At this summer’s Outdoor Retailer show, Advanced Elements unveiled their 2018 inflatable kayak product line with announcement of the new AE3022 AdvancedFrame Ultralite – a redesigned version of the AdvancedFrame Sport, weighing in at a minimalist 17.5 lbs.
The AdvancedFrame Ultralite joins the AE1042 AirFusion EVO as one of two new models for next season.
Roughly 15 years ago, Advanced Elements launched the AdvancedFrame line, beginning with the original 10′ 5″ AdvancedFrame (then called the AirFrame) followed by the Convertible, Expedition and Sport. Each iteration saw both major and subtle improvements, culminating in a seasoned line known for quality and performance.
Key to the line is the aluminum rib frame found in the bow and stern, allowing the kayaks to easily slice through the water.
At 10 feet 5 inches in length, the new AdvancdFrame Ultralite has the same footprint and larger cockpit-opening as the longstanding AE1017 Sport. As with the Sport, the AF Ultralite comes with the more rigid high-backed seat, integrated fin and front bungee deck lacing.
What sets it apart is a series of redesigns and tweaks.
To begin with, the AdvancedFrame Ultralite hull is constructed from a lighter-weight ripstop material upper with a polyurethane tarpauline underside. Left and right bladders are also made of a lightweight – yet rugged – polyurethane rather than PVC. Both bladder covers on the AdvancedFrame Ultralite feature open ends without a zipper, allowing the bladders to be pulled out for cleaning or replacement.
Instead of the traditional low-pressure PVC floor, the AF Ultralite sports a foam floor similar to that found in the Lagoon series. To compensate, the high-backed seat features a 1.5 inch EVA closed cell foam seat base.
The switch to open bladder cover, foam floor, polyurethane bladders and polyurethane tarpaulin hull provide most of the weight savings, making the AdvancedFrame Ultralite roughly 10 lbs lighter than the Sport, and nearly half the weight of the AdvancedFrame.
Other features include a thin aluminum bar riser (as found on the Expedition Elite) and cross bar (as found on the AirFusion) which together provide a pitched deck, allowing water to run off. A second set of bungee deck lacing is found on the rear deck upper.
According to Ryan Pugh, designer at Advanced Elements, the AF Ultralite provides a more portable option that still features the performance of the AdvancedFrame series. “The kayak feels just as stable as the AdvancedFrame and paddles just as well as the Sport.”
With that focus on portability, the AdvancedFrame Ultralite also comes with Advanced Elements new backpack/duffel bag with removable back straps as currently included with the Expedition Elite.
While the AdvancedFrame Ultralite can utilize many of the optional Advanced Elements accessories, it can not be used with the spray skirts, dropstitch floor or backbone.
The AdvancedFrame Ultralite will appeal to adventurous souls looking for a performance-oriented kayak with a more back-packable design as well as paddlers with physical disabilities requiring lighter-weight options and easier entry.
- Dimensions: 10’5″ length, 32 inches width
Weight: 17.5 lbs kayak
Payload: 225 lbs
The AE3022-G AdvancedFrame Ultralite has a street price of $599, and is now in stock. See the Advanced Elements Ultralite product pages at www.AirKayaks.com. You can also read our Detailed Product Review on the AdvancedFrame Ultralite, or watch our video, below: