Best foldable kayaks - header

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Kayaking is a wonderful sport, allowing you to explore the most beautiful beaches as well as quiet and scenic lakes and rivers. But the bulkiness of a standard kayak usually deters most people from participating in a sport they love and adore. Storing a 12 ft kayak is going to be a problem if you don’t have a lot of space in your home. There’s also the issue of transporting the kayak to water bodies which will be significantly troublesome if you don’t own a car.

Yes, you can always rent a kayak but this quickly becomes uneconomical if you participate in the sport on a consistent basis. Also, you’ll have no control over your schedule as you’ll have to operate around the schedule of the rental company. But a guy still gotta kayak, right?

This is where foldable kayaks come in. Folding kayaks are getting a lot of buzz recently because of how easy it is to store and transport them. As their name implies, foldable kayaks can be folded into a smaller size. This makes them easy to store since you can put them under your bed or at the back of your closet. As for transportation, you can put a foldable kayak in the trunk of your car, take it on a bus, train, and even a plane.

There are several foldable kayaks out there as you’d expect. This makes choosing a good one difficult for someone not familiar with them. I’ve compiled a list of the best foldable kayaks to help you choose a high-quality kayak when you are shopping for one. Let’s take a look at them.

The 7 Best Foldable Kayaks for 2021

Oru Kayak Inlet

Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak - Stable, Durable, Lightweight Folding Kayaks for Adults and Youth - Lake, River, and Ocean Kayaks - Perfect Outdoor Fun Boat for Fishing, Travel, and Adventure (Inlet)

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of April 6, 2021 6:22 am

By folding up to fit inside a backpack, the Oru Kayak Inlet allows you to paddle anywhere anytime. The Oru Inlet is a recreational kayak that is super lightweight, portable, and easy to transport. It takes about 5 minutes to set up this kayak and get on the water. With practice, you can even reduce this to 2 to 3 minutes. Storage is also easy as you can just toss this kayak in a closet, a corner in your home, or under your bed. It also has an impressive load capacity of 275 lbs.

Being a very light vessel, the Oru Inlet is designed to be used on calm or flat water. This kayak s also very easy to use thanks to the buckle-closure system which is very intuitive. Anyone that has used a backpack before will know how to use the buckle-closure system as you just have to clip and tighten it.

I like that the footrest is adjustable as this allows paddlers to make themselves as comfortable as possible. There are also fairings on the kayak that allows it to cut through water effortlessly. You’ll be happy to hear that the manufacturer did not compromise on the durability of this kayak despite its incredibly light weight.

 Quick Specifications

  • Unfolded size:  9’6” ft x 30 in / 290 x 76 cm
  • Folded size: 42 x 18 x 10 in / 107 x 46 x 25 cm
  • Kayak weight:  20 lbs / 9 kg
  • Weight capacity:  275 lbs / 125 kg
  • Persons capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Very lightweight and portable.
  • Easy to transport and store.
  • Easy to use,
  • Fast assembly time.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • Taller people might be a bit cramped but they will still be comfortable nonetheless.
  • Paddles are not included in the package. However, you can get paddles from Oru at a discount.

Other Buying Options:

Oru Kayak Beach LTOur Top Pick

Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Portable Lightweight Kayak - for Day Trips, Picnics, and Casual Fun with Family and Friends …

$1,150.00  in stock
1 used from $1,150.00
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of April 6, 2021 6:22 am

The Oru Kayak Beach LT is the second lightest folding kayak from Oru after the Inlet model. With a weight of just 26 pounds, this kayak folds into the size of a standard backpack. This takes portability to a whole new level as you get to move around with the Beach LT without any problem. And how hard can it be for you to store an item the size of a backpack?

The setup time of the Beach LT is also very fast at 5 minutes and this will only decrease as you become more familiar with the kayak. The 5mm dual layer propylene used to manufacture this kayak confers incredible durability to it making it able to easily resist punctures, UV rays, abrasion, and the likes.

This kayak has a roomy cockpit with enough space for your legs which makes you comfortable during paddling. The wide cockpit also means you can take a small pet or a child along with you. Just make sure each one of you is wearing a life jacket and kayak on calm waters that this vessel is designed for. This kayak can also be used as a fishing kayak especially if you are using Oru’s fishing kit.

 Quick Specifications

  • Unfolded size:  12 ft x 28 in / 365 x 71 cm
  • Folded size: 33 x 12 x 29 in / 84 x 30 x 74 cm
  • Kayak weight:  26 lbs / 12 kg
  • Weight capacity:  300 lbs / 136 kg
  • Persons capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Fast and easy assembly process.
  • Offers incredible ease of storage and transportation.
  • Cushioned seat makes your kayaking more enjoyable.
  • Roomy cockpit.
  • Good stability on water.
  • High-quality polypropylene material is incredibly durable.

Cons

  • Paddles are not included in the package. However, you can get paddles from Oru at a discount.

Oru Kayak Coast XT

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

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of April 6, 2021 6:22 am

If you want to reign supreme on open waters, then the Oru Kayak Coast XT is the kayak you’ve been looking for. The streamlined hull design offers impressive speed, acceleration, and tracking. This leads to a little trade off in the stability and thus may not be ideal for beginners. But intermediate and expert/advanced kayakers are totally going to go crazy about this vessel.

The Coast XT is just about the size of a suitcase after you fold it making it easy to store and transport. Designed at an impressive 16 ft, this kayak will take on heavy surf and rugged expeditions with ease. You can use this kayak on Class III rapids and 6-foot waves comfortably, Assembly is also fast and you’ll get your kayak up and ready to go in 15 minutes.

This kayak is also very durable and is certified to last over 20,000 foldings. This means you can get over 20,000 kayak sessions with this vessel which is like a whole lot. There is also the closed cockpit design which protects you on all sides. And there is plenty of space for you to store your gear.

 Quick Specifications

  • Unfolded size: 16 ft x 25 in / 487 x 63 cm
  • Folded size: 33 x 12 x 29 in / 83 x 30 x 73 cm
  • Kayak weight: 32 lbs / 14 kg
  • Weight capacity: 400 lbs / 181 kg
  • Persons capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Folds into a suitcase-sized box for easy storage and transportation.
  • Fast assembling.
  • Can handle heavy surf and rugged expeditions.
  • Good tracking.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Large space for accessories.
  • Superb durability.

Cons

  • Paddles are not included in the package. However, you can get paddles from Oru at a discount.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of April 6, 2021 6:22 am

If you prefer an inflatable type of folding kayak, then you should take a look at this Advanced Elements kayak. This vessel comes with an aluminum reinforced body which makes it unique in the world of folding and inflatable kayaks. The stability is superb and combined with the high rigidity makes this kayak up to any challenge you throw at it.

The assembly is very straightforward as all you have to do is to unfold the kayak, inflate it, and then attach the seat. All this should take just about 10 minutes which will even be lesser after a number of kayaking expeditions. Thanks to the multiple layer polyester material used to manufacture this kayak, it is resistant to puncture and tears.

This kayak can be used for both solo and tandem paddling. I like that there’s still enough space in the cockpit despite the fact that portability was the main focus during the design of this kayak. It also has good tracking as it maintains a straight motion during paddling.

 Quick Specifications

  • Unfolded size: 15 ft x 32 in / 457 x 81 cm
  • Folded size: 35 x 21 x 12 in / 88 x 53 x 30 cm
  • Kayak weight: 50 lbs / 22 kg
  • Weight capacity: 550 lbs / 52 kg
  • Persons capacity: 1-2 persons

Pros

  • Portable and easy to fold/store and transport.
  • Can be used for both solo and tandem paddling.
  • Quick inflation time.
  • Good tracking.
  • Excellent stability and rigidity.
  • Impressive durability.

Cons

  • The included carry bag could be better designed.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite Kayak

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite Inflatable Kayak, Ocean Blue, One Size

$799.00  in stock
3 new from $799.00
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of April 6, 2021 6:22 am

The AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite is a kayak designed for kayakers of all skill levels. I also like that it caters to a broader range of body types including taller and bigger people. This kayak can be used on lakes, rivers, bays, and even on oceans ad long as the weather conditions are not extreme. It can handle anything not above class II rapids comfortably.

Made of double-coated RipStop fabric, this kayak is tough, super tough. The material can withstand scrapes, tears, and puncture. There is an integrated pressure relief valve on the floor of the kayak to prevent you from overinflating it. Overinflating can affect the integrity of the vessel.

The bow and stern are reinforced to provide good tracking as well as strengthen the exterior of the vessel and prevent tears especially in the rear and nose of the kayak. This is because those two parts take more impacts when the kayak is pulled onshore or dropped when transporting it.

This kayak also has a padded and comfortable seat that comes with back support. And there is a storage compartment that will keep your gear dry and nice.

 Quick Specifications

  • Unfolded size: 13 ft x 32 in / 396 x 81 cm
  • Folded size: 33 x 20 x 10 in / 84 x 52 x 26 cm
  • Kayak weight: 42 lbs / 19 kg
  • Weight capacity: 450 lbs / 204 kg
  • Persons capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Designed for kayakers of all skill levels.
  • Can be used in different water conditions.
  • Portable and easy to transport.
  • Padded and comfortable seat for transport.
  • Super durable thanks to ripstop fabric.

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a pump.

Best Foldable Kayaks – The Guide 

Now that you know the best foldable kayaks in the market, the next thing is to know all there is to know about foldable kayaks in order to be able to make an informed decision when buying one. As a result, I’ll be taking you an extensive buying guide to help you simplify the decision-making process.

Types of Foldable Kayaks

Foldable kayaks come in two types, namely inflatable kayaks and origami kayaks. Inflatable kayaks are usually made from an inflatable exterior supported by strong inner ribs. As the name suggests, air is pumped into the kayaks and this requires the exterior of the kayak to be strong in order to be able to withstand scrapes, tears, and punctures.

Origami kayaks on the other hand are non-inflatable. They are usually made of a flexible material that’s capable of folding against itself to create an outer hull that’s rigid, This makes origami kayaks foldable and thus can be easily stored and transported.

The Oru kayaks on this list are origami kayaks and are made using a single sheet of hard , corrugated polypropylene. They can be easily folded into a backpack that comes with the package and transported anywhere, When you get to your kayaking destination, you can easily assemble Oru kayaks into 12-16 ft long vessel in minutes and get on the water.

Origami Kayaks vs. Inflatable Kayaks

While there’s isn’t much that separates origami kayaks from the inflatable kayaks, there are still some differences between them. For example, origami kayaks are usually more portable than inflatable kayaks. While both types of kayaks have similar setup times (around 10-15 minutes), Origamis usually require less physical effort.

The difference in durability isn’t clear and more dependent on how you use your kayaks. While inflatable kayaks are more susceptible to punctures and tears, they can last as long as Origamis if you take proper care of them.

Inflatable kayaks also seem to provide more versatility for recreational users. Most Origami kayaks are designed for a particular water condition while most inflatable kayaks will handle different water conditions well at a recreational level.

Pros and Cons of a Folding Kayak

Some of the pros of folding kayaks are obvious. They are lightweight, compact, easy to store, and transport. They are also to get into the water as you assemble them near the water and pull them in. The portable design of folding kayaks also makes it easier to get to really remote places as they are really comfortable to carry.

Perhaps the major con of portable kayak is maintenance. Thankfully, maintenance practices aren’t difficult. You just have to rinse/wash them and later air them after use to prevent the growth of algae as well as foul smell. The assembling process although simple may be tiring to some people.

Best foldable kayaks

How to Choose Your Foldable Kayak

Durability / Materials

Durability is one of the most important things to look out for when shopping for a folding kayak. The durability in turn is dependent on the type and quality of materials used to manufacture the kayak.

The best folding kayaks available today are usually made of strong and rugged materials like polypropylene and PVC. These materials are flexible, waterproof, capable of withstanding tears, punctures, scrapes, UV, and so on.

Durability was one of the top criteria when choosing the kayaks on this list and you can be sure that you’ll be using any of them for a long time. I believe you know that durability requires extra money. That’s why the best products usually cost more than inferior products. And I was thinking long-term when choosing the kayaks.

Weight

All foldable kayaks are portable but some are more portable than others. This is why you should consider the weight of the kayaks when buying a kayak. As a rule of thumb, performance tends to decrease as the weight decreases.

You can’t expect a very lightweight kayak to be as resistant to wind or capable of taking river currents as one that’s bulkier than it. The bulkier kayak will be more stable and capable of dealing with winds and weather conditions.

It’s all about what you are looking for and the condition of where you’ll be kayaking. If you want to kayak on open waters, you can’t go for the lightest kayaks.

Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of your folding kayak will be clearly specified by the manufacturer. Be sure not to exceed the weight limit as this will make your kayak wear out quickly thereby compromising its durability.

Put your weight and that of your gear into consideration before buying a folding kayak. The kayak with the lowest weight capacity on this list has a capacity of 275 lbs which will accommodate you and your gear.

Weight capacity isn’t something you have to worry about with the kayaks I selected.

Where and What Will You Use it For?

You must put the condition of the water you’ll be paddling on into consideration. There are folding kayaks that are designed for calm waters, some designed for choppy waters while there are models capable of taking on the ocean. Choose your kayak based on where you’ll be kayaking.

At the same time. You also have to consider what you’ll be using the kayak for. If you’ll be fishing while kayaking, you’ll need to go for a vessel that can hold your fishing rod and other accessories.

Safety and Stability

The stability of a folding kayak has to be put into consideration. A stable kayak will perform well on water and will be easy to control and maneuver. For safety reasons, do not use a kayak in water conditions it can’t handle. If a kayak is designed to be used on calm waters, do not use it on river rapids. You may drift away from shore and be unable to control the kayak. You don’t want that to happen now, do you?

You can rest easy when it comes to the stability of the kayaks on this list. These kayaks have excellent stability which will contribute to an overall enjoyable kayaking experience.

Comfort and Ease of Use

The comfort level of your kayak is very important. You’ll probably be sitting in the vessel for a couple of hours or even the whole. It’s all up to you. A comfortable kayak will ensure you don’t feel cramped or strain on the water. That’s why good folding kayaks come with padded seats with an adjustable backrest. Some models even have footrests so you can comfortably position your legs when paddling.

Your kayak must also be easy to set up. The assembling time of folding kayaks typically ranges from 5 to 15 minutes. You become more adept at assembling after a number of kayaking expeditions and this will help you reduce the assembling time. The faster you can get on the water, the better, right?

Final Thoughts

That’s it, my list of best foldable kayaks in the market and an extensive guide to help you with the decision making process when buying a folding kayak. These kayaks offer portability combined with impressive speed, stability, and performance. I have no doubt you’ll find a kayak that meets your need on this list and start exploring new water near and far from you.

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