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Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:23 am
We just purchased the Advanced Frame tandem from West Marine. After a ton of research I felt the AF was the best on the market for the $$. We have not used it yet since we live in Ohio, but looking forward to a new experience. Now here is the question. After reading the manual several times AE repeatedly warns about overinflation and it comes with a bellows pump. How do you know when you reach the max pressure since there doesn't seem to be a gauge anywhere.
Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 12:17 pm
Of course, a pressure gauge will give you a more accurate reading but for those who do not have a gauge, here is the simplest way to tell if you have enough air and also to make sure you do not over inflate.
For the most part, the main tube, which contains the first and second valve, is hard to over inflate. Because the tube is inside the gray fabric cover, it cannot really stretch beyond what the cover will allow. This does not mean that you still can't over inflate the main tube because you can. If you are pumping and it begins to get hard to pump and you keep cranking away on the pump, there is a possibility of breaking the zipper on the cover which could burst open and allow the tube to expand. This is rare though.
Really the tube that you want to watch out for the most is the floor. Because there is no cover to keep it from expanding too far, the beams in the floor could end up seperating giving you a large lump instead of the small ridges. You DO NOT WANT THE FLOOR TO BE ROCK HARD
! You should be able to apply moderate pressure with your finger and still be able to touch the bottom of the kayak.
The small tubes that are the Coaming Chambers and the Deck Lifts only take a couple of pumps to inflate so you do not need to pump and pump and pump into to those.
The easiest way to tell if your kayak is fully inflated is to pick it up from either end. If the kayak folds, bends, or tacos in the middle, then it is under inflated and needs more air. The two main chambers should be good and firm so when you pick it up from either end it should be stiff and not fold.
If you have further questions regarding inflation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:02 pm
Thanks for the response. These tips are very helpful. I can see the issue with the floor since it is similar to a pool raft in design. I reviewed the Product Reviews in Paddling.net and the 6 reviews on the AE AF tandem give it great reviews. This website is what led me to the Advanced Frame. They did have very positive remarks with the exception of weight and difficulty cleaning a drying it. Like you said the key is proper inflation and alignment of all parts, especially getting the floor in right. For us this kayak was the nuts since we have a 5th wheel RV and no room for a hardshell. I will probably have more questions as time goes along.. Thanks again.
AF Element Model AE1012
Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:54 pm
If you are considering purchasing 1 or 2 inflatables that you can take with you in your 5th wheel, I would highly recommend the above model. We also have a 5th wheel and store our 2 kayaks (folded in thirds) in an upright position in our tub while travelling. You can put them anywhere in your unit that best suits you.
We have put a piece of the blue celled foam mattress - cut to shape - that backpackers use on top of the inflated floor. I think it provides some added protection to keep sand and other grit off the floor. We havent purchased the backbone yet, but probably will this summer.
We find these kayaks to be extremely versatile, safe, and easy-to-paddle. It took us a few tries before we got the "right" pressure but I think that we have found it - without a gauge. Just remember, that you should let a fair bit of air out of them if you are keeping them out of the water and in the sun for any length of time.
I think you will be very pleased if you were to purchase one of these kayaks. Richard