John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Advanced elements Firefly AE 1020 mini review

My gf was looking to get an inflatable kayak for the spring and one of these popped up on Kijiji and thus we have this post. At this point I own an Advnaced Frame AE1012 and tried out a AE 1009 Expedition so this makes the third in the company’s product offerings I’ve touched. At this point I haven’t had the Firefly in the water so can’t comment on handling yet. But let’s have a quick look at it and I’ll update the post when I get it in the water. Compared to mine this one is quite a bit shorter, and lighter.

The difference once inflated is quite significant. There’s a whole lot less of the boat behind you. The one we got according to the hull ID is a 2014 and did not come with a seat. (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.) I spoke with Advanced elements and they told me “The firefly seat was added in 2016, so your year does not have the seat option. It also does not have a seat buckle to add a seat unfortunately.” I’ve found the company to quite responsive and helpful, excellent customer service.

There’s a lot less to inflate than my boat, 2 chambers (+ floor) Vs 6 (+ floor) . There’s no combing that you could possibly attach a skirt to, or to deflect water out of the cockpit. There’s no dry storage area (same thing on mine). It does however have velcro straps on the deck to hold the oar while you are carrying/launching the boat. Mine doesn’t. Overall the material used seems similar to mine and should be reasonably durable. The inflation chambers use a clever valve that make it easy to inflate and deflate the boat (same as on mine). Overall the boat is super fast to inflate/deflate.

The lack of a seat may be a limiting factor, I guess we will see. Not sure why Advanced elements didn’t think of that. Overall this looks like an excellent beginner boat. Super light, easy to setup. We’ll see how it handles. I can’t wait for the warmer weather to get back on the water!!
Entire manual for the boat is available for download.

Update 5/28/2018
I finally got a chance to get this in the water this past weekend. It is as described super light and super quick to inflate. Once in the water you can easily see the boat is also much lower in the water. Handling wise is where you pay the price of this boat. The rudder they used seems to be about the same size as my boat, but because it is so short in the back when you paddle the boat swings significantly. And then you paddle the other side and it swings back. A lot of energy is wasted as you zig zag, all the while looking like a drunken soldier. It’s shocking the amount of energy this boat takes to move. This boat absolutely does NOT track well, and does not in anyway feel like a real kayak. Rough water would be a big challenge in this boat given the low profile in the water. I have to admit to being thoroughly disappointed in it’s design. A larger rudder on the bottom might help, who knows. I would have to say, I do not recommend this boat.

March 6, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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