The Advanced Elements StraightEdge inflatable kayaks are the best sit-on-top models on the market that sell for under $500.
These affordable kayaks have a hull design similar to a hardshell sit-on-top model thanks to a rigid aluminum frame on the bow and stern. The way the StraightEdge kayak slices through the water is superior to other sub-$500 models, yet the frame remains light and compact enough to fold up and pack away — just like any other inflatable craft.
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A Look at the Kayaks
The solo StraightEdge and the tandem StraightEdge2 ($800) feature new advanced inflation valves, molded rubber handles, bungee deck lacing, adjustable back support, mesh pocket, welded seams, self-bailing ports, and rod holders. Advanced Elements StraightEdge inflatable kayaks are covered by a one-year warranty.
|Max. Weight||300 Lbs|
Specs on the StraightEdge:
- Dimensions: 9’8″ x 35″
- Capacity: 1 adult (300 lbs)
- Weight: 34 lbs
Specs on the StraightEdge2:
- Dimensions: 13′ x 35″
- Capacity: 2 adults (500 lbs)
- Weight: 47 lbs
Accessories include a repair kit, folding seat, carrying duffle bag, and owner’s manual.
Improvements on the StraightEdge Kayaks
- The entire hull of the StraightEdge is made of heavy-duty PVC Tarpaulin, a material which is resistant to abrasion and punctures. (Just for comparison, only the bottom half of Advanced Elements’s AdvancedFrame & Convertible models are PVC Tarpaulin.)
- These sit-on-top inflatable kayaks feature removable ribs made of high grade aluminum that press against the outer cover to form a rigid bow and stern when the air chambers are inflated. (There is no additional assembly required as this is pre-installed at the factory. The owner only needs to inflate the kayak and put it in the water.)
- The new spring loaded valves are design by Advanced Elements specifically for their kayaks.
- The StraightEdge is self-bailing when riding in Class III rapids and ocean swells; and when paddling in calm or cold water, just close the ports to keep water out.
What StraightEdge Owners Say
The reviews on both the solo and tandem models are stellar. These Advanced Elements StraightEdge inflatable kayaks track well in the water and feel stable and secure, even beginners love them from the moment they sit in one. More seasoned owners of these StraightEdge sit-on-tops have taken their kayaks into more treacherous water with no trouble from the Pacific Ocean to the Great Lakes and thousands of miles of river in between.
They’ve been fishing, surfing, snorkeling, swimming, and exploring coves in all types of climates and weather. It’s easy for swimmers to climb on to from the water, and campers find there is ample room to store gear for overnight trips. Owners love these kayaks for their all-around versatility.
Best in Class
The Advanced Elements StraightEdge is a self-bailing inflatable kayak that can be paddled in up to Class III whitewater, but it isn’t recommended for anything higher because of the rigid aluminum bow and stern. It’s a trade-off of some maneuverability in whitewater in order to allow the kayak to track straight in open water.
Nevertheless, the StraightEdge is plenty rugged; it can get knocked around and goes over rocks without damage to the bottom. Advanced Elements StraightEdge inflatable kayaks are well recommended for being one of the most comfortable and adaptable sit-on-top models for under $500.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.