Welcome to the world’s favorite site for folding kayakers. We have information on kayaks, kayak makers, kayak retailers, building your own kayak, and much more. There’s a bookstore, stories of kayak adventures, and a forum where folding kayakers around the world exchange information, travel stories, and trade boats and equipment, too. This site has been in existence since 1997, beginning with a few simple html pages, and since then it has expanded every year. (Right now you’re looking at a beta version of the next incarnation of foldingkayaks.org, so don’t be surprised if it changes from time to time.)
If you look at the menus on the side of this page, you’ll see links to information on the kayak makers and dealers, accessories for kayaking, books for kayakers and more. You’ll also see links to our photo album, and most importantly, the Folding Kayak Forum. The Forum has been around almost as long as these pages, and currently has 21767 posts on 3177 topics and 1389 members. You’ll find a tremendous amount of information there as well as a free classified ad section for buying and selling folding kayaks and related items.
As a child in the 1960s I often lingered over the Folbot advertisements in Popular Mechanics offering marvelous folding kayaks that could be had at attractive prices- prices that were still unfortunately beyond the means of an 8 year old. Six years later, while on a canoe trip to Isle Royale, I met up with a fellow carrying a pair of tweedy canvas duffel bags out of which he assembled an elegant Klepper folding kayak . I watched him paddle off on a week’s wilderness trip, thinking I’d like to do the same one day.
But it wasn’t for another twenty eight years that I was able to finally get my own boat. I’m a great fan of Paul Theroux’s travel and fiction writing, and in 1996 I picked up a copy of his The Happy Isles of Oceania in which he tells of his travels around the South Pacific, much of it in his Klepper Aerius I Expedition. Theroux used his Klepper Aerius I Expedition to reach islands not served by regular transport, and to travel to out-of-the-way spots, at his own pace.
Reading the book piqued my interest once more in folding boats, enough so that when I saw Ralph Diaz’ Complete Folding Kayaker on a shelf at the local Border’s Books, with an introduction by Paul Theroux, I of course bought the book. If you have any interest in folding boats, try and find a copy of this sadly out of print book. (Or click on the picture or title to look for used editions at Amazon.) It’s not only the best source of information for buyers, it’s also a history of folding boats and a complete manual for learning to kayak. Pictured is the second edition, published in the Spring of 2003. It reflects all the changes in the folding boat world in the last few years, so even if you have the original you’ll want a copy of this one as well.
Although I had about 30 years of canoeing experience, I had no experience in kayaks when I bought my first boat- but by studying Ralph’s book (and a bit of on-water practice and experimentation), I was able to quickly develop a reasonably efficient set of strokes. I’m still learning, of course, but Ralph got me started in the right direction.
Folding kayaks are amazing boats. They are the descendants of ancient boats made of animal skins stretched over frames made from wood and bones, and combine modern technology with this ancient design. They’re incredibly seaworthy, they can travel in small packages with you in a compact car, they can be paddled, sailed, rowed, and even powered, if you like. They can be taken out in weather that would send far larger boats back to port. They’re used by the military forces of many nations for their stealth and portability. And they’re fun.
This page has the following sub pages.