AE AdvancedFrame Expedition review

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kiltie_celt
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:02 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

AE AdvancedFrame Expedition review

Post by kiltie_celt » Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:40 pm

Well, my AE Expedition arrived a few days late. It was supposed to arrive on the 20th, but due to a UPS mix up of some sort it didn't arrive until the 23rd. I purchased the kayak as an upgrade from a Sevylor Pointer K1, purchased from Holly and Chuck at www.airkayaks.com. Man, talk about fantastic customer service! The Sevylor blew out a seam the fourth time I pumped it up, and it was actually on the third time it would have gone in the water. I was bummed and was going to talk to Holly and Chuck about getting it repaired or the offending tube replaced. Instead I decided to pony up another $249 to upgrade to the Expedition. Holly, knowing I wanted to get back out on the water ASAP, sent out the new Expedition the same day with a return shipping label for the Sevylor and simply sent me a PayPal invoice for the difference. No monkeying about with "send us your kayak first and we'll consider exchanging it." Nope, they realize what makes for good customer service and they made it right, answered my questions and made me feel like a valued customer. You really have to commend people how go above and beyond in a day where most businesses could care less whether the customer is happy or satisfied. So, the kayak... It's heavy - certainly a bit heavier than the Sevylor, but at a declared weight of 42lbs it's not so much heavy as simply a bit awkward. Actually it feels like it weighs more than 42lbs. My first impressions after I got it out of the bag and spread it out in the bedroom (the least cluttered place in the apartment) - it's huge! Yeah it's 13 feet long but man, that's long! Longer is better though - that means it'll track straighter. My second impression is that the construction is exceedingly tough. The covering on the Sevylor was thin nylon. The covering on the Expedition is tough as nails 1000 denier polyester. It pumps up fairly quickly and I like the addition of the internal bladders that help raise the front and rear decks. Also, the foot brace is a very welcome addition. The legroom is to die for. At 6' 1" the Sevylor was extremely cramped, even in my stocking feet I was still uncomfortable. The inflatable coaming is a nice touch too. I'll have to buy the spray skirt before fall so I can continue to paddle in colder temps while still maintaining some comfort. My shakedown cruise consisted of tooling around off the Lake Michigan coastline down at 57th Street Beach and around the breakwater and into Jackson Harbor. I was immediately impressed with how rock steady the tracking was and how it simply plowed across the one to two foot swells on the lake that day. My only regret was not getting the spray skirt as some breaking waves rolled across the back deck and into the cockpit as I was paddling towards shore. I would've stayed dry and the interior of the boat would've stayed dry if I'd had the spray skirt. The next day I took the boat out on the North Shore Channel in Chicago. I paddled a total of three and a half miles, all the while amazed at how stable the kayak was and how straight it tracked. My only complaints, once you get it wet, particularly inside the boat, it's hard to get it all dried. You really need somewhere that you can lay it out after a wet trip to make sure you get the fabric all dried before you bag it up. That's really not much of a gripe and is really a limitation for any fabric covered boat so pretty much a non-issue there. All-in-all a very impressive, tough, well-designed boat. I heartily look forward to many more miles and years with this fantastic kayak.

Damien
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 5:07 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Post by Damien » Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:57 pm

I agree 100% about Chuck and Holly at airkayaks.com. I can't recommend them highly enough. Turns out I bought the Expedition from them first and I could barely lift it. In fact, I really couldn't lift it at all. I'm convinced that thing weighs closer to 50lbs. I never even took it out of the bag. I called them up and they recommended exchanging it for the Advanced Frame. They exchanged same as they did for you..Basically sent out an AF kayak and emailed me a return UPS shipping label so I could send the Expedition back. These folks are really on top of things. They send out the shipping information, return all phone calls..We are talking some excellent customer service. AND they answer all my dumb questions. :lol:

I got my AF and I find it tracks very well, especially with the backbone. For small rivers and streams it's extremely maneuverable, which is really nice. I highly recommend the backbone and a high quality paddle. Sometimes I miss the increased space I would've gotten with the Expedition but my back appreciates the AF more. At 10.5' it's very manageable and I can fit enough supplies for a day trip so I'm happy.

I recommend you get the spray skirt. It does keep that excess water out and seeing that laying out the Expedition to dry it is a problem for you it seems that the skirt will solve that problem. I'm lucky in that I have a backyard. Usually I will deflate the kayak and fold it up and just bungee it to the cargo rack of my Jeep and then clean and lay it out to dry on my porch or even in the living room before bagging it up for the next trip out. It doesn't take long to dry in the sun at all. It's not necessary to hose out the inside..Just a quick wipe down is all that is necessary.

kiltie_celt
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:02 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Post by kiltie_celt » Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:53 pm

It's quite possible that I may have gotten your kayak. Holly described it as an open box never used kayak purchased by someone who felt it was too heavy even to lug out to their car. Holly said it was bought by a woman though, maybe someone else but similar situation?

Damien
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 5:07 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Post by Damien » Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:23 pm

kiltie_celt wrote:It's quite possible that I may have gotten your kayak. Holly described it as an open box never used kayak purchased by someone who felt it was too heavy even to lug out to their car. Holly said it was bought by a woman though, maybe someone else but similar situation?
:lol: yes, that would be me. Small world, eh? I can assure you it was never out of the bag. After my adventures of just trying to get the bag into my Jeep I decided I couldn't hack taking it out of the bag.

I knew there might be a problem when I had to ask the UPS guy to bring the box into the house! I took it out of the box and tried to lift the bag and my back protested quite a bit. So then I grabbed my luggage carrier (basically a small fold up dolly) and wheeled out to the Jeep. My Jeep is quite high because it's lifted about 4" higher than stock (I rockcrawl with it) so this wasn't all that easy. I was able to get it in the Jeep but only with the top down and the rear seat folded down and it took up the ENTIRE rear seat. After I took it out I was completely beat so that's when I called Holly and she recommended I exchange it for an AF. I boxed it up with the backbone and shipped it out the next day. The weight on the box was 55lbs with the backbone BTW. Everything should've been in there..I made sure of that.

With the AF I was able to take the box into the house myself. The weight of the AF box was 42lbs (including the backbone). Ironically it looked like the AF I got was also one that had been opened but unused. Unfortunately the owner's manual was missing but I was able to download it from Airkayak's website and later on AE sent me the actual book so maybe my AF was exchanged for an even lighterweight Dragonfly, who knows? :lol:

At any rate, I came up with the bright idea of getting a cargo rack that slides into the receiver of my Jeep's hitch so now I don't even bother putting the bag into the Jeep. I just hoist it a few feet onto the cargo carrier and bungee it down. When I get to where I'm going I bungee the bag onto my dolly and wheel it down to the put in point. I don't even lift it much and I have all the space inside my Jeep. Maybe if I'd thought of doing all this earlier I would've been inclined to keep the Expedition. I don't know. I do miss having the extra storage space but I rather like the smaller boat. Like I said earlier, my plans include getting a trailer and a larger sea kayak and I'll keep the AF for smaller rivers, streams, day tripping and my daugher can use it so she can come along on trips too. I notice that a lot of people in my kayak club seem to have a variety of kayaks. :D

kiltie_celt
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:02 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Post by kiltie_celt » Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:00 am

No worries - Holly assured me the Expedition had never been used and I found that everything was there. I've had it out three times now and it doesn't get any lighter, I'll tell you that! What amazes me is how freaking huge it is and that it packs into that little suitcase size bag! It fits pretty conveniently in the cargo area of my '96 Subaru Legacy Wagon, and I can even pull my cargo cover closed to keep nosy people from looking at my stuff when my car is parked somewhere. I really LOVE the legroom. At 6' 1" the Sevylor K1 Pointer I tried before this was fun but way, WAY too cramped for me feet and it had hardly any storage space compared to the Expedition. With as much gear hauling space as it has, it almost seems a pity to put it in the water without hauling something in it. I'm already planning some kayak camping trips with my wife.

Damien
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 5:07 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Post by Damien » Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:18 pm

Wow, it's great that you like it.

The AF has worked out well for me. Seems to be just the right size for what I want/need to do. I do want a bigger kayak that can keep up with the sea kayaks in my club and that I can use for long trips (like camping on Lake George). Unfortunately the AF just doesn't have the storage space for an extended camping trip so I'm eventually going to invest in a longer sea kayak and trailer and keep the Advanced Frame for smaller streams and quick day trips.
'

NJR
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: AE AdvancedFrame Expedition review

Post by NJR » Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:32 pm

I'm really glad to hear that because I'm planning on buying that model gladly and conveniently i live near a man-made lake I'll never have to worry about rocks and then the puncture resistant i can wait to get my own!

KayakJack
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:36 pm
Location: New York City

freaky!!

Post by KayakJack » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:01 pm

FREAKY!!!! haha j/k. Welcome aboard and glad to hear you're enjoying your new Expedition! It's a great kayak!

kiltie_celt wrote:It's quite possible that I may have gotten your kayak. Holly described it as an open box never used kayak purchased by someone who felt it was too heavy even to lug out to their car. Holly said it was bought by a woman though, maybe someone else but similar situation?

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