Just one decade ago, the Advanced Elements kayak company pioneered the world’s first hybrid inflatable kayak. It utilized a blended design with the performance of a hard shell kayak, but offering water adventurers the portability and light weight of an inflatable kayak. The Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite is a sleek, lightweight kayak that delivers excellent tracking for the adventure-seeking athlete or outdoorsman:
If you are looking for an vessel that can get you around, with speed that is almost, if not on par with skin-on-frame kayaks, then you will want to delve deeper with us in this AirFusion Elite review to learn more.
Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite Frame
The Advanced Elements AirFusion Elite was made to rival the speed and performance of skin-on-frame kayaks, all while simplifying the setup. It has a unique design that combines aluminium alloy poles on the frame with pressurized air tubes for a high-performance frame system.
At 13 feet long, with a very narrow beam, this Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite kayak maintains the status of Advanced Elements as a manufacturer of quick and fast turning kayaks that track like rigid hard-shells. In use, this kayak is surprisingly quick, perhaps due to its V-shaped hull. It tracks very well, is simple to turn, and has good primary and secondary stability.
The Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite kayak frame features 2 aluminum ribs. A vertically positioned, foot-long U/V-shaped flat bar comes inserted in the stern and bow of this kayak. The aluminum ribs are tubular, allowing the pole frame to be inserted/attached. There are two molded rubber handles, also located at the stern and bow, that would be useful if you were paddling with someone else.
The regular Advanced Elements AirFusion kayak is the most narrow in width, at 25 inches, of all of Advanced Element’s watercrafts (the rest of the fleet measures 32″ to 35″ at the beam). However, it has been upgraded on the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite to 28 inches.
This streamline design, along with the lightweight, semi-free-floating aluminum frame and high pressure chambers, allows you to paddle it like other hard-shell kayaks.
The kayak is constructed with very tough materials. The hull material of the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite is heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin, which is extremely puncture proof. This makes the hull very durable, showing little signs of use after years on the water.
The inflation tubes, located on the inside, are covered in a tough material and still hold their shape after years of inflating, using, deflating, and putting away.
Special Features of the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite
High pressure chambers located along the gunwales and chines of the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite add stability, while the aluminum poles in the front deck and keel improve tracking, hull speed and water shedding. The optional skeg addition increases performance even more.
The end result is a kayak that is surprisingly rigid in water, yet doesn’t require the complicated assembly of a folding kayak. A top kayak in its class!
The Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite is extremely lightweight for a high-performance kayak, at only 32 pounds, allowing you to carry the kayak easily. Its design utilizes high pressure chambers that provide rigidity, lowering the total number of parts used in the frame for a dramatically faster set-up time. It packs up into a bag, about the size of a suitcase, for easier storage and transport.
Other features of the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite include a zippered access on the bow and stern (which aids in setup and offers access to items stored below the deck), and a rear roll-top hatch for additional storage. Molded, low-profile rubber handles ease transport to the water while the inflatable cockpit coaming offers the easy attachment of an optional spray skirt.
Also, you can add a skeg to the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite for greater control on your next trip. The skeg makes it easier to keep a straight course, even when there are waves and winds. You can deploy the skeg using the pull cord, once you add it to the kayak.
Enough Storage Space?
There is enough onboard storage on the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite for extended trips. With a capacity of about 230 pounds, you can load up the deck with gear if you are going for a multi-day expedition. The wide 28″ beam allows for an integrated rear storage hatch for easier access to gear while on the water.
In terms of setup, the AirFusion Elite is not 100% straight-forward. You will need to be a bit careful not to mix up pieces of the frame or inflate sections in the wrong order, or you could end up with bent pieces of frame. However, after a bit of training, you will be able to get in the water in less than 15 minutes.
- The inflatable Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite is very suitable for long distance paddling and sea trips
- The kayak offers a streamlined set up procedure with fewer poles, allowing one to get out on the water quickly
- Rear hatch with a roll-top dry bag provides easy access to stowed items
- Deck features bungee lacing and D-ring tie-downs for more options
- Welded seams ensure long life
- Its narrow beam and 13′ frame cuts easily through the water
- The Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite is built with excellent materials and constructed almost perfectly
- Portable and packable
- A good recreational kayak on flat water or up to Class 2 whitewater
- Excellent customer service and warranty
- Because of low weight and no rudder, the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite’s nose tends to get blown around in winds over 10 mph
- The internal storage space on the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite is quite tiny
- It should be mentioned in this AirFusion Elite review that this model is best for people who are over 5′ tall, but not over 6’5″
- It will take a bit longer to set-up than a regular inflatable kayak, but many may consider the performance to be worth it
AirFusion Elite Review Conclusion
If you’ve ever wanted to experience the feeling of floating on a cloud beneath the clouds, then the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite is what you’ve been looking for all this time. This great kayak pairs style and performance that will see you zipping through the water as if you were in a hard shell kayak, only without the added bulk and inconvenience.
It’s quite light weight for a hybrid model and is easily carried by one person. Better still, the price of the Advanced Elements Air Fusion Elite is reasonable when compared to other kayaks in its class.