Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak Review

Advanced Elements Expedition Inflatable KayakKayak overview

Just by looking at the picture, you might see that this does not look like your average inflatable kayak, and that is for a very good reason. The Expedition is a hybrid mix between a foldable and an inflatable one, meaning you get the best of both worlds. If you like taking long trips and spending most of your day out on the water, you’re going to love Advanced Elements Expedition.

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This is a 13 feet long inflatable hybrid kayak with plenty of storage space, perfect for those times when you want to be away for a longer time. It has a carrying capacity of 450 pounds, there’s plenty of room for you and all the gear you can imagine. It features an adjustable seat with lumbar support (which means the seat has support for your lower back), rubber handles, inflatable spray skirts (to protect you from the splashing water), mesh pockets, an adjustable foot brace and a of course, a carrying bag.

Inside the hull you’ll find a built in aluminum frame, this helps to shape the bow and stern for tracking, it also has a skeg to make tracking better than ever. You do not have to connect any poles to shape the frame as they’re already connected to each other, it’s as simple as taking it out of the bag and unfolding it. It has a low center of gravity which adds more stability to the vessel.

With the high flow spring valves (made for easy and quick set up) it takes about 10 minutes (5 minutes if you’re quick!) to completely pump it up. These valves also make deflation of the kayak quicker and easier.

Whether you’re a tall person looking to get a kayak that fits you or if you want to have something that resembles a hard shell kayak as much as possible, this will be your go to choice. With its hybrid design and low center of gravity it’s really a unique and beginner friendly kayak. People say you’ll turn into a spokesman for Advanced Elements while out paddling with the Expedition, and after we’ve tried it, we can definitely see why.

Features

  • Hybrid design lets you have the best of both worlds.
  • Adjustable seat with support for lower back
  • Lots of space for gear and other accessories
  • Repair kit is included

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 156 inches in length and 32 inches in width
  • Weight: 42 pounds
  • Carrying Capacity: 450 pounds
  • Material: Heavy Duty PVC

Our Review

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So, where do we start with this one? This is definitely one of the funnest inflatables we’ve gotten the chance to paddle.

Hybrid design with slightly malfunctioning air valves
The folding design makes it really easy to unfold and assemble. We had it assembled and all inflated 10 minutes after taking it out of the carry bag. The air valves work really good, just push them down with your finger and they’re open. We did notice however that sometimes when you pumped too much air, the valves would close on themselves, making it impossible to inflate. With a little bit of tinkering we figured out that opening the valve ever so slightly, rather than having them fully opened fixed this issue.

Tracking has never been straighter
Thanks to the aluminum frame and the skeg, the tracking capabilities of this kayak are incredible. We’ve been paddling mostly on calm lakes and never encountered any problems with tracking. For us, it tracked as straight as a hard shell one. We have however talked to people that have had the complete opposite experience. One owner told us that each time he went paddling with his Expedition, it tracked differently, sometimes it would go straight and sometimes it would do hard starboard’s all the time. According to him, he would set it up the same way each time he went to the lake, yet it would track different each time. We will never know if he did actually set it up properly or not, but the majority of the owners do not have these kinds of problems, including us. This one of the best tracking inflatable kayaks we have tried (along with the other AdvancedFrame kayaks).

Spacious, even for tall people
A common problem tall people face with inflatable vessels is trying to fit into them, often there’s not a lot of room to move in and you’ll end up sitting awkwardly with bent knees. We found that this is not the case with Advanced Elements Expedition kayak. After all, it’s 13 feet long and has plenty of room for storage. If you find that entry (maybe you still have all that Christmas food left) is bit a tight, you can unzip the deck which makes it easy, even if you’re tall and large. It’s no wonder why tall people praise this boat so much. We could easily put two backpacks under the deck storage without compromising leg room, and with the bungee cords we could even pack more things onto the kayak if we wanted.

Carry bag leaves more to be desired
While it does come with a carrying bag, the weight of everything packed into this bag makes it really uncomfortable to carry. There are no carrying straps, just a one-hand suitcase styled handle. We’d love to see a shoulder strap or some kind of backpack straps to make it easier for one person to transport it. The one-hand handle works great for short distance, like getting the kayak from your car to the beach, but you won’t be going any further than that, unless you’re built like the Hulk.

No pump included
Also bare in mind that this kayak does not come with a pump, we recommend getting a dual action chamber hand pump from Advanced Elements with a pressure gauge, it’s fast, durable and small enough to throw into the kayak without taking up too much space. If you don’t want to spend around $40 on a pump, head over to Walmart and grab one of those cheap yellow ones although it’s so much easier to use a good dual chamber pump compared to a cheap single chamber pump…

Included paddle is top notch
The included paddle works great, which in our experience is quite uncommon. The paddle can be split into 4 separate pieces. While we only tested this for one day, some owners have said that the paddle becomes harder to disassemble after longer use, some even said they couldn’t disassemble the paddle at all. Most likely it’s rust build-up so be sure to wipe the excess water.

Pros

  • Very spacious which allows you to carry a lot of gear with you
  • Excellent tracking thanks to the hybrid design
  • Setting it up takes 5-10 minutes depending on how quick you are
  • Low center of gravity makes it stable and easy to control

Cons

  • The included carry bag only has a suitcase styled handle, making it really hard to transport longer distances
  • Some of the included paddle will seize up after longer periods of use, making it impossible to disassemble
  • It’s heavy compared to other one man inflatable kayaks

Conclusion

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak is a really great one man kayak. With its aluminum frame and skeg, tracking has never been straighter, we actually dare to say that this is one of the best tracking inflatable kayaks out there. It might not be as portable as other inflatables due to it’s weight and the lousy design of the carry bag, but it’s still way more portable than a hard shell. Tall people will love the Expedition as there’s plenty of legroom. Some people say this is the closest you will come to a hard shell kayak without actually being one. Do we agree? Most certainly! If you want to get yourself a hard shell but cannot do so due limited space, this will your best choice.

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