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Reviews for DragonFly2 Kayak by Advanced Elements, Inc.


Rated: 8.5/10 Based On: 12 Reviews

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07-12-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     This is a great a starter kayak for a small family. The backbone really makes a difference for speed as well as the little sag between seats. Nicely made; easy to patch. Make sure to dry them out between uses.
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10-06-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My wife and I are getting on in years and were looking for activities that we can do together (that don't hurt the knees). Kayaking sounded fun so we did the research and bought a 2008 dragonfly2. We donít have the skill or budget to get into any technical outings and wanted something easy to transport and use. We've used it on calm rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and Puget Sound. Someone is always borrowing it because it's so easy to setup and carry. Last weekend I did the Skagit River during the humpy salmon run. The water was mostly class 1 with some class 2 sections. The kayak performed very well and was easy to maneuver. I felt very secure and had a great time. This has been the perfect model for our ability and lifestyle. It's well made and comfortable for two of us. It does well in these varying waters and conditions. AE really supports their products. Last week one of the little deck support tubes leaked so I sent an email to AE requesting how to get it repaired. I was ready to pay since the kayak is out of warranty. They immediately responded and are sending a new tube, free of charge! We are now looking at getting some singles to run the Skagit during the December salmon/eagle viewing season, and AE is our first choice.
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08-24-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I just bought my wife a Dragonfly2 for her birthday. We've been out on quiet river waters and love the kayak. It's very easy to inflate/deflate and can be thrown in the back of the SUV. It's light, strong, well engineered and looks good. We've been impressed with how well it handles and tracks.

I did a lot of research for a lightweight, portable, functional kayak and feel the DF2 delivers a lot of bang for the buck. My only suggestion would be to have the seat backs be a bit more firm or have some type of lumbar support.
Excellent product for weekend sports enthusiasts such as us.

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12-29-2007
Submitted by: Brandy
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought this product for my husband last Christmas and am very satisfied. We have taken it to New Zealand, for a 5 night white water trip, to the Bahamas to paddle out to the reef, to the Everglades through the swamps, and all over the Florida Keys to do snorkeling. It has never disappointed, even through hail and rain it has held up. It is light enough to check on the airplane or throw in the back seat of our small car. We have treated it roughly, going over rocks in rapids and getting it caught in the mangroves, and we have yet to notice any wear and tear. This is a great product and I would recommend it to anyone.
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06-04-2007
Submitted by: RayC
Rating: 7 of 10

     I found it is very easy to inflate & deflate the boat by using a high volume pump bought from Walmart. Use the small attachment comes with the pump can solve both the inflate and deflate problem through the cheap toy valve. The pump can inflate the main air chamber really fast. For deflating, cut a piece of 3/4" hose(~3" long) and use this to deflate the main air chamber. The pump can suck out all the air.
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08-14-2006
Submitted by: MSSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Wonderful little boat, for flat water it is very stable and tracks well. Many a hard shell kayaker has asked us about the boat. Had a very nice weekend with my family and this boat and one other inflatable. The packages offered by some are good values IMO, but substitute for the basic paddle and at least move up to the AE K-light or other breakdown paddle lighter and more functional than the basic AE 3lb+ paddle.

Improvements in the valves in 2006 models are very welcome. Wish some other manufacturers would take heart and wherever possible get rid of the "pool toy valve" in inflatables.Included foot pump is great to take with you stuffed into a bag in the front of the boat if solo. But to inflate/deflate the boat a high volume hand pump sure is nice to have!

Only a few little quirks are why I don't give this little inflatable boat a 10:

- no convenient way to drain the boat short of a pump or sponges. Integrating a drain plug or just a way to release the cover in some spots to turn and drain the boat(like the "shoelace stitching" on the Sevylors for instance) would be nice.
- nice to have a built in way to adjust position of rear paddler for solo trips short of forcing legs under the cover. We took another boat seat and put it behind the Dragonfly's to move the person forward. Straps on the seat allow one to move long way forward.
- manual could be a bit more inclusive of hints/tips. It's pretty sparse.

Seems that AE included many refinements on the Advanced Frame line, however there still is a place for a lighter boat such as the Dragonfly, either the solo version or the tandem version.

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05-10-2006
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Purchased the Sharper Image private label version of the DragonFly 2 on Ebay as a kit for $185 with paddles and pump. I'm an experienced canoeist but a novice kayaker and I'm please so far with the boat.

Inflation is quick and simple, even with the cheap foot pump supplied. Deflation is a different story; the 2005 model has "pool toy" valves that require constant pinching to deflate, making it really tough to use a pump to aid in deflation if you're solo. On the plus side, I didn't find it as tough as some other posters to dry out the kayak and once deflated it folds and packs easily into the supplied carry bag.

I don't have much to compare the on-the-water performance with but the boat paddled and tracked pretty well for me with my 45lb. son in the front seat for ballast. Even using the heavy supplied paddles effort was minimal, and I paddled in some VERY shallow water in a local tidal river.

Overall I'd say that this is a great value for the beginner, especially if storage and carry space is at a premium. Even at the retail price of around $350 this isn't a bad boat.

By the way, if anyone knows any tricks for deflating boat chambers with those damnable pool toy valves, I could sure use them!

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09-12-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     We tried the Dragonfly tandem off a beach here in Japan and I have to say Iím quite impressed. I have tried most of the Stearns and other Advanced Elements inflatables and for what it is, itís not a bad little boat.

At first we had two fairly large guys (90kg / 200lbs) in it. We had plenty of freeboard and it didnít noticeably sag. Speed was acceptable and it tracked well. The front cockpit was a little tight but it wasnít uncomfortable. I could stretch my long legs out.

Next I paddled it solo from the rear cockpit and it was more like a whitewater boat, easy to turn etc. Tracking was not great but this instantly improved when my 3 yr. old daughter who weighs about 14kg / 29lbs got in the front seat.

I think that with camping gear in the front cockpit, this would make quite an acceptable overnight boat for a solo paddler. You also have the ability to sit the kids in the front for some beach or lake fun. This and the fact you can throw it in the back of the car or backpack it to a lake for exploring or fishing makes it a versatile little boat.

Iíd have one!ÖBuy the Tandem.

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08-02-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     After using the Dragonfly 2 for a number of trips since my last review, I thought I would update a little. I have a couple of new peeves, but overall the boat is satisfactory. You cannot put the boat away wet, and it can take more effort than seems reasonable to dry it completely. The rear seat ripped after only a few uses, but I have to say that Advanced Elements was very responsive and generous in replacing it, no questions asked. I am left to question the durability of some of the components. My bottom still sits in a puddle whenever we paddle the boat, so I have relegated it mostly to paddling my kids around a lake in it. The boat is what it is and could meet the needs of someone who needed a reasonably priced boat they can pack in a trunk. I would suggest finding a retailer who will take it back if it is not to your liking, there are some things about it which might not fit everyone's expectations.
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06-14-2004
Submitted by: Sam HSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My wife and I are very satisfied with our Dragonfly 2. We have taken the DF2 for short excursions on rivers and lakes. It fits easily in our Honda Civic with the 4-part paddles and bellow that came as part of a kit for an additional $100. It inflates quickly and is easy to carry once inflated. The water bottle holders, patch kit, small dry bag were all nice little touches.

The boat is stable and does move rather well through the water. My wife and I are both 5í8Ē tall. She is in the front position and I am in the stern. Neither of us feels cramped. The boat maximum hauling weight is 350 pounds which is not a problem for short day excursions. I do wear gloves because of the abrasiveness of the shell, and the angle my paddle stroke, I do wear the skin off my thumb knuckle. (Duct tape on my knuckle works too.)

Overall it is a convenient and enjoyable way to explore the flat water area around Bend, Oregon.

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05-31-2004
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     After looking a bit for an inflatable kayak we could throw in the trunk of our car, my wife and I settled on an Advanced Elements Dragonfly2. We have used the kayak several times now in different flatwater conditions (I would not even harbor a thought of using this kayak in anything above class I) and have been generally satisfied with the performance and quality, with a few exceptions. The stern seating position is too cramped for anyone over 5'6" (I am 6'). Since I have to sit in the front, I have to complain about the fact that the center of the boat sagged and left my bottom in the water which inevitably accumulates in the bottom of the boat. I also have issue with the placement of the seams on the outer shell, they were in the right place to wear my knuckles off. I reduced the pain by applying duct tape over the seams before each trip. The only other beef I have is that there is almost no room to pack anything with two people in the boat, but we bought it for short trips, so that is not a major complaint for us.

The permanently attached skeg on the rear of the kayak seems to help the boat track well, but does significantly increase the draft needed to keep from dragging bottom, something we had some problems with in the shallow marshes we sometimes paddle in. The kayak folds right up and actually fits in the roomy bag provided with room to spare for the good quality 4-piece rec paddles and bellows pump which came with the package we purchased. Overall we are satisfied with our purchase, but I still prefer to use my hardshell when taking it on a trip is possible. If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive inflatable kayak for short trips on flatwater, this could be the ticket.

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07-22-2002
Submitted by: Steve Cisler
Rating: 8 of 10

     As a novice kayaker I decided to buy an inflatable, partly because of Paul Theroux' writings but also because I like the idea of taking it on a plane, not just on top of my vehicle.

After hearing about them from REI, we called Advanced Elements in Concord, CA, and they recommended several dealers in the area (San Jose, CA) and we found the two person model at Sharper Image. REI had the single seat one, and Sonoma Outfitters advertises all of them. the Sharper Image kit included the bag, boat, seats, pump and paddles for $399 plus tax, with a 60 day money-back guarantee. If you have pumps and paddles, you might buy it for less elsewhere. Depending on what state you are in, mail order plus shipping might save you tax and result in even greater savings.

We left for our National Park trip a couple of days after that on July 1,2002, and paddled in Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Great Basin, and Yosemite parks plus the Snake River and some national forests. I found the setup time to be quite rapid, even with a first attempt. The pump supplied works well, except the small nozzle for the bottom of the craft was kind of constricted and there was a lot of back pressure. We trimmed the nozzle to open it up, and that helped, but we decided to carry another hand pump that was more efficient. It was hard to hold the nozzle in place and pump in one hand, so two people usually were needed. For the main chamber, the nozzle was much wider and could be used with just one person. the foot pump was just fine. Setup and deflation never took more than ten minutes for each operation. One hard shell kayak user began loading her boat on her SUV and was still struggling with it as we launched. She said she thought we'd be pumping away long after she had departed. So that operation is surprisingly rapid.

The maximum weight is 350 lbs, and my wife and I probably exceed that by ten pounds. Not much freeboard on this, and it creases in the middle just a bit, but it's no problem is calm water (where we usually were). We are experimenting with more inflation, but there are warnings about over inflation. The oars assemble easily but some of the button locks are not flush and a few times the pieces would slip, but generally it was not a problem. We have not tried to re-align the small holes for a better fit.

Entry and exit were pretty easy. Of course we have only been in summer waters (10,000 mountain lakes to sea level ponds and the Pacific Ocean) so getting wet has not been an issue. You can get skirts to stay dry, but we have not bought them.

The unit seems quite maneuverable; there is a plastic skeg bonded to the bottom of the outer layer, and that helps. Of course, we have not used a hard shell kayak much at all so we don't have a good way to compare. My wife went along with the purchase but now likes it enough that we are thinking of getting a single seat model and use this one to carry stuff in the aft section. This section is too small for me, unless I cross my legs, but the front is quite roomy, and is the best place for a single user to sit.

The seats provided are quite basic, but the back support really helps. In fact, we used the seats on the grass when picnicking. There are small zippered storage area and some elastic cord where you can stuff a water bottle, bag, or other small gear. We carried non-waterproof digital camcorders on a few trips (none of them long), and they stayed dry.

We have not hit any branches or sharp rocks so we have not had to use the patch kit supplied with it.

You should think about your own needs and talk with others who have tried inflatables, but I highly recommend this unit.

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