Friday, August 28, 2009


I've been paddling the Advanced Elements Expedition for a couple months now. I've been trying it in different conditions and making notes for review. What a ride! It's been interesting getting people of different sizes to try this inflatable and talk about how it handles for them. Reading what other people write about their experiences is interesting, too, especially Lee Johnson's reports of paddling his Expedition 15 km or so at a time on various lakes. (Check out the forum at for Lee's posts!)
Lee took the time the other day to tell me that it's really not enough to review the Expedition in its stock condition. There's a modification that he thinks is well worth installing and writing about: the Backbone.
Advanced Elements sells these handy devices to provide a bit of a keel for a couple models of their inflatable kayaks. The Backbone has a shovel shape on each end, attached to take-apart rods rather like a take-apart paddle. There are different Backbones to fit the AdvancedFrame, the Expedition, the Convertible, and the Lagoon2.
I've been planning to buy a Backbone, but Lee said not to wait. He bought one for me (Thanks, Lee!) and had it sent.
So far, I gotta say it's worth it. Adding two pounds or so to the weight isn't a big problem for me when hauling around the Expedition in its bag with a pump and my PFD & safety gear. And having a keel does make this flat-bottomed inflatable ride with more glide. I'll be writing more about it soon, but first I gotta get hold of Lee and say thanks again.
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1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you are testing the EXP with BackBone, Paula - and it will be useful to have your review in due course. We've been away for the past week, kayaking and camping in NE Washington State: Lake Roosevelt sites, Sullivan Lake, Pend Oreille River - now the Boundary Dam on the border before going next week to Priest Lake and Upper Priest Lake in Idaho, which are connected by a 2.5 mile (4 km) "Thoroughfare" - said to be an ultimate trip for the canoist and kayaker. We are using our Dragonflies (no BackBones) on this trip, with our pop-up camper, although we took my Expedition plus Dragonfly to Minnesota last June. Maybe I should file a report on the "Thoroughfare" later this month when we're back on the coast. Again, we've always known you have a lot of "spine" - but now you have a BackBone, as well! (Greatly deserved, imho)