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Product Review: Island Voyage 2 Tandem Inflatable Kayak from Advanced Elements

Earlier this year we received first of several shipments which included the Island Voyage 2 inflatable kayak from Advanced Elements.

Introduced in 2015, the Island Voyage 2 is a recreational model with an open-design – allowing one to easily switch from single to tandem paddling – yet economically-priced at $399. In the ensuing six years, the Island Voyage has undergone minor redesigns and tweaks, prompting us to update our previous reviews.
As the kayak kept selling out before we could snag one, we immediately set one aside from the last shipment. Following is our write-up on the AE3023Y Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2, an 11 ft 2 inch kayak that can be paddled by one or two people. Please note, some of this will be repeated from prior write-ups.
Getting Started with the Island Voyage 2
We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable kayak, drawstring duffel bag, instructions, repair kit, tracking fin and two seats.

Initial measurements showed the kayak body weighs 25 lbs while the kayak with seats in the duffel is 31 lbs. Boxed up, the dimensions are 25 x 22 x 16 inches inches with a shipping weight of 41 lbs.
(AirKayaks Side note #1: When initially removing the kayak from the carrying case, take a good look at how the kayak is folded This is probably the most overlooked step and it is VERY helpful when trying to get the kayak back into the bag.)
The included instructions are adequate on most steps and include diagrams with inflation details.

Set up is straight-forward and simple – unpack, unfold, inflate.

According to the instructions, the first step is to attach the removable tracking fin, which enhances paddling/tracking in deeper water.

Make sure the fin is pointing towards the rear of the kayak, then insert the front of the fin, pushing down and back, to lock the front end.

Move the fin back until the holes line up and replace the retaining pin. At this point, pull up on the fin to make sure you have it locked in position.

There are three inflation chambers utilizing Boston valves – the floor and two side chambers. Boston valves are two-part, screw-on valves. The bottom portion is threaded onto the kayak, the top valve is screwed open for inflation and then tightened shut after inflation.

Air is easily released by unscrewing the base connector. How does it work? A flap inside the valve opens when air is pumped into the kayak, and falls shut when not pumped so that air will not rush back out.
Please note: The Boston valves have a tether that keeps the valve attached to the kayak, ensuring that the valves don’t get lost after deflating. Make sure this does not get in the way when

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Sneak Preview: New 2021 Aquaglide Chelan Series of Inflatable Touring Kayaks

We recently posted information on Aquaglide’s upcoming new inflatable kayak line for 2021, consisting of 20 models for recreational, touring, fishing, whitewater/crossover and backcountry. While twelve models remain the same, the Chelan and Blackfoot series were redesigned.

The Chelan touring series, comprised of the Chelan 120 single, Chelan 140 Tandem and Chelan 155 tandem XL, have undergone major upgrades. While each of the kayaks still feature 100mm, high pressure floors and Duratex tubeless construction, the color and graphics have undergone a total facelift as well as a structural redesign.

The key words for the new 2021 Chelans are comfort, performance and appointments, now offering a multitude of storage options and gear attachments for a better paddling experience. The Chelan silhouette was also refined with a lowered nose rocker, providing better tracking and paddling performance.

The 2021 Chelans are now equipped with a set of 1-inch side-tube molle plates for attaching gear. Molle webbing is often found on military backpacks and gear. Each can be used for attaching a multitude of aftermarket gadgets, such as first aid kits, multi-tool cases, waterproof gear pouches or Aquaglide’s optional, new, vertically-mounted cup holder. The Chelan series comes equipped with mesh storage pouches which attach to the molle plates.

A universal mount has been integrated into the floor in front of each seat. The base plate makes it easy to attach optional rod holders, camera mounts and more.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Chelans have been outfitted with a series of webbing loops positioned 6 inches apart along the floor on each side, providing even more options for attaching accessories.

The Chelans come with the new River Crossing backpack constructed from a rugged, 600 denier polyester. The bag has been redesigned with a larger capacity and full zipper for better fit as well as multiple handles for easier carrying. Mesh pockets and side panels provide drainage and breathability, while an exterior pocket and straps allow one to store a breakdown paddle. An external bungee lacing system provides more places to attach gear. The River Crossing backpack easily converts to a carrying case by stashing the adjustable, padded shoulder straps into a stowaway pocket when not in use or for plane flights, preventing snags. Dimensions are 39 x 17 x 13 inches.
Other features remaining on the Chelans include movable foot braces, splash decks with bungee deck lacing, multiple carrying handles, three military valves and high-pressure floor.

Threaded floor drains can be open or closed, allowing water to drain when in rougher waters or surf.

A Posi Track weedless fin utilizes a US Fin box. The fin attaches with a tool-less thumb screw, and can be easily replaced with aftermarket shorter fins for shallow water or longer fins for increased tracking.

The Proformance seat(s) remain

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Product Review: Rugged New 13lb Kokopelli XPD Inflatable Packraft

We recently posted our Sneak Preview on the new XPD inflatable packraft from Kokopelli Packraft – one of the exciting new models we’ve seen for 2020. What’s so special? While the XPD packraft is based on the Kokopelli Rogue-Lite profile, the XPD features a more beefed-up PVC construction for rigorous use on flat water and lakes through Class II.

Last week, the 2020 models started rolling in, so we begin our 2020 Kokopelli reviews with the 13.6 lbs XPD, which can be inflated to higher pressures of 2.75 PSI.
Getting Started with the Kokopelli XPD
We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable packraft body (13.7 lbs), inflatable seat base (8 ozs), repair kit (4.1 ozs), Nano dual action hand pump with gauge (2 lbs), instructions and two 2 cinch belts( 1.6 oz each).

Boxed up, the dimensions are 29 x 20 x 8 inches with a shipping weight of just under 20 lbs. The packraft folded is roughly 24 x 20 x 8 inches, rolled it is roughly 25 x 8.5 inches.
The generic instructions for Kokopellli’s PVC series include inflation and deflation techniques, seat and backband installation (not found on the XPD but used in the Recon) but lack details on actual set up; we will outline the steps we took, below. In general, set up is straight-forward – unpack, unfold, inflate.

The first step is to unfold the packraft – it is remarkably flat – and orient yourself; the rear/stern is wider and has the inflation valve.

The Kokopelli XPD utilizes one main GRI push-push valve for inflation. These are very simple to use and feature an inflate mode (spring plunger is UP) and a deflate mode (spring plunger is DOWN). By using your finger to gently push on the plunger, it can be moved to the inflate mode (air goes in and doesn’t come back out) and deflate mode (air goes in and comes back out). Before you go to all the effort of inflating the board, PLEASE make sure the plunger is in the inflate position.

Next, set up the pump – this is not mentioned in the instructions. Unlike most of the packrafts – which use inflator bags – the XPD comes with a very nifty, collapsible, dual-action Nano pump and built-in pressure gauge. Fold down the feet and attach the hose to the side that says Inflate. There are two pieces of plastic tubes in the plastic packaging – these are screw on handles. Unfortunately, there is no place to attach/store the handles when removed so you may want to purchase a mesh laundry bag to keep them together. Or, don’t even bother attaching the handles as the pump is pretty easy to use without them.

The Nano pump

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Choosing Your Advanced Elements Convertible, Convertible DS or Convertible Elite Inflatable Kayak

Earlier this year we received our first shipment of Advanced Elements’ new model, the AE1007E Convertible Elite in red: the Convertible is a popular tandem inflatable kayak for one to two paddlers. This joined the current models, the Convertible AE1007R or Convertible AE1007G in red or green and the AE1007 Convertible DS in blue.  Before they arrived, we were fielding inquiries on all three models which came down to one basic question – what is different?
In a nutshell, all three kayak models are identical in construction, materials and footprint – the only variations are in the colors and included accessories.
Standard AE1007G and AE1007R

The standard Convertible has been available for nearly 15 years, and now comes as AE1007G and AE1007R. These are identical except for the color – green or red – and come with a low-pressure 1-PSI inflatable floor with i-beams and pressure relief valve. Both have high-backed seats and come with the standard Advanced Elements duffel-style carry bag. Both have a street price of $699.
Convertible Elite and Convertible DS

Both the Convertible Elite AE1007E and Convertible DS AE1007DS come with the hi-pressure 4-6 PSI drop stitch floor (shown above with the standard 1 PSI low-pressure floor), which greatly enhances paddling performance and rigidity. The drop stitch floor ($239 value) also provides a firmer surface for getting into – and out of – the kayak. Both of these also come with two upgraded, high-backed seats with inflatable lumbar support ($128 value), and an additional padded seat bottom, providing a more comfortable paddling experience. Both of these also include a carrying case with backpack straps ($107.95 value), making it easier to transport. The new AE1007E Convertible Elite is available in red, with a street price of $949.

The Convertible DS AE1007DS in blue is exclusive to AirKayaks, and has been available for nearly 5 years.

In addition to the floor, seats and backpack upgrades listed previously, the current version also includes an integrated, adjustable front foot brace system ($29.99 value).

The base kayak also includes the Advanced Elements double action hand pump with gauge ($39.99 value) as well as a bonus StashPack 20 Liter dry bag ($49.99 value). Street price is $899.
Bottom Line:
If you plan on doing mostly tandem recreational paddling on calmer waters, don’t need all the whiz-bangs, or are on a budget, then the basic Convertible AE1007R/G with 1-PSI floor might be your best choice at $699.
If you plan on paddling in a variety of conditions both tandem and solo, with comfort and performance as a priority, then go with the high-pressure versions. For at-a-glance comparison, see the table below.

For more info, or to purchase, visit the Convertible product pages on AirKayaks.com.

AE1007R Convertible Inflatable Kayak in Red.
AE1007G Convertible Inflatable Kayak in Green
AE1007E Convertible

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Sneak Preview: StraitEdge Angler Pro Inflatable Fishing Kayak from Advanced Elements

This week’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market features a whopping arena of more than 1600 sporting goods manufacturers unveiling their 2017 product lines.

At Open Air Demo day, Advanced Elements of Benicia, California showcased the new 10′ 6″ StraitEdge Angler Pro, a high-pressure inflatable kayak focused on fishing and comfort.
Designed around the needs of kayak anglers, the wide beam and high-pressure drop stitch floor technology provide maximum stability when casting or bringing in big catches.

The 4-6 PSI drop stitch floor – in conjunction with the wider 38.5 inch beam – provides enough rigidity to stand. The floor is covered with a traction pad for protection and grip, allowing one to fully and easily move around.
Tired of standing? The adjustable AirFrame Pro seat features a folding, anodized aluminum frame with removable fabric cover and mesh back. The seat allows one to sit up a few inches higher; the seat back can be adjusted to find that perfect recline position, or can be folded back to allow more interior room.
Two accessory rail systems allow one to add optional 1-inch rail mounts – these can be customized with fish finders, fishing rod holders, GPS mounts and more.

Other features include an integrated ruler printed on the floor, stainless steel d-rings, bungee deck lacing, paddle holders. Replete with a removable, deep water, tracking fin, the integrated US style fin box can also be used in conjunction with the Current Drives Electrafin, providing battery-powered mobility.

Model AE1055
Color: Sage/Gray
Dimensions: 10’6″ long, 38.5 inches wide
Weight: 45 lbs with seats.
Max payload: One person with gear 400 lbs
Inflation Chambers: 5
Folded size: 32 x 18 x 11

The StraitEdge Angler Pro comes with carrying case with shoulder straps, AirFrame Pro seat, drop stitch floor, 2 accessory frames, removable fin, repair kit, instructions. MSRP $999. Available spring of 2017.

The StraitEdge Angler Pro joins the current AE1006-ANG StraitEdge Angler, a stripped down version for those fishing folk who don’t need all the “bells and whistles.” MSRP $729.
For further details, watch the Advanced Elements product pages at AirKayaks.com. Or contact us to get on the Notification List.
You can also watch a video posted by Kayak Angler Magazine from Outdoor Retailer Demo Day, below. This also shows the StraitEdge Angler Pro with the motorized Current Drives ElectraFin.

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Product Review: New Innova Twist LN Inflatable Kayak – only 18 lbs.

As mentioned in prior posts, we received our first shipment of the newly-updated Innova Twist and Swing inflatable kayaks for 2016.
Made in the Czech Republic, the Twist and Swing models are now constructed from Light Nitrilon (LN), a lighterweight version of the rugged material used in the traditional Innova Sunny, Helios and Safari models. Light Nitrilon is known for making the kayaks more rigid as well as water and abrasion resistant, without substantially increasing weight. It’s also PVC-free, thus environmentally friendly.

New features also include improved seating and beefed up foot brace. The new seating arrangement is removable and inflatable, making it easier to reposition the paddling location, optimizing paddling performance and comfort.
This week we had the first opportunity to take out the  revamped Innova Twist LN, an 8 foot 6-inch inflatable weighing a mere 18 lbs (including seat and foot brace) with a selling price of $449.
Please note: Some of this information will be repeated from prior write-ups.
Innova Twist: Getting Started
The box as received measures 22 x 16 x 10 inches, weighing in at 20 lbs.

Inside is the Twist LN body, cinch strap, multiple instruction sheets, tracking fin, foot rest, repair kit, seat, bilge sponge and valve adaptor. The Twist LN body with seat and brace weighs 18 lbs with a folded size of 20 x 15 x 78. AirKayaks note: While the instructions say the Twist LN comes with a drawstring carrying sack, these were not included in the first shipments. The bags are currently being shipped over and will be added to the boxes.
Innova Twist Setup/Inflatation
We read through the included instruction manuals. As with all the Innova manuals to date, the instructions are quite detailed – there is one instruction sheet for fin installation, one for utilizing the valves, and another on the kayak in general. Most include IKEA-style graphics which are occasionally just short of a brain twister, and while some steps are dauntingly detailed, some are not mentioned.  As the kayaks are made in Europe, many of the details are based around European specs and regulations.

First step, unpack and unfold the kayak body. What is immediately noticeable is how FLAT the kayak is when deflated.

Install the tracking fin before inflating the kayak. The Twist LN utilizes a single fin with double slots. Slip the end with the larger slot in first, making sure that the fin is pointing towards the “back” of the kayak. This enables it to slide in enough to fit in the second slot.

While the first time can be a struggle to get the back side into position, after a couple of rounds it becomes quite easy. Pull up on the fin to ensure you have a good fit.
Attach the foot brace (this

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Sneak Preview: Updated Swing and Twist Inflatable Kayaks from Innova

Innova Kayak of Burlington, Washington, recently announced changes to their 2016 inflatable kayak line involving the popular PVC-free Twist and Swing models.

New for 2016, both models now feature Light Nitrilon (LN) material.

Light Nitrilon is a lighter-weight version of the rugged Nitrilon material used in the traditional Innova Sunny, Helios and Safari models. The base polyester ripstop material is coated with an outer layer of synthetic rubber, improving longevity as well as making the kayaks more rigid, water and abrasion resistant, without substantially increasing the kayak weight.

The Twist I and Twist II models have also had a design change. Both models now sport improved seating, with removable inflatable seats and beefed up foot braces. The new seating arrangement makes it easier to reposition the paddling point, optimizing paddling performance and comfort.

The Swing I, Swing II and Swing EX now sport improved seating and foot rests, while the cockpits have been stiffened for enhanced spray skirt attachment.
The first shipment of the new Twists and Swings have reached the US, and will start being distributed in late April. MSRP is the same as in 2015, at $449, $549 respectively on the Twist I and Twist II, and $599, $799 on the Swing I and Swing II.

The updated Swing Ex will also remain at 2015 pricing levels of $999, and will be available in May.

Innova’s long-awaited new Halibut inflatable fishing kayak should be available in June.
For updates and details, visit the Innova Product pages at http://www.AirKayaks.com. In anticipation of the new shipment, remaining 2015 inventory of Twists and Swings are now on sale, starting at $399.

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

New 2016 Red Paddle Co Inflatable Paddle Board SUP Lineup

We recently received details on Red Paddle Company’s exciting new inflatable SUP lineup being introduced for 2016.
Well-known throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the Red Paddle Co line has steadily gained traction in the US. Noted for their ruggedness and performance, each of the Red Air boards utilize high pressure drop-stitch technology – allowing them to be inflated from 15-25 PSI – and feature quadruple rail construction, double layering, thick traction pads and fins.
For 2016, Red Paddle Co has 17 models for surfing, whitewater, recreation, touring and racing, ranging in size from 8’10” to 17’0. This includes the introduction of 3 new models, revamped graphics on several of the current models, and one retiring model. Prices are generally remaining the same as in 2015.

The major change for 2016 is the introduction of a technologically innovative new process named Monocoque Structural Laminate (MSL) fusion technology. Standard dropstitch construction consists of time-consuming hand-gluing of layers, potentially resulting in uneven glue application causing air leakages and bubbling. This innovative new technology involves fusing a second layer of polymer to the drop-stitch material in the raw material stage, reducing human errors. The end result is a higher-quality, high-pressure material utilizing less glue; this reduces the weight of each board approximately 20% while increasing the tension and making the boards slightly more rigid. The 2016 Red Paddle inflatable boards now weigh from 15 to 25 lbs, down from 20 to 34 lbs.
Many of the deck pads have undergone a redesign, now comprised of machine-pressed, thermosealed, low-relief finishes, utilizing less glue thus decreasing air bubbles. While most feature the “crocodile” finish deck pads, all boards needing extra grip also include a diamond pattern.
Additional tweaks include stainless steel d-rings for deck tie-downs and updated 6.75″ US fin boxes on models utilizing removable fins. Carrying handles are now softer, with several models featuring an additional rear carry handle with integrated d-ring loop.

One of the new models is the introduction of the 13′ 2″ Explorer Plus, a streamlined expedition board with a longer waterline. While sharing many similarities to the popular Explorer 12-6, the 13′-2 Plus boasts a slimmer, 30-inch beam with squared-off tail for stability. Extended bungee deck-lacing, multiple d-rings, 5 carrying handles and grip spots make this a great choice for longer excursions or situations where carrying capacity and performance are required. Carrying capacity 330 lbs, weight 24 lbs. MSRP $1649. The current Explorer 12-6 remains virtually the same with an added rear handle and updated graphics but now with a lower weight of 25 lbs. MSRP $1599.

At the opposite side of the spectrum, the new Whip 8-10 replaces the Surfstar 9-2. With a wide nose, narrow tail, a slimmer beam, the RSS batten system and removable

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Sneak Preview: New Halibut Inflatable Fishing Kayak from Innova

Innova Kayaks, Inc of Burlington, Washington recently announced the latest addition to the Innova inflatable kayak line – the Halibut, a 3 PSI fishing model.

At 12-feet 4-inches in length, with a 38-inch width and capacity of 440 lbs, the Halibut is a rugged, stable, angling model with a myriad of gear attachment options.
Feature-rich details include rod holder and fish finder mounts, tracking fin and stripping deck. High pressure floor boards and an inflatable, high seat chair allow the option of standing or sitting. Other amenities include integrated splash decks, drink holders, anchor line and paddle rests (paddle not included).

Like its siblings, the Helios, Safari and Sunny, the Halibut is made from an environmentally-friendly, 1200 denier rubber-coated laminate material called Nitrylon – this consists of a synthetic rubber coating over polyester on the inside and outside of the tube.
Nitrylon is the same material used in high-end Zodiac-type yacht tenders, and is stronger, more abrasion and puncture resistant than PVC as well as being greener – there is minimal out-gassing. Each of the kayaks are handmade in the Czech Republic.

Weighing in at 46 lbs, the Halibut still packs down to a smaller size of 28 x 18 x 12 inches. MSRP: $1499.
Stay tuned. The Innova Halibut should be available in spring, 2016. For upcoming details, watch the Innova Product Pages section at www.AirKayaks.com or contact us to get on the notification list.

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Product Review: New AE1044 AdvancedFrame DS-XL Inflatable Kayak from Advanced Elements

We continue with our reviews on the new Advanced Elements AE1044DS™ series of kayaks.
As previously mentioned, two years ago, AirKayaks introduced the specially-packaged, high-pressure AdvancedFrame DS series™ of kayaks from Advanced Elements. Featuring the same high quality construction and materials as the standard AE1012 AdvancedFrame and AE1007 Convertible, the DS Series™ was bundled with upgraded accessories to enhance performance and comfort.

This past year, AirKayaks worked with the designers at Advanced Elements, to introduce the next generation in the DS Series – the AdvancedFrame AE1044 DS-XL™* and DS-XLC™*.
The new DS-XL series is an elongated version of the classic AE1012 AdvancedFrame. With an additional 5 inches in length and an adjustable foot peg, the kayaks are comfortable enough for both taller and smaller paddlers. The longer, streamlined body – in conjunction with the high pressure floor – provides better tracking, higher payload capacity and increased glide with minimal increase in weight.
We grabbed two from the limited supply that initially arrived. Our first review focused on the AE1044 AdvancedFrame DS-XLC (Cover). The XLC kayak features a zip-on deck with storage options, allowing paddlers the flexibility of paddling an open style design for easy entry, or a closed deck design which can take an optional spray skirt.

We now turn to the AdvancedFrame AE1044DS-XL, a 10′ 10″ inflatable with fixed deck, weighing in at 35 lbs. in the carrying case. Please note, some of this information will be repeated from previous writeups.
AdvancedFrame DS-XL Setup/Inflatation
We unpacked the boxes and laid out the pieces – inflatable kayak, carrying case, instructions, repair kit, foot brace, double action pump with gauge, and high-back lumbar seat.

The kayak with seat, floor and brace weighs 35 lbs, or 39 lbs in the bag with the pump. Bag measurements are approximately 32 x 19 x 10 inches. The kayak box as arrived weighs 40 lbs, measuring 33 x 21 x 10 inches. The dropstitch (DS) floor weighs 5 lbs and comes in a second box with adaptor – the DS floor utilizes the same repair kit as included with the kayak.
(AirKayaks Side note #1: When initially removing the kayak from the carrying case, take a good look at how the kayak is folded. This is probably the most overlooked step and it is VERY helpful when trying to get the kayak back into the bag.)
Set up is straight-forward and simple  – unpack, unfold, inflate. The DS XL Series will have two sets of instructions – one can be found in the inner side pocket of the carrying case. This details the basic kayak instructions for inflation, deflation and folding. A second set of instructions is included in the dropstitch floor repair kit package, and details the floor inflation. TIP: Attach the floor instructions

Original Source: AirKayaks >>