Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak Review

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak has a unique design that combines the lightweight and portability of an inflatable kayak, with the handling and performance of a hardshell, for a kayak that’s difficult to beat. The AdvancedFrame kayak consistently gets rave reviews from both experts and amateurs who love the innovative, best-of-both-worlds design and ease of use of this popular kayak. Today we are taking a closer look at the AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak to find out what the hype is all about. 

Overview Of The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak has a unique, collapsible, lightweight aluminum frame inside. This frame creates rigidity and stability in the kayak, and defines a traditional, sleeker keel shape that slices through the water better than most inflatables, with their rounded edges. This combination of an aluminum frame with inflatable buoyancy also allows it to ride lower in the water than most inflatables, for a paddling experience that more closely resembles a hardshell kayak. 

Unlike a hardshell, however, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak folds down into a portable package, and can be stored or carried in the included duffel bag. 

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak easily converts from tandem to solo kayaking, and is a great kayak for beginners. Advanced Elements also offers a wide range of accessories and add-ons that let you optimize the AdvancedFrame kayak for a range of different needs and water conditions, for exceptional versatility and customization.


  • Inflated size – 15 feet x 2 feet 8 inches
  • Deflated size – 35 inches x 21 inches x 12 inches
  • Weight – 52 pounds
  • Weight capacity – 2 persons/550 pounds

What did we like about how it’s made?

  • Rigid frame – Aluminum ribs define the bow and stern for improved tracking
  • Rugged vinyl material – 3 layers of vinyl hull provide extreme puncture and abrasion resistance
  • Advanced valves – Innovative easy-to-use Spring and Twistlok valves are compatible with most air pumps, and allow for quicker setup time
  • Pressure relief valve – The integrated pressure relief valve in floor allows for quick adjustments
  • Rugged construction – Reinforced bow and stern seams add durability 
  • Triple-layer construction – Polyester material at the core with double PVC coating offers superb puncture resistance
  • Rip-stop fabric – Rip-stop fabric exterior offers further protection
  • 6 air chambers – Multiple air chambers provide greater safety and stability
  • Elevated deck – The air-lifted deck sheds spray

What we like about the design

  • Skeg tracking fin – Bottom skeg improves speed and tracking
  • Versatile seat locations – Three different seat attachment points for easy tandem or solo kayaking
  • D-ring tie downs – Multiple D-rings are easy attachment points for cargo and gear 
  • 2 adjustable padded back supports – Back supports improve comfort in the cockpit which has ample legroom for two adults. Very comfortable over longer excursions
  • Low-profile rubber handles – Molded rubber handles on the stem and stern allow easy transport to and from the water 
  • Paddle holders – Built-in paddle holders free your hands when you want them 
  • Deck lacing – The deck lacing offers quick access to cargo 
  • Cargo space – Generous cargo space doesn’t impede leg room, while a water-resistant zipper provides fast and convenient hull storage access 
  • Streamlined shape – It has the sleek, sporty look of a serious watercraft
  • Easy to set up – Simply unfold, inflate, and attach the seats

What accessories are included? 

  • Carrying duffel bag – Kayak fits into the included carry bag for easy portability
  • 2 folded seats and inflatable back rests – Comfortable, versatile seating for one or two
  • Repair kit – Fast, reliable repairs when you need them.

How to Use the AdvancedFrame Convertible

The kayak comes with detailed inflation instructions, which show you exactly which chambers to inflate and how much. However, the kayak doesn’t come with an air pump or a PSI gauge. You will need an air pump (ideally a dual-action pump that also deflates air) and a PSI gauge to properly inflate the AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak. There are 7 chambers to fill, with 2 different valves, so your air pump also needs to have two valve sizes, or you can inflate the smaller chambers with your mouth. 

Setup is straightforward, though, and not complicated, although not as simple as some other inflatable kayaks. For a great overview of how to inflate and setup the AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, Advanced Elements has made a YouTube video that you can watch here:

 Overall, the kayak can go from being in the bag to on the water in about 15 minutes, with practice and a good air pump.


Great handling

The strong aluminum frame gives the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak great speed and handling. I

Low in the water

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak sits lower in the water than many inflatables which typically sit very high in the water. This means that it tracks a lot better and is less susceptible to wind.


This kayak is extremely comfortable over long excursions. There’s plenty of room for two adults.


It’s a bit on the heavy side

At 52 pounds, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak is awfully heavy to carry from the car to the water, or easily port around in the duffel bag. It’s considerably heavier than most inflatable kayaks. 

You have to buy lots of accessories

Not only is the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak on the expensive side, but it doesn’t come with an air pump, PSI gauge, or paddles, so it’s not ready to hit the water right out of the box. Other inflatable kayaks come with everything you need in a single package. 

Related products

There are a number of items you will need with the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak, and a few options to consider.

Air pump

Advanced Elements recommends that you use their air pump with the integrated pressure gauge (link: ) for inflating their kayaks. However, many people don’t love using hand pumps, and this one is bulky to travel with, and not very reliable. Most people who frequently use inflatable kayaks typically use a 12V air pump with a car power adapter to do most of the initial kayak inflation. 

The Dr.meter electric air pump is a good example, with 3 easy portable power options. 

Then they top off the kayak with a foot pump like this one , which allows precise pressure without over-inflation, and also packs down neatly to stow in the kayak with you in case it’s needed for adjustments. If you opt for a pump without a one, then you will also need a separate PSI gauge. 


Look for paddles that are 230-240cm in length, and remember that fiberglass blades are as lightweight as plastic, but are more rigid, improving your efficiency in paddling. Fiberglass is also more sun-resistant and durable, so it’s worth spending a few extra dollars on a better paddle. 


BackBone is an optional AdvancedFrame Kayak accessory from Advanced Elements, but many people feel that it is essential. It is a keel beam that you install in the floor of the kayak, creating a v-shaped hull that improves tracking and speed of the kayak. 

Drop-stitch floor

The drop-stitched floor upgrade only needs to be installed once, and makes the floor more rigid, which improves speed and provides greater protection from impacts or abrasions. Pet owners particularly value this accessory, because they worry less about dog claws affecting their kayak. 

Skirts and decks

Advanced Elements also sells optional decks and skirts for their kayaks that give you more flexibility in configurations. 

About the Advanced Elements brand

Advanced Elements was founded in 2007 with the aim of creating unique, “hybrid” kayaks. The innovators at Advanced Elements invented kayaks with rigid, aluminum frames that perform like a rigid kayak, but with inflatable components for the portability and affordability of inflatable kayaks. Today, their line of over 100 kayaks and SUPs is available around the world, with unique combinations of materials and components. 

Designed and headquartered near San Francisco, California, Advanced Elements strives to excel in performance, quality, and portability, and prides themselves on delivering exceptional customer service. Their products consistently get great reviews from professionals and amateurs alike.


Advanced Elements AE1012-R AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
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Advanced Elements AE1012-R AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
  • Built-in aluminum ribs define the bow and stern and improve tracking
  • 3 layers of material for extreme puncture resistance
  • PreAssembled at the factory. Simply unfold, inflate and attach the seat

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak is an exceptional inflatable kayak, with nearly the speed, performance, and handling of a hardshell kayak, in a portable package. Whilst it is one of the more expensive inflatable kayaks on the market we think it justifies the price as the quality and design is a lot better than some of its competitors. We do find it annoying that they don’t include a lot of the accessories needed to get going though.