to – one feels very confident in the kayak construction. Over long periods of time, the floor can be slightly tough on the rear, so extra padding might be helpful. While in the past I have used the backbone – which is also a great product – I find the simplicity of the dropstitch floor more to my style, and the added weight savings of 4-5 lbs more to my liking.

AdvancedFrame Sport DS on the water.

My 6’2″ husband took the Sport DS out next. In the past, he has been cramped in the AE1012 AdvancedFrame which features the same basic footprint of 10’5″.

AdvancedFrame Sport DS on the water.

But, by putting the seat all the way back, and paddling with low-profile water shoes, he had no problems; the open cockpit design allows him to bend his knees slightly, maintaining comfort. He also felt it paddled very well, and noted it is much easier for his larger frame to get in and out of the cockpit.

In fact, he loved it.

AdvancedFrame Sport DS on the water.

I next took the Sport DS out on a very calm and balmy day – this is where the Sport DS REALLY shines. It was fun, responsive and quick. The open-style cockpit was refreshing and roomy – really a joy to be on the water. While the Sport DS features the same footprint as the AdvancedFrame AE1012, the wider cockpit allows it to “open up” a little more. The addition of Advanced Elements’ optional inflatable foot brace made a huge difference in paddling comfort, by giving me something to push against.

Packing Up the Sport DS

Packing the AdvancedFrame Sport DS up is easy. Open all the valves to let the air out. Tighten and close the valves so air doesn’t creep back in, and then simply fold in half the long way, then fold the two ends towards the center, just behind the landing plate and fin.

Folding up the Sport DS

Then fold in half again.

Packing up the Sport DS

This should slip back into the bag if you’ve removed all the air. AirKayaks note: If you have problems, put your pump into the DEFLATE mode and pump the rest of the air out of the kayak.

Bottom Line on the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport DS Inflatable Kayak

The AdvancedFrame Sport DS AE1017 inflatable kayak is a great kayak at an excellent price; a stripped-down classic blending performance, price and simplicity. It’s the perfect choice for those wanting performance as well as fun, without the extra weight or “bells and whistles.”

AdvancedFrame Sport DS on the water.

The kayak is comfortable, paddles well, looks good and is quite stable. The open cockpit design of the AdvancedFrame Sport DS AE1017 will appeal to those who want ease of entering/exiting, making it best suited for lakes, bays, calm rivers and inland waters.

Inflatable foot brace

Numerous optional accessories – such as the inflatable foot brace (shown above with an AdvancedFrame Ultralite kayak) – can enhance the paddling experience and performance.

Hi-oressure dropstitch floor

The rigidity of the high pressure floor provides better tracking and increased glide with minimal increase in weight.

The high-backed lumbar seat is extremely comfortable once you find your “sweet spot” – this can entail opening the zipper and raising or lowering the inflatable bladder, and playing around with the bladder thickness. The high back offers more support than the standard seat while the long twistlok allows one to adjust the seat inflation while paddling.

Anglers will also like the ability to add their own optional rod holders to the seat backs (not included).

Easily fits in the trunk of a small car.

This is a great choice for travel – the carrying case is rugged enough to check as baggage, it’s perfect for RVs and easily fits in the trunk of a small car. And at 28 lbs including the seat, it won’t break your back.

Rugged hull

If you plan on milder kayaking activities (lakes, calm rivers, inland waters), prefer the ease of a lighter-weight kayak, feel more comfortable in an open design, or are on a tighter budget, the Sport DS will be a great choice – and loads of fun.

If you want a bit more flexibility in paddling conditions, or the ability to use an optional skirt, check out the longer 10’10” AdvancedFrame AE1044DS in the XL version (shown above). For more options, the XLC Version with zip-out deck (shown below) allows you to bring more gear or a small paddling friend.

All in all, the AdvancedFrame Sport DS is a great multi-purpose kayak for people of many ages and experience levels. Novices and first-time users will be on the water in no time, while experienced paddlers will find the portability and low-profile hull a great boon. It’s a winner and in our opinion, one of the best values on the market today.

AdvancedFrame Sport DS on the water.

The MSRP package value on the AdvancedFrame Sport DS is $731 and available only at AirKayaks.com for $499. For more information or to purchase, visit the AdvancedFrame Sport DS AE1017DS product page on AirKayaks.com, Or watch our YouTube video, below.

 

Sport DS™ is a trademark of Harris & Lamb, LLC/AirKayaks.com

Our latest video on the new AirFusion EVOAdvanced Elements’ first all-dropstitch, hi-pressure inflatable performance kayak.

Compact and lightweight, the 32 lb EVO features aluminum alloy poles, 6-8 PSI main tubes and a narrower 24 inch beam, resulting in a rigid system that paddles well, glides smoothly, and handles waves/chop with ease.

The AirFusion EVO looks great, paddles well, and it’s fast! The rugged, hydrodynamic skin sheds water easily while built-in sleeves, printed alignment lines and the pole shock-cord system simplify assembly. Integrated storage makes it a great choice for extended explorations. With the compact size and included backpack, the EVO becomes highly portable, easily fitting in the trunk of a car.

For more info on set up, features, specification and performance, see our detailed product review/write-up with photos on the Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO inflatable Kayak. To purchase, visit the EVO product page at AirKayaks.com

Nearly eight years ago, Advanced Elements debuted the original AirFusion kayak – an inflatable hybrid designed to rival the handling and speed of skin-on-frame kayaks. The AirFusion was unique in that it featured a blended design of aluminum alloy frame poles and pressurized air tubes, resulting in a high performance rigid frame system.

Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO.

This was followed by the AirFusion Elite, which featured a streamlined set up procedure with fewer poles, a wider beam and integrated rear storage hatch.

At last summer’s Outdoor Retailer show, Advanced Elements unveiled their 2018 inflatable kayak product line with announcement of the new AE1042 AirFusion EVO a 6-8 PSI high-pressure model constructed from dropstitch material, with a Barbie-sized 24″ waistline.

Just this week the first AirFusion EVO arrived, a double cardboard box measuring 37 x 25 x 12 inches and weighing in at 47 lbs.

Getting Started with the Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO

The rugged carrying case/backpack houses the kayak body, seat, repair kit, foam floor, screw-on and Boston pin adaptors, instructions (located in the small plastic pocket inside the backpack), two thwarts, nose and stern bags, and anodized aluminum poles. The kayak folded size is approximately 34 x 17 x 8 inches. Everything in the case weighs 37 lbs, while the kayak with seat is 33 lbs. The case has just enough room to include a small pump and breakdown paddle (not included). AirKayaks note: Take a good look at how the kayak is folded BEFORE setting up, this will help during breakdown.

The manual is pretty well-written though initially a little daunting. (AirKayaks note: Some of the initial AirFusion EVO boxes contained instructions for the droptstitch floor. The AirFusion EVO does not use an inflatable floor, so you can just toss those.) After the first read-through it seemed simple enough – piece together the poles, position the floor, pump up side chambers partially, insert bottom pole through the thwarts connecting both ribs, pump up thwarts, finish pumping up side chambers, pump up bow & stern tubes, attach seat, inflate coaming tube. Done!

AirFusion EVO Setup/Inflation

Unfolding the kayak

Unfold the kayak body, locating the kayak bow (front) and stern (rear) – this is easy as the integrated storage hatch is located at the stern.

Installing the floor

Next, put the foam floor into position, setting the wider end inside the center of the cockpit – this will position the small rectangular cutout over the velcro tab in the floor. Make sure you pull the velcro tab through the cutout. Tip: the foam floor only covers the area where your feet rest.

Inflatable thwarths

Layout the bow and stern thwarts. Each of these is tapered. The front airbag (which also acts as a foot brace) is larger than the rear airbag, while the larger side of each airbag faces the cockpit/center. Lay them out in correct orientation next to the kayak.

Bottom pole pieces

Next assemble the interior ribs; there are three aluminum numbered poles (1, 2, 4) and one sleeve (3); the poles snap together easily and quickly via a shock-cord system.

The AdvancedFrame series of kayaks each feature two aluminum ribs (shown above) – a vertically-positioned, foot-long Vee/U-shaped flat bar that is inserted in the bow and stern of the kayaks. The AirFusion EVO  has the same bow and stern aluminum ribs, except they are tubular, allowing the pole frame to be inserted/attached. In the new AirFusion EVO, these two ribs are already installed.

Installing the poles

Install pole #1 through the front thwart, inserting it through the sleeve on the underside of the front thwart, making sure that the pushpin hole side is pointing toward the cockpit. Then, insert the thwart into the bow of the kayak, pole side down. Open up the front top zipper (a little narrow for larger hands) to access the receiving tube, on the bottom. Slide tube #1 up and insert into the bow bottom tube.

Next insert pole #2. Once again, push this through the sleeve on the bottom of the rear thwart, with the pushpin facing the cockpit. Then insert the thwart into the stern of the kayak, also with pole side down. Open up the rear hatch cover, and locate the rear bottom tube. Again, insert pole 2 into the stationary bottom tube opening.

Installing the poles

Take the connector sleeve #3, and slip it over pole #2 with the pushpin hole facing pole #1, sliding the sleeve back onto pole #2.

Installing the poles

This allows you to grab both poles 1 and 2, and press down until they pop into position, forming one long pole.

Botom pole with sleeve insert

Slide connector #3 over the connection point of the two poles, to lock in place with the receiving push pin.

As an aside, this can be frustrating until you “get the hang of it.” The trick is making sure the two poles are on absolutely equal planes, otherwise the connecting sleeve #3 will not slide. As a suggestion, push down on the poles without putting your fingers underneath, or possibly assemble over a dimple in the ground. If you try to grasp the pole, it will pull up slightly making it impossible to slide. In this case, I stuffed the carrying case under the back end, which gave me enough “lift” to straighten out the tubes. If you continue to have problems, make sure that you haven’t “tugged” the poles out of the front or rear integrated tubes.

Velcro sleeve to hold pole in position

There are two sets of velcro on the floor (one poking through the cutout in the floor and one towards the rear). Wrap these around the center floor pole, forcing the bottom pole to be centered. This performs a similar function to the “backbone” used in the AdvancedFrame series.

Installing the poles

Locate the sleeve on the “underside” of the top bow hull. Take pole #4 and push it through the sleeve, and guide it into the top bow tube, making sure the rounded side is facing the cockpit. I did struggle a bit with this, as the sleeve is quite snug and the pole connection kept getting caught on the fabric hem. Frame is now done!

Printed guiide lines.

Next position the thwarts. This is probably the most critical step in the process to ensure a balanced setup. The instructions suggest lining up the thwarts with the lines printed on the kayak body. While this is easy for the back thwart, the front thwart line is now covered by the floor – so just line it up to the edge of the velcro tab initially. The front thwart is where you will modify for legroom, so this position will probably change. (AirKayaks note: To make it easier, you may want to take a marker to note the location of the front line on the inside of the kayak hull).

The AirFusion EVO features 8 inflation chambers – two side chambers, two thwarts, two bow and stern bags, seat base and coaming tube. This consists of three military valves, two Boston valves and three twistloks.

Closing the military valve.

First, partially pump up the left and right main chambers. The military-style plunger valves are simple to use – twist up to inflate (this is the closed position where air goes in and doesn’t come out) and down to deflate (air goes in and comes back out).

Military valve and adaptor

The kayak comes with a military valve adaptor (found in the repair kit in the mesh pocket behind the seat) which will fit some pumps based on the hose fittings. AirKayaks note: Make sure to attach the adaptor to the pump tether, so that it doesn’t get lost.

Pumping up the side chamber

We pumped up the sides about 20 strokes each with a double action hand pump. As a side note, if you aren’t careful, when you remove the military valve adaptor, make sure to twist carefully, otherwise the adaptor can twist OFF the hose rather than the valve, and you will lose all your air – just like I did.  AirKayaks note: there is a lip protruding from the side of the adaptor, where it can be tethered to the others. If you grab onto this when twisting, the adaptor is less likely to pop off.

Boston valve and adaptor with pin.

Now on to the thwarts which utilize Boston valves – these are two-way screw-on valves. The bottom portion is threaded onto the thwart, while the top valve is screwed open for inflation and then tightened shut after inflation. Air is easily released by unscrewing the base connector. A flap inside the valve opens when air is pumped into the kayak, and falls shut when not pumped so that air will not rush back out. These valves can use the “friction” fit Boston valve connector found on most pumps, or the included “pin adaptor” (located in the repair kit) which looks that same but with a long pin protruding from the opening. The pin pushes open the inner flap, so you get real-time readings on the pump gauge.

Boston valve

Pump up the rear air bag first – 1 to 1.5 PSI. Make sure the thwart is even across the floor, and the side chambers even with the thwarts. We did 3 double pumps, checked to make sure everything was still straight, and then topped off with another 2 pumps to 1 PSI.

Pumping up the side chamber

Inflate the front thwart in the same method. We did 3 pumps, centered it, another 2 and more centering, then a final 2 pumps to 1+ PSI.

There are two velcro tabs under the top hull, before each thwart. Use these to secure the valve “bronchial” tube in position so it doesn’t get in the way when paddling.

At this point, you may want to flip the kayak over, to check for alignment. The shape of the bottom tube can be seen, and it should run straight through the center, through the bow and stern runners. If not, go back and reposition the thwarts. We should also mention there are two velcro patches – midcenter – between the outer hull and the dropstitch side tubes. If you are having trouble getting things straight, then slip a piece of paper between the two pieces of velcro, so it doesn’t “grab.” Then center the kayak, finally removing the paper sheets, letting the velcro “fall where it may.”

Pumping up the thwart

Finish topping off the main chambers to 6 to 8 PSI; this took another 10 full strokes each side to reach 7 PSI.

Seat

Now the seat! The instructions say to “position the seat back at the back edge of the foam floor, to ensure that the EVO remains balanced.”  We spoke with Advanced Elements, and they say it’s not critical, just a good starting place. If you don’t have enough leg room, the front thwart can be pushed forward and the seat a bit back.

Pumping up the seat base.

The seat base uses the third military valve. It took us about five strokes, but wasn’t centering correctly within the side walls. We let some air out and repumped. It is important to keep this straight as it becomes a “spreader” so the two side walls don’t have a tendency to close in.

Attaching the seat buckles.

Next attach the four seat clips, with the two smaller clips to the rear, and the two larger clips to the front; the front clips are located on the upper side walls.

Bow and stern inflation bags.

Now inflate the bow and stern bags, which use twistlocks. At this point, we have another AirKayaks note. In the initial shipment, the two bags did not come pre-installed; in subsequent shipments they will. As the kayak was now fully inflated, it was impossible to put the bags into position. So, we let out some air and managed to get the back bag into the stern cone via the storage hatch cover. But we could not get the front one in place, and did not relish deflating the entire kayak and starting fresh. A quick call with Advanced Elements and we found the bags were more for cosmetics, smoothing out remaining wrinkles. So we opted to leave out the front bag. In the future, if you remove the bags for cleaning, to reinstall, make sure the bags are running horizontal (the long way) with the tube side up, and in front of the tube ends. You can watch an Advanced Elements video on the bag installation.

Locate the twistlok tube protruding from the stern, inside the hatch cover. Twist open the cap. Then use a standard Boston valve adaptor (conical nozzle about ½ inch in diameter, WITHOUT a pin), fit it OVER the twistlock valve and inflate to 1 PSI. Or the easiest method is just to blow it up by mouth, which takes a few puffs. Then twist the valve shut.

If you are inflating the bow bladder, access that from the front zipper. Inflate using the same method.

Twistlock valve

Almost there! Last step is to inflate the coaming tube, which also uses a twistlock – this helps keep water from running into the seating well, and also allows one to use an optional spray skirt. This only takes one or two puffs by mouth.

The Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO is easy to carry.

You’re done! While it took me about an hour, between reading the manual and taking notes, I imagine one can get it down to less than 15 minutes once the process is understood.

AirFusion EVO Inflatable Kayak Construction

Semi-smooth polyurethane tarpaulin outer skin.

The AirFusion EVO kayak material is a semi-smooth polyurethane tarpaulin outer skin. Polyurethane is more supple so wrinkles smooth out better, creating a more hydrodynamic hull.

Dropstitch side chambers

The two main inner inflation bladders are constructed from PVC dropstitch material. The term “drop stitch” is a method of construction which allows for much higher inflation and pressures than a standard PVC bladder; this is the technology used in most inflatable paddle boards. With drop stitch construction, thousands of tiny threads connect both the top and bottom layers (in this case the left and right), creating a stronger link that can withstand much higher pressures. The drop stitch material also creates a narrower chamber, so the kayak beam is narrower.

Unlike some dropstitch kayaks, the EVO main tubes are separate from the kayak body, and removable, meaning they can easily be replaced it needed without replacing the entire kayak body.

Higher pressures make for a more rigid silhouette, which can enhance paddling performance. Additionally, the chambers can be constructed much thinner than standard PVC kayaks, allowing the kayak to be narrower, and theoretically more streamlined.

AirFusion EVO Features and Specifications

Molded rubber handles

There are two molded rubber handles located at the bow and stern – this would be great if you were paddling with someone else, but it is just as easy to carry the kayak hooked over your shoulder.

Front zipper to access interior

The front access zippered opening is 10 inches long, beginning 21 inches from the nose cone.

Front bungee decklacing

A front bungee deck lacing system with 6 d-rings begins roughly 49 inches from the nose, measuring 12 inches deep and 14 to 16 inches wide. It is located approximately 32 inches in front of the paddler’s seat back. There is approximately 66 inches from nose cone to cockpit, with roughly 30 inches of usable space to attach gear.

Anodized aluminum poles.

Numbered aluminum ribs – made by a company specializing in folding frames – are anodized making them resistant to salt spray. The longest rib length is 33.5 inches, while the rib storage bag measures 37 by 6 inches and weighs 3.1 lbs with poles.

Cockpit with coaming tube

The tapered cockpit opening of 33 x 17 inches (at the widest point) will take an optional spray skirt.

Closed cell foam floor.

The 38 x 16.5 inch floor is made from a 3/8 inch closed cell foam, and covers just the seating area. There is 48 inches between the two printed floor lines.

Padded seat with drop-stitch base.

The padded seat features a high-pressure dropstitch seat base covered with a 3/8 inch diamond-groove pad. The seat base can be inflated 4 inches deep and measures 13 inches deep and 16 inches at the widest point. There are four side straps (2 forward and 2 rear) that can be adjusted to ratchet the seating tension. Two d-rings on the front clips are used to tie-off the cords for the optional tracking fin.

Mesh pocket on back of seat.

The seat back wraps 17 to 18 inches and is 9.5 inches tall. There are three gusseted pockets on the back of the seat – two mesh drawstring (perfect for water bottles) and one with a velcro flap that houses the repair kit.

D-rings

There are four d-rings on top of the hull, directly behind the paddler. These are positioned 15 to 17 inches apart and 9 inches deep.

There are 55 inches from the rear cone to the cockpit, with approximately 10 inches of space which can be used for gear, without covering the storage hatch; there is 28 inches of space if you cover the cockpit.

Using the roll-top integrated storage

An integrated rear cargo hatch is located 18 inches behind the paddler. The opening measures 15 x 8.5 inches with a 10 inch roll-top closure and velcro cover with handle. Inside is approximately 24 inches in length, starting at 9-10 inches in diameter and tapering down, for stashing interior gear. (AirKayaks note: the interior space is not sealed off. Anything that needs to stay dry, should be in dry bags.)

End cap

Two end caps give a streamlined finish to the kayak bow and stern. A small hole in the rear end cap was designed to accept the optional AirFusion tracking fin.

Hull underside.

There is no integrated tracking fin, but two 16-inch integrated landing plates/runners are located on the hull underside.

Backpack carrying case.

The traditional Advanced Elements carrying case has been updated, now coming with two adjustable shoulder straps, allowing one to use it as a backpack. There are also two top carrying handles. Bag size is a generous 36 x 16 x 11 inches and looks like it will house a pump and paddle.

AirFusion EVO - Birdseye view

We did measurements. The kayak measured 13 feet 2 inches from end cap to end cap and 24-25 inches wide on the exterior. Interior width at the widest point is 16 inches. With the thwarts removed there is roughly 115 inches interior length, but much is too narrow to use.

With the thwarts positioned on both printed lines and the kayak seat back about 3 inches in front of the rear floor sleeve, we measured 6 inches of space behind the seat, and 38″ seat back to front thwart/brace. By moving the seat all the way back, and the thwart all the way forward, there is approximately 42 inches of interior space without bending one’s knees.

Payload is 235 lbs paddler and gear.

Paddling the AirFusion EVO Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO on the water.

I took out the EVO in small waves, due to boating activity. The thwart was too close, so I deflated the chamber slightly, moving it back a couple inches.

As I started paddling, the kayak pulled to one side and had a tendency to turn around when stopped. As I had deflated and inflated the kayak a few times, I took it back to shore, flipped the EVO over and could immediately see why – the bottom pole was not centered evenly down the kayak. So, I deflated the thwarts slightly, re-centered them making sure the pole was straight (you can use the nose and tail runners as a line of site.) I then reinflated the thwarts and went back out.

Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO on the water.

The EVO is fast. Once it is properly set up (!) it has a nice glide, rides over swells easily, paddles beautifully and tracks well into the wind and across the wind. When one stops paddling the nose stays true. With a downwind it has a tendency to drift a bit – this decreased when we took it out with the optional removable skeg. This is a “must have” for those planning on being in rougher waters.

I took the EVO out in a bit of wind, and clocked myself at a 2.5 mph average with a burst speed of 4.5 mph – in calm water, it would be faster.

The hull is rugged and will pass over barely submerged rocks without a blip. The smooth skin also sheds water easily when back on shore.

Getting into the kayak was slightly difficult as the narrower beam and slightly curved hull made it a little tippy, especially in waves. Once out on the water it felt more stable.

Taller paddler sitting in the EVO

My husband did not have an opportunity to test it out. But, he did sit inside it. For his 6’2″ frame, we positioned the seat all the way back, and the thwart as far up as it could go, but he still had a little trouble wriggling his way into the cockpit.

I did speak with Jeremy at Advanced Elements, who is also 6″2″. He was able to get in by pushing the seat all the way back, and the thwart all the way up, with knees slightly bent. On flat water with a slight breeze, he took it through several steps – casual paddling, dead sprint with good full strokes. He felt the EVO paddled well, had good glide, was fast and when coming to a stop didn’t drift. He did feel it slightly tippy at first, having just finished paddling the wider (34″ beam) AdvancedFrame, but felt fine fairly rapidly.

Packing Up the AirFusion EVO Kayak

Folding up the kayak

To pack up your EVO, reverse your steps. Here are a few simple tips:

Any lingering air can be pumped out using the “deflation” mode of your pump. There is a lot of pressure on the center floor beam (poles 1 and 2). You can simplify the breakdown by pushing in the center pin and twisting the tube out of the pushpin position while the kayak is still inflated. I did need to pull out the foam floor, in order to get a grasp on the tube, but it then easily turned. Then when deflated, push the sleeve back all the way to separate the poles. To prevent losing the small sleeve #3, put it back on pole one and lock in place.

Short on time? Simply deflate the main air tubes, unsnap the floor tube, fold the kayak in half (with upper hull on the outside) and put back in your vehicle (as long as it’s big enough). You can then lay it out to dry later.

Bottom Line on the AE3042 AirFusion EVO Inflatable Kayak

The EVO is a great kayak for those that have a little bit of experience – it’s fast, is very sleek and has great glide.

Easily fits in the trunk of a small car.

Despite the longer 13 foot beam, it is easy to haul around. And with a combined weight of 37 lbs for the kayak in the upgraded backpack, it’s a good candidate for travel, and easily fits in the back of a small car.

Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO on the water.

The updated design with simplified set up, rigid dropstitch side tubes, replaceable main chambers and a smoother, more hydrodynamic outer skin give the EVO a performance edge.

Printed guidelines.

Attention to small details – such as built in sleeves, printed alignment lines, detailed instructions and the shock cord system – make the set up simpler.

Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO on the water.

The integrated storage hatch is quite useful for storing gear, though with the open interior, anything perishable should be stored in dry bags.

Installing the poles

This is not the kayak for those that want a “pump and go” – to get the best performance, one needs to take a little more time with setup. But the pay-off is worth it.

The addition of the optional skeg will help immensely in wind and larger swells.

If you are concerned about stability with the narrower beam, prefer simpler setup options, plan on carrying lots of gear, or you are a taller/larger paddler, then the Expedition Elite (shown above) may be a better, more comfortable choice.

We’ve said this before and it’s still true – Advanced Elements truly brings about the “EVOlution of inflatable kayaks” with constant innovation and excellent customer service; the AirFusion EVO earns them another notch.

Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO on the water.

Street price is $1099. For more details or to purchase, visit the Advanced Elements AE31042 AirFusion EVO product page at AirKayaks.com. Or watch our video below:

Our latest AirKayaks video on the AdvancedFrame Ultralite inflatable kayak from Advanced Elements – weighing less than 20lbs.

At 10 feet 5 inches in length, the new AE3022 AdvancdFrame Ultralite has the same footprint and larger cockpit-opening as the longstanding AE1017 Sport – but at a significant weight savings.

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Ultralite’s hull is constructed from a lighter-weight ripstop material upper with a polyurethane tarpaulin underside. Left and right bladders are also made of a lightweight – yet rugged – polyurethane rather than PVC. Both bladder covers on the AdvancedFrame Ultralite feature open ends without a zipper, allowing the bladders to be pulled out for cleaning or replacement.

Instead of the traditional low-pressure PVC floor, the AF Ultralite sports a foam floor similar to that found in the Lagoon series. To compensate, the high-backed seat features a 1.5 inch EVA closed cell foam seat base.

The switch to open bladder cover, foam floor, polyurethane bladders and polyurethane tarpaulin hull provide most of the weight savings, making the AdvancedFrame Ultralite roughly 10 lbs lighter than the Sport, and nearly half the weight of the AdvancedFrame.

Other features include a thin aluminum bar riser and cross bar which together provide a pitched deck, allowing water to run off. A second set of bungee deck lacing is found on the rear deck upper.

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Ultralite will appeal to adventurous souls looking for a performance-oriented kayak with a more back-packable design as well as paddlers with physical disabilities requiring lighter-weight options and easier entry.

Also read our detailed writeup – Product Review: New AdvancedFrame Ultralite 17.5lb Inflatable Kayak from Advanced Elements

– which covers setup, features, specifications and performance.

To purchase or for more info, visit our Advanced Elements  AdvancedFrame Ultralite Inflatable Kayak product page at AirKayaks.com.

At last summer’s Outdoor Retailer show, Advanced Elements unveiled their 2018 inflatable kayak product line with announcement of the new AE3022 AdvancedFrame Ultralite – a redesigned version of the AdvancedFrame Sport, weighing in at a minimalist 17.5 lbs.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Ultralite Kayak

We avidly waited for the first shipment to arrive in early March. The boxes had not been off the truck for two hours, before we were headed down to the beach.

So following is our “hot off the truck” review of the new Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Ultralite – a 10 ft 5-inch performance kayak.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Ultralite

The box as received weighs 29 lbs, measuring 32 x 19 x 11 inches.

What's in the box

The rugged carrying case/backpack houses the kayak body, seat, repair kit, foam floor, screw-on adaptor, instructions (located in the small plastic pocket inside the backpack), foot brace, deck riser and deck pole. The kayak folded size is approximately 29 x 18 x 9 inches. Everything in the case weighs 21.5 lbs, while the kayak with seat is 19.5 lbs. The case has just enough room to include a small pump and breakdown paddle (not included). AirKayaks note: Take a good look at how the kayak is folded BEFORE setting up, this will help during breakdown.

AdvancedFrame Ultralite Kayak Setup/Inflation

Unfolding the kayak

First step, unfold the kayak. The AdvancedFrame Ultralite – along with all AdvancedFrame models – features an “inner rib” in the bow and stern, which is basically a u-shaped aluminum rib, about a foot long and one-half inch wide.

This comes “pre-assembled” meaning it arrives already inserted into two sleeves inside the kayak cover. Unless you remove the inner bladder, they remain in position. When the kayak is pumped up, the inner bladder with rib presses against the kayak cover – that, in conjunction with two bow and stern plastic sheets, give the kayak a sharp silhouette which aids in slicing through the water.

Installing the floor.

Now unroll the foam floor, centering it under the two main chambers, with the narrower side pointing toward the nose. The first time this can be a little tricky – smooth out the hull so it’s not wrinkled and then try to evenly position the foam. This can be fine-tuned later.

Putting the valve in the closed position

The kayak features 2 inflation chambers utilizing military valves and 1 twist-lok. The military-style plunger valves are simple to use – twist up to inflate (this is the closed position where air goes in and doesn’t come out) and down to deflate (air goes in and comes back out).

Boston valve and screw on adaptors

The kayak comes with a screw-on adaptor (found in the repair kit in the mesh pocket behind the seat) which will fit some pumps based on the hose fittings. Otherwise, a standard Boston valve adaptor will friction fit into the opening. AirKayaks note: Make sure to attach the screw-on adaptor to the pump tether, so that it doesn’t get lost.

Pump up the kayak

Unlike the rest of the AdvancedFrame series, the Ultralite features both a left and a right main chamber – one valve for each side. To begin, pump up each side until it starts to fill out – in this case we pumped up each side about 15 strokes each with a double action hand pump. This gives the kayak just enough form to install the deck pole and deck riser.

Fabric sheath for deck riser bar

Look inside the kayak nose, and you will see a cloth tube opening.

Install the riser bar

Push the deck bar into the tube until it can go no farther.

Install the deck lift

Locate the two webbing slots on each of the main bladders, roughly under the end of the deck pole. Take the deck riser bar, and insert each side into the webbing, with the center notch cradling the deck pole.

Pump up the kayak

Now, go back and re-pump up each side about 10 pumps, and then re-arrange the tubes and floor so that the tubes are centered inside the kayak cover, and the floor is centered under the tubes – if you flip over the kayak, you can sometimes see the floor indentation to check.

Finish pumping up each side chamber to 2 PSI. Screw on the black wing nut caps so the plunger isn’t accidentally twisted open later.

Install the plastic bow and stern inserts

Install the bow and stern plastic inserts into their sleeves.

Inflate the foot brace

Next pump up the inflatable foot brace. This uses a twistlok valve. Twist open the orange cap. Then using the Boston valve adaptor (conical nozzle about ½ inch in diameter), fit it OVER the twistlok valve and inflate to 1 PSI. Or the easiest method is just to blow it up by mouth, which takes about 6 puffs. Friction fit the foot brace into the snout. (AirKayaks note: if you are a bit taller, it is quite likely you won’t need to use this.)

How do you tell if you’ve pumped it up enough? If you lift the kayak up by one handle, and it sags in the middle, it needs more air.

Install the seat

Then attach the seat by clipping the two straps into the appropriate side clips. While there is an elastic “attachment” at the back of the seat, there is no place to attach it on the Ultralite – this is used on the other AdvancedFrame models.

Lightweight and easy to carry

Just over 5 minutes and you’re done!

AdvancedFrame Ultralite Kayak Design and Construction

Ripstop materia

The AdvancedFrame Ultralite upper hull is constructed from a lighter-weight 300 denier nylon ripstop material rather than the standard 600 denier; while one would think this is half the thickness, the weave is actually more dense, making it tougher.

Polyurethane tarpaulin hull.

The underside consists of a polyurethane tarpaulin rather than PVC, which is thinner but has a higher weld strength.

While the rest of the AdvancedFrame series features an inner and outer chamber with floating wall, the Ultralite features left and right bladders, also made of a lightweight – yet rugged – polyurethane rather than PVC. Both bladder covers on the AdvancedFrame Ultralite feature open ends without a zipper, allowing the bladders to be pulled out for cleaning or replacement.

AdvancedFrame Ultralite Features and Specifications

Plastic bow and stern inserts

Two plastic sheets in the bow and stern – in conjunction with the interior aluminum ribs – provide added structure and rigidity.

Molded rubber carrying handles

The AdvancedFrame Ultralite is constructed with two molded rubber carrying handles (bow and stern), but it is fairly simple to carry by hooking the side of the kayak over your shoulder.

Front bungee deck lacing with d-rings

Front bungee deck lacing with 6 d-rings starts 28 inches from the bow, measuring 14 to 10 inches wide by 11 inches deep.

Neoprene knuckle guards

The wide 40 x 18 inch cockpit opening features a low profile coaming tube to keep water from running in. Neoprene knuckle guards span each side, measuring 29 x 7 inches at the widest points.

Velcro paddleholder

One set of velcro paddle holders are positioned on the right side of the kayak, at 41 and 84 inches from the bow.

Closed-cell foam floor

Instead of the traditional low-pressure PVC floor, the AdvancedFrame Ultralite sports a closed-cell foam floor similar to that found in the Lagoon series.

High-backed padded seat

A high-backed, stiffer, padded seat, features adjustable side straps which quickly clip into position.

Mesh pocket behind seat

The seat measures 17 inches tall, the back wraps 20.5 inches and is 1.25 inches thick with breathable mesh. The seat base measures 19 inches at the widest point, by 13.5 inches deep. A 1.5 inch EVA closed cell foam seat base compensates for the thinner foam floor. A gusseted, mesh pocket is located on the seat back; this houses the repair kit and screw-on adaptor. There is one d-ring for attaching gear.

Inflatable foot brace

The inflatable foot brace measures 9.5 inches tall by 9 inches wide, and can be inflated up to 6 inches deep. The brace friction fits into the snout.

Rear bungee deck lacing.

A rear set of bungee deck lacing with 4 more d-rings begins 3 inches behind the cockpit opening, measuring 10 inches deep by 12 to 16 inches wide.

Integrated tracking fin

The hull features electronically welded seams, with beefed-up bow and stern, integrated 2.5 x 7.5 inch tracking fin and landing plate.

Backpack carrying case.

The traditional Advanced Elements carrying case has been updated, now coming with two adjustable shoulder straps, allowing one to use it as a backpack. There are also two top carrying handles. Bag size is a generous 36 x 16 x 11 inches and looks like it will house a pump and paddle.

Other features include a thin aluminum bar riser (as found on the Expedition Elite) and an anodized aluminum cross bar (as found on the AirFusion) which together provide a pitched deck, allowing water to run off.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Ultralite Kayak

We did measurement tests. The kayak inflated is 10′ 3″ long and roughly 33 inches wide. There are 46 inches of the upper hull before the cockpit, and 36 inches of upper hull behind the cockpit. The side bladders are roughly 8 inches in diameter, making a well about 11 inches deep with the deck lifts.

Interior dimensions are approximately 76 inches long by 15 inches wide. With the seat positioned all the way back, there is a well approximately 23 inches deep by 12 inches wide (tapering down) and 9 inches tall, behind the seat. Seat back to interior snout measures 50 inch inches forward without the foot brace, which can be shortened to 35 inches with the brace. The seat can be repositioned up to 12 inches forward by shortening the side straps. Weight limitations suggest 225 lbs for person and gear.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Ultralite Kayak On the Water

 

Advanced Elements Ultralite on the water.

I was very interested in seeing how the Ultralite paddled, and immediately hopped in despite the wind kicking up. It’s zippy, tracks well and is very maneuverable. For my size of 5’4″, it is quite roomy – and it’s easy to carry. Heading into the wind, the Ultralite rode over small swells easily, still tracking pretty smoothly. Downwind was just as nice with just a slight bit of drift.

Advanced Elements Ultralite on the water.

I next took the Ultralite out on a very calm and balmy day – this is where the Ultralite REALLY shines. It was fun, responsive and quick. The open-style cockpit was refreshing and roomy – really a joy to be on the water. For my size of 5’4″ the inflatable foot brace made a huge difference in paddling comfort, by giving me something to push against.

Open cockpit design

My 6’2″ husband took the Ultralite out next with the seat positioned all the way back, and the foot brace removed. The open cockpit design made it easier to maneuver his larger frame, while allowing him to bend his knees slightly. He also felt the kayak paddled and tracked well. His only critique – despite wearing low-profile paddling shoes, his 10.5 shoe size forced his feet together into the snout, making it slightly uncomfortable.

Advanced Elements Ultralite on the water.

It is to be noted that the backbone and dropstitch floor – while technically usable – are not suggested. The backbone will have a tendency to move around slightly, and there is not enough head room to use the high-pressure floor at full inflation. The Ultralite also can not use a spray skirt.

The Advanced Elements Ultralite weighs under 20 lbs.

Oh yes, and did I forget to mention how incredibly lightweight this kayak is!

Packing Up the Ultralite Kayak

Packing up the AdvancedFrame Ultralite is easy. Open all the valves to let the air out – this can be helped by using the deflate mode on your pump. By removing the floor and rolling it up, the folded package will be smaller.

Packing up

Tighten and close the valves so air doesn’t creep back in, and then simply fold in half the long way, then fold the two ends towards the center, just behind the landing plate and fin. Then fold in half again. This should slip back into the bag if you’ve removed all the air.

Bottom Line on the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Ultralite Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements Ultralite on the water.

The AdvancedFrame Ultralite AE3022 inflatable kayak is a real joy to paddle! It’s a great, streamlined kayak at a very good price, the perfect choice for those wanting “fun on the water” without the extra weight yet just enough “bells and whistles.”

Advanced Elements Ultralite on the water.

The kayak is comfortable, paddles well, looks good and is pretty stable. The open cockpit design of the AdvancedFrame Ultralite AE3022 will appeal to those who want ease of entering/exiting, though taller paddlers with a larger shoe-size may feel cramped.

Lightweight and easy to carry

The switch to open bladder cover, foam floor, polyurethane bladders and polyurethane tarpaulin hull provide most of the weight savings, making the AdvancedFrame Ultralite roughly 10 lbs lighter than the Sport, and nearly half the weight of the AdvancedFrame.

Numerous optional accessories – such as the high-back lumbar seat or rapidup sail (shown above on the AdvancedFrame model), can enhance the paddling experience and performance.

The AdvancedFrame Ultralite is best-suited for lakes, bays, calm rivers and inland waters. This is a great choice for travel or remote trips– the carrying case is rugged enough to check as baggage, it’s perfect for RVs and easily fits in the trunk of a small car. And at 21.5 lbs including the seat, brace and backpack, it won’t break your back.

Street price is $599. For more info or to purchase, see the AdvancedFrame Ultralite AE3022 product page on AirKayaks.com, or watch our YouTube video, below:

Older Posts »

Categories

%d bloggers like this: