Another Kayak Modification

My AdvancedFrame kayak has performed exceptionally over the time I’ve had it, however, the inflatable floor is one area that is a bit more exposed to the abuses of use, especially since I always wear my hiking boots when I’m using it. All the other air chambers are protected with a heavy duty fabric covering, except for the inflatable floor. I had covered it with a piece of thin indoor/outdoor carpeting, and that does work well, but I was interested in trying something different.

I wondered how well a foam floor would work out, and so I purchased some 1/2″ thick, exercise-type foam, which is a fairly firm kind of foam, that goes together like a jig-saw puzzle.

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The package comes with four of these two foot square sheets in it, of which I only needed three to do the job. The four sheets cost me less than $20.

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I put the sheets together like this, and then I laid the deflated inflatable floor on top of them.

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Then, I cut around the shape of the inflatable floor, at about 3/4″ bigger than the inflatable floor.

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This is how it looked when I was finished. I marked each section, so that I would know where each one went when I wanted to put them in the kayak.

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I installed the foam pieces into the inflated kayak, to try them out, and it wasn’t any more difficult than putting the inflatable floor in. I did notice, of course, that the foam floor was not as thick as the inflatable floor, and I was a bit concerned that it would not provide as much ‘structure’ to the kayak, since, when inflated, the inflatable floor does push out against the main tubes, and provides a certain amount of support to the kayak, as a whole.

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I also installed my piece of carpet over top of the foam, since I am very happy with the way the carpet catches sand and dirt, and makes it easier to clean the kayak after use.

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A look up under the front of the kayak. You can see the wear marks, where my feet have been resting against the side tube covers. With this modification, my feet can now point straight up, instead of having to be pushed sideways for lack of vertical space.

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The seat installed, with some extra padding to raise me up a bit, since the foam floor is not as high as the inflatable floor. Anyway, now that I have purchased a Dragonfly 2 XC, I can use one of the inflatable seats that it comes with, since I will be using the front cockpit in the Dragonfly for cargo only. This should give me the extra lift that I need, and I will no longer need the padding that you see here.

I have taken this setup out for a fairly long paddle, and it seems to work very well. I didn’t notice any problems at all, and the kayak handled as well, or even better than with the inflatable floor. It is a bit more comfortable, now that I can have my feet straight up, instead of pushed to the sides, so that’s a bonus.

I learned that I needed to put the foam pieces into the kayak just after I had inflated the first air chamber, since it is difficult to get the foam in there when the tubes are fully inflated. So, that’s what I will do the next time I use it.

I still have my inflatable floor, so I can reinstall it, if things don’t work out in the long run but, for now, I’m going to use my kayak like this, and see how things go.

Just as a side note, regarding the Packlite situation, Advanced Elements has offered me a full refund on my Packlite purchase, and I have accepted. There are no hard feelings between me and Advanced Elements at all. I still truly believe that Advanced Elements offers some of the best quality, and cost efficient inflatable kayaks on the market.

As I’ve already mentioned, I have purchased another Advanced Elements kayak called a Dragonfly 2 XC, and I’m now in the market for another light weight kayak to replace the Packlite. I’m looking at the Advanced Elements Firefly for this purpose. I know that it weighs in at 16lbs, but I do think that this will be manageable, and I feel that it will make a much more durable choice for the purposes I intend to use it for.

So, it’s possible that I still might be able to do the ‘Remote Lakes’ series of posts that I intended to do this season. I’ll update this situation when I have more information.

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