Anyone rolled an Advanced Elements inflatable kayak?

Kayaking balance and body mechanics are not all that different in practice from other sports that you may already have developed an instinctive feel for, like downhill skiing, ice skating and/or cycling (bicycling or motorcycle.). Staying aware of the location of your center of gravity and trusting the momentum of your forward inertia are what keep you right side up and moving along. You will develop those instincts with seat time and practice. You are not dead weight cargo in the kayak. As with skis or a bike, it is just your point of contact with the surface you are traveling over and you are “wearing” that piece of gear and using your body to keep that interface in balance. Like Celia says, don’t focus on what the distractable dog you are walking (or kayak under you) is doing — focus on where your body is and where you want it to go. As you develop experience and practice, instead of fearing an approaching powerboat wake you will automatically adjust to and power through it and may even learn to welcome and play with it. If you have ever come out of a motorcycle skid by countersteering and acceleration reactions, you’ll understand that you will eventually develop appropriate natural reflexes for kayaking as well.

Finally got a chance to watch the EVO video. What they call “thwarts” are actually flotation bags. Odd terminology. And they don’t look large enough to me to effectively fill enough underdeck volume. But considering how buoyant a boat with that much inflated structure must be, probably not a safety issue but might stick you with a soggy boat since pumping it out completely would be difficult.

While I admire the better performance that drop stitch construction apparently gives to the newer inflatables. BUT they require a powered high pressure pump which is something you would have to haul with you for every use. It is not safe to leave anything inflatable, especially to high pressure, sitting out on land and in the sun once you have pumped it up. So each time you relieve the valves to prevent potential ruptures, you would have to have the pump with you all the time.

Performance on the water looks very similar to my Pakboat Puffin 12 skin on frame folding kayak (which has skin-tensioning inflatable sponsons). Not surprising as it has similar dimensions.

They don’t, there is space beyond them - the one in the stern for storage.

This is what I got (only need to pump the side chambers to 6 psi) - it fits in the rear hatch with some room left over.

For the use I’m putting them to, I have to say I’m satisfied. I considered hardshells, but thought that storage and transport might be an issue with those. I considered a Pakboat, but thought that assembly would take longer (how long does it take you on average?) than with Advanced Elements. I also thought about getting a Track, but, at least for now, the price is too high.

It takes me about 20 minutes to set up the rather simple 12’ Puffin, which only has two sponsons and snap-in ribs. That’s once I have practice – often the first set up of the season takes more like 30 minutes (mostly due to forgetting which steps come in what order and having to take a couple pieces apart because I goofed.)

My fancier folders, the 13’ 6" Quest and 14’ Swift, take about 30 minutes since they have multiple sponsons to inflate and lock-in ribs, as does my 15’ 9" Feathercraft Wisper (which is more comparable to a Trak in quality, cost and performance, but no longer in production.) But the Quest and the Wisper are both boats I don’t hesitate to take into more serious waters, including coastal conditions and large windy lakes. Though the photo below is my cousin using my Puffin on Lake Erie on a windy day and it performed quite well.

The EVO is a decent looking boat – I might be tempted by one if I didn’t already have the Puffin that serves that purpose.

What a beautiful boat - do you know why they stopped making it?

The company closed the doors.

Both Folbot (another venerable producers of folding kayaks) and Feathercraft folded up shop about 5 or 6 years ago (maybe more). Just was not enough business to sustain the brand, apparently. Feathercrafts were all hand made in a tiny high-tech shop on Granville Island on a harbor inlet in Vancouver, BC. I visited them a couple of times over the years. I owned one of their Kahuna models and a K-1 Expedition before selling those kayaks to buy the Wisper, after the folks in their shop loaned me a demo Wisper for half a day when I was out there on vacation in 2009 and I fell in love with it.

All their boats ran $3000 to $6000 and there just were not enough people willing to pay that, I guess. Well worth the price, in my opinion, for the quality of the design and the build. Of all the 7 boats in my current fleet, if I had to just keep one it would probably be the Wisper. Every once in a while, a used one comes up and they still command $2000 or more used if in good shape.

Here’s me in mine last Summer:

I guess that makes the Trak 2 at $3600 a deal.

Just watched this assembly video for the Wisper and I have to say it’s a lot more complex than my EVO. Still, I like the engineering behind it.

Can’t really compare them “apples to apples”.

People have crossed arctic oceans in Feathercraft (and Folbot and Klepper and Longhaul) folding sea kayak models and they have been standard gear for military commandos. In the case of Feathercraft their boats were essentially made to order entirely in Canada by well-paid employees with pensions and benefits by a company with excellent and very personal customer service.

Advanced Elements are made in Indonesia or China. Most of their models are little more than pool toys. The EVO definitely has improved features (borrowed from higher end boats) but is still a recreational style boat, not a seaworthy touring kayak for open water conditions.

Trak’s boats are impressive in the flesh (though there have been reports of problems with the hydraulic jacks). And the assembly speed is a definite plus. But Trak has yet to prove they can even ship product. People have been waiting for over a year with no confirmed ship dates even after having been forced to pay up front in full to get on a “waiting list”. This can’t be blamed on the pandemic because the situation had been dragging out long before that started. And I saw recently that they are trying to entice more people to post money up front, including promising to throw in $1000 worth of drysuits and/or camping gear if you do it all at once instead of financing for a year. Guess there is a sucker born every minute. I’m guessing they are hungry for cash to try to fulfill past orders after having spent all the money they got from the original kickstarters. And they reportedly won’t give refunds to customers who want out. No way to do business. The best design in the world ain’t worth squat if you can’t deliver.

No other folding and inflatable kayak maker has ever had the range, variety and sophistication of models that Feathercraft did, from the ultralight Kurrent to the heavy duty expedition worthy K-1, Kodiak and Klondike, to the sleek Wisper, Khatsalano and Heron and their models of inflatable sea kayaks, both sit on top (Java and Gemini) and the sit in Aironaut.

I realized that I am late in this thread, but I’ll like to answer the original question posted here. Yes, I have recently rolled my Airfusion Evo with some minor modifications. The video says it all.

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Very cool Joe, for modifying the boat with thigh straps, your roll techniques, and getting it videoed!

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