Til Further Notice
We Bought An RV friendly Inflatable Kayak
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
When we began this Full Time 5th Wheel RV lifestyle last July we did so hoping that we would be so curious about new landscapes that we wouldn’t notice how much it physically hurt to explore them. We had no idea that an inflatable kayak would become a tender that would connect us to the world of water in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Being more active was one of our top goals and while in Oregon this past winter hiking and climbing was necessary to find all of the beaches and waterfalls that we discovered. When we arrived at Anacortes on Fidalgo Island this spring we quickly realized that it would be impossible to spend the entire summer in place that is surrounded with lakes, bays and estuaries without being able to explore them via the water. We welcomed the idea of being able to get a different kind of exercise. Just the thought of not having to carry the backpack with my heavy camera equipment made my left knee happy. For Tammy, getting exercise in the recumbent position is literally what the doctor ordered when she was diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTs) several years ago. A kayak was on our horizon and it would take a fair amount of research to figure out which one.
We had to find a kayak that would not only fit in our current rig, but any rig that we may end up owning in the future if we were to downsize. Weight, cost and quality also had to be considered. We were surprised to find out how many innovative portable kayak and Stand up paddle board (SUP) options are available these days. We looked at hard kayaks that fold in half, origami style kayaks, and inflatables. Oru, Bote, Hobie and Advanced Elements were all considered and we ultimately ordered the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible Elite. Convertible means that it can accommodate a one or two seat (tandem) configuration and Elite means that it has a drop-stitch floor that gives you a hard surface to sit on and it improves the speed and tracking of the boat.
Our kayak was just under $1000 without adding an optional deck and spray skirts. Once we bought a pump, paddles and personal floatation devices our new ticket to adventure set us back about $2000. When deflated, the convertible elite is compact enough to fit in a reasonably sized duffle bag. It also has back pack straps on it making it easier to carry. It weighs 52 pounds so I don’t plan on carrying it too far. Once inflated the boat is 15’ long, 32” wide and can carry 550 lbs. of passengers and gear. Inflating the kayak is a breeze once you figure out how to adjust the spring valves from the deflate position to the inflate position. It takes us less than 10 minutes and we’re ready to go.
The Convertible Elite is quite stable. I am 6’3” and I weigh a top heavy 230 lbs. Completely loaded with Tammy, Gracie, dry bags and gear and we feel quite safe on flat water. We have yet to test stability beyond calm flat water and we honestly don’t intend to. A calm sunny afternoon without wind is more our style. The kayak is also surprisingly fast and agile and its turned out to be a great way to get a low impact cardio workout and we can both feel it giving us upper body strength we haven’t had in a while. Once back on shore the boat deflates and folds with ease but we usually don’t put it all back into the duffle until it has completely dried out so mold will not become an issue. All in all we are happy with our decision and we’ve already had some really cool fresh water and salt water adventures.