John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Advanced elements AE1012 Inflatable kayak

Ok I know this is a little off my normal topic, but thought I’d share anyway. I have loved kayaking every time I have tried it. The major stumbling block to buying one has been putting a roof rack on my car. Those of you that know (and some of you who love me :)) know I am a bit obsessive about my car. And the thought of on my own lifting a clumsy, 40 lb+ kayak over my head onto the roof rack just sounded like a pulled back waiting to happen. So I haven’t bought one … And then a friend (thanks Val) last fall introduced me to products from this company. And to make matters even better another friend (thanks John) offered to lend me one to try! Can you believe my luck!

Advanced elements web site

So what I am looking for is a kayak to take on short trips in rivers near me. 1-2 hour trips near home in gentle flowing rivers. The kayack is about the size of a hockey bag folded up and weighs 36 lbs. The newer hockey backs come on wheels, this could use that idea πŸ™‚ The bag even includes a pouch for the manual. A nice touch would have been to include a laminated picture, sadly they didn’t.

Setting up this kayak is as simple as it appears in the videos on Youtube. I won’t bother making one there are tons out there already. Here’s one for a slightly different model. The first time I tried to set this up after watching the videos it took me 15 minutes, and deflation even less. It really is as simple and easy as it seems. A standard high capacity pump just like you’d use for an air mattress is all you need. Absolutely no need for a power pump, don’t waste your time, money and hearing (the damn things are loud). There is one trick, these pumps have an inflation and a deflation port allowing you to suck the air out of the kayak to make disassembly even faster. The vales on the boat include a switch between inflation and deflation making it easier to pump it up and then remove the pump loosing little to know air. Finding each of the tubes to inflate can be a bit challenging and they could have done a better job in the manual to show them. The caps for the inflation ports are tethered to the boat so you don’t loose them, but unfortunately they are pretty easy to snap off (I did on first use). Now your challenged to not loose the cap 😦

The bottom of the boat is covered in a rubber coating over the firm front and back of the boat. But this can easily be damaged dragging the boat so be careful. They could have made this more robust … I would consider this the Achilles heal of the boat. In the front they added a drag protector but not at the back. And in the front where the boat beaches is also quite susceptible to damage.

Once in the water the boat because of it’s width is surprisingly stable. More so than other Kayaks I’ve been in. Getting in is made easier if you undo the front zipper.

There’s an adjustable seat back that makes the boat a whole lot more comfortable. I’m not all that tall at 5’9, with a distance of 40 inches from my toes to my waste and my feet are at the end of the boat with the seat mostly to the back. So if your super tall this boat might not fit. There is a bit of storage on the back of the seat, but not all that convenient to get at.

The boat has a little keel and hard parts in the boat that make it track as well as, and as fast as a normal kayak. I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. Even in a fairly windy day (24km/h) it stayed on track and was easy to handle. I don’t have all the right words and phrases, I’m a beginner when it comes to kayaks, but this had what I wanted from a performance point of view.

If there is one thing missing it would be a water proof storage compartment for your gadgets and a bottle holder. You can buy your own and strap them into the front of the boat but this seems like a simple thing they could have added

Folding it up and getting it back in the bag was simple and easy, easier than I thought. The hard parts of the kayak make it obvious where to fold it up. The bottom inside of the kayak has a rubber coating making it easy to dry off the boat. I wish they had used the same coating on the deck of the boat. When your paddling the water from the paddle gets the deck quite wet.

This boat does not have a lot of end to end rigidity so would not be the best in rough waters. You can get an optional hard floor for it that would improve this somewhat. The boat does very well in very shallow waters too.

The boat all in all is amazing, there are always things that could have been improved, but that said this is an impressively designed and executed product. Something you don’t often hear from me πŸ™‚

Owners manual

As an interesting side note, the Garmin Fenix 3 that I love has a rowing mode. In this mode you get lots of stats about your rowing, as well as a nice map of your trek. Here’s a sample of the data you get from it.

And another interesting side note, I did three different types of exercises and compared the calorie counts. The results are interesting.

If your looking to pick one of these up Atmosphere, The Paddle Store as well as Steveston Marine (in BC)here in Canada carry them.

If your looking at used I got this from their forums: Each kayak has a number on it that identifies it. This is called the Hull ID Number. The Hull Id # is located on the kayak and begins with XZE. The last two digits are the ones that will tell us what year it was made in. It will look something like this….XZE0186AA202. The “02” tells us that the kayak was made in 2002. It should be this way with all of the kayaks unless you bought a sample model or any other non-production model.

By the way, I’ve found customer support from Advanced Elements to be excellent, prompt and efficient. While they don’t on their web site support clients from countries other than the US, I contacted them and they shipped to Canada parts for reasonable fees.

I also found out from them that if you need more glue to repair holes (the boat came with a repair kit, but very little glue) you can use M Essentials Aquaseal Urethane Repair Adhesive, readily available on Amazon.

If you need to restore the waterproofing on the deck I found this product Woods Instant Waterproof Spray which I was able to get at Canadian Tire worked well.

What do I need to get into kayaking?
To start off lets make a statement of the obvious, your going to get wet. And while tipping a kayak isn’t an easy thing to do, it’s by no means impossible. Get it sideways in a wave and you could be tipping. An unfortunately placed sharp rock or brank and it could be torn (although unlikely). So you need to wear clothes that are ok in the wet, and you can swim in them if you had to. Since there is no dry storage in the boat you may want to buy a dry bag or dry box to put stuff like cell phones or cameras in. I bought a waterproof bag for my phone. It comes with a tether and a place for a key. It works well.

Safety wise you need a life jacket, and you should get a whistle to call for help if you needed it. You will need a paddle. This boat is a little wider than some and a little higher so you need a longer one. I bought a 213 cm long one and it was too short. I moved up to a 230 and it is much better, I think 240 would be even better. The one I ended up with is a Protex Logan. Cheap at Sail. One of the previous paddles I tried came with a nice soft grip on the handle and I really liked it.

For your feet since you will need to get wet a pair of water sandals I found work best and are the most comfortable. Undoing the front zipper makes getting in and out of the boat easier. And taking the sandals off once in the boat is just more comfortable. You will need a high volume pump if your boat did not come with one. Be sure and get one that is double action so you can deflate the boat more quickly. There are foot pumps, but the they move less air.

And if your a gadget guy like me a Fenix 3 can help you track your route, get stats on the trip and be used to navigate. It can also be used for live tracking.

June 12, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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