Kayaks

Best Folding Kayak. Easy Origami-Inspired Foldable Fun!

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Traditional kayaks are awesome in the water, but they’re really awkward to move around. Sure, there are inflatable kayaks, but well… they just aren’t the same. Enter the folding kayak! A folding kayak is a polypropylene kayak designed so that it folds up, origami-style, into a small, easily transported package about the size of a suitcase.

So cool!

These crafts certainly look interesting, but Are Folding Kayaks Any Good?

In this article, we’ll look at the foldable kayak format, and take a look at three of the most popular folding kayak options available. Let’s start with the best folding kayak, the Bay St. by Oru Kayaks.

Best Folding Kayak

Oru Bay ST Foldable Kayak

When it comes to foldable kayaks, Bay St foldable kayak by Oru is our top pick. It is the original Oru Kayak that was launched in 2012, and to this day, it can be found in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It is a highly functional kayak that is simultaneously sporty and stylish.

The state-of-the-art design of this foldable kayak makes it suitable for strong waters as well as calm (though no rapids). Whether you want one for recreational purposes or for a sporty adventure, the Bay ST Foldable Kayak can meet all your needs. It is an appropriate kayak for beginners, and it’s one of the best choices for experienced kayakers as well. It’s the Best Folding Kayak available.

For further details on the Oru Bay St., see the Product Reviews below.


Runner Up: Best Foldable Kayak

Oru Beach LT Foldable Kayak

Our Runner-Up pick is Beach Lt Foldable Kayak, also by Oru. It is designed for casual kayaking in calm waters like rivers, lakes, and bays. This foldable kayak is most suitable for beginners who don’t want to venture into rough seas. It is easily collapsible and set up within a few minutes.

Manufactured with custom polypropylene and rust-resistant material, it has a smart and sturdy design. It is flexible enough to be rated at 20,000 folds, but strong enough to withstand rough conditions (though again, no rapids). The Beach LT has passed extensive strength and durability tests, and it fulfills all the U.S. Coast Guard recreational vessel requirements.

You can take the Beach LT Foldable Kayak for casual paddling on calm waters for day trips. It is very similar in design to Oru’s Bay St Foldable Kayak and has an origami-inspired, foldable structure.

See below for more information on this cool kayak.


Budget Choice: Folding Kayak

Tucktec Foldable Kayak

The Hard Shell Foldable Kayak by Tucktec is a very budget-friendly option for kayaking lovers who want something easy, inexpensive, and foldable. It is suitable for both beginners and experts. It is a 10 ft kayak that can be folded down to an amazingly-compact size of 48”x 15” inches and weighs less than 30 pounds.

The wide bottom of the kayak is very stable and gives easy mobility in the water. It has a folding seat for greater comfort and meets U.S. Coast Guard manufacturing and safety requirements. This solid hardshell design of the kayak offers complete safety. You can also choose from five different color varieties. If budget is your foremost concern, Tucktec’s Hard Shell Foldable Kayak is the best folding kayak for you.

For further information on the Tucktec, see the Product Reviews section below.


Buyer’s Guide: Folding Kayak Sport Craft

best folding kayak

Inflatable kayaks have been around for many years, and have been the most popular easily-portable, easily storable kayak around. But let’s face it. Many inflatable kayaks don’t look that cool.

Folding kayaks, on the other hand, look very cool. So cool they’re found in modern art museums. And they function really well, too.

As folding kayaks are easy to store and carry around, they have provided users with a convenient solution for usage and storage.

If you are thinking of buying a foldable kayak, here are some things that you need to consider while buying the best folding kayak.

Assembly and Folding

A foldable kayak must be convenient to set up and fold. Some designs are so complex that it takes you a long while to figure out how to assemble the kayak. For a collapsible kayak, you don’t want to be spending more than 15 minutes folding it up or taking it apart.

In that amount of time, you could put a full-sized kayak on top of your car, or get it off.

Design and Performance

You also need to consider the design and performance of the foldable kayaks. Choosing an experienced manufacturer is important but being aware of the pros and cons of a product you are going to purchase is even more important. The quality of the plastic or any material used, portability, weight and capacity are some of the things that can give you a clear picture of the quality and performance of a folding kayak.

Most foldable kayaks are engineered pretty thoughtfully and track pretty well. However, there aren’t many that are designed for rapids, rough waters, etc. Consider how you plan to use your kayak.

Durability and Sturdiness

It is also important to make sure that the kayak you are going to purchase is sturdy and durable.

The durability and sturdiness of a folding kayak ensure the safety of the user. It also gives you an idea about how long your foldable kayak will last.

Since some foldable kayaks are made of polypropylene plastic, which can be harmed by UV exposure, it is important to choose a folding kayak that has gone through UV treatment.

Cost of Folding Kayak

Most Folding Kayaks aren’t cheap, especially compared to lower-end inflatable kayaks! However, the designs of these kayaks are more complex, and better engineered. They use high-end materials, and the end result is the best of all worlds: a hardshell kayak that stores easily, out of the way.

No need for kayak roof racks and car accessories.

You may pay extra for the portable kayak, but you save on accessories.

And as shown here, there are some foldable kayaks that aren’t that expensive.

Comfort Level

A Kayak is a very narrow canoe, and you have to sit in it for some hours during a kayaking trip. You might want to consider an option that offers comfortable seating. For this, you can read some product reviews and customer reviews.

Consider the cockpit size, and how it will fit your body. Ensure that the cockpit is comfortable for your back and it is not too small for your height and size.

If your chosen kayak does not have a comfortable seat, you can also find options for kayak seats that can be fitted into your kayak very easily.

Safety Measures to Take When Using a Folding Kayak

Whether you are new to kayaking or love paddling your kayak through rough waters, you have to take some safety measures. Purchasing a foldable kayak that is durable and safe for the conditions you’ll be kayaking in is very important.

Sometimes, kayaks cannot withstand the impact of strong water, so taking a partner on a kayaking trip is always a good idea. You must also carry the right safety gear while kayaking, like lifejackets, float bags, helmet, whistle, paddles, etc.

As mentioned above, the floating kayaks shown here are not meant for rapids and very rough waters.

Folding Kayak vs. Inflatable Kayak

Folding kayaks and inflatable kayaks accomplish the same goal, but they go about it in a different way.

Both designs provide an enjoyable kayak experience but pack away in a small container for storage and transport. As many kayakers know, transporting the kayak from home to the launch site can be the most frustrating part of the whole trip! Getting it on and off the car without scratching anything maneuvering a big and bulky kayak is a pain.

Both folding and inflatable kayaks solve that problem. But there are some advantages and disadvantages of both.

Setup and Take Down

Here’s a quick video of the Oru Beach LT, which gives a pretty good sense as to how to assemble and disassemble it.

It’s pretty quick to set up a folding kayak, once you understand how it unfolds. Unfold it, and into the water you go!

By comparison, an inflatable kayak is also pretty easy to get going, but you need a pump. Some prefer plug-in electric pumps, while others prefer hand pumps. Either way, you need to pump up your kayak, and you may need to take a pump with you on the trip in case you puncture the kayak.

Repairing Inflatable vs. Folding

Sure, an inflatable kayak includes a patch kit that allows you to repair any punctures. But if the kayak is under pressure, these repairs can be a pain to do. And you have to reinflate the inflatable afterward.

If the bow or body of a folding kayak gets damaged, you could probably patch it well enough to get back to your launch site with just some simple duck tape. You may need to do another repair later, but for a quick patch, it’s much easier to deal with a foldable kayak.

Drying out an Inflatable vs. Folding

Inflatable kayaks need to dry out before they are stored. This can be a pain, and can take a while. Folding kayaks tend not to need to be dried out; they tend to not keep too much water on the hull after they’ve been pulled out.


Folding Kayak Reviews

In this section, we’ll look at 3 of the best folding kayaks available. We’ll start with a comparison table to get oriented, and then move into individual reviews. We’ll conclude with our choices of the best kayak that folds.

Preview
Top Choice!
Oru Kayak 1-Person Foldable Kayak – Coast XT Folding Kayak Perfect for Travel and Rugged Waters – Stable, Durable, Lightweight Adventure Kayak – Lake, River, and Ocean Kayaks for Adults and Youth
Runner-Up
Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Portable Lightweight Kayak - for Day Trips, Picnics, and Casual Fun with Family and Friends …
Budget Pick
Tucktec Advanced 2020 Model 10 Foot Foldable Kayak Folding Canoe, Portable Lightweight, Boat Fits in Your Car No Roof Rack Needed, Stronger Than Inflatable, for Kids or Adult (Black)
Name
Oru Bay St
Oru Beach LT
Tucktec
Width at Cockpit
25"
28"
31"
Length
12'
12'
10'
Weight
28lbs
26lbs
30lbs
Weight Capacity
300 lbs
300 lbs
350 lbs
Price on Amazon
$2,025.00
$1,225.00
Price not available
Top Choice!
Preview
Oru Kayak 1-Person Foldable Kayak – Coast XT Folding Kayak Perfect for Travel and Rugged Waters – Stable, Durable, Lightweight Adventure Kayak – Lake, River, and Ocean Kayaks for Adults and Youth
Name
Oru Bay St
Width at Cockpit
25"
Length
12'
Weight
28lbs
Weight Capacity
300 lbs
Price on Amazon
$2,025.00
View on Amazon
Runner-Up
Preview
Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Portable Lightweight Kayak - for Day Trips, Picnics, and Casual Fun with Family and Friends …
Name
Oru Beach LT
Width at Cockpit
28"
Length
12'
Weight
26lbs
Weight Capacity
300 lbs
Price on Amazon
$1,225.00
View on Amazon
Budget Pick
Preview
Tucktec Advanced 2020 Model 10 Foot Foldable Kayak Folding Canoe, Portable Lightweight, Boat Fits in Your Car No Roof Rack Needed, Stronger Than Inflatable, for Kids or Adult (Black)
Name
Tucktec
Width at Cockpit
31"
Length
10'
Weight
30lbs
Weight Capacity
350 lbs
Price on Amazon
Price not available
View on Amazon

Oru Bay ST Foldable Kayak

Oru Bay ST Folding Kayak

Key Points at a Glance

  • Sporty and stylish design
  • Original Oru kayak designed for strong waters
  • Takes under 5 minutes to set up
  • Manufactured with 5mm double-layered custom-extruded polypropylene
  • Rated at 20,000 folds
  • Treated with 10 years of UV protection
  • Folds to the size of a suitcase

Dimensions and Specs

  • Assembled Length: 12 ft
  • Assembled Width: 25 in. (at cockpit)
  • Folded dimensions: 33 x 12 x 29 inches
  • Weight: 28 lbs.
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs

The Details

Oru Bay ST Foldable Kayak

The Bay St Foldable Kayak is the original kayak by Oru. Inspired by origami structures, this kayak has a sporty and stylish design. It is easily portable and quite durable. The Bay St is perfectly suited to the needs of beginners and experts alike. The sturdy body of Bay St Foldable Kayak moves easily over rough and strong waters, but it isn’t designed to handle rapids.

This foldable kayak offers the best features in the market and was rated at 20,000 folds cycle. This means that it could be opened and closed 20,000 times before the folds wear out. That’s a lot of sport kayak trips!

It has been put through extensive durability and strength tests. In terms of safety, this kayak has surpassed all U.S. Coast Guard recreational vessel standards.

Oru Bay ST Folded up

Besides durability, it offers a lot of convenience as well.

The foldable kayak can be collapsed to the size of a suitcase and can be carried with ease. It can support 300 lbs. of load, so most users will have no trouble storing themselves and their gear in the kayak.

Moreover, it comes with float bags that help to keep your essential equipment and gear dry inside the kayak.

The setup time is about 5 minutes for experienced users. In the beginning, it might take longer for you to figure out how to set up and fold the kayak. Once you have some practice, you can set up and fold the kayak easily. It’s easy to store in an apartment or anywhere, really!

The Bottom Line

When it comes to folding kayaks, this lightweight and easy to carry kayak is among the top choices. The bow and body of Bay St Foldable Kayak can tolerate sliding over rocks and bumping into obstacles when paddling in the water.

The high durability and portability of this outstanding kayak are sure to make your kayaking experience super easy and super fun! This is the best portable kayak around, hands-down. And really, it’s one of the best kayaks available, period.

Oru Kayak 1-Person Foldable Kayak – Coast XT Folding Kayak Perfect for Travel and Rugged Waters – Stable, Durable, Lightweight Adventure Kayak – Lake, River, and Ocean Kayaks for Adults and Youth
  • ORU’S FLAGSHIP KAYAK – The Coast XT is the...
  • FROM BOX TO BOAT IN MINUTES – Construct your...
  • SLEEK, DURABLE, & RELIABLE – Although your kayak...
  • NO ROOF RACK REQUIRED - Fits into the trunk of a...
  • AWARD-WINNING DESIGN - featured on Shark Tank,...

Oru Beach LT Foldable Kayak

Oru Beach LT Foldable Kayak

Key Points at a Glance

  • Easiest collapsible boat
  • Smart, sturdy and ideal for calm waters
  • Takes under 5 minutes to set up
  • Manufactured with custom polypropylene and rust-resistant hardware
  • Rated with a lifetime of 20,000 folds and treated with 10 years of UV protection
  • Folds to the size of a suitcase

Dimensions and Specs

  • Assembled Length: 12 ft
  • Assembled With: 28 inches. (at cockpit)
  • Folding Size: 33 x 12 x 29 inches
  • Weight: 26 lbs.
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs

The Details

Oru Beach LT Foldable Kayak

The Oru Beach LT has been featured in many different famous magazines and mediums like Forbes, Shark Tank, Wall Street, CNN, Journal and Oprah Magazine. No wonder, because its striking design and systems are sophisticated, sturdy, and eye-catching.

Oru’s Beach Lt Foldable Kayak makes use of innovative design to make a kayaking trip more fun and convenient. It’s not as robust as the Oru Bay, as it’s not designed to go in rough waters. The Oru Beach’s open-cockpit design is crafted to work in rivers, lakes, ponds, and areas with calm waters (no rapids with this one!).

Regardless, the Oru Beach is well suited for both beginners and experts alike. The origami-inspired design enables the user to set up the foldable kayak in a matter of 5 minutes and it folds to the size of a suitcase. You’ll be out on the water in a flash, and you’ll be able to spend your time in the kayak, as opposed to loading and unloading the kayak!

This because of the Beach LT’s most important feature: its ease of storage and portability. It fits easily into the trunk of a small car, and you can also carry it anywhere after folding it and packing it in an Oru carrying case. It’s quite convenient to carry while hiking, bicycling or using public transport!

Try that with your hardshell. It is one of the most transportable kayaks you can find in the market.

Oru Beach LT Folding Up

Moreover, the Beach Lt Kayak is very durable and sturdy. It is rated at 20,000 folds cycle, so it will be around for a while. It has cleared extensive durability and strength tests, surpassing the standards of U.S. Coast Guard recreational vessel. The company also offers a full 12-month warranty and one-month money-back guarantee.

One of the shortfalls of Beach Lt Kayak is that it has a wide-open cockpit with no drain hole inside the kayak. This can cause the water to gush into the kayak if it is taken into rough waters. Your gear will likely get wet. Therefore, the kayak is ideal for paddling on lakes and ponds, where water stays calm.

However, this design makes the Beach LT an excellent sport fishing kayak. It’s reasonably comfortable to maneuver while fishing, paddling, and sport kayaking.

The Bottom Line

In the beginning, you may find it difficult to set up or fold the Beach LT Foldable Kayak. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to do it in just a few minutes.

The ease of assembling and disassembling as well as portability makes this kayak one of the best choices for day trips. With Oru’s Beach LT Foldable Kayak, you can have hassle-free kayaking experience.

Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Portable Lightweight Kayak - for Day Trips, Picnics, and Casual Fun with Family and Friends …
  • THE FUN & FRIENDLY KAYAK – Quickly and easily...
  • FROM BOX TO BOAT IN MINUTES – Construct your...
  • SLEEK, DURABLE, & RELIABLE – Although your kayak...
  • NO ROOF RACK REQUIRED - Fits into the trunk of a...
  • AWARD-WINNING DESIGN - featured on Shark Tank,...

Tucktec 10 ft. Hard Shell Foldable Kayak

Tucktec 10 ft. Hard Shell Foldable Kayak

Key Points at a Glance

  • A hard shell 10 ft. kayak
  • Suitable for fishing or traveling on a lake or a river
  • 2 minutes set up with six quick heavy-duty clamps to latch
  • Made from a single sheet of ⅛ in. thick solid high-density polyethylene
  • A streamlined design and a wide flat bottom
  • Folds into a compact size of 48”x 15” inches

Dimensions and Specs

  • Assembled Length: 10 ft.
  • Assembled Width: 31 inches (at cockpit)
  • Folded Dimensions: 48 x 15 x 8 inches
  • Total Weight: 30lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs

The Details

The low-priced Tucktec 10ft. Hard Shell Foldable Kayak uses a different design than the Oru, but it doesn’t compromise on quality, portability, or performance. It is, as the name suggests, most famous for its rigid and sturdy body. It an excellent kayak for fun trips in calm waters like streams, rivers, and lakes. No rapids or ocean trips here!

Because it takes 2 minutes to set it up, Tuckteck Foldable Kayak provides increased portability and convenience to the users. It fits nicely into the trunk of a small car and is easy to carry on hiking trips.

Despite the size, the Tucktec foldable kayak weighs only 30lbs when folded.

The advantage of purchasing a Tucktec Foldable Kayak is that it is easy to set up, fold or carry. Unlike the origami-style design of the Oru, the Tucktec uses 6 powerful clamps to latch the bow and body of the kayak into shape. This system is no more difficult to use than the Oru, and you can quickly learn to set it up within minutes.

With a streamlined design and a flat bottom, this foldable kayak is made of a single sheet of 0.125 inches thick solid high-density polyethylene.

Because of its lightweight and wide flat bottom, it is easy for beginners to glide the kayak over the water with little effort. This state of the art design surpasses the US Coast Guard requirements and is completely safe for sport kayaking trips.

This hardshell solid and durable kayak comes with a 3-year warranty and a 100% money-back guarantee. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you will love the Tucktec Foldable Kayak.

The Bottom Line

The Tucktec Hard Shell Foldable Kayak is by far the best choice for a folding kayak for those on a budget. It’s priced quite reasonably and competes pretty well with inflatable kayaks in terms of price!

It is hard to find so many exciting features in any other foldable kayak at such an affordable price.


Conclusion

Kayaking can be a fun and worthwhile experience, but carrying and transporting a heavy kayak can make it very challenging. Often the packing and unpacking of the kayak can make the trip feel like it’s not worth the effort.

The portability and convenience of a folding kayak solves that problem. When you are buying a foldable kayak, it is necessary to consider some factors, such as durability, use case, and cost. If you are interested in ocean-kayaking, aim for the best folding kayak: the Oru Bay LT. Should you want to stick to calmer waters, the Oru Beach is an excellent choice. And if you’re on a budget, the Tucktec is fantastic. All of these are among the best kayaks around, and you won’t be disappointed by any.

Happy Kayaking!