Inflatable kayaks are becoming increasingly popular among outdoor enthusiasts. They offer a convenient and portable option for getting out on the water without the hassle of transporting a heavy rigid kayak.
Two of the top brands in inflatable kayaks are Oru Kayak and Advanced Elements. But with so many models to choose from, how do you know which is right for your needs?
This comprehensive guide compares the key features and performance of Oru Kayak and Advanced Elements to help you decide.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Origami foldable plastic
|Inflatable tubes + rigid panels
|Up to 550 lbs
|Recreational to expedition
|Portability, storage, calm water
|Versatility, open water, fishing
- Oru Kayak’s folding origami polypropylene construction maximizes portability and storage
- Advanced Elements uses rigid panels and inflation tubes to mimic performance of a hard shell kayak
- Oru excels at effortless transport and recreational cruising efficiency
- Advanced Elements has more versatility for fishing, expeditions and group paddling
- Carefully match the model to your specific needs and paddling style
- Both Oru and AE have excellent durability and provide a kayaking experience far beyond basic inflatables
Overview of Oru Kayak
Founded in 2012, Oru Kayak makes high-performance foldable kayaks constructed out of durable polypropylene. Their signature origami-inspired design allows the kayak to fold up into a compact box for easy transport and storage.
Here are some of the key features and benefits of Oru Kayak models:
- Portability: Oru kayaks fold up to the size of a suitcase, making them extremely easy to transport in your car trunk or check for air travel. Just unfold, inflate the side tubes, and go.
- Stability: The wide hull and dual-layered side tubes provide excellent stability for beginners and recreational paddlers. The ride feels more like a traditional hard-shell kayak.
- Performance: Despite the foldable design, Oru kayaks maintain excellent tracking and glide efficiently through the water. The rigid floor gives efficient forward propulsion.
- Durability: Constructed from custom polypropylene with 10-year UV treatment, Oru kayaks are built to last. The double-walled genetics resists punctures and abrasions.
- Customization: Oru offers four different kayak models ranging from 10-12 feet in length to accommodate different sizes of paddlers and uses. Accessories like a sail kit or outriggers are also available.
- Limitations: Assembly can take 10-15 minutes and requires using a foot pump. The folding plastic deck can heat up in strong sunlight. Not ideal for rocky areas due to less abrasion resistance.
The Beach LT model is their newest and most portable at just 20 lbs. The Haven tandem model allows spacious paddling for two.
Overview of Advanced Elements Kayaks
Founded in 2003, Advanced Elements makes inflatable kayaks built with cutting-edge materials and construction techniques. Their patented technology combines aluminum ribs in the bow and stern with high-pressure air tubes to approximate the performance of a hard shell kayak.
Here are some key features and advantages of Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks:
- Hybrid design: Rigid panels at the bow and stern enhance tracking while inflatable tubes provide stability and comfort. Excellent combination of portability with kayak-like handling.
- Pre-assembled: AE kayaks come fully constructed and ready to inflate out of the box. Simply unroll, inflate, and attach the seat.
- Performance: The rigid bow cuts smoothly through water for excellent glide. Models like the AirFusion Evo are fast and nimble. The Streamline design further reduces drag.
- Materials: Durable PVC tarpaulin hulls resist punctures. Multi-layer material on tubes prevents leaks. High-end models feature aluminum ribs for rigidity.
- Versatility: With a dozen models under 13 feet, AE offers options tailored for lakes, rivers, oceans, and multi-day trips. Many can convert to a solo or tandem.
- Limitations: Initial inflation takes time. Rigid front and rear panels limit collapsibility compared to foldable Oru models. Not as compact for airplane travel.
Top choices like the Expedition and AirFusion Evo handle both flatwater and mild rapids. The Straitedge is ideal for beginners seeking stability.
Oru Kayak Models
Oru currently offers four main kayak models to suit different paddler sizes, needs, and experience levels.
- Oru Beach LT
At 10 feet long and just 20 pounds, the Beach LT is Oru’s lightest and most portable model. It’s designed for easy transport and quick setup for casual paddling adventures.
Despite its light weight, it still provides decent tracking and stability for relaxed cruising on lakes, bays, and calm rivers. The open cockpit accommodates paddlers up to 240 pounds. MSRP is $850.
- Oru Kayak Bay+
This 12-foot model is optimized for stability, tracking, and easy ingress/egress while still being lightweight at 26 pounds.
The wider 25″ beam provides a balanced, reassuring feel that’s great for beginners and recreational paddlers. It’s maneuverable enough for winding rivers but still efficient for covering distance across lakes. MSRP is $1,299.
- Oru Kayak Coast XT
As the name implies, the 12′ Coast XT performs well both along exposed coastlines and inland waterways. The pronounced bow cuts through chop while the streamlined hull shape covers ground efficiently.
At 28 pounds, it’s very portable for its size and functionality. MSRP is $1,499.
- Oru Haven
The Haven is Oru’s high-capacity tandem model at 12.5 feet long with a roomy 32″ beam. Weighing 37 pounds, two people can still carry it short distances.
The 31″ wide cockpit accommodates up to 450 pounds total. With two people paddling, it glides smoothly across lakes and gentle rivers. MSRP is $1,499.
Also Read: Comparison of ISLE and Bote Paddle Boards.
Advanced Elements Kayak Models
With over a dozen inflatable kayak models, Advanced Elements offers versatile designs catering to different paddler sizes, water conditions, and interests. Here are some of their most popular choices:
- AdvancedFrame Sport
Part of AE’s best-selling AdvancedFrame lineup, this 9’7″ kayak provides an impressive combination of portability, stability, and tracking.
Weighing 36 pounds, the bow slices easily through water while the wide beam gives confidence to beginners. MSRP $499.
- AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite
Built for multi-day trips and challenging conditions, the 15′ Expedition Elite handles Class III rapids while carrying substantial gear. The aluminum rib-stiffened bow resists wind and waves for efficient tracking.
Optional landing plate for beaching. MSRP $1,149.
- AdvancedFrame Ultralite
At just 26 pounds, the streamlined Ultralite lives up to its name while still having remarkable stiffness for efficient paddling. The hull has six puncture-resistant chambers and optional drop-stitch floor for superb rigidity. MSRP $949.
- AirFusion Evo
Featuring rigid polymer panels and strategically-placed aluminum ribs, the nimble AirFusion Evo cuts smoothly through water like a hard shell. The inflatable tubes promote excellent glide speed over flat water. MSRP $899.
- StraitEdge Angler Pro
Built for stand up fishing, the wide Angler Pro provides unmatched stability while the rigid floor optimizes performance when pedaling. Rod holders, gear mounts and a draft hull. MSRP $899.
Direct Comparison of Features of Oru Kayak And Advanced Elements Kayaks
Oru Kayak and Advanced Elements models have slightly differing strengths and limitations based on their materials and construction:
- Portability: Oru’s foldable kayaks are lighter and pack smaller. AE models take up more space when deflated but don’t need assembly.
- Set up time: Oru’s origami design takes 5-10 mins to unfold and inflate tubes. AE kayaks require less assembly and quick inflation.
- Performance: Oru excels at cruising efficiency with a rigid floor. AE has superior tracking from rigid front panels. Both feel stable.
- Durability: Oru’s polypropylene hull resists abrasions well. AE uses ultra-thick PVC tarpaulin that is highly puncture resistant.
- Customizability: Oru offers more colors and accessories like sails/stabilizers. But AE allows you to inflate tubes to different pressures.
- Capacity: AE has more tandem options and larger weight capacities overall. Oru’s Haven fits two paddlers up to 450 lbs.
- Paddling style suitability: Oru leans recreational, AE has models for fishing, rapids and expeditions. Both work for casual paddling.
Which Is Better Overall?
When it comes to choosing between Oru Kayak and Advanced Elements, there are a few key factors to weigh:
- Budget – Oru kayaks cost $850-$1500 while AE ranges from $500-$1150. AE has more budget-friendly options.
- Portability – For frequent airplane travel or stash-in-the-closet storage, Oru’s folding design has a clear edge.
- Paddling style – Casual lake/bay paddling favors Oru’s efficiency; Advanced Elements for fishing, expeditions, whitewater.
- Group paddling – More tandem options from Advanced Elements like the Convertible Elite.
- Durability – Both have excellent abrasion and puncture resistance. Slight edge to Oru in rocky areas, AE better for beaching.
While Advanced Elements takes the edge for versatility across conditions and group sizes, Oru is hard to beat for ultimate portability. For relaxed cruising on calm water, Oru also generally feels more like a rigid kayak.
Carefully match the model to your intended paddling purposes.
Also Read: Comparison of ORU And Pakayak Kayaks.
FAQs About Oru Kayak and Advanced Elements
Yes, Oru makes high-quality kayaks that offer impressive performance and durability in a uniquely portable package. They handle well for recreational paddling and light touring, with efficient glide and decent tracking for their compact size. The value depends on how much you’ll utilize the folding origami design.
Advanced Elements versus Aquaglide inflatable kayaks both have excellent build quality and performance. AE kayaks edge out Aquaglide slightly with their rigid bow and stern panels combined with inflatable tubes. This improves tracking, speed and handling more akin to a hard shell. But Aquaglide inflatables are often more affordable and pack down very small.
For easy ingress and egress, look for an inflatable kayak or lightweight folding kayak with a wide beam, low rear deck height, and large open cockpit. Models like the Oru Bay+, Advanced Frame Explorer, and Sea Eagle 370 excel at stable, confident entry and exit while paddling. The added width also aids stability.
Advanced Elements and Aquaglide make some of the most durable inflatable kayaks using thick multi-layer PVC reinforced with a polyester core or protective coatings. Models like the AE Expedition Elite and Aquaglide Chelan can withstand scrapes on rocks or accidents in rapids while providing kayak-like performance.
So decide whether ultimate compactness or design features tailored to your paddling purpose matters most.
With quality construction and well-designed contours, both the Oru Kayak and Advanced Elements brands will provide a fun, stable glide across the water.