Now in stock! Advanced Elements’ new 7-PSI high pressure dropstitch floor – three sizes fit nine different models.
This past spring, we were able to test out prototypes of the new AE-DS Dropstitched Floor in three different Advanced Elements models – the AdvancedFrame AE1012, the AE1009 Expedition and the AE1023 Dragonfly2XC. Unfortunately, we did not have a demo AE1007 Convertible on hand to round out the series. Each floor comes with a repair kit including a valve wrench, material samples and adhesive.
We have been using a backbone in each of our three kayaks since they were first introduced, as the backbone gives a rigid bow-to-stern silhouette, as well as a slight vee-shape to the hull, allowing the kayaks to cut through the water. While this is a very subtle (but real) difference in the shorter models such as the AdvanceFrame 10.5 series, it gets increasingly important in the longer 13ft and 15ft Expedition and Convertible models.
The new dropstitch floor replaces the regular inflatable floor or foam floor that comes standard with the kayaks.
Initially, we took out the AE1012 AdvancedFrame for about 5 minutes each time, so not a long test – first with the regular floor and backbone, then with the dropstitch floor/no backbone, and finally with just the regular floor.
With the AdvancedFrame, the dropstitch floor is subtle, just like the backbone is subtle. But,there is a definite (though subtle) difference. I clocked myself running about 3.6 to 3.8 mph using the backbone or the dropstitch floor, while I was running about 3.2 to 3.4 with the regular floor.
The next day we took out the AE1009 Expedition in the same series of tests. Once again, subtle, but there. With the regular floor I was running about 3.5-3.7 mph up to 4.1mph. With the drop stitch floor or the backbone, I was running about 3.8-4.0mph up to about 4.4mph.
For the last test, I took out the AE1023 DF2XC (same as the AE1033 Lagoon 2) with the foam floor. I was running about 2.7 mph up to about 3.4 mph, paddling solo in the rear, no weight in front.
Then I used the dropstitch floor in the Dragonfly2XC with the DF2XC seat deflated (insert and pump up the floor first). Wow! I was running about 3.4 -3.5 mph paddling solo and up to 4.2 mph! Once again, no weight in the front. (For comparison, my husband and I took out the DF2XC with backbone one day and were running up to about 4.5mph paddling duo.)
So here is my take.
For the AdvancedFrame Series (Single, Sport, Expedition and Convertible):
1) The DS-AE1012 dropstitch for the AdvancedFrame weighs 3.75 lbs, versus probably 4lbs + 4 lbs for the floor and backbone. So a weight savings of about 4 to 5 lb, which will matter to some.This would factor into a savings of 6 and 7 lbs for the two longer kayaks.
2) The dropstitch floor is a lot simpler to use than the backbone – it’s just pump and go. No piecing together, no correcting the positioning. No push-pin struggles.
3) With the dropstitch, there are no worries about over-inflation and popping the I-beams in the floor.
4) One less item to haul around as it replaces the standard floor and the backbone.
5) On the plus side for the backbone, I can’t tell if the v-shape of the hull with backbone makes a difference or not, compared to the drop-stitch. Intellectually, I would think so, but I’m not sure if I noticed it.
6) Pricing. The backbones are about half the price of the dropstitch floors, which are expensive to make.
For the Dragonfly2Xc and Lagoon2 kayaks:
Same for points one, two, four and five above.
3) These two kayaks use a foam floor, so overinflation is not an issue. But …. the nature of the foam doesn’t allow the kayaks to fold up as neatly, so the carrying cases are large – roughly 39 x 24 x 8. The dropstitch floor is much more compact, allowing one to potentially use a much smaller carrying case.
4) It’s a LOT faster, amazingly so, due to the rigidity of the floor in comparison to the foam.
5) Because both kayaks use a foam floor, the replacement with a hi-pressure dropstitch floor will increase the weight limitations/buoyancy.
The AE-DS floor is available as an add-on – it can not be swapped in as a replacement for the standard floor when initially buying a kayak.
Whatever you decide, once again fans of the Advanced Elements line have a number of choices in outfitting their kayaks!
For more details and specifications, see http://www.AirKayaks.com/aedropstitch.html.