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 folding 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 folding kayaks out there as you’d expect. This makes choosing a good one difficult for someone not familiar with them. Here is all there is to know about folding kayaks. Equipped with this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision when buying one. As a result, I’ll be taking you through an extensive buying guide to help you simplify the decision-making process.
Types of Folding 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.
Oru Kayak is the inventor of origami kayaks, which 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 vessels in minutes and get on the water.
Origami Kayaks vs. Inflatable Kayaks
While there isn’t much that separates origami kayaks from 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 Foldable 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 kayaks 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.
How to Choose Your Folding 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, and 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.
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.
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 the 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 strained 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?
That’s it, 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.