Best Advanced Elements Kayaks For 2023

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

Advanced Elements kayaks blend the portability of inflatable kayaks with the performance of hard-shell kayaks. Advanced Elements hybrid kayaks include rigid hull components, such as a take-down aluminum frame, that allow the kayak to slice through the water more efficiently than a typical inflatable kayak. Yet Advanced Elements folding kayaks still deflate to pack into a lightweight duffel that’s easy to transport and stores in the back of a closet.

Advanced Elements kayaks include ultralight models that perform like packrafts, perfect for carrying into remote locations; full-featured sit-on-top fishing kayaks; and expedition kayaks that bridge the gap between ocean paddling and easy whitewater.

Consider an Advanced Elements kayak if you’re an enthusiastic paddler looking for good performance in a folding kayak. Advanced Elements appeals to outdoor adventurers who want a quality kayak—but lack the storage space or means to transport a hard-shell touring kayak. Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks are also perfect for traveling.

Advanced Elements kayak designs include options for recreational paddling, kayak fishing, whitewater and kayak expeditions. Advanced Elements kayaks include safety features that make them more suitable for use in more exposed and challenging paddling conditions, such as ocean coastlines and moderate whitewater rivers, than discount-priced inflatable kayaks.

Are you looking to buy an Advanced Elements kayak? The brand has good North American distribution at outdoor stores like L.L. Bean and REI. While they’re not quite as efficient to paddle as a hard-shell touring kayak, Advanced Elements hybrid kayaks are among the best performing folding kayaks you’ll find.

Top picks: Best Advanced Elements kayaks for 2023

The following Advanced Elements kayaks have received the highest star ratings by reviewers in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. See and review all Advanced Elements kayaks here.

Best Advanced Elements Kayaks

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Kayaks: AdvancedFrame Ultralite by Advanced Elements - Image 2430
Advanced Elements

AdvancedFrame Ultralite

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Kayaks: AirFusion EVO by Advanced Elements - Image 2432
Advanced Elements

AirFusion EVO

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Kayaks: AdvancedFrame by Advanced Elements - Image 4493
Advanced Elements

AdvancedFrame

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AE3029-Airvolution-Top_914x406px-first_product_boats.jpg
Advanced Elements

AirVolution Drop-stitch Kayak

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Kayaks: Scout™ 134 by Advanced Elements - Image 4688
Advanced Elements

Scout™ 134

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Kayaks: Attack PRO Whitewater Kayak by Advanced Elements - Image 3141
Advanced Elements

Attack PRO Whitewater Kayak

Shop for Advanced Elements kayaks

Check out the Paddling Buyer’s Guide for every Advanced Element kayak on the market, including reviews, ratings and where to buy. You can choose to filter Advanced Elements kayaks by type and application, such as fishing or whitewater, or by the number of paddlers (one-person or tandem).

Then, click on specific models to see specs, prices, reviews and where to buy Advanced Elements kayaks. We’ve also narrowed down the best Advanced Elements kayaks at the most popular retailers like L.L. Bean and REI. You won’t find a better kayak buyer’s guide on the web.



Shopping for a used Advanced Elements kayak?

You may come across a used Advanced Elements kayak on buy-and-sell websites like Craigslist, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. Advanced Elements hybrid inflatable kayaks are a good choice for paddling (and adventure travel) enthusiasts who lack the storage space for a full-size touring or fishing kayak. They perform better than cheaper inflatables and are lightweight and easy to transport in small cars, on public transport or even commercial flights.

Multiple options are available to choose from depending on your style of paddling, from day tripping to expeditions, kayak fishing and whitewater. Your first step in making a good investment is to research the specific attributes of the Advanced Elements hybrid kayak model you are considering. Our Paddling Buyer’s Guide is the ideal place to start. Once you’ve found a contender, consider the following advice to make a good used purchase:

Overhead shot of inflatable kayak being paddled between two cliffs
Photo: Courtesy Advanced Elements
  • Advanced Elements kayaks are built tough, with reinforced PVC hulls. However, their inflation valves are subject to wear and tear, like any inflatable kayak, and internal aluminum frame members can be bent, twisted or dented by impacts. Be sure to check all parts before you commit to making a purchase. Start by examining the overall condition of the Advanced Elements kayak.Assemble the frame and inflate the air chambers. Listen for air leaks in the valves and tubes and watch for any stains and mold, which may reveal the kayak was stored wet. Is there any fading on the Advanced Elements kayak’s deck (top) or hull (bottom)? Fading reveals UV damage, which may compromise durability. Similarly, look for any obvious signs of abrasion or blown seams.
  • It goes without saying, but check and double-check any used folding kayak to ensure there are no missing parts. This includes frame pieces, seat(s), decks, any rigging or accessories and removable skeg (fin that attaches to the stern hull to assist with paddling straight).
  • Advanced Elements boasts excellent outfitting compared to other inflatable kayaks. Bear in mind that outfitting is often a matter of personal preference. Take a close look at comfort features like the seat (is it supportive for your body type? Does it hold air?). Foot rests are critical to give you purchase on the kayak to paddle efficiently; make sure they’re functional and appropriate for your leg length.
    Examine these parts individually and consider how well they work together as a whole—the easiest way to achieve this is by sitting in the boat (and ideally paddling it) to make sure it feels comfortable. Think about how long you’ll be sitting in the kayak. If it’s uncomfortable in a quick test, how will it feel after an hour?
  • Accessories are key features of Advanced Elements fishing kayaks; if you want to do some kayak angling make sure you examine features like rod holders and accessory frames.
  • The only way to fully appreciate the comfort and performance of a kayak is to try it before committing to a purchase. Arrange a meeting place with the seller that allows you to take a few moments on the water. Bring your usual paddle and dress in what you plan to wear while paddling. Be sure to assess how easy the boat is to enter and exit.
  • In general (that is, before Covid-19 put a premium on outdoor equipment) the typical starting point for a used Advanced Elements kayak in moderate condition was about half its retail price. All that’s changed in the wake of boat shortages brought on by the pandemic, but you can use it as a starting point in haggling a fair price.
  • If you’re offered a PFD as part of a used kayak sale make sure it’s in good shape, fits properly and is Coast Guard approved for the location you’ll be paddling.

For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Kayak.

Advanced Elements kayak buying advice

Advanced Elements kayaks are available across North America at outdoors stores and online outlets. A huge variety of Advanced Elements folding kayaks are available, many of which are good choices if you’re low on storage space and looking for a quality inflatable kayak with a hybrid rigid frame to make it perform better than cheaper inflatables. You can buy Advanced Element kayaks to meet a wide range of paddling needs, including recreational paddling and fishing, single and tandem, for paddlers of all sizes.

While Advanced Elements kayaks are superior to most other inflatable brands, they’re still slow and sluggish to paddle compared to a hard-shell kayak. Advanced Elements kayaks are the ideal choice for serious paddlers who love international travel and don’t want the hassle and uncertainty of renting a kayak at their destination.

They’re also an excellent choice if you want a kayak with reasonable performance that stores in a closet. However, if you’re a serious paddler with access to storage space and a means of transporting your kayak, you may prefer the efficiency and speed of a hard-shell kayak.

Woman in inflatable kayak floating on lake with mountains in background
Photo: Courtesy Advanced Elements

Advanced Elements kayaks are divided into categories based on type of use. These include recreational kayaks designed for casual use on sheltered water; day touring kayaks, which feature additional volume and better glide for longer journeys; expedition kayaks for multi-day trips; sit-on-top fishing kayaks for angling in a variety of conditions; crossover kayaks that are equally capable on flatwater and class I-III whitewater; and dedicated whitewater inflatable kayaks.

Advanced Elements kayaks are available as single (one-person) and tandem (two-person) models. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular Advanced Elements kayaks:

PackLite

Do you want a lightweight kayak for amphibious adventures? The Advanced Elements 7-foot, 10-inch PackLite kayak weighs only four pounds, making it ideal for carrying into remote lakes or multisport missions involving hiking, biking and paddling.

AdvancedFrame

The AdvancedFrame kayak is a solid day touring sit-inside model with a large cockpit for easy entry and exit and durable construction. This 10.5-foot kayak outperforms many recreational hard-shell kayaks, yet comes with a reasonable price of $599.99.

Airfusion Evo

The Airfusion Evo is Advanced Elements’ flagship expedition kayak. This sit-inside 13-footer is ideal for globetrotting paddlers looking for an easy-to-transport kayak that sets up fast and offers reasonable glide with a stiff, hybrid inflatable and aluminum frame hull, and adequate storage for food and gear.

Straitedge and Straitedge2 Pro

The Advanced Elements Straitedge and Straitedge2 Pro models are ideal crossover kayaks, suitable for flatwater and whitewater paddling in up to class III rapids. These open-deck kayaks have good stability and are easy to enter and exit. The 13-foot Straitedge2 Pro is a great option for both solo and tandem kayaking and weighs barely 40 pounds.

Straitedge Angler and Straitedge Angler Pro

Advanced Elements offers two versions of its Straitedge Angler kayak, both featuring an aluminum rib frame structure that adds rigidity, as well as standard fishing accessories like rod holders. The Straitedge Angler Pro provides even better stability for stand-up fishing with an extra-stiff floor, as well as two accessory frames for even more gear-mounting options.

Two kayaks being paddled on narrow rive running between snowy shores
Photo: Courtesy Advanced Elements

Attack Pro

The Advanced Elements Attack Pro Whitewater Kayak is designed for use in serious rapids, featuring great maneuverability and buoyancy in waves and aerated water. The Attack Pro has an open deck, with full-time self-bailing that quickly drains waves and spray out of the cockpit. The drop-stitch floor is of the same design as whitewater rafts, affording great stiffness and durability.

Use this as a start, and remember that online research will only get you so far. The best advice we can offer is to always test paddle before buying any boat. Of course, that’s a challenge at many of the outdoor stores and online outlets where Advanced Elements kayaks are sold. Try to borrow an Advanced Elements kayak from a friend for a test paddle in real-world conditions. The more time you can spend on the water in a similar style of kayak, the better the purchasing decision you will make.

Here are answers to some of the most common online questions about Advanced Elements kayaks.

  • Advanced Elements kayak warranty

    Advanced Elements kayaks have a one-year warranty that covers defects in material and workmanship under normal use. Owners must contact the company to put forth a warranty claim.

  • Where to buy Advanced Elements kayak

    You can buy Advanced Elements kayaks at outdoor retailers across North America; the brand boasts a robust network of distributors. If you’re located in the United States check out stores like REI and L.L. Bean for the best selection. You can also order Advanced Elements kayaks at many paddlesports specialty stores. In Canada, check out Valhalla Pure in British Columbia and Latulippe in Quebec.

  • Advanced Elements kayak price

    The prices of Advanced Elements kayaks range from $350 US for its most basic recreational models to $1,650 US for fully equipped folding tandem kayaks. Advanced Elements kayak prices are somewhat higher than the cheap kayaks you’ll find at big box stores, but the additional cost is worth it if you’re looking for a higher-performance hybrid inflatable kayak with better longevity and durability.

  • Where are Advanced Elements kayaks made?

    Advanced Elements kayaks are made in China. The brand designs and distributes its kayaks from its headquarters near San Francisco, California.

Compare Advanced Elements kayaks

  • Advanced Elements vs Aquaglide

    Aquaglide and Advanced Elements offer similar ranges of inflatable kayaks. Both feature construction technology that was inspired by whitewater rafts to create a stiffer, higher-performance hull compared to cheaper inflatable kayak brands.

    Choose an Advanced Elements kayak if you want an even stiffer hull with a take-down aluminum internal frame for increased performance; Aquaglide, on the other hand, offers lighter weight models that are more versatile for both flatwater and moving water use.

  • Sea Eagle vs Advanced Elements kayaks

    Sea Eagle makes several kayaks that are faster and sleeker than Advanced Elements, including the RazorLite series—making this a better model if you’re looking for flatwater performance. Similarly, the Sea Eagle Explorer series provides good whitewater performance with a three-person model available.

    Choose Advanced Elements kayaks over Sea Eagle if you’re looking for greater versatility and better stability, particularly in fully decked sit-inside models. Advanced Elements also makes dedicated inflatable fishing kayaks, making this a better brand for anglers.

  • Gumotex vs Advanced Elements

    Gumotex offers a good alternative to Advanced Elements kayaks for Europe-based paddlers. The brand’s offerings provide similar performance characteristics and include sit-on-top and sit-inside varieties. If you want an inflatable kayak for fishing, get an Advanced Elements kayak.

  • Oru vs Advanced Elements

    If you want a state-of-the-art folding kayak, with no inflatable air chambers, get an Oru. This San Francisco-based innovator produces high-performance recreational and day touring kayaks that fold like origami. Oru kayaks are lighter, stiffer and cut through the water better than Advanced Elements, and pack up in a similar sized package.

    On the other hand, choose Advanced Elements if you want to paddle whitewater, are looking for a budget folding kayak, or want an angler-specific portable kayak with stand-up fishability. Advanced Elements is also the better choice for multi-sport adventurers who need an ultra-packable kayak that fits in a backpack.

Inflatable kayak being paddled beside waterfall
Photo: Courtesy Advanced Elements

Advanced Elements kayak reviews

Look no further than our expert reviews for solid advice in selecting and purchasing an Advanced Elements hybrid kayak.

 

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