Expedition v. Convertible v. Airfusion

Get advice on which kayak may be best for you. Compare the different models. "VS."

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Expedition v. Convertible v. Airfusion

Post by AKColquhoun » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:51 am

I am going to be kayaking primarily in oceans. I am 5'6'', 130 lbs.

The AdvancedFrame Convertible was recommended to me for versatility and reviewed positively on the sites I visited. I am concerned that it might be too heavy for me to manage comfortably alone so was looking at AdvancedFrame Expedition.

I will be paddling in cold weather so will need a fair amount of gear and think the AirFusion may not be as stable as I'd like.

The reviews I read of the Expedition complained about the spray skirt coming loose. The reviews of the Convertible did not mention the spray skirt, but from reviewing the web, I can't see that the spray skirt on the Convertible would be better than the Expedition's.

Thanks for any advice on my choice.

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Post by Pearly » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:16 am

The spray skirt on these kayaks is held on by tightening a drawstring inside the hem of the skirt. Depending how well this drawstring is tightened and arranged will make a difference to how well it stays on. It should not come off if it is adjusted properly. If you wanted to make sure it stays in place, you can sew in some velcro - say in 2 or 3 inch strips at suitable positions around the cockpit. Just don't put a needle through the tubes in the cockpit!

For general moving around, you can get a small folding trolley for the kayak in the bag. Alternatively, you can get a kayak trolley to make it easier to move from the car to the water.

As far as the Expedition versus the Convertible is concerned, they both handle well with good tracking and plenty of space inside. I've owned my Expedition for almost 2 years, used it almost every weekend on the sea around Singapore and would not change it for Convertible or the Airfusion, but that is my personal choice. The quality of the materials makes it heavy, but that is also reassuring.

lee johnson
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Post by lee johnson » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:50 pm

Dear Alaskan Kayaker,

At your height and weight, does the 42 lbs. of the Expedition vs. the 56 lbs. of the Convertible (more, in each case, if a BackBone is added) constitute an important factor in your choice? Actually, you could probably feel quite comfortable in the 10' 5" Advanced Frame solo; but you mention that you need to carry gear, often in cold weather. Either the Expedition or Convertible would accommodate that need better than either the 10' 5" or the AirFusion, which is a fun kayak to paddle but is not, in my experience of it, suited to carrying lots of gear.

I personally do not own a Convertible (or West Marine AF 2). My experience is with the Expedition, the AirFusion, the Advanced Frame solo, and the Lagoon (my traveling kayak). Each has its special function. The Lagoon, as I noted, is excellent for traveling and for birdwatching because of its maneuverability for following birds in flight - also for photography because of its stability. My AF 1 is my kayak of choice when going out on Canadian mountain lakes in freezing temperatures - thanks to its quick set-up and take-down: at the end of several cold hours, it taco-chips in half and fits neatly in the back of my Forester, to warm up on the way home. You will come to appreciate just how stiff and cold an IK hull can become and may appreciate the forgiving compactness of the 10' 5" advanced frame solo compared to a hull that needs to be folded three or four times to fit back in your car or truck. The AirFusion is my performance/fun kayak: simply a blast to use; but I am not yet confident of its seaworthiness when stiff winds plus waves and swells in the 3' range, for example, are greeting me out on the ocean. On such occasions, the Expedition is my "weapon of choice": it is actually the one kayak I would keep, if someone said I could have only one of the four I own. It is fast, stable, sturdy, yet still light enough for most individuals to handle. I also have a new AE kayak cart; so, I can wheel my EXP from my place to the ocean beach a couple of blocks away. In fact, if I am lucky enough to live to extreme old age, when the authorities have taken my driver's license away, I'll still be wheeling my EXP down to the ocean. Maybe I'll paddlel off into the west as a final gesture! But I'm "off-topic" - sorry - I mainly just want to express my agreement with Pearly's positive assessment of his Expedition.

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Post by AKColquhoun » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:08 pm

Thank you Pearly and Lee.
I appreciate the advice.
I think I'm going to go with Lee's advice and get an AF.
Sounds like the ease of getting on the water will make it a good choice. I am getting older and have injuries that impact my strength.
Sounds like if I use it so much that I find I need more of a boat, I could get the Expedition with a cart.

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Post by PJohanson » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:00 pm

I agree with Lee's advice in particular!
As a small person, it's great to be able to lift and carry my own boat. The AdvancedFrame is not too heavy for me. I can also handle an Expedition, by strapping it in its bag to a luggage roller or strapping the inflated kayak to a cart.
The Convertible is a fine boat for big strong people. It's too heavy for me to enjoy lifting it into or out of a car, but I could roll an inflated Convertible along when strapped to a cart.

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Post by FrankP » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:25 pm

My wife and I own a Convertible and we love it. I still have not bought a cart but plan to buy one this year as I want to-do paddling this year and doubt my wife will want to go out in the cold. I bought both deck conversions so I can go solo. 56 pounds is light compared to what a hard shell tandem would weigh. At 15 feet it makes for a stable kayak and when you add the BB and DS floor you also have a great tracking kayak.

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