Advanced Elements Firefly Inflatable Kayak Review

firefly kayak

Rigid Panels in an Inflatable, Explained

Inflatable kayaks are already unique, as they give you the benefits of a hardshell kayak, but with the portability of a lilo. These kayaks are gaining popularity every day, but what makes the Advanced Elements Firefly even more unique? It’s built-in rigid panels and being of superior quailty to the Intex Challenger K1 inflatable kayak and smaller and more compact then the Sea Eagle SE 33o.

The Firefly is almost a hybrid of a hardshell kayak and an inflatable one, allowing it to handle more extreme water conditions. The rigid panels add to the stability and tracking of the kayak, while the inflatable body keeps it very lightweight and compact. A brilliant combo if you ask us.

Advanced Elements Firefly Inflatable Kayak Breakdown

  • Built-in rigid panels define the stern and bow and improve the tracking and control of the kayak
  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Outer provides strength and durability
  • Incredibly quick and easy to inflate
  • Landing plate and tracking fin drastically improve performance
  • Very heavy-duty main PVC chamber

In-Depth Review of the Advanced Elements Firefly Inflatable Kayak

This is one of the smallest kayaks made by Advanced Elements and is also considered a recreational kayak, we decided to test this one on a lake and a relatively gentle river that runs into it.

We wanted to see if this kayak can be used for the entire family, and can be used for a more relaxing paddle, usually what beginner and novice kayakers will expose themselves too. We don’t recommend taking this kayak on whitewater or for more advanced paddles.

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Ease of Transport and Inflation

Like every inflatable kayak, the Firefly is compact when it is deflated and can be stored and transported with ease. The duffel bag included allows you to carry it easily, whether you are on a hike, or just putting it in the boot of your car.

The kayak is fitted with Twistlok Valves and a high flow Spring-Valve, which allows the kayak to be inflated incredibly quickly. We can tell you, we didn’t have to wait long for it to be up and ready to go.

Our Rating – 5/5


Comfort is a must when it comes to kayaking, you don’t want to paddle far out, just to turn around again cause you just can’t sit in your kayak anymore. Inflatable kayaks are some of the most comfortable we have tested.

Once again, since they are inflatable, you are basically sitting on a cushion of air. If you inflate the kayak fully, the seating area will be stable and comfortable, allowing you to sit for hours on end.

Our Rating – 5/5


The kayak is quite small, the smallest in the Advanced Elements range, this makes it a lot easier to control and steer, even for first-time kayakers. The tracking in also allows you to easily turn the kayak in the direction you need it to go.

Being lightweight, you also do not need a lot of strength to move it, this will obviously change if you are caught in a stronger current or encounter some waves you want to get past, but on calm waters, it is easy and stress-free.

Our Rating – 5/5

Rigid Panel Performance

The unique aspect of the Firefly and, to us, the main selling point, are the rigid frames, the kayak has rigid frames in the bow and stern, that add strength to the kayak. These, in turn, add to its capabilities in the water.

The frames allow you to cut through the water with ease. If you get hit front on by a strong wave or current, some kayaks buckle slightly and may cause you to lose balance, these panels keep the front and rear of the kayak strong and stable.

Our Rating – 5/5


Durability is where the Firefly shines. The rigid frames, the 600D polyester cover, and the heavy-duty PVC main chamber all combine to be a highly durable and strong kayak that can withstand a lot more than we first thought.

The outer is very lightweight, but it is an incredibly strong layer that will stop punctures from branches or rocks. This durability is a must if you are inexperienced, or if you are paddling somewhere with any hidden obstacles.

Our Rating – 5/5


The Firefly comes with many useful extras. It has a mesh pocket, a splash diverter, bungee deck lacing and rubber molded handles. These features are excellent for storing gear as well as adding to its ease of use.

The splash diverter will keep you relatively dry and is designed to prevent the main compartment of the kayak dry. You don’t want that compartment to flood and your gear to get soaked, and we found that it works incredibly well.

Our Rating – 5/5


For a small kayak, the price can seem a bit steep to some. If you are looking for a beginner kayak, you may want to look at the Intex Challenger K1. the K1 is a single person inflatable that is much lower on the price scale.

If you are wanting to invest in a more durable and longer lasting kayak though, the Firefly is the way to go. The money is most definitely worth it, and it is an investment you won’t soon regret.

Our Rating – ⅘

Pros and Cons


  • Very quick and nimble
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Strong and durable
  • Ideal for beginners or experts
  • Does not require professional knowledge to use effectively


  • Price
  • Prone to tipping in strong currents or waves
  • Very basic


Advanced Elements are the leaders in kayaks, and the Firefly lives up to that reputation. You can easily see the Advanced Elements skill and craftsmanship in the design and build of the Firefly. We can comfortably give it a 4.5/5.

The price may seem a bit much, but after all of our testing, we can easily say that it is worth the money and an investment you should make if you are looking to purchase a kayak. Family fun is guaranteed, and you will never want to leave the water.

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