Get the pros and cons of both kayaks in this review of the AdvancedFrame Expedition vs Expedition Elite Inflatable Kayak
This is Emily at Oz Inflatable Kayaks and in this video, we’re going to have a look at the Advancedframe Expedition and its new version, the Advancedframe Expedition Elite, and what the difference is, and what might be a better choice for you.
They look kind of the same, don’t they? These are the two models and from the outside, that’s because they basically ARE the same. It’s on the inside that things change and specifically, it’s the floor that sits inside the kayak.
Drop-Stitch (DS) Floor
The original Expedition has a soft floor, like a lilo (a little inflatable air bed). It’s a very low pressure, soft cushy floor. The Expedition Elite, however, has a drop-stitch floor.
Drop-stitch basically means there’s thousands of tiny little stitches that stitch the top and bottom together. This means is you can pump it to very, very high pressure without it becoming a circle. It’ll maintain its flat shape.
It’s actually how they make standup paddle boards because if you can imagine, a standup paddle board going to very, very high pressure that you would need to withstand someone standing in the middle, it would lose its shape if it was a circle. What this does for the actual kayak is create chines in the hull. They’re these corners here. We like to use fancy words for things in kayaking and so, they’re just corners. These corners will help the kayak to track a bit straighter in the water. So it’ll help it to glide a bit straighter as you paddle.
The other thing it does is it make the hull nice and flat on the bottom here. Even if you’re well over 100 kilograms, and you’re sitting in this kayak, the bottom, the hull of the kayak will be flat. Whereas with the soft floor, there’d probably be a little bit of a dip where your bum was, so you’d get a tiny bit of drag so that’s overall going to make this kayak a bit faster.
If the Expedition Elite is faster and goes straighter, why would you ever buy the Expedition?
Great question. The original AdvancedFrame Expedition inflatable kayak is a little bit more comfortable, so that cushy seat is nice basically under your bum after you’re going on a really long trip, or you just like to be comfortable, and you suffer from numbness, you might appreciate a nice cushion under your bum.
The second reason is expense. A drop-stitch costs a lot to make. It’s really literally thousands of threads that have to be put together and the drop-stitch material, it has to be really good quality because you’re putting huge amounts of air pressure into this floor. So if it’s not good quality, the air, it can’t withstand the pressure. The seams will burst and that’s what happens when you buy cheap standup paddle boards, for example. They’re just not designed to actually withstand the pressure. It costs money to make good drop-stitch. Advanced Elements are particular about making top quality products and therefore not using cheap materials.
The AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite is more expensive and the floor is a bit harder under your bum, but it is a better performing kayak than the original Advancedframe Expedition.
Now both are great. Advanced Elements have crafted two kayaks that are both amazing on the water. You can sort of get a feel for the glide that you get from these kayaks.
Features of the AdvancedFrame Expedition vs Expedition Elite Inflatable Kayak
Continuing our AdvancedFrame Expedition vs Expedition Elite Inflatable Kayak analysis – both have a whopping capacity of 204 kilograms. You can really load them up with gear if you want to go on a multi-day trip. In fact, I’ve had customers that have gone on multi-week trips in really remote areas, so they’ve had to take everything with them and they’ve been able to do that with this kayak. That’s why Advanced Elements named the kayaks the “Expedition”, because they designed it to be perfect for a multi-day adventure.
- They also both have the foot brace.
- Both have the rear hatch for convenient storage.
- They have the comfortable rubber moulded handles at the bow and the stern.
- There is bungee lacing on the deck as well as D-rings and then on the back, they have extra D-rings. So if you really want to load up with gear, you can.
Compact – Great for Travelling
They come in a nice compact bag if you want to take them overseas. Like I said I’ve had customers that have gone to really remote places with the AdvancedFrame Expedition kayak. You can pop them on the caravan, put either of them in your boat, in the car, in the closet. They go in all sorts of places.
If you are trying to decide between the AdvancedFrame Expedition vs Expedition Elite Inflatable Kayak, they are both the same size and weight.
Overall, they’re a wonderful expedition kayak. You can take them out in pretty well any kind of climate. They’re great for open ocean. They’re great for cold weather, but they’ll also do summer weather. They’ll do flat water. The only thing they won’t do is white water. Basically, these kayaks are designed to go straight on flat water. They’re not designed to turn quickly like you need to on white water, but otherwise, a really versatile lovely kayak.
Award Winning Design Features from Advanced Elements
In terms of deciding between the AdvancedFrame Expedition vs Expedition Elite Inflatable Kayak, both versions have these awesome features from Advanced Elements:
Both the Expedition and the Expedition Elite are part of the patented AdvancedFrame line. This means they both have the awesome Advancedframe design – there’s actually some metal in there. There’s aluminium ribs in the bow and the stern. You don’t see it. You don’t need to see it. Please don’t go pulling your kayak apart, unless it’s absolutely necessary, but basically, what this does is really make the tracking amazing.
These kayaks are a bit different to most inflatable kayaks. They sit in the water instead of on the water. That vertical hull design at the bow and the stern just makes it track beautifully. The one at the back acts kind of like a skeg. It draws the water behind the kayak in a straight line so that you just glide along without really having to have any skill to be honest.
They both have a fin to help with tracking.
They both have this awesome lumbar seat. This is a really nice high back seat and it clips into the inner tubes on the top so you get really good support, but there’s also a cushion behind here that’s inflatable and this is the tube right here that you inflate. So as you’re paddling, you can blow it up or let air out. This is great if you’re going for a long time. Again, this gives you that bit of extra support in your back.
They both have the multi-layer hull construction so to puncture this kayak, you’d have to go through the hull, then through the inner tube cover, then through the inner tube itself. So it’s really not something we see happen.
The hull is made from PVC tarpaulin, which is a layer of material with PVC either side. It stops the PVC from stretching so it means that it stays nice and thick. Gives you great protection. They’re really very, very durable kayaks, both of the Expeditions are. In fact, all the Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks are renown for their durability.
They both have the multiple air chambers. If something happens to one chamber, you’ve got the other one still functioning so you’re not up a certain creek without a paddle.
AdvancedFrame Expedition Review
Really both wonderful, wonderful kayaks.
This is one of my customers that did a multi-week expedition. “Hello Emily, Finally managed to find some pictures for you of my partner and my kayaks on some of our adventures. We circumnavigated the Indonesian Island of Gam (just west of Papua) in January, which was extraordinary. Gliding over fantastic unspoilt corals just under the surface, using the tides to whisk us up channels to Hidden Bay with limestone caverns, coral, and completely alone.”
So it really is just amazing what you can do. This is Victoria. She’s gone on to take this kayak overseas, to the Thames, done all sorts of interesting exploring with it. She says here, “Great kayak and very dependable,” which is really what you’re looking for in Expedition kayak. You could be somewhere very remote and you don’t want a kayak that’s going to let you down, and both these models do it, the AdvancedFrame Expedition and the Expedition Elite inflatable kayak. It’s purely a question of comfort versus performance, comfort and cost versus performance.
I hope this review of the AdvancedFrame Expedition vs Expedition Elite Inflatable Kayak has helped you out.