Nearly eight years ago, Advanced Elements debuted the original AirFusion kayak – an inflatable hybrid designed to rival the handling and speed of skin-on-frame kayaks. The AirFusion was unique in that it featured a blended design of aluminum alloy frame poles and pressurized air tubes, resulting in a high performance rigid frame system.
This was followed by the AirFusion Elite, which featured a streamlined set up procedure with fewer poles, a wider beam and integrated rear storage hatch.
At last summer’s Outdoor Retailer show, Advanced Elements unveiled their 2018 inflatable kayak product line with announcement of the new AE1042 AirFusion EVO a 6-8 PSI high-pressure model constructed from dropstitch material, with a Barbie-sized 24″ waistline.
Just this week the first AirFusion EVO arrived, a double cardboard box measuring 37 x 25 x 12 inches and weighing in at 47 lbs.
Getting Started with the Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO
The rugged carrying case/backpack houses the kayak body, seat, repair kit, foam floor, screw-on and Boston pin adaptors, instructions (located in the small plastic pocket inside the backpack), two thwarts, nose and stern bags, and anodized aluminum poles. The kayak folded size is approximately 34 x 17 x 8 inches. Everything in the case weighs 37 lbs, while the kayak with seat is 33 lbs. The case has just enough room to include a small pump and breakdown paddle (not included). AirKayaks note: Take a good look at how the kayak is folded BEFORE setting up, this will help during breakdown.
The manual is pretty well-written though initially a little daunting. (AirKayaks note: Some of the initial AirFusion EVO boxes contained instructions for the droptstitch floor. The AirFusion EVO does not use an inflatable floor, so you can just toss those.) After the first read-through it seemed simple enough – piece together the poles, position the floor, pump up side chambers partially, insert bottom pole through the thwarts connecting both ribs, pump up thwarts, finish pumping up side chambers, pump up bow & stern tubes, attach seat, inflate coaming tube. Done!
AirFusion EVO Setup/Inflation
Unfold the kayak body, locating the kayak bow (front) and stern (rear) – this is easy as the integrated storage hatch is located at the stern.
Next, put the foam floor into position, setting the wider end inside the center of the cockpit – this will position the small rectangular cutout over the velcro tab in the floor. Make sure you pull the velcro tab through the cutout. Tip: the foam floor only covers the area where your feet rest.
Layout the bow and stern thwarts. Each of these is tapered. The front airbag (which also acts as a foot brace) is larger than the rear airbag, while the larger side of each airbag faces the cockpit/center. Lay