Advanced Frame or 10' Hardshell?

AE1002(2002-2005), AE1012(2006-Present), AE1017-O(2009-Present)

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cfal
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:41 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Advanced Frame or 10' Hardshell?

Post by cfal » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:16 pm

Hi, I am trying to decide between buying hard shell 10' kayaks for my wife and I or an Advanced Frame. I have never been in an inflatable and but a local sales rep advised against them saying that are too easily blown around by the wind. We live on the south shore of Long Island and will paddle along the shoreline of the Great South Bay (but not across the bay) and some local small lakes and rivers (Class 1). We have taken lessons and paddled hard shells but they were 14'. Any advice on deciding between the two would help. Thanks!

arne
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:16 am
Location: Germany

Re: Advanced Frame or 10' Hardshell?

Post by arne » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:44 am

cfal wrote: I have never been in an inflatable and but a local sales rep advised against them saying that are too easily blown around by the wind.
A lot of people are a little biased against inflatable kayaks. And, as so often in such cases, there are some root causes that led to these prejudices. Just have a look at old-fashioned inflatables or that cheap stuff you can by from discounters every summer. They have a rather high profile which makes them, of course, quite vulnerable to adverse wind conditions. On the other hand, what you can see of an AE kajak when you look at it from the side while it is in the water (and manned) is not so much different from hardshells or collapsibles.

We own three kajaks, one collapsible (Triton Ladoga II) and two AEs (Expedition and Airflex Decks). I wouldn't say that the AEs are more susceptible to lateral winds than the Ladoga. The main disadvantage of the AEs is the limited storage space inside the boat. The air tubes need a lot of space so there isn't that much left for camping gear. For a daytrip that's no big deal, but sleeping bags, tent and clothing have to be strapped onto the deck.
Well, and then, of course, cross winds can become a bit less pleasant...

NaturalPath
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:39 am

Post by NaturalPath » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:14 pm

Absolutely correct arne, I've paddled both hardshells and my AdvancedFrame and wind was not a problem with either one. There are inflatable kayaks on the market today that have a much higher profile than the Advanced Elements kayaks and these, I feel, would be affected by winds, so all inflatables are not created equal.

True, the storage space on the AdvancedFrame is limited, but I just got back from a camping trip today and I carried all my usual camping gear with no problem. However, I would suggest to anyone expecting to do a lot of overnight trips to get an Expedition instead of an AdvancedFrame. Otherwise you will end up storing your gear like this;
Image[/img]

cfal
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:41 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Post by cfal » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:21 pm

Thanks so much for your input. Most of our trips would likely only be for 2-3 hours along the bay or down local rivers. Lake Ronkonkama in only 2.2 miles around so storage isn't an issue. The place I was looking to buy did not sell inflatables so arne I do believe you are correct regarding a bias. NaturalPath thanks for the picture, that does sit well into the water. How long are your trips with them? Are they slower then a hardshell? Difficult to keep up with hardshells? I noticed there are 7 valves on the AF but only 4 on the Sport. Since I will only be paddling for a few hours and will have to inflate two kayaks, would I be better off with the Sport? Quicker setup? They get great reviews on Amazon and most on the Forums love them so I will likely go with one of them.

NaturalPath
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:39 am

Post by NaturalPath » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:59 pm

Hey cfal, ya, the load I'm carrying there is handled very well by the AdvancedFrame. I carry the heavier stuff inside the kayak, either behind me, or up in front of my feet. There's still some room there, since I'm only around 5'6".

I usually go camping with my kayak for anywhere from 2 days to a week.

I think that I would be stretching the truth to tell you that the AdvancedFrame is just as fast as a hardshell kayak. The last hardshell I had was a Necky Looksha 17 footer, and I'll have to admit that it was faster. However, as far as inflatables go, I think that the AdvancedFrame is quite respectable in speed. Remember, you need to weigh all the pluses and minuses to any kayak, and one of the big pluses of the AdvancedFrame is the fact that you can store it in a closet. You can't do that with a 17 foot hardshell. I haven't actually paddled with any hardshell kayakers yet, but I have paddled with a solo canoeist and I had no problem keeping up with him, in fact, I think it was the other way around.

I'm not a big fan of the Sport model. In order to lower the cost they have cut some corners. I believe the reason for fewer valves on the Sport is the fact that the main tube on that model is not partitioned like it is in the AdvancedFrame. There are two spring valves for the main tube on the AdvancedFrame because there is an internal partition running down the middle of that tube, and each side of the partition is a separate air chamber. If one section of the main tube should deflate, the other one would be enough to keep you going. The Sport does not have that feature. I'm sure that there were other cost cutting measure too, but I'm not aware of them all.

I don't believe the Sport will be any quicker to set up than the AdvancedFrame. The main tube might only have one valve, but you will need to put more pumps into that one valve.

For the slight difference in price, I would say that the AdvancedFrame is an easy choice.

cfal
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:41 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Post by cfal » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:53 pm

NaturalPath thanks again for your input. That makes a lot of sense, I did not think of it that way but most of the time is spent inflating and not moving from valve to valve. It seems easier to me than loading and unloading two hard shells on and off of my roof for what will often be just a few hours of paddeling. I saw a video on the web of a woman who set it up in just over 5min. with the hand pump. On another video an AE rep suggests filling the chambers with a 12v pump and then topping off with a manual pump. Any preference? Is a 5min. setup reasonable?

NaturalPath
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:39 am

Post by NaturalPath » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:11 pm

Ya know, I'm sure you might get a lot of differing opinions on this one cfal, but I like to go with the KISS rule. Manual pumping is not all that difficult with these double action pumps and, in my opinion, a 12V pump might be asking for trouble. I know that some 12V pumps will not reach a pressure high enough to over-inflate the kayak tube, but there is a guy named Pearly on this list and you might want to check one of his latest posts, where he did just that.

Again, my opinion only, but I don't think that a pressure gauge is needed, in fact, I think that it is better to get to know how the tubes feel when they are properly inflated. This way you can easily check while you are paddling or when your kayak is just sitting on shore, by feeling the tubes. If you keep your tubes close to maximum pressure, like I do, it's important to keep an eye on heat expansion, and I can do that by just feeling the tubes.

In real life, it probably takes someone who knows what they're doing 7 to 10 minutes to set the kayak up without breaking a sweat. If you haven't done it before it might take 15. There is a bit of a learning curve to both setting up and taking down.

arne
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:16 am
Location: Germany

Post by arne » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:43 am

NaturalPath wrote: In real life, it probably takes someone who knows what they're doing 7 to 10 minutes to set the kayak up without breaking a sweat. If you haven't done it before it might take 15. There is a bit of a learning curve to both setting up and taking down.
I can absolutely subscribe to that.
In fact, setting up the kayak has never been an issue for me. I don't really see the point in using an electric pump, you will hardly save any time.

On the other hand, there is one thing that is bit tedious, and that is drying and getting the kayak back into its bag. When I return from a trip I deflate the boat (usually with the help of the hand pump) and just toss it into my car. At home I spread it in our basement and leave it there to dry for a couple of days. Probably, 12-24h would be enough, but I just leave it there a bit longer. And then I have to cram it back into the bag...
It's not terribly difficult but a bit of a nuisance.

To wrap it up: Setting the kayak up is really no big deal and I really don't see the point in trying to save 2 or 3 minutes by using an electric pump or by buying a Sport that has only one main valve. Getting everything dry again and back into the bag is certainly more time-consuming.

NaturalPath
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:39 am

Post by NaturalPath » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:54 am

I'll usually wipe the grey part of the hull off with a towel and then it does dry pretty fast, but the upper part will need to air dry for quite some time. After wiping off the lower part, I fold the kayak and put it back in the bag. I always use the pump to get all the air out of both the main chambers and the floor, so that it fits in the bag nicely. When I get the kayak home I will usually bring it inside and inflate it up to dry. Depending on what kind of trips I'm doing, I might completely disassemble the kayak every three trips or so, to get any sand or dirt out and to allow the most inner parts of the kayak to fully dry so that there are no smells or mold growing in there.

I guess, since I'm retired, I don't really worry too much about time anymore. It takes as long as it takes, but once the kayak is set up back at home to dry, there's really no work involved. I think that the psychology of it all is that, when you come back from an outing in the kayak you might be a bit tired and you don't really feel like doing a whole lot of work at that moment. The fact is , no matter what type of boat you use, you will have to deal with it in some way, whether that be lifting it up on top of the vehicle and securing it with ropes or some type of special rooftop carrier. This is probably not anyone's favorite part of the trip, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Overall, I find it quite easy to handle my AdvancedFrame kayak. Once you get into the routine of what needs to be done, it goes very smoothly.

JCOOLEY
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Post by JCOOLEY » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:04 am

First...Great posts and responses.

1. The advanced Frame Kayak and Sport Kayak sit lower in the water compared to most inflatable therefore does not get pushed around by the wind all that much. Check out ADvanced Elements on Flickr to see all the different pics so you can see just how low it sits.
2. You mentioned you were trying to choose between a 10' hardshell and the inflatable. Side by side when paddling, an Advanced Frame 10'5" will easily keep up with a 10' hardshell if not paddle better. Now side by side with a surfski or 16' touring kayak is a different story.
3. I can personally inflate the 15' in 5 min. and the Advanced Frame in about 4 min. That is rushing though. Taking your sweet time once you know what you are doing it will usually take about 5-7 min.
4. I like to have the 12v do most of the work. It only gets to .6 psi so you will need the hand pump or foot pump to get it o 2 psi for the main chambers and 1 psi for the smaller chambers and floor.
5. You were concerned about there being 7 chambers in Advanced frame. 4 of those chambers are small tubes that take seconds to inflate. Literally just a couple of pumps in each one. The Sport eliminates 1 min valve and 2 small coaming chamber tubes that go around the cockpit.

I think you will be very happy with the Advanced Frame as many people can attest too. Check out reviews on Paddling.net, REI, Amazon and the many comments here on the forum. If they didn't perform well and serve their purpose, we would long be out of business. Even in the long run if you either change your mind or want to upgrade, they have a great resale value as long as they are taken care of.

J

arne
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:16 am
Location: Germany

Post by arne » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:28 am

JCOOLEY wrote: I think you will be very happy with the Advanced Frame as many people can attest too.
I certainly do.
Perhaps my posts above sound a bit too negative as I pointed out some not so pleasant aspects, i.e. the limited space inside the boat and the drying/packing procedure. So I would like to point out one thing: I bought my first AE a year ago and about two weeks ago my wife and I bought the next one, an Airflex Decks. Is that enough of a recommendation?

JCOOLEY
Site Admin
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Post by JCOOLEY » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:03 pm

arne wrote: I bought my first AE a year ago and about two weeks ago my wife and I bought the next one, an Airflex Decks.
"Airflex" threw me for a loop. I looked it up. It is the name some of the European dealers call the Advanced Frame Convertible. Just in case anyone else was slightly confused.

arne
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:16 am
Location: Germany

Post by arne » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:42 pm

Thanks for the explanation! :-)
For me, the Advanced Frame Convertible looked similar to our kayak but I wasn't sure whether it really was the same boat or not.

@NaturalPath: You are absolutely right with what you said about the handling, drying etc. of AE boats and kayaks in general. IMHO, every kayak has its strengths and drawbacks. The AEs are certainly very easy to transport, setting them up is straight forward and quickly done and you can have a lot of fun with them when you are on the water. My "problem" with the drying process is simply, that often I can only find time for kayaking on Sundays. So in the evening, when I'm already exhausted, I simply dump the stuff in the basement or perhaps even in the hallway. During the week I don't have much time so usually the boat will have to wait until I can pack it the following weekend.

cfal
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:41 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Post by cfal » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:56 pm

Thanks again so much for all of the input everyone has provided. It has been very helpful to hear the personal experiences of owners. How about carrying the kayak once it is inflated. My wife is quite small (about 110 pounds) will she be able to carry it inflated or will I have to make two trips to the car :) This is another reason I considered the Sport as it is 10 pounds lighter (although she would like a spray skirt). She tried to carry a 10' hard shell at 45 pounds a week ago and couldn't. As far as drying it out, it seems less labor intensive than loading and unloading two kayaks off of my roof rack, tying them down etc, untying and removing and then repeating this to get back home. Again thanks so much, buying two kayaks and all of the accessories is a large purchase. I want to be sure I make the right one.

JCOOLEY
Site Admin
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:46 pm
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Post by JCOOLEY » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:10 pm

Two ways to carry it...

1. Over the shoulder. You would grab the side of the tube from inside the cockpit and hoist it over your shoulder so that the inside part of the tube would be resting on your shoulder. Can still be a bit akward for your 110lb. wife even though it only weighs 36 lbs. for the Advanced Frame. The Sport is 10 lbs. lighter and much easier to carry.
2. Each person grabs a handle on either end of the kayak. Think outside of the box though. Most people would carry only one at a time. Recently We went paddling. My wife who is 5' 110 and our 2 girls. Well the girls couldn't do very much but carry their PFDs. We brought with us 2 of the 15' Advanced Frame Convertibles at 56 lbs apiece. Plus we through water bottles, paddles, a backup pump and our own pfds into the kayaks. We lined them side by side. She stood at the bow end and I the stern end. We both stepped in between the two kayaks and grabbed a handle in each hand. This way we were able to transport two kayaks at the same time without much strain. It will be even easier with 40+ less lbs. if you are carrying 2 Advanced Frames or 60+ less lbs. if you are carrying 2 Advanced Frame Sports.

Hope that gives you an idea how to carry them. Whatever you do....do not drag them. There are aids available as well like the AE3010 Kayak Dolly or the AE2016 Compact Kayak Cart. The Ae3010 Kayak Dolly helps transport the kayak once inflated from the car to the water and can folded up and stored on the deck of the kayak. The AE2016 Compact Kayak Cart transports the kayak deflated from the car to the water so it can be inflated by the water. It can too be stored on the deck of the kayak. Trust me, I have done this many times with both carts and most of the Advanced Elements models.

J

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