Advanced Frame AE1012 Kayak Review

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About the Company

Advanced Elements is one of the highest quality inflatable kayak manufacturers you can buy from. In fact all of their products go through a thorough process of of inflation, inspecting and pressure testing all of their products. Their Kayaks and Inflatable SUP’s are made with high quality Denier Polyester / PVC Laminate covered by diamond ripstop material. This combination makes them very durable and allows them to take a beating from rocks and other sharp objects that could puncture other inflatables. The company’s ultimate goal was to bring a hybrid kayak that has the basis of an inflatable kayak with rigid components. With this combination Advanced Elements are known for producing kayaks that performs like rigid kayaks but have the ability to become portable so you can take it anywhere you want to go. The Advanced frame AE1012 is no different from this philosophy. 

What is the Advanced Frame AE1012 Kayak used for?

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The Advanced Frame AE1012 is primarily meant for day touring and recreational purposes. It is ideally meant for individuals who may not have room to store a full kayak but want still want to explore the great outdoors without sacrificing performance and handling.

This kayak is great for a variety of different Bodies of water but excels in the calmer conditions of lakes and bays but can be useful in Coastal waters and bays. The kayak itself is rated for class I-II rapids meaning it can handle some choppier waters but it is not recommended to take this kayak through the trials and tribulations of full blown rapids. There are other Inflatable Kayaks that are better for that. This kayak is ideal for people that are about 6 feet and under and are below 300 Lbs in weight. If you are taller than 6 feet , no fuss! The AE 1009 Expedition is built for taller people and is roomier at 10’10”. It is alo a better kayak for multi-day excursions.

AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak AE1012 Features

  • Folding Seat
  • Built in Aluminum Rib Steen and Bow
  • Repair Kit
  • Duffel Bag
  • D Ring Tie Downs
  • Room for some Storage in the back
  • Skeg
  • Front Deck Lacing
  • Made of 600 Denier Polyester Laminate and Diamond Ripstop material
  • Military Air Valves
  • Rubber Handles
  • Electronically Welded Seams
  • Pressure Relief Valve located on the Floot

Features Analysis

Some of the features of the AdvancedFrame Kayak Include the Following.

The Included Package

The package includes a carry duffel bag that fits the kayak each time it is deflated. A folding seat that works well for day trips, repair kit as well as an owners manual to insure that the kayak is properly inflated and installed.

Built in Aluminium Rib Stern and Bow

This is one of the key features that separates the AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak and other Advanced Elements Products from other inflatable manufacturers. The Aluminum Rib is what allows the kayak to handle almost as well as its hard shelled cousins.

The bow of the kayak slices through the water while being directed to the stern allowing the kayak to behave like a hardshell. With many other inflatable kayak manufacturers the kayak behaves like an inflatable pool toy with little tracking ability and more effort being used per paddle.

The Material and Installation

The AdvancedFrame kayak is made of a very durable 600 Denier Polyester Laminate covered by Diamond Ripstop material that prevents most kinds of damage from obstacles that may occur during your paddling adventure.

The installation of this kayak will take you a few times before you get the hang of it so the first time you start using it take your time and properly follow the manual. I know I am guilty of not always following the manual but for this kayak you want to make sure that it is properly inflated so that your first time out will be as enjoyable as possible!

Once unfolded the kayak features seven inflation chambers accompanied by two Boston Military valves and five twist lock ones. For the first chamber you want to inflate the kayak until it looks like it is half full. Next you want to inflate the floor chamber to 1.0 PSI The second chamber (Inside the kayak) you want to inflate till it reaches around 1.0 PSI. Next inflate the deck lifts so that water does not roll into the cockpit. You then Inflate the coaming for the spray skirt attachment and lastly you just simply install the seat!

I realise my instructions may be hard to visualise so here are video instructions by Advanced Elements below.  At first the setup of this kayak can be a bit tricky but once you get the hang of it the total inflation time from beginning to end can take less than 10 minutes.


Pressure Relief Valve on the Floor

The Folks at Advanced Elements are very clever, included with the seven valves is a pressure relief valve that is located on the floor. Many times when you are pumping your kayak up with air it is hard to tell if you over inflated it. As a result you only really get a good idea when you are in the water, which can be a drag because many times you have to paddle back to shore to readjust. Advanced Elements integrated a pressure relief valve on the floor that allows you to adjust the pressure for an optimum paddling experience.


  • Performs better than most inflatable kayaks out there
  • Comfortable Seat
  • Great for Day Touring Use
  • Quick Set Up Time
  • Better Tracking than most Inflatable Kayaks
  • High quality construction for good durability
  • Built in Rib Stern and Bow
  • Lightweight and Portable


  • It would be nice if the Backbone and Drop-Stitch Floor came with the Kayak
  • Limited Storage Space
  • Could use more Accessories that come with the Kayak
  • Best Suited for people 6 feet and under

Bodies of Water

The Advanced Frame AE1012 is best at home in calmer waters but can be used in coastal conditions as well. The Aluminum Bow and Stern allow this kayak to track well in calm to slightly choppy waters and is one of the faster inflatable kayaks built. If you are planning on doing some higher performance paddling it is recommended that you get the Drop Stick Floor for maximum Bottom protection and the BackBone for better tracking ability. Ideally you would want to use the AE 1012 in Calm Lakes and Coastal Bays.

Customer Feedback

The Positive

Some Customer feedback that I have come across is that the Advanced Frame AE1012 has amazing durability and is a convenient portable option to a hardshell kayak. In their experience it is the next best thing performance wise to their hard shelled cousins. Some other positive customer notes include the following.

– Tracks well and is stable in the Ocean
– Perfect for Day Paddling
– Comfortable with easy access
-Bag that comes with the kayak easily holds kayak as well as paddle
– Takes less than 10 minutes to inflate thanks to the dual action pump
– Can keep up with friends in hard boats in rivers
– Very Comfortable
– If properly inflated there is little flex in the kayak
– Cuts through the water easily
– Performance is on par with recreational- touring hardshelled kayaks
– Near Impossible to tip
– Front Deck lacing is handy for what you need for a day trip
– Great looking kayak

The Negative

Some of the most common knocks about this kayak is the limited storage space and the fact that it does not accommodate folks that are 6’0 and over. Some other Customer reviewed knocks about this kayak are.

– Good for Open Ocean but caution is recommended when getting close to shore
– Back Bone increases the performance but does make the hull more vulnerable to rips
– The fact you have to buy a back bone to further the performance is excessive
– Does not come with a Pump.
– Maximum Capacity is misleading. Actually rated for 235 Lbs for the individual


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The Advanced Frame AE1012 is a fantastic alternative to hardshell kayaks thanks to its advanced and innovative design. What makes this kayak innovate its Aluminium Rib Bow and Stern which allows this kayak to be one of the better tracking inflatable kayaks out there. It is also made of quality material that keeps the kayak from being almost puncture resistant. Portability more and more is starting to become the name of the game and the Advanced Frame AE 1012 ticks all of those boxes including a quick set up time of around 10 minutes once you get accustomed to it.

In an ideal world this kayak is made for day trips in calmer waters such as lakes and bays. However you can take this kayak out to the coastal ocean and it would still be effective but I would wait for a calmer day when there is little tide going against you. With all the good I have stated about this kayak I would say to consider a different inflatable kayak if you are 6 feet and over ,as space is an issue that I have heard from customers from time to time. There is also not a lot of room to put gear so I would use the kayak as a day/ recreational kayak and not an expedition kayak.

As more people are downsizing inflatable kayaks are becoming increasingly popular and while this one is more expensive than other inflatable kayaks it is well worth the price with the quality and performance attached to this kayak.

Additional Accessories that you need to buy

A Pump

It is recommended that you get a pump with a pressure gauge. You can use a hand pump or an electronic pump but just make sure you know your pressures! I personally recommend the Advanced Elements Double Action Hand Pump with Pressure Gauge simply because It’s from the same manufacturer therefore it’s purpose is to work well with the products.

A Paddle

Really the right paddle ultimately depends on you and what you are paddling. I will be posting a guide about this shortly, It ultimately comes down to your height, paddling style and your torso size. A quick way to determine this is measuring yourself from your arm extended above your head (like you are putting your hand up to answer a question) to your toe. You want to then curve your fingers down pointed towards the ground. Once you have measured or got some one to help you measure that length you then simply look for a paddle with a similar length.

Other factors include how much you want to spend, how light weight you want your paddle to be so keep all of that in mind. I will post one that many people have bought together with this kayak below.

A Life Jacket

If you don’t already have a life jacket it is a good idea to have one readily available to you. The Life Jacket you get ultimately comes down to your size and what fits you best.

Additional Features that can be Added

There are Two additional features that can be added to this kayak to make it behave even better when in the water, the BackBone and the Drop Stitch Floor. These additional add on features allows the kayak to track even better in the water making the gap in performance between hard shelled kayaks and The Advanced Frame AE 1012 even smaller. These features also help enhance the rigidity of the kayak. If this peaks your interest the BackBone is considerably less expensive than the drop-stitch floor. A side note however, It is not recommended to combine these two features. Hearing from other customers when you add both together it actually worsens the kayaks performance. 


The BackBone is a multi-sectional keel beam that goes underneath the inflatable floor. Once installed your weight presses against the BackBone giving the hull a more pronounced V Shape design which helps the kayak track better.

Drop-Stitch Floor

The Drop-Stitch floor gives the Advanced Frame AE1012 more rigidity and stability as well as durability, especially if you are paddling along the shoreline and happen to pump into any sharp objects below. The Drop-Stitch Floor also transforms the kayak’s hull to feature more chine which will help with tracking and speed as well.

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