If you’re looking for a simple, lightweight, portable and easy to use kayak then you should check out the Advanced Elements Firefly inflatable kayak. Weighing in at only 16 lbs it’s one of the lightest kayaks in the world and yet can carry a max capacity of 250lbs.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at the construction and some of the features of this great little kayak in our Advanced Elements Firefly review.
Overview of the Advanced Elements Firefly
When weighing up what makes a good inflatable kayak, you should look for a number of things like quality materials that are durable and look good. The Advanced Elements Firefly doesn’t disappoint as the design and workmanship that has gone into this product places an emphasis on delivering durability and performance. Not only does it introduce several features that are unique to it, or at least were at the time when it was released. It also made to be easy to transport from one place to another.
Such is the compactness of the Advanced Elements Firefly. You will receive the kayak, a carrying bag, a folding seat, a repair kit, and the manual. Although most people may take the manual for granted, it often comes handy during set up.
- Weight – 16 lbs
- Weight capacity – 250 lbs
- Length – 7′ 10″
- Width – 35″
Construction and build
Speaking of set up, this is certainly one of the easier kayaks to put together. That is down to the twistlok valves, and the high flow spring valve. They allow for easy airflow for both inflating and deflating the kayak. There are three valves that you would use to inflate your kayak.
The manual provides additional details about this. For instance, the second chamber should only be inflated up to 2.0 psi. Using a pump that measures as you inflate would help. Once you have done a few times, you will find that it becomes second nature.
The difficulty often comes in an attempt to strike a balance between durability and weight. This is one of those that have managed this feat. It is a reasonably lightweight kayak that can actually hold its own.
It comes in at an inflated weight of 7kg. The shipping weight of 8.7kg makes it very easy to transport. The weight maximum capacity that it can hold is 113kg, which is about 17 stone. That is a testament to a well-made product. Having said that, this is certainly a one-person kayak. The weight capacity may allow for two people if they are lightweight. Anything beyond this would be a safety hazard. If you are close to 6 feet tall or taller, this would not be an ideal kayak for you. It is better suited for shorter people.
For the sake of comfort, the Advanced Elements Firefly kayak comes with a folding seat. The fact that it folds works together with the weight of the kayak to make it easy to transport and to store away when not in use. There is only one seat, which is perhaps a telling sign of how many persons should occupy the kayak.
We were somewhat disappointed that this kayak does not come with a paddle. To put this in context, it is worth acknowledging that this is not an unusual practice.
If you are thinking of storing some items on your kayak, there is not much room for that in this one. You can certainly fit in a few bits. A lunch pack and some drinks would definitely slot into the legroom. There is no specific compartment or room set aside for storage on this kayak.
The only thing that has its own storage room is the repair kit. It has its own zipped pocket. This pocket is not very large, but could certainly accommodate one or two more small items.
Our experience with the Advanced Elements Firefly kayak gives us no reason to be concerned about punctures. It is definitely well-made. We also took heart in the fact that there is a repair kit for the occasions where punctures occur. No one is exempt from these over time, no matter how strong their kayak is.
Our Favorite Feature
There are several key features that we absolutely adore about this kayak. If we had to for just one it would be the splash management system. Oftentimes, water will find its way into the kayak. For the most part, it starts by gathering on the top before it makes its way in. This is what this kayak discourages. It has a splash diverter to channel the water away from the inside of the boat, and back to its source.
From a user’s standpoint, this kayak is fairly easy to paddle. It is suitable for first-time users and the more experienced ones among us. By virtue of being lightweight, it seems to also glide on the water without needing much push from the paddles. While it does not come with a paddle, this can be a blessing in disguise. You get to choose the ideal paddle for yourself.
How comfortable is it?
There are two aspects that we took into consideration when looking at comfort. These are the legroom and the seat. The seat provides you with a fair amount of cushioning and body support. As previously mentioned, the only criticism that we have for it is the lack of back support. However, adding back support would most likely compromise the folding feature of the seat, which is a massive selling point. There is a reasonable amount of legroom, provided you are not 6 feet tall or taller.
About the brand
Advanced Elements is an American brand that hails out of California. They are specialists in developing products for water-sports including kayaks, SUPs and all the gear and accessories to go alongside. In their own words, they are out to develop ‘Inflatable kayaks with cutting edge technology’ and if you read reviews of some of their other inflatable kayaks you’ll see they’re making some of the best quality and most popular products in the world.
- Quick set up – Very easy set up and pack down in minutes
- Comfortable – Comes with a foldable seat.
- Very Lightweight – Incredibly portable and easy to take anywhere
- Comes with carry bag – Carry case is included for easy transport and storage
- Okay tracking – Wide bottom and stable in the water but only okay tracking
- Not ideal for tall paddlers – The max recommended height is only 6 feet
- Not good storage – Not much room inside the cockpit so get an life jacket with pockets
- Not great back support – The seat isn’t the best and so you’ll need to pad it out a bit to support your lower back
Conclusion: Is it worth the money?
- Built-in rigid panels define the bow and stern and improve tracking
- A unique outer cover provides durability in a lightweight design
- Twistlok valves and a high flow Spring valve allow for quick setup time
While there are a host of reasons for purchasing this kayak. The one thing that we would encourage you to steer clear of is whitewater rafting. This kayak is simply not made for that sort of environment. It is not suitable for taking on strong currents or high tides and waves.
Having said that, the Advanced Elements Firefly is a great kayak. It is a durable product that will certainly give you a few years of use. You will also enjoy the ease with which it inflates and deflates.