As an adventurer who enjoys kayaking on the surface water, I prefer foldable kayaks to hard shell kayaks. Foldable kayaks make a difference when you are looking for portability and ease of transport. They are also easy to use for novices and give a sporty feel to advanced kayakers.If you haven’t figured the right foldable kayaks for your needs yet, I would love to be of help. Below are my folding kayak reviews that will get you value for your money and give you an exceptional kayaking experience.
Foldable Kayaks | The Comparison
We have researched, analyzed and reviewed all the best and available foldable kayaks those have excellent maneuverability and solid in terms of quality. Here you go -
What is Folding Kayak?
A folding kayak is a unique type of kayak that has a collapsible frame made of wood, aluminum, and plastic, and a skin made of tough fabric with a waterproof coating. Generally, this type of kayak comes folded up in a backpack and you can easily assemble it into 12-16 ft long water vessel. This type of folding kayak is popular for its portable feature. In fact, you can carry a folding kayak with you and checked on a plane. In most cases, the folding kayak will be count as carry-on baggage but to do so you have to carry the folding kayak in an Oru pack.
Top 6 Folding Kayaks of 2020
My Top Folding Kayak Picks
The Folbot Touring Kiawah is a lightweight foldable kayak designed for day trips, lazy afternoons, or weekend getaways. Weighing just 32lb, the Folbot is capable of holding around 200lbs. It is also portable enough to transport and anyone can easily carry it around.
Besides, its skin-on-frame design also makes it foldable and secure. Once disassembled, the kayak can fit perfectly in your car’s trunk. Similarly, the frame is made of extremely lightweight yet strong aluminium. The aluminium frame assembles easily without the need of tools and gives the kayak a good look. Additionally, the hull design protects the kayak from extremes like the sun, salt, and minor damages.
The other best thing about this recreational folding kayak is that its beam is quite wide. This allows the kayak to be stable and suitable for use in lakes and rivers. However, with its compact size and lightweight design, you will be compromising on speed. Hence, it is not a good option if speed is much of a concern to you.
If you are looking for a small and lightweight vessel to enjoy your time outdoors, the Folbot Recreational Citibot is great for you. Weighing just 24lbs, this kayak brings together both functionality and convenience. The big advantage of this kayak is that it is easy to craft upright and paddle straight unlike other short boats.
Although the kayak is light, it does not compromise on safety or durability. This is because it’s built with a combination of Elvaloy and aluminum for ultimate protection from corrosion. Additionally, the strong and heavy-duty hull enables it to be resistant to UV rays, scratches, and other minor damages. Citibot is easy to assemble since no tools are needed and can also be disassembled to fit in a limited storage space.
The Citibot is known for its wide beam. As a result, you will enjoy improved balance and stability. However, the frame only measures 10 feet, thus you will have to deal with the kayak’s not-so-fast speed.
The Elevens Cruise Plus is suitable for individuals who are looking for a sturdier and more conventional folding kayak. Perfect for day trips and weekend getaways, the Cruise Plus is lightweight and only weighs 30lbs. This kayak is rated up to 10000 folds. This makes it easy to fold such that it can be transported and stored in a car trunk or closet.
This kayak is built from double-ply FRPP frame making it durable than most foldable kayaks. As a result, it is highly resistant to UV rays, abrasion, and corrosion from saltwater. With its easy to assemble design, the Cruise Plus does not require any tools and only takes 10 minutes to set up.
Apart from durability, this foldable kayak is known for its high performance. With a length of 12.8 feet, the kayak is designed to be small and fast. It is one of the fastest boats in the market due to its solid hull design. Not to mention, its secondary stability and shape make it a top choice for many experienced kayakers.
Next on our list of the best outdoor adventures kayaks is the Oru Kayak BayST. This origami kayak is loved by a number of kayakers because it gets many things right. It’s innovative folding design and high quality material guarantees an exceptional kayaking experience.
Compared to other foldable options, the bag and the kayak are all included in one package. It is super light, and you can easily tuck it away in the trunk of your car. Its lightweight design also makes it possible to hike with this foldable kayak.
One of the perks of the Oru kayak is that it is built from double-wall polypropylene with a 10-year UV treatment. This construction makes the boat highly durable and gives it a different feel. It has also been built to withstand 20,000 folds. Hence, it can be folded and unfolded without weakening. In addition, the setup is very easy since it takes only a few minutes to get the kayak from its box to a fully functioning boat.
While the boat boasts of high performance, it is friendly and stable for beginners. Both experienced and novice paddlers can use this in calmer or large-waved waters. The Oru kayak also folds out to 12 feet long and 25’’ wide. It also comes with a comfortable foam seat and adjustable backrest for enhanced comfort. Lastly, the hull offers adequate room to stash gears for short camping excursions.
The Folbot Touring Cooper is a portable kayak that is great for use in lakes, rivers, and oceans. Constructed from strong yet lightweight aluminium frame, the kayak is undoubtedly durable. This makes the kayak resistant to punctures, tears, and UV rays from the sun. The covering which is built from Elvaloy is equally durable.
Assembling the main frame can be done in less than 20 minutes without the use of tools. Once the frame is assembled, the covering is pulled over with ease. This makes the Cooper one of the easiest foldable kayaks to set up.
This kayak is 16 feet in length and 24 inches wide. Due to its length and design, its speed is quite impressive. It offers plenty of space which makes it comfortable for paddlers of all sizes and shapes. It also comes with a seat and a roomy cockpit to stretch out your legs.
When fully assembled, the Cooper kayak weighs 39lbs. Its lightweight design helps the kayak to track extremely well. Although it is light, its overall stability in water is quite impressive.
One of the things that I like about the TRAK Kayak is its good-looking design and polyethylene construction. This means that it is extremely durable and capable of withstanding challenges like UV rays and corrosion. As a result, it is very efficient in lakes, rivers, and oceans compared to other foldable kayaks.
With adequate information provided by the manufacturer, it is very easy to set up especially for beginners. Once assembled, you can take on all the fun that this water vessel offers. The kayak is 16 feet in length, weighs 48lbs, and can carry up to 292lbs.
If you are looking for a boat that is highly versatile, the TRAKS kayak is for you. It offers stability and great maneuverability. The speed can be increased by making the kayak lie flatter. Additionally, it comes with three hydraulic jacks to make it possible to change the shape of the hull according to your requirements.
Another great thing is that it is suitable for use in different weather conditions and can explore any water. This is because it can be directed to face the right or left crescent in the event of crosswinds.
Just like the TRAK performance folding kayak, this vessel is efficient on lakes, ocean, and rivers. The TRAK seeker is constructed from polyethylene to create a rigid frame and improve its overall performance. The frame is made of aerospace aluminium to protect the vessel from wayward obstacles. Its performance and portability make it ideal for kayakers of different skill levels.
When it comes to durability and resilience, Seeker tops most of the vessels. Its construction is said to be similar to that of a hardshell kayak. It is, therefore, able to hold as much weight as possible. However, this adds to the total weight of the kayak, which in turn, makes it extremely heavy.
When fully constructed, the TRAK Seeker weighs around 48 pounds and the hull measures 22 ½ inches. It measures 16 feet at full length and has a narrow beam compared to other kayaks. As a result, this boat is able to move at very high speeds with ease.
Another handy feature of the Seeker is its three hydraulic jacks. The hydraulic jacks play a major role in its versatility. For instance, you can use the pistols to control the tension of the hull for stability and maneuverability.
What is the Best Material for a Foldable Kayak?
The material used to make foldable kayaks may vary with the purpose of the boat and the company that manufacturers it. It is important for your foldable vessel to be tough enough to survive damages, wear and tear, as well as sea corrosion.
These are pieces that go from one end of the vessel to the other end. The most common materials used for making the vessel’s frame are aluminium and solid wood. Aluminium frame is highly recommended since it is slightly lighter and gives the kayak a modern look. Unlike the wood frame, aluminium is cheap and does not require any maintenance. It also comes in two types: anodized and aerospace. Anodized aluminium is fairly resistant to corrosion.
Wood, on the other hand, is a good choice if you are looking for frames that can be assembled faster. It is also easy to repair in case of an accident and is highly flexible. However, it is not a good choice since it is non-durable, heavy, and requires maintenance.
For some people, the best material for the kayak frame is carbon fiber. This is due to the fact that it’s light, stiff, and strong. However, it’s slightly expensive.
Skin for the Hull
When it comes to the skin of the foldable kayak, polyethylene is commonly used. There are different types of polyethylene: military grade and Elvaloy. Elvaloy is stronger and will not get damaged easily. Ideally, you should look for a body that is resistant to corrosion, minor damages, and UV rays.
There are also kayaks that have a skin made of PVC. PVC is commonly used because it is cheap and can last for a very long time. This material, however, disintegrates easily in hot climates. It is also not resistant to abrasions, chemicals, and gasoline.
Good quality fabrics are coated with hypalon and neupron. The fabrics come in varying thickness and are heavy enough to resist UV rays, salt, and oil. Additionally, hypalon is more resistant to abrasion and is chosen by most manufacturers as an exterior coating. Neupron is excellent for oil resistance and has air holding capabilities; hence, it is used as a coating on the interior of the boat.
It’s important to increase the thickness on the areas of the skin that are more prone to damage. These areas include the keel and the chine bars where 80 percent of the wear and tear occurs. One way to protect the skin is by adding a flexible plastic on the outside of the hull. The skin can also be protected by adding strips of foam plastic on the inside of the hull.
Guide to Buying a Foldable Kayak
Choosing the best folding kayak can be daunting, and a lot of consideration needs to be taken. Some of the biggest considerations when purchasing a foldable kayak include ease of assembly, durability, and weight. Here are some factors that you should keep in mind before making any buying decision:
One of the key factors when purchasing a foldable kayak is durability. Basically, kayaks are usually made of three types of material: polypropylene, Elvaloy, and polyurethane fabric. Elvaloy is a good choice since it is made from different materials and contains PVC which increases its durability.
Just like Elvaloy, polypropylene is a polymer and has propylene added into it. This also increases its durability. Besides, polypropylene is believed to be more durable than Elvaloy.
The last material used to construct foldable kayaks is polyurethane fabric. This fabric is made from a combination of polymer and urethane with no specific additions. As a result, it is considered the least durable.
Most kayakers prefer foldable kayaks because they are lightweight and easy to carry. In order to determine the right weight of kayak for you, you should consider how much you are able to carry. If you are planning to hike with it or transport it yourself, then you should consider kayaks that weigh between 22-33 pounds.
You should also pay attention to your body size and find a kayak weight that will sustain you. Otherwise, getting a vessel that is either too light or heavy may render it inefficient.
The size of different kayaks may vary, and this can affect its speed and maneuverability. Basically, longer and narrower kayaks are able to exhibit high rates of speed easily. However, longer kayaks can be difficult to handle and maneuver.
On the other hand, shorter kayaks are easy to turn and maneuver. The only problem is that they tend to exhibit very low speed.
For maximum comfort and stability, the beam of the foldable kayak should be considered. For beginners, purchasing kayaks with a higher inch beam is recommended. This is because a much wider beam provides stability in water and the kayaker is unlikely to fall off. However, wider boats are slower and less maneuverable.
If you are an advanced kayaker, you may want to choose foldable kayaks that have an average beam width. While it ensures steadiness in the water, it also provides a sporty feel.
- Ease of Assembly
When purchasing a kayak, it’s important to find out how long it will take you to set it up. The best foldable kayaks are easy to assemble and require no tools. Tools can be heavy to carry, and it may be difficult to use them on a beach.
Avoid kayaks that have many pieces to assemble as this can be confusing and take much of your time. Besides, the manufacturer ought to provide you with a clear guideline of how to assemble and disassemble the kayak so that you don’t spend a lot of time.
One of the main reasons why individuals purchase foldable kayaks is due to their ease of storage. The kayaks can be folded into small packages and tucked away in a closet or a normal car trunk. Thus, if you don’t have much space in your home or vehicle, you should consider a kayak that comes in a small size.
What are the Benefits of Folding Kayaks?
- Folding kayaks require minimum maintenance compared to non-folding kayaks. You can store a folding kayak in a backpack and then keep it anywhere you want.
- Folding kayaks are easy to transport and it can easily fit the trunk of your car.
- Folding kayaks are lightweight so you can easily carry it by yourself.
- This type of kayak can easily handle waves and carry enough weights when out in the water.
- Folding kayaks also track well and they are capable of at least 3 MPH paddling speed.
- Folding kayaks are very comfortable as most of these kayaks have a big cockpit and adjustable seat.
- This type of kayaks is lighter compared to traditional kayaks therefore, folding kayaks accelerate better.
Who Should Buy a Folding Kayak?
Usually, not all kayaking enthusiasts have their own garage; moreover, many kayakers leave in an apartment building, condo, townhome, or don’t have space to store large traditional kayaks. In these types of situations, a folding kayak can come handy. In fact, a folding kayak will be a space-saving solution. A folding kayak is also preferable by the kayakers because of its performance and responsiveness. If you compare the frame of a folding kayak with a hard-shell, rigid boat; you will find that the folding kayak’s frame can give a slight flex in response to the water.
Are Folding Kayaks Delicate or Damage-prone?
No, folding kayaks are not delicate or damage-prone. In fact, you should treat the hull of a folding kayak as same as you treat fiberglass kayak. The frames of a folding kayak are made from high-quality materials so you don’t have to worry about any damage. However, you must avoid dragging the folding kayak on gravel beaches as well as avoid other things that you would avoid for a conventional kayak.
Do Foldable Kayaks Cost more than Hardshells?
In general, folding kayaks have a higher price tag compared to the hard shells kayaks. In fact, folding kayaks are costlier than the plastic hard shells models. However, when you are talking about high-quality fiberglass hard shells that are made from Kevlar and other special materials then there is not much price difference between foldable kayaks and hard shells. Moreover, folding kayaks tend to last longer than hard shells so the extra money that you pay for the foldable kayak is equal to the price of hard shells.
Who Should Consider an Oru Kayak?
There are quite a few folding kayak brands available including the Pakboats, TRAK, KERO, Long Haul, HYPAR, etc. but Oru kayak is at the top of the list in this category. If you are planning on buying a foldable kayak then you should buy an Oru kayak. Oru kayak will be the best option for people who want to paddle but don’t have the space to store a traditional kayak or won’t be able to transport it. Moreover, if you love hiking to a lake and can carry 30-ish lbs on your back then you can consider buying an Oru kayak. If you want more versatility out of your boat then Oru kayak is the right option for you.
If you are planning to have a great outdoor adventure on the water, you should definitely choose the best foldable kayaks in the market. However, this can be daunting and overwhelming. It’s for this reason that I have compiled a list of the best foldable kayaks and their buying guide.
Whether you’re looking for the best folding kayak reviews or want to know what you should look for in a kayak, this will surely guide you.
A folding kayak has a long history and initially, it was made from animal skins that were stretched over frames made from wood and bones. Technology has come a long way and it has allowed the designers to use interlocking panels and fold patterns to create strong, modern design folding kayaks.
In the beginning, the kayakers were not fond of folding kayaks and they were concerned about its durability and performance in the water. But with times folding kayaks have able to create a positive hype among the kayakers and nowadays a huge number of kayakers are showing interest in folding kayaks thanks to its unique design, durability, and portability.
Foldable kayaks have brought a revolutionary change in the kayaking industries. Now people can carry their kayak to favorite places and enjoy kayaking experience. Moreover, folding kayaks have a unique design, excellent build quality, durability, and performance which make them more desirable than the traditional kayaks.
You can always refer to this guide to make sure that you can find a durable, safe, and high-performance foldable kayak.
Last update on 2020-10-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API