Earlier this year we received first of several shipments which included the Island Voyage 2 inflatable kayak from Advanced Elements.
Introduced in 2015, the Island Voyage 2 is a recreational model with an open-design – allowing one to easily switch from single to tandem paddling – yet economically-priced at $399. In the ensuing six years, the Island Voyage has undergone minor redesigns and tweaks, prompting us to update our previous reviews.
As the kayak kept selling out before we could snag one, we immediately set one aside from the last shipment. Following is our write-up on the AE3023Y Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2, an 11 ft 2 inch kayak that can be paddled by one or two people. Please note, some of this will be repeated from prior write-ups.
Getting Started with the Island Voyage 2
We unpacked the box and laid out the pieces – inflatable kayak, drawstring duffel bag, instructions, repair kit, tracking fin and two seats.
Initial measurements showed the kayak body weighs 25 lbs while the kayak with seats in the duffel is 31 lbs. Boxed up, the dimensions are 25 x 22 x 16 inches inches with a shipping weight of 41 lbs.
(AirKayaks Side note #1: When initially removing the kayak from the carrying case, take a good look at how the kayak is folded This is probably the most overlooked step and it is VERY helpful when trying to get the kayak back into the bag.)
The included instructions are adequate on most steps and include diagrams with inflation details.
Set up is straight-forward and simple – unpack, unfold, inflate.
According to the instructions, the first step is to attach the removable tracking fin, which enhances paddling/tracking in deeper water.
Make sure the fin is pointing towards the rear of the kayak, then insert the front of the fin, pushing down and back, to lock the front end.
Move the fin back until the holes line up and replace the retaining pin. At this point, pull up on the fin to make sure you have it locked in position.
There are three inflation chambers utilizing Boston valves – the floor and two side chambers. Boston valves are two-part, screw-on valves. The bottom portion is threaded onto the kayak, the top valve is screwed open for inflation and then tightened shut after inflation.
Air is easily released by unscrewing the base connector. How does it work? A flap inside the valve opens when air is pumped into the kayak, and falls shut when not pumped so that air will not rush back out.
Please note: The Boston valves have a tether that keeps the valve attached to the kayak, ensuring that the valves don’t get lost after deflating. Make sure this does not get in the way when screwing on the valve base, and the valve is not cross-threaded, or you may have some air leakage. For more information, read our guide: How to Use and Troubleshoot a Boston Valve for Inflatable Kayaks.
The Island Voyage features a left and right bladder, unlike many of the other Advanced Elements kayaks which have an inner and outer bladder. We pumped up each of the side chambers until firm, using a double action hand pump – this took about 40- 45 pumps each side to reach 2 PSI. As an aside, if using a pressure gauge, please note that – since the gauges work on back pressure – the gauge did not start registering until 30-35 strokes. Additionally, with the Boston valve, the gauge will only register as you are pushing air in, and will drop to zero when you stop.
We then pumped up the floor until firm (1.0 psi with slight give). This took about 22 to 25 pumps, with the gauge starting to register around 15 strokes. Screw on the valve caps to ensure that the valves are protected and there is no air leakage.
Next attach the seats – these stay in position utilizing velcro floor strips and adjustable side straps. While the instructions neglect to mention the seats, installation is pretty apparent. Zip the seats up; if paddling tandem, the two seats are placed over the front and back velcro strips. If paddling solo, place one seat over the center velcro strips.
Loosen the straps fully, and attach the front seat quick-connect clips to the first set of inner d-rings, and the rear seat clips to the third set of inner d-rings; once you get into the kayak, you can tighten up the side straps until you reach the support level that is comfortable for you. For solo paddling, use the middle set of inner d-rings.
That’s it! You’re ready to paddle.
Features and Specifications for the Island Voyage 2
The Island Voyage hull is constructed from a rugged, puncture-resistant, ripstop material. The kayak consists of two layers. Two inflatable PVC bladders (both sides) are housed in the zippering fabric cover, allowing the bladders to be replaced if necessary.
There are four padded cloth carrying handles (bow, stern and both sides), but it is fairly simple to carry by hooking the side of the kayak over your shoulder. The two side handles are positioned 65 inches from the nose.
Two spray decks with a one-inch coaming lip – front and rear – help prevent water from splashing in. Each has a bungee deck-lacing system for attaching gear – the front deck extends 24 inches with deck lacing 6 inches deep by 14 tapering to 10.5 inches wide. The bungee is located roughly 40 inches from the front paddler and has four cloth loops.
The rear deck extends 24 inches with deck lacing 6 inches deep by 14 tapering to 10.5 inches wide. It is located roughly 17 inches behind the rear paddler.
There are two sets of velcro paddle holders, one set for each side. These are situated 28 inches apart, with the first set 66 inches from the bow, just behind the front paddlers seat.
Three sets of side d-rings are used for attaching the seats, and an additional 3 sets just above, for securing gear. The upper sets are located 38, 66 and 95 inches from the bow. The three lower sets (used to attach the seats) are located 40, 60 and 85 inches from the nose.
Three Boston valves with retaining rings are used on the inflation chambers.
The padded seats feature two, adjustable, side straps which quickly clip into position; the straps can be adjusted up to 13 inches. The 1-inch thick seat bases are 15 inches wide by 15 inches deep, and the backs are 14 inches tall encircling 30-inches wide. A zipper allows them to be flattened for easier storage.
Each of the seats comes equipped with a velcro pocket with two side mesh pockets for drinks and small items.
The 106-inch long inflatable floor is designed as “raised seating”, creating a front and rear well that will collect any water that splashes inside – each of these wells is about 10-12 inches in length. The kayak floor features a 1-PSI PVC i-beam construction with a covering, offering protection from claws or fish hooks as well as integrating the floor with the walls, providing a slightly stiffer construction. Zippers on the floor cover can be opened for cleaning or to replace the floor bladder.
Three sets of velcro strips on the floor are used position the seats. Each set is 10 inches long, 2 inches wide and 6 inches apart. They are located 45, 69 and 89 inches from the bow.
The underside features a removable tracking fin and a landing plate. The tracking fin is hefty, measuring 10 inches deep with locking pin.
A rear drain plug (not to be confused with self-bailing) can be opened to let water out.
The duffel-style carrying case is made from the same rugged material as Advanced Elements’ other carrying cases. The drawstring case is roughly 37 x 28 inches and weighs just under 2 lbs. There are two carrying handle/shoulder straps. While the material is quite dense, it can be a bit difficult to cinch up the drawstring.
We did measurement tests. The kayak inflated is 11 feet 4 inches long and roughly 36 inches wide. The side bladders are roughly 10 inches in diameter, making the sides 9 inches above the seating area. Interior dimensions are approximately 128 inches long (inner point to inner point) by approximately 16 inches at the widest point (when solo paddling) or 15 inches wide if used as a tandem.
When set up as a tandem – with the rear and front seats positioned over the velcro strips – there are 47 inches from the back of the front seat to the end of the bow seating well, 39 inches from rear seat back to front seat back, and roughly 20 inches behind the rear seat (11 inches covered) to the end of the seating well. Each seat strap can be moved forward about 10 inches. Please note that when the front seat is centered over the velcro, the seat straps have to be fully extended.
When set up for solo paddling, there is 40 inches behind the paddler (11 inches covered), and about 65 inches from seat back to interior bow, with 10 inches covered.
Weight limitations are 400 lbs for persons and gear.
Island Voyage 2 On the Water
I first took out the Island Voyage 2 paddling solo on a mildy choppy day. While the seat was positioned over the center velcro strips, I felt too far back and the kayak had some wagging in the nose. I moved the seat up 6 or more inches to be more centered, which helped immensely.
With my lower center of gravity (5’4″) and the kayak width of nearly 36 inches, I was forced to use a high-angle paddling stance to clear the side walls as the paddle squeaked as it hit the side chambers. With that in mind, I opted to raise myself up, rather than grab a 240cm paddle. Bingo! By putting a 2-inch inflatable cushion under the seat, I was elevated enough that the paddle cleared the bladders easily, yet did not disrupt the stability. It is possible that taller paddlers may not have this problem. With the repositioned seat and higher stance, the Island Voyage performed extremely well as a solo – it tracked nicely, felt very roomy and stable, and the seat was pretty sturdy when cinched tight.
One thing to note: the fin is very long and can easily hit the bottom in low water levels. In fact, I lost the fin after the first usage. I would suggest a shallower fin be included in the future.
My husband and I took the kayak out as a tandem on a calm day (please note this photo is shown with a prior color scheme). With our combined heights of 6’2″ and 5’4″, the room was perfectly adequate, but might be a problem for two larger/taller paddlers. While the Island Voyage 2 is a wider kayak, as we were both seated closer to the bow and stern, we were able to easily paddle and clear the sides of the kayak. When paddling tandem, the kayak tracks well and travels smoothly.
My husband then took it out solo (also shown in the prior color scheme). Even at 6’2″, he also adopted a higher angle paddling position, and felt in the future he would position his seat farther back, and put weight in the front. The open design was easy to get in and out of, and was roomy for his height.
I did not get a chance to take the Island Voyage out with one of my canine buddies, but I would not hesitate. With the covered floor, the materials are rugged enough to handle jumpy claws, while the kayak is stable enough to handle 32 lbs focused on catching floating leaves. Cleo is shown above in another Advanced Elements kayak.
Packing Up the Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak.
Packing up is simple. Remove the tracking fin and screw off the Boston valves – all the air will swoosh out. Fold the kayak in half the long way, then fold in fourths – the kayak should slip back into the drawstring case.
Bottom Line on the Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak
The Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 is a great choice for an entry-level recreational kayak, perfect for those wanting to get out on the water and have some fun without breaking your budget.
The kayak is ample enough for two average-sized adults, and quite roomy for an adult and child, adult with lots of gear, or adult and furry friend.
As a tandem, the kayak is pretty lightweight, stable, easy to inflate and paddles nicely. The velcro strips on the floor make it very easy to readjust seating based on heights.
When paddling solo, added weight in the snout is helpful, as well as boosting up the kayak seat base to clear the side tubes.
The open design will appeal to those who need easy entry and exit – such as seniors or those with physical disabilities – as well as paddlers in need of a quick dip on a hot summer day.
The Island Voyage is easy to carry and fits in the trunk of a small car – perfect for travel, RV’s and camping vacations.
The Island Voyage is a good choice for slow-moving rivers, lakes and flat coastal kayaking, or for some light whitewater through Class II.
At only $399, the Island Voyage 2 (Model # AE3023) is a versatile option at an entry level price. For more details or to purchase, visit the Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 product page at AirKayaks.com.