My name is Andrew.  I am looking into purchasing an inflatable kayak.  Specifically the "Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak".  But I am wondering if this is the best fit for me, and I don't have any options to talk to someone in person or call.  

For my use; I plan to keep it in the trunk of my car while I adventure around and use it on lakes, rivers, streams, pretty much wherever.  So versatility is big for me.  I don't plan to hit up crazy white water, but possibly some class I or II rapids.  Maybe class III, but that is a stretch.  Mostly it will be used when my friends and I want to go canoeing.  That being said, I want to be sure it can fit a cooler on board in addition to two people.  

The other points I wanted to figure out were exactly comes with it.  Does it come with paddles? Or a pump?   If not, do you have any recommendations on brands?






@Andrew Thanks for reaching out!

The Advanced Elements Advance Frame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak (which is a mouthful!) is a really good option for a versatile and portable way to get on the water. You are correct that it is not intended to handle anything above a class II rapid. You should be able to fit a cooler in the kayak as long as it isn't too big and the cooler fits between the feet of the rear paddler. We recommend a soft sided cooler like some of the ones you can see here

To answer your other questions, it does not come with paddles or a pump. In terms of a pump, Advanced Elements recommends using a 12V pump to mostly fill the kayak and then to use a double action pump with a pressure gauge to make sure the kayak is fully inflated to the correct pressure.

Here are a couple of good recreational kayak paddle options:

You can find a really useful sizing chart for kayak paddles, along with a lot of other good information about kayak paddles, in this Expert Advice article about Kayak Paddles: How to Choose.

Hope this helps, have fun on the water!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.


I have a really similar question to Andrew except that I am looking for an inflatable kayak for the family. Two adults and two young kids are using a wood canoe right now but we want something more versatile.  I'm in Richmond VA where we have access to the Chesapeake Bay, sheltered barrier islands, James river (maybe I'll go on the Class I/II rapids once a year). We'd use it for crossing some smaller open water where there might be some smallish waves less than 3 ft. Also, wouldn't it be amazing (but not a priority) to check one of these as baggage once we can fly again?  The tidal waterways have some clams, oysters, and barnacles and the rivers have rocks.  Since I'll be taking my family away from shore I want to be sure that it is durable.  Do you have any recommendations?   Also can you tell me what the biggest contributing factor is on weight differences between inflatable kayaks? Thanks!


@REI-EricP @REI-AlyS I am adding you into the thread.  Thanks!


Hey there @SavorRVA!

This is definitely becoming a popular topic!  Can you provide us with just a little more info? Is the plan for there always to be two adults in the kayak or potentially one adult and one child or two children? 

It is hard to nail down exactly what contributes to the weight difference as it is subjective to features from specific model to model. 

From the previous recommendation, are you leaning towards a few options that maybe we could advise on specifically?

I will say that Advanced Elements does have a good recommendation for being easy to use, dependable, and durable. The convertible tandem kayak that @REI-JohnJ mentioned is great because of the versatility!  Not to mention with a 500+ pound capacity, you can add the kiddos in fairly easily. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-AlyS Hi there!  We will usually have 2 adults and 2 kids in one for the next 2-3 years.  After that we'll have to split up...growing kids. I noticed the Paragon Tandem inflatable kayak in the REI outlet. Is it always self bailing or is there a valve that we can use to seal the bottom from water?

Can you give me an idea of durability differences between the Advanced Elements tandem and the Aquaglide Deschutes 145 Tandem Inflatable Kayak the STAR Kayak?



Hello again @SavorRVA!

You are right that you’ll mostly see self bailing as your option here. This is a good thing. While the design is not intended to let water in the boat, it does provide easy access for the water to escape versus you having to manually bail out water. 

Your question in terms of durability is not easily answered. All of your options presented boast incredible durability. Advanced Elements goes as far as to talk about their 3 layer technology and how puncture resistant it is. I will say that the boats do vary in weight, which sometimes can speak to the overall rigidity and heaviness of materials used. But this is not to say that a lighter boat is going to fail you. Sorry that I can’t get any more specific than that. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.