Joe's Expedition Review: Overall

AE1009-R Ultralite(2006)
AE1009-Y Advanced Frame Expedition(2007-Present)

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Peds109
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:08 pm

Joe's Expedition Review: Overall

Post by Peds109 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:06 am

First - thanks to all who post. Your input helped guide my decision so I figured it was my turn to provide feedback for anyone who may find it helpful.

Overview:
I recently bought an Expedition Elite and wanted to reserve my review until I felt I had taken it out enough to give honest feedback. I live in New England and have taken the boat out about 10 times - mostly flatwater (lakes and slow rivers). My wife has the SUV with a roofrack so we use her car for her 10.5' hardshell recreational. I drive a sports car that I didn't want to put a roofrack on so I wanted an inflatable for when I go without her. After careful research, pulled the trigger on the AE Exp Elite. Below is my overall review of the boat - but I'm also going to provide some reviews about accessories/other observations in another thread.

Packing/Unpacking:
If you and a friend or significant other decide to go out at the same time and leave the same place in separate cars, you'll be out on the water at the same time, give or take. You'll get there faster as they load and strap their hardshell. However, you'll need more time to inflate and assemble your boat. By the time you're done, they'll be there and have their hardshell unloaded. I bring this up because my wife and I often go together where we strap her hardshell and I bring my Expedition. I mention this only because it does delay the time to water. This isn't a fault of the boat - just an observation for anyone looking to combine trips with hardshell and an inflatable. Also - just a tip, I've found it much easier to remove the DS floor and fold the boat and floor separately. They'll both fit in the bag, but it seems to be much easier than folding them together. I've got the time down to about 15 minutes - but I could probably be faster if I didn't bring as much gear/accessories.

Performance:
Most of my friends paddle recreational/touring hardshells 10-13 feet. The Expedition performs as well or better than any of theirs. It tracks like a dream (little wasted paddle stroke) has plenty of speed when you're really looking to move, and handles small waves/wakes without issue. If you're competing with top of the line sea kayaks (14-19 feet), you may not keep up, but neither would a hardshell of comparable length to the Expedition. For anyone apprehensive about it b/c of performance gap, don't be. My friends hardshells of comparable price don't perform differently enough for any of us to notice (they've tried the Expedition and agreed).

Maintenance:
Ahhh, the one area of tradeoff that I overlooked. If you want your boat to last for years, you need to add water repellent and UV protection to the appropriate areas of the boat. You also need to unpack it and wipe it down after you return home. Might seem minimal, but compared to hosing down a hardhsell every so often, it does add time and energy. Knowing now, I still love the Expedition and wouldn't have changed my mind, but just be aware of this.

Overall:
I couldn't be happier. The boat fits into the small trunk of my car. I did get a second duffle bag to store/carry things like the pump, 4 piece paddle, water shoes, foot pegs, dry box, etc. But that also fits into my tiny trunk. The boat performs better than I expected. And despite the assembly time and maintenance, the fact that I can get out more - on my own with my car - has been well worth it.

Joe

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