News Paddling Gear Reviews

New 7 PSI High Pressure Dropstitch Floors from Advanced Elements!

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.

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.)

Bottom line:

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


  1. Any chance that the floor which fits the 10.5 ft models would fit in a Sevylor Pointer 1 kayak? Does this floor go between another layer and the floor or do you sit directly on this floor?

    1. Hi Bernie:
      Good question. I was actually going to take a look at the DS floors with other kayaks. I think I have a demo Pointer I can check it on. One would need to remove the Pointer floor, and replace it with the DS floor – you would sit on the DS floor. Will also check it out with the AE backbone. I’ll let you know what I find out.

  2. Wow, that would be great to find out. I know it’s gotten some bad reviews on the Internet but I love my pointer so far. If the floor fit, it might be a worthwhile upgrade.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Two comments:
      1) The AdvancedFrame backbone will not work with the Pointer 1 model – the Pointer 1 is set up with left and right bladders, so “pointed.” The AE AdvancedFrame has a perimeter bladder with an “inner” and an “outer.” This allows the paddle “hand” to hold up the bladder at the fulcrum point.

      2) For the same reasons above, the AF Dropstitch floor is too short for the Pointer 1. We will see if we have the Expedition/Lagoon floor, and try that one.

  3. Just received and installed my dropstitch floor in my AE convertible. The floor is very solid! My only complaint curiosity is that with this floor, the outer covering of the kayak is not as tight. It seems that the dropstitch floor is not as wide as the original and doesn’t fit under the side tubes like the original?

    1. Per your previous posting:
      Hi Terry:
      We forwarded your comment to Advanced Elements. Here is the reply from Clay Haller, President. “We went through and tested a few versions of the DS floor width for each of the AF’s. Because the DS floor inflates so block-like it is less forgiving. If the DS floor were the same width as the standard floor it would reduce the width of the seat area to 12-13 inches. It is possible that if the DS floor is used in an older model AFC then the fit could be a little different, but it should not be too dramatic. All of our testing was done in 2009-2010 product. We will take another look at this before confirming our next production.”
      Thanks Terry for the comment.
      Holly Harris

  4. I like that Dropstitch floor improves the track-ability of my new kayak but find that my butt gets sore quickly due to it’s firmness. Do you folks have a foam pad to help with this?

    1. Hi Frank:
      There are foam pads that can be used, but for a quicker and less expensive option, try one of those kneeling pads for gardening.

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