Inflatables vs. hard bodies

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

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alleghal
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:13 am

Inflatables vs. hard bodies

Post by alleghal » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:29 am

I am a novice to the sport, 51, female. I tested Riot 9'6", Old Town Dirigo 12', and Necky Manitou 13 and would be interested in the AE Expedition if I could find one to try out. I have learned that the longer the kayak, the better it tracks so I like the 13'. I will be using this in lakes and the Allegheny River in NWPA. No whitewater aspirations, just comfort and quiet. The inflatable appeals due to weight, ease of storage and it looks like a kayak! Called REI in Pittsburgh but they have no way to do demos. They offered to let me sit in it. If any of you own hardbodies and can offer me comparisons, I would love to hear from you. If any of you live near the Pittsburgh-Erie area and know of where I could try an AE out, I'd be interested in hearing from you too.

el_brio
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:17 am

Post by el_brio » Tue Apr 29, 2008 3:17 pm

I was kind of in the same boat as you (no pun intended). I wanted a hardshell but living in Chicago I didn't have the space to store it. It was a tough call to buy an AE 10.5 without ever paddling it but after having taken it out a couple of times I would say I am pretty satisfied with it. One thing AE really has going for them (and I hope the trend continues) is good customer support. I have called them several times and always get a real knowledgeable person on the phone. I bought my Kayak at REI (apparently the AE 1.5 is going to be 15% off for members [$20 to join for life] during a sale in either the first or second week in May. Now that I have one, I think I would rather have an inflatable than a hard shell anyway. Sure a hardshell is faster and more durable, but they are more expensive, and you need to store them and transport them. Even if I was going to store my somewhere I would have had to buy a car rack wich would have messed up my car and would have ended up costing $500+. Buy the AE and you will most likely enjoy it. If you don't like it or outgrow it, sell it on ebay. Seriously, you could buy one, paddle it for the summer and sell it for $250 and it would be way cheaper than renting something (plus you could take it wherever you want to). A final bit of advice.... get a good paddle doesn't have to be $400 but I would stay away from the $40 cheap ones. REI has a nice Carlisle for $75. Ohhh.... I hate to sound like an REI fanboy but with any new boat purchase they give you 20% off a lifejacket and 20% off a paddle. The sign actually says "accessories" so even though it wasn't supposed to include the pump he gave me 10% off the pump.

el_brio
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:17 am

Post by el_brio » Tue Apr 29, 2008 3:19 pm

Ohhh.... also you should go with the 10.5' advanced frame. It is plenty fast and if you have never paddled before it is easier to learn on a smaller boat... especially if you go on smaller rivers.

BladeZealot
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:21 am
Location: Brandon MS

Post by BladeZealot » Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:54 pm

I had 2 hard shell Heritage 14 ft. Fisherman pro 14, sit on top's. I later acquired a Dragonfly II and the Advanced Frame Expedition.

I sold both sit on tops...and have not regreted it. I love the Expedition. I've had it about 5 months and carry it everywhere I go. Never know when you might want to hit the water. :D

It is amazing how much gear I can load into/on it. 8)

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

Re: Inflatables vs. hard bodies

Post by KayakJack » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:04 pm

I was in the same boat as you (no pun intended, either :)) and I just took the plunge after reading dozens and dozens of positive reviews on either the AE 10.5 and Expedition. They are both very nice kayaks, both tracks well, made with quality (even the fabric quality feels nicer than the Stearns or K1 Pointer), and very stable. I wouldn't trade them for anything and ended up buying another (Expedition) a few months later after the AE 10.5. You won't be dissapointed, and how else can I store 2 kayaks in a 1 bedroom apartment in New York City?

I've paddled a few hardshells (Necky Manitou, Riot, Wilderness, etc.) myself as well. Honestly, the inflatables (with proper inflation or with backbone add-on) paddles real well against the hardshell (just a tad bit slower and less responsive in turns in certain conditions) - I paddle almost monthly with my hardshell friends and have no real problems keeping up, etc. I've even convinced a couple of hardshell paddlers to convert. :) I still surprise new hardshellers who join our trips with the performance of my 10.5. I don't think you'll feel much a difference since you'll be doing lakes and rivers. They're actually perfect for recreational/leisure kayaking due to its stable platform. (I've once completely exited out of my anchored kayak, laid on top of it with my leg stretched out, and fell asleep for a a couple hours to the gentle bobbing currents.)

I own both the AE 10.5 and Expedition. They both suit different purposes for me.

I use the AE 10.5 on day trips, mainly rivers, lakes, and the bay. It is also easier to handle and learn on.

I use my Expedition mainly in the bay with swells on a windy day or when I'm planning to do a weekend kayak/camp trip. It has enough space for me to keep my pump, tent, some food, clothes, etc.

As for REI, they are a great company. I buy a lot of outdoor stuff from them. They may not demo...BUT..they have a great "satifaction return policy". Get the kayak, try it out and if you are really unsatisfied, return it. Here's a coupon that they just sent me (REI members) that'll be valid between May 2-11, 2008 - 20% off any one full price item. Online /Phone code: ANNV20

Good luck!


alleghal wrote:I am a novice to the sport, 51, female. I tested Riot 9'6", Old Town Dirigo 12', and Necky Manitou 13 and would be interested in the AE Expedition if I could find one to try out. I have learned that the longer the kayak, the better it tracks so I like the 13'. I will be using this in lakes and the Allegheny River in NWPA. No whitewater aspirations, just comfort and quiet. The inflatable appeals due to weight, ease of storage and it looks like a kayak! Called REI in Pittsburgh but they have no way to do demos. They offered to let me sit in it. If any of you own hardbodies and can offer me comparisons, I would love to hear from you. If any of you live near the Pittsburgh-Erie area and know of where I could try an AE out, I'd be interested in hearing from you too.

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

Re: Inflatables vs. hard bodies

Post by KayakJack » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:14 pm

And one more thing, don't worry about the bottom shredding, popping, etc. I've done numerous fast frontal beach landings on everything from jagged rocks to concrete boat ramps. I've paddled in 1 to 2 ft deep water, scraped the bottom on top of logs, rusty barrels, scraped against and caught my skeg on sunken driftwood and branches, and all kinds of other gnarly stuff. I guess you can say I beat on them a bit.

After all this abuse, the bottom and skeg is scratched up a bit but its all cosmetic.

-KJ

KayakJack wrote:I was in the same boat as you (no pun intended, either :)) and I just took the plunge after reading dozens and dozens of positive reviews on either the AE 10.5 and Expedition. They are both very nice kayaks, both tracks well, made with quality (even the fabric quality feels nicer than the Stearns or K1 Pointer), and very stable. I wouldn't trade them for anything and ended up buying another (Expedition) a few months later after the AE 10.5. You won't be dissapointed, and how else can I store 2 kayaks in a 1 bedroom apartment in New York City?

I've paddled a few hardshells (Necky Manitou, Riot, Wilderness, etc.) myself as well. Honestly, the inflatables (with proper inflation or with backbone add-on) paddles real well against the hardshell (just a tad bit slower and less responsive in turns in certain conditions) - I paddle almost monthly with my hardshell friends and have no real problems keeping up, etc. I've even convinced a couple of hardshell paddlers to convert. :) I still surprise new hardshellers who join our trips with the performance of my 10.5. I don't think you'll feel much a difference since you'll be doing lakes and rivers. They're actually perfect for recreational/leisure kayaking due to its stable platform. (I've once completely exited out of my anchored kayak, laid on top of it with my leg stretched out, and fell asleep for a a couple hours to the gentle bobbing currents.)

I own both the AE 10.5 and Expedition. They both suit different purposes for me.

I use the AE 10.5 on day trips, mainly rivers, lakes, and the bay. It is also easier to handle and learn on.

I use my Expedition mainly in the bay with swells on a windy day or when I'm planning to do a weekend kayak/camp trip. It has enough space for me to keep my pump, tent, some food, clothes, etc.

As for REI, they are a great company. I buy a lot of outdoor stuff from them. They may not demo...BUT..they have a great "satifaction return policy". Get the kayak, try it out and if you are really unsatisfied, return it. Here's a coupon that they just sent me (REI members) that'll be valid between May 2-11, 2008 - 20% off any one full price item. Online /Phone code: ANNV20

Good luck!


alleghal wrote:I am a novice to the sport, 51, female. I tested Riot 9'6", Old Town Dirigo 12', and Necky Manitou 13 and would be interested in the AE Expedition if I could find one to try out. I have learned that the longer the kayak, the better it tracks so I like the 13'. I will be using this in lakes and the Allegheny River in NWPA. No whitewater aspirations, just comfort and quiet. The inflatable appeals due to weight, ease of storage and it looks like a kayak! Called REI in Pittsburgh but they have no way to do demos. They offered to let me sit in it. If any of you own hardbodies and can offer me comparisons, I would love to hear from you. If any of you live near the Pittsburgh-Erie area and know of where I could try an AE out, I'd be interested in hearing from you too.

rainking63
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:00 pm
Location: Old Lyme, CT

Post by rainking63 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:35 pm

Likewise with the scratches. I've taken out my AF Convertible over the past few days, and it's amazing to look at the hull of the boat after scraping, dragging, and bumping the boat during normal use. Still looks as good as the day I bought it.

gotwalp
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:12 pm

Post by gotwalp » Thu May 01, 2008 7:24 am

I just got my convertible about 6 weeks ago and the 3rd trip out, I ended up on a dreaded oyster bed. When I got back to shore, I was worried to look at the bottom. When I did, it was barely scratched. Most of the scratches wiped right away :)

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PJohanson
Posts: 672
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:48 pm
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada

Recommendations for novice

Post by PJohanson » Thu May 01, 2008 11:49 pm

These AE inflatables are particularly good for novices (very stable and a safe-feeling ride), for us women (easier to lift and carry than hardshells), and for paddlers who are no longer wild&woolly 21-year-olds.
(I'm 47, and young for paddlers in my area, where the average age is 59.)
Don't be afraid because you can't demo the Expedition. I've paddled the boats you mentioned, and the Expedition is a nicer ride. Feels more like a folding frame kayak, not at all like a kiddie blow-up toy.
Before you place an order, confirm the policy on returns/exchanges if that helps you feel more confident.
If you were one of my chums I'd be saying "Order it! I'm happy with my Dragonfly, and my friend is happy with his AdvancedFrame and his Expedition." That's what I did say to a chum, and he bought his own AE kayak, and is happy with it.

francene
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:43 am
Location: Bellingham,WA

Post by francene » Sun May 04, 2008 9:46 pm

Alleghal;
Go with the AF 10.5. I've got one, it's great. I'm 58, female, small framed and it's about all I'd want to carry. Easy to set up and get onto the water with. It's stable, tracks well, a joy to use. I'm a lake user.

Fran

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

Make sure you can lift what you buy!

Post by Damien » Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:45 pm

Well, I decided to buy an Expedition because I wanted more room. Problem was, 42lbs was a lot heavier then I counted on. I could barely drag the Expedition bag out to my car. I'm female, 5'2" and at age 45 my back, which was never really good, decided it didn't much like dealing with the larger boat. I called up the place I purchased it from (Airkayaks.com) and they suggested exchanging it for an AF-1. They took back the Expedition and sent me an AF-1 within a week.

I'm much happier with the AF-1. The lighter weight and shorter length is much easier for me to handle. I took it out on the water and enjoyed it very much. I got the optional backbone with it.

Unfortunately my experience with dragging the kayak hasn't been good. I dragged it across the street to the river and must've hit a nail or something sharp. I put a 4" long slice in the bottom at the very end (where the black portion is). Fortunately it's just cosmetic. I've since patched it up but be careful about dragging the kayak. Fortunately AE does give you a patch kit and you can get something called Tear Aid that will patch it up as well. I've found the folks at Advanced Elements to be excellent as far as answering questions and if you decided to buy online I highly recommend Chuck and Holly at Airkayak.com.

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

Re: Make sure you can lift what you buy!

Post by KayakJack » Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:55 am

Glad to hear that everything worked out for you. Happy paddling, this summer!

Damien wrote:Well, I decided to buy an Expedition because I wanted more room. Problem was, 42lbs was a lot heavier then I counted on. I could barely drag the Expedition bag out to my car. I'm female, 5'2" and at age 45 my back, which was never really good, decided it didn't much like dealing with the larger boat. I called up the place I purchased it from (Airkayaks.com) and they suggested exchanging it for an AF-1. They took back the Expedition and sent me an AF-1 within a week.

I'm much happier with the AF-1. The lighter weight and shorter length is much easier for me to handle. I took it out on the water and enjoyed it very much. I got the optional backbone with it.

Unfortunately my experience with dragging the kayak hasn't been good. I dragged it across the street to the river and must've hit a nail or something sharp. I put a 4" long slice in the bottom at the very end (where the black portion is). Fortunately it's just cosmetic. I've since patched it up but be careful about dragging the kayak. Fortunately AE does give you a patch kit and you can get something called Tear Aid that will patch it up as well. I've found the folks at Advanced Elements to be excellent as far as answering questions and if you decided to buy online I highly recommend Chuck and Holly at Airkayak.com.

tallcliff
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:23 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Post by tallcliff » Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:00 am

alleghal, I live in Western PA, and have had the Advanced Frame for about two months. (See my review, the #6 review on Amazon.com)

I think it would be the perfect kayak for your needs. It tracks great, is comfortable, and very easy to inflate/deflate. I think the 13' Expedition would be harder for you to handle because of size and weight.

Check out my review on Amazon (Jeff Kruzic is the name) and contact me if you'd like to demo my boat. I frequently paddle at Laurel Hill State Park near Somerset, PA, and you're welcome to try my boat before you buy.

Good Luck

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