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 advancedelements.com 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.