Search found 4 matches

by Brahma
Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:27 am
Forum: Advanced Frame Convertible & Advanced Frame 2
Topic: Review- Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Converitible
Replies: 12
Views: 24572

As for seats, I knew before my first pump that I would need something stiffer and taller. So I ordered this one, took the buckles off, put the clips from my AE seat on, added a couple of zip ties for security and voila... A seat that works for someone over 6 ft tall. http://www.austinkayak.com/prod...
by Brahma
Fri May 03, 2013 5:49 pm
Forum: Advanced Frame Convertible & Advanced Frame 2
Topic: Review- Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Converitible
Replies: 12
Views: 24572

Amazingly, it does change the cost quite a bit. There is the AE3011 which will fit the Convertible. It is a kayak pack with shoulder straps so it can be carried as a backpack or carrying bag. Of course I have been doing this for a long time and have never had an issue with the current style bag. I ...
by Brahma
Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:54 pm
Forum: Advanced Frame Convertible & Advanced Frame 2
Topic: Review- Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Converitible
Replies: 12
Views: 24572

Review- Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Converitible

I bought a Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible inflatable kayak and took it out yesterday for the first time. I am new to kayaking but very experienced in inflatable boating. The target consumer is someone like myself who is restricted by portability and/or storage size restrictions, and certain compromises are to be expected in performance, but I was pleasantly surprised. My target need was portability for storage to fish Tampa Bay and inshore coastal waters of the Gulf which kayaks are commonly used for that purpose.

The base AEC is a quality, albeit, expensive piece of gear, with compromises stated above, but also some not well thought out shortcomings. Being 6’2â€￾ and over 300 pounds, I knew I was stretching the design limitations of this kayak, but the specs, depending on which you read, state a rated load of either 500 or 550 pounds. None the less, I am often faced with issues surrounding my physical size, so what I found wasn’t a surprise, but as always, somewhat disappointing. Irrespective of size issues, I found a few glaring issues that anyone should be concerned about when investing this amount of money for an inflatable. Overall, the AEC will fit my immediate requirements but will require personal upgrades and design alterations at additional cost to render it fully useable.

I purchased and tested the following; AEC kayak, AEC Backbone, AEC inflatable foot brace, AEC Pack Lite 4 Paddle, AEC Single Deck Conversion, AEC Lumbar Seat, AEC Double-Action Hand Pump with Pressure Gauge and an AEC 12 volt Pump online at Amazon. Other considered AEC accessories pending my initial evaluation at purchase time were the AEC Double Deck Conversion, AEC Accessory Frame System and AEC Dura-Floor. Additionally, I purchased an AEC RapidUp Sail and an AEC Forum member recommended large spray bottle of 303 Fabric Guard, plus other needed marine supplies at a local West Marine store. Total investment for the purchased AEC components was over $1,400.00, with other AEC considered options of an additional $150 + the cost of the as of yet unpriced AEC Dura Floor. This investment takes it well within the upper range of fully equipped poly kayaks, and approaching actual marine grade inflatable, and trailerable boats and should not be considered lightly.

Currently having only an apartment with no garage facilitated the need for an inflatable. I had owned and used for years a fully accessorized 12 foot Sevylor Fish Hunter that took loads of abuse and wear and satisfied every need including loading into a Cessna for transport , so as stated, I am fully experienced in inflatable use, design compromises and care. I should mention also the Sevylor, at the time, was a considerable less investment with much more room, including a 50 lb. thrust Minnkota, but the comparison between the two styles of boats is not a fair comparison, but the cost factor is.

I fully built out the AEC in my apartment the night before, check-fitting all equipment and was pleased with the build process, and basic quality. What was immediately clear was I am too big to use the AEC Single Deck Conversion I bought. Unless you are an average person- or far less- in size, you will be using the AEC without a deck. This did not bother me as I live in Florida and am not afraid of being wet. It would be an immediate consideration elsewhere. The next thing that immediately became clear, and that I am always fearful about was the AEC Lumbar Seat, as well as the included standard seats, do not provide the support necessary for someone of my size. The AEC Lumbar Seat comes very close, but more on that later. Lastly, the AEC is almost completely void of any useable, and/or accessible storage areas, the most glaring a real, fixed anchor point, either for or aft. This is very bad for any vessel.

I collapsed and packed the AEC with relative ease and will mirror other reviews that the storage bag- while big enough to pack a wet AEC, is ill-designed as the zipper used does not allow the bag to be opened wide enough to conveniently stow the kayak, seats and floor. Ultimately, the bag should be designed larger to facilitate the additional purchased AEC components that make up a fully built AEC to include Deck Conversion, Dura Floor and or Drop Stitch Floor, possibly the AEC Back Bone and paddles- anything the becomes wet. This feature would demonstrate forward thinking and added value on the part of AE for the investment. Instead, this equates to additional cost and inconvenience to the customer in additional storage bags for wet gear.

I took the AEC to the Dunedin, FL causeway for the maiden voyage. At high tide, this represents a short grassy beach approach to the water, at low tide, a wide, sharp, rocky beach is exposed. The sea conditions were 2 foot swells with a 10 knot wind, not ideal for a maiden voyage, but good for a real evaluation. I setup the AEC as the night before which did not include the AEC RapidUp Sail. I found the $99 RapidUp Sail to be a novel idea, but in no way worth the cost and poor, cheap design. The plastic clips felt cheap and did not even fit the AEC D Rings without cursing. Above all other accessories, the RapidUp Sail was of a MUCH lower quality than expected. After completing the setup, I sprayed the entire bottle of 303 Fabric Guard on all exposed surfaces, including the AEC RapidUp Sail, let it cure before using it for 4 hours, 2 hours less than the minimum recommended but I got a late start to the day.

Finally, it was time to hit the water. For this, I had to remove the AEC Single Deck Conversion. Most kayaks in Florida are sit on, open styles and this was not a concern. In the surf, I managed to board with little water, and paddled away with little effort. However, I boarded with poor placement to the AEC Lumbar Seat and immediately leaned back nearly flat on me back. I continued, as it was fun anyway. I was impressed by the tracking and the speed I could make in the 2 foot seas and headwind of 10 knots. The RapidUp Sail I could not get to full collapse so it was some measurable impediment to progress. I continued into the wind until I thought better of going back and re-boarding properly to evaluate the additional cost of the AEC Lumbar Seat. Turned the vessel, released the too-short tie down of the AEC RapidUp Sail, and it worked, except one of the cheap plastic clips broke in front immediately. The RapidUp Sail became the RapidBroken Sail.

I tied the strap of the sail the D-Ring when back at shore and re-boarded. The AEC Lumbar Seat provided “betterâ€￾ support this time, but overall, proved that using the AEC will be a painful experience- not totally it’s fault but a better design will work for big people as well as others, and would be a value-add for the investment. This time I continued for thirty minutes in the conditions which provided a slight flooding I am certain could be avoided if the deck conversion could be used. Even with some water aboard, the vessel was very stable and fun. I finally turned and raised the RapidBroken Sail and used it all the way to shore.

I went out a third time with the same results of a painful but fun paddle, against the swells and wind and was convinced the AEC has potential, but at additional cost over and above the large investment.

Teardown was not any pain that wasn’t expected, especially now that the operator was tired- something a chore to consider in all inflatables. The storage bag design could be so much less of a hassle and a much more welcomed convenience, that I already anticipated this and shopped for- and didn’t find, a bigger storage bag before my AEC was delivered. This is a necessity as no wet inflatable packs, with wet accessories, like it arrives from the factory. Again, something to be very appreciated when in falling darkness, cold, tired and wet. AEC would do its customers well by making the storage bag bigger, redesigned with a full open zipper. HINT HINT.
Building an inflatable is easy dry and with excited anticipation of a fun day, packing a wet inflatable when exhausted sucks. Male that experience easier and you are well on your way to a successful total solution people will outwardly talk about.

For people who have absolutely no recourse for storage or portability issues, the AEC represents a quality “startâ€￾ that will make their dreams of inshore accessibility a reality. But be advised, certain issues will present themselves; setup, teardown and cleanup time associated with any inflatable, high investment cost of this particular product, and some items clearly designed with cost cutting measure in mind that need immediate upgrade- additional tie down/anchor points, unusable conversion decks, poorly designed sail, total lack of rod holder.

Would I purchase this again, knowing what I know now? Not for the cost- I would hold out and invest in something more costly, less portable but overall more satisfactory. The investment is that near that decision point. Will I keep using it? Yes, it will work out over time.
by Brahma
Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:16 am
Forum: Advanced Frame Convertible & Advanced Frame 2
Topic: Drop Stitch Florr replaced by Dura Floor?
Replies: 1
Views: 7877

Drop Stitch Florr replaced by Dura Floor?

Hi! I'm new to the forum and a new AE Convertible owner- it is on the delivery truck as I type.

I didn't get n optional floor but I see people talking about a drop stitch floor and I only see the Dura Floor. Has the Drop Stitch Floor been replaced by the Dura Floor?

Thanks-

Brahma