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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-06-2006, 11:49 AM   #21
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

That sailfish had the tool it needed to save itself -- what a missed opportunity to give a big "up yours" to fishermen everywhere!
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-06-2006, 01:21 PM   #22
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

I think quite a few fishermen can attest that a big catch like that often draws a shark who takes a bite as the fish is being pulled in.

That would have been a bad time for the inflatable kayak fisherman in this case...
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-06-2006, 05:40 PM   #23
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

UPS pulled up while I was carting furniture around the driveway and my wife graciously allowed me to defer further furniture exchanges until I was done "playing with my new toy", providing there were no further butt remarks.

Bottom line, very pleased with it. Heres the details.

It appears the original web shop I bought it from just took the order and had the manufacturer drop ship it. Fine with me as the manufacturer is close to me. Kayakproshop appears to have placed the order with the manufacturer on the fourth of july, the manufacturer shipped it the very next day and UPS delivered it the day after that. Three thumbs up.

Boat came out of the package in good condition with no defects except that it was missing the little clip on "dry bag" which I planned to make good use of. A call to the manufacturer, advanced elements was answered after about 20 seconds on hold and a nice guy took my info and said a new bag would be shipped out tomorrow and arrive early next week. No verification of my order, serial numbers, blah blah...just "sorry man, we'll get one to you right away". Fourth thumb up.

The kayak is actually a floor and main chamber that slips inside a 'skin'. So you could theoretically replace either independently, and anything that pierces the boat will have to poke and rip the exterior skin and then do the same with the interior inflatable portion. The skin feels like a nylon like fabric on the top and like a thick tarp on the bottom. The removable inflatable chamber is also a thick feeling pvc material.

This aint a xodiac type product by any means, nor is it anywhere near the walmart inflatable floaty ring. To compare, its about on par with a typical ski boat towable, like an inflatable jetski or rubber ring. Which is to say that unless it get chawed on by a shark, I ram it into a bunch of pointy tree branches at 15mph, or someone stabs it with a knife, I'm not concerned with any hazards. I've rented inflatable products for whitewater rafting and they were usually a heavier rubberized feeling material...this is not that grade, but I've seen more expensive inflatable kayaks before and this seems in line with the $200-400 midrange stuff. In other words, good deal for $219.

Has a grab handle on each end, a strechy nylon thing to stuff items into just in front of you, lots of velcro and clippy things to hang stuff, a little compass hanging off the nylon stretchy thing, and hopefully soon, a clip on dry bag.

Both ends have moderately firm hard plastic inserts that make a bow and stern 'shape'. Theres a small hard rubber 'fin' on the rear bottom and a long thin hard rubber 'strip' running from the bow to mid. The former to help tracking, the latter so you can ground the raft without scraping up the outer skin as much.

It has an inflatable oval main chamber, inflatable floor, and the 'comb' where you can attach a 'skirt' or a cover. The cover and skirt (never used) from my hardboat fit on it fine.

I sit in it on the living room floor and any concerns about fit or size became immediately irrelevant. If you're over 6'10" or over 250lbs this will be too small. I'm good sized and had plenty of foot room and a few inches plus on either side. Felt bigger than my hard boat.

The strap-in seat included is not in the photos, it tethers to a strap behind the rear of the comb. Seemed find although I'd prefer it to be a little higher in the back to provide more lower back support.

The whole thing comes in a heavy duty dufflebag with a shoulder strap. About 15-16lbs without the bag, maybe 20 with it.

Inflating it was a minor challenge. It has two types of valves, one about an inch wide with a 'patented twist spring stem' or some such. You push the stem in with your finger and turn it to lock it into the deflate or inflate position. Nothing I had in the garage, including two AC inflators and two DC inflators, fit the opening, although it was almost exactly the same size as the largest 'raft inflator' tip I have. I was able to hold the inflator to it and seal the gap with my hand. With my cheeepest DC crapola inflator the main chamber went up in about 10 seconds. This inflator is basically a little toy electric car motor about an inch wide with a fan on the end wrapped in a cowling. In other words, anything you have or use is better. Perhaps some of the foot pumps or hand pumps have a thingamabob that fits this valve, but I dont have any of those. That I know of. I'll have to look through my back shed and see.

The other three chambers (floor, comb side a and comb side b) have a short plastic tube with a twistable tip like the cap on a cars tire valve stem although it doesnt come off. You twist it open, blow into it, twist it shut. Similarly, nothing I had fit it but the same large raft tip fit over it and sealed with the hand it took about 2 seconds for the floor and I blew up the two comb parts manually as it took two blows to fill them.

I think that if you werent a smoker or short of breath you could blow this thing up without a pump in about 5 or 10 minutes.

Basically I think if you're taking a boat into a place where this would be inappropriate, you know enough about kayaking to know that its not going to be good enough. I cant really think of any applications I have where this wouldnt be at least as good as a run of the mill hard boat.

Nothing but good things to say about the buying process, the $219 price I paid was the lowest I could find, shipping went great, the product looks super and the manufacturers customer service was great.
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-06-2006, 05:41 PM   #24
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Heres the boat in its original duffel bag, with an 18 month old baby for scale.

Following is the boat inside my RAV4.
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File Type: jpg Boat 010.jpg (62.1 KB, 103 views)
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-06-2006, 05:42 PM   #25
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Top and bottom, standing up. Wet test tomorrow with follow up report of usability...
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File Type: jpg_thumb Boat 014.jpg_thumb (27.1 KB, 1 views)
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-06-2006, 05:51 PM   #26
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
UPS pulled up while I was carting furniture around the driveway and my wife graciously allowed me to defer further furniture exchanges until I was done "playing with my new toy", providing there were no further butt remarks.
In the Navy that's referred to as a "suspended butt bust"...

Either you're really really happy with that thing, or you have a lot of furniture left to move!
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-06-2006, 05:55 PM   #27
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Yes.
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-07-2006, 10:59 AM   #28
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

I like that it the opening is so large, ours has a zippered covering that makes it hot when zipped and doesn't open all the way so you can hang your legs out.* But otherwise it is remarkably similar to our old MKII.* Hmm, maybe we need another one....
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-07-2006, 07:06 PM   #29
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Plenty big opening and plenty of leg room.

Still no 'wet test'...spent the day finishing my furniture moving project, which I think will be never ending.

I have however advised my wife that the stuff doesnt get any smaller no matter how many times I move it.

She's w*rking the next two days, so sometime after that I'll be able to huck it in the river and see how it goes. In comparing it by eye with my old crappy kayak, I cant see that it has any shape or features that would render it less capable for tracking, but perhaps the lower weight will be an issue for me as I can be a strong paddler. In fact the little rudder and front 'vane' might actually make this a better tracker than my hard boat, but again, my hard boat isnt much to write home about.

Wind could also play a factor on the lightweight inflatable, as the river does get a nice wind from the south. That'd be a positive for me though, as I always paddly upstream with the wind helping me until I'm pooped and then head back downstream with the current helping me.

More when I have it...
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-10-2006, 11:32 AM   #30
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

So, you get that thing in the water yet?
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-10-2006, 12:42 PM   #31
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Any minute now i'm going to toss it in the car and give it a whirl...
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-10-2006, 04:22 PM   #32
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Ok, we have a wet test.

The good, the bad and the ugly...

Good: Fits right in the Rav4 fully inflated, lightweight, launches easily, easy to get in...more lateral stablility than my hard boat, paddles fine, seems no more or less affected by the wind and current than the hard boat, lots of velcro, hooks, tabs and mesh netting to hang stuff on. Soft and comfortable to sit in. Very maneuverable, small tail on the boat helps that.

Bad: It took me a while to get comfortable in it. I tried sitting more upright like I do in my hard boat, which has a hard plastic seat with a backrest in it. The problem with the seat in the dragonfly is that its just held in at the top of the backrest with a strap, and you cant adjust how you're sitting in it as you're sitting ON it. I ended up wiggling it out from under me and flipping it onto the back. Later I got out of the boat in a shallow area and readjusted the seat and the sitting position to where I was more reclined than I am in the hardboat, and I got comfortable with that. There are two big velcro pieces to attach your paddle to the boat, and the rear one is right where my elbow wants to be when paddling, so after scraping on that a while I changed my paddling style a little to accommodate it. Little bit of waggle from the bow when aggressively paddling...maybe 18-20 inches side to side, nearly none when paddling gently. Takes out a little of your paddle stroke energy. Curiously I found by docking the paddle, turning around backwards and backstroking with my hands I could make pretty good time and of course no waggle when using both hands at the same time.

The ugly: The part of the river I tried it out in has plenty of shallows, and I like weaving in and out of stuff. The river also is well littered with cans and bottles. I hit bottom a couple of times, like I do in my hard boat, and when I pulled the boat out to leave I found a 2" slice that went right through the outer skin on the bottom and did not puncture, but left a scratch on the bottom of the inflated floor. I wasnt aware of the cutting and i'm not sure when it happened. Looks like I took a knife and ran the tip along the material, nice clean cut. Probably a piece of glass or a metal shard. Will need a patch before I use it again, and I guess no paddling in the shallow areas with this boat.

Where I went in is a bitchy little area where the yuba and feather rivers confluence, and they're both quite major rivers. Its full of junk, shallow spots, serious currents that change direction and velocity every 5' and bone chilling water. Its a slightly challenging place when you know the boat you're in and are comfortable with it. After three days of moving furniture, I have some sore muscles here and there. In other words, it was for me a worst case test of what I plan to use the boat for under worse physical conditions than I'd usually be boating.

I still had a good time and felt the boat handled aptly, and I felt fairly safe and comfortable in it.

I'm not thrilled about the slice but its a lesson learned and a little behavioral modification will solve the problem.

I wouldnt recommend this boat for any serious whitewater, maybe a class one or class two. No open ocean or great lakes while theres any kind of weather going on. Fine for ponds, slow moving rivers, light duty bay action sort of stuff.

Feels very different from a hard boat...you sit a lot closer to the water. That took a little getting used to.
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-10-2006, 04:39 PM   #33
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Help me out here. Just what is it we're getting a test report on?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Ok, we have a wet test.

...you sit a lot closer to the water. That took a little getting used to.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
... its not bright red and dripping nitroglycerine though...
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-11-2006, 10:51 PM   #34
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Late to this thread, but Jack's Plastic Welding in Aztec,* New Mexico makes inflatable kayaks for shallow Southwest rivers.* Probably backpack size when deflated.* He uses thin, true raft material to build a canoe shaped inflatable raft.* I've only bought the big pontoon rafts, didn't pay much attention to the little narrow inflatable kayaks.* Probably way over the budget for this use, but the raft material is not as flimsy like some that were mentioned here.
Look in Walmart near the camping matresses for 12V or 120V air pumps, $10 to $20.
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-12-2006, 08:53 AM   #35
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Thanks for the report!

Quote:
...a 2" slice that went right through the outer skin on the bottom and did not puncture, but left a scratch on the bottom of the inflated floor. I wasnt aware of the cutting and i'm not sure when it happened.
It was probably done by the same guy who keyed your Lexus.

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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-12-2006, 09:02 AM   #36
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

Yeah no trouble. Its a nice boat, and if I made it sound flimsy its not. Its pretty decent and should serve me well for my purpose, as long as I dont torture test it in 5" of water full of gravel, broken bottles and shredded cans anymore. In the hard boat if I hit a patch of that I just set the paddle up, stuck my fists into it and knuckled my way across it.

I took a piece of the patch material and cut at it and used some scissors on it. It actually takes a bit of abuse. My pocket knife wouldnt easily penetrate it without a good bit of pressure, even at just the point. Theres some fabric sandwiched in the middle, I can see strands.

Used the provided patch kit to slap a piece of new material over the small cut. They provide a tube of glue and a couple of roughly 3" round patches, color keyed to the top of the skin, the bottom, and the interior inflatable piece.

Now I just have to wait to see if they actually sent me the missing dry bag; if so they get an a+ for customer service end to end.


As long as I steer clear of a small patch near the confluence, its all 3-6' deep.
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-13-2006, 07:03 PM   #37
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

These inflatable kayaks are getting very popular even with the big boat sailors. I see where one could have a lot of fun in some smaller waters that would be hard to haul in a rigid boat. I wonder how it woud do as a fishing boat ?

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Re: Inflatable kayaks?
Old 07-15-2006, 02:07 PM   #38
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Re: Inflatable kayaks?

...And for what its worth, I never received the missing "dry bag" the manufacturer said they'd send out last week. It'd be about a day or two in transit even if they shipped it USPS.

So either they're real slow in getting it out, or customer service is back to "as usual"...shipping products with missing parts and then not following through with fixing the problem.
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Old 09-09-2016, 05:20 PM   #39
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Can't believe this thread is ten years old.

Anyway, today I bought almost the same model of kayak (Advanced Elements Dragonfly) from Craigslist ($150).



I got tired of loading and unloading the canoe from the truck, and I hadn't been out in it for a while. I'll report after I take it out in the water. I've ordered a pump--I don't think the previous owner realized that the pump he had only gets it about halfway inflated.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:22 PM   #40
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Let us know how it works out. It would be nice to carry a couple of those on a cross-country camping trip if they turn out convenient and comfortable. Did you get the dry bag with it from the first owner...the one that CFB got cheated out of?
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