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 Post subject: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:12 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 394
Location: Coastal New Jersey
I recently read Sea Kayaker Magazine reviews of the Feathercraft Wisper and Pakboat XT-15. Each review was summarized, in part, by saying that these kayaks would well serve the needs of the paddler who traveled to far away places or who had no place in which to store a hardshell. The inference was that a folder was a compromise substitute for a hardshell. This caused me to wonder if there are many kayakers who actually prefer a folder to a hardshell simply because of the unique characteristics of the take-a-part skin-on-frame boat.


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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:09 am
Posts: 14
Location: Seattle
Jake,

I am one such person. I like my folding boats (two Folbots and a giant Feathercraft) for their light weight, their pleasing feel on the water, their stability, their ease of repair, their eye-catching appearance, and their astounding gear capacity. I don't even disassemble them, so their supposed main selling point of reduced storage space is a non-issue for me!

I may not be the fastest guy on the water in my folders, but I don't kayak with the goal of getting to a destination as quickly as possible. It's the journey I enjoy, and the journey is more pleasant in a folding kayak.

Alex


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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:17 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1754
Location: Southeast Michigan
I agree with alexsidles- except I do dissasemble my folders.

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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:18 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Posts: 1113
Location: isles of scilly UK
People who have folding kayaks really like them, they store easily during the winter, they travel much better inside a vehicle, some even on a motor bike, they have been available for decades before the narrower sea kayaks were ever thought of, they don,t puncture often and are very easily repaired, the hull or skin will often last 25 years or more, then it can be replaced which in effect makes it a new boat, if the frame is wood it could last 50 to 100 years, they don,t take long to assemble, i do it EVERY time i use mine and i have three, they make good sailing craft, most makers have their own sails and there are a few good "after market sails", they are good sea kayaks. As regards camping trips they can be much easier to load and every person i have met who sold his folder regrets that he ever did. They might be a little slower than a hard shell but for me it,s the journey that counts not how fast i get there, although a youger fit person will still be pretty close to the speed of a regular hard shell.


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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:09 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 394
Location: Coastal New Jersey
I recently got a lesson in folder longevity. On my last day in Florida, I watched a Klepper Aerius 2 being sailed smartly across the shallows of Sarasota Bay to a nearby beach. I bicycled over to chat with the owner, a fellow from Madison, WI, about his boat which looked to be in very good condition though the blue deck had faded some. He told me that he bought the boat second-hand fifteen years ago and that the original owner had bought it new in 1961. A 51 year old Klepper! I was astonished. He didn't say anything about a second skin but even so that's still pretty darn good and the boat looks to be in really good shape.


Last edited by Jake on Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:46 am 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:03 am
Posts: 180
Location: Arizona, USA
Jake wrote:
I recently got a lesson in folder longevity. On my last day in Florida, I watched a Klepper Aerius 2 being sailed smartly across the shallows of Sarasota Bay to a nearby beach. I bicycled over to chat with the owner, a fellow from Madison, WI, about his boat which looked to be in very good condition though the blue deck had faded some. He told me that he bought the bought second-hand fifteen years ago and that the original owner had bought it new in 1961. A 51 year old Klepper! I was astonished. He didn't say anything about a second skin but even so that's still pretty darn good and the boat looks to be in really good shape.


A real testament to the standards of the company, the intelligence of the design, the ethic upheld by the workers and the fitness of their applied work process.

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Kenton


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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:46 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:42 pm
Posts: 453
The gentleman I bought my T9 off purchased it in 1962, I believe, and kept it in remarkably good shape. I am still paddling it in the original skin, though I've added hypalon keel strips along the lines it was previously folded along, where the original rubber had decayed, and I've restitched a few places where the original stitching was beginning to go. It is watertight again now, and I'm waiting to see how much longer the original rubber holds out. I assemble mine every time I paddle it, and take great pleasure in the engineering as I put it together. The few times I've paddled it in company it felt plenty fast enough and no one was waiting for me.

Last summer I purchased a second hand Wayland Harpoon, which was purportedly about six years old then. It is not a bad boat, and I enjoy paddling it; but it is not as well built as the Klepper. The hypalon and dacron hull looks perfect; it is the fittings on the frame and hull which let it down. Despite its young age, these are already bent and corroded, which might be the result of abuse by the previous owner, but I suspect is simply inferior quality metal (and probably salt water use too). (My other complaint is the big bag it came in is a complete pain to lug compared to the Klepper's two bags, and it seems heavier--but my intention wasn't to knock Wayland but praise my antique Klepper :wink: .)

I also like the flexibility to walk my boat to or back from the river when my wife has the car, and I occasionally take it by train. It is probably too heavy to take by plane without paying a considerable premium.

So yes, I like my folder(s) for their characteristics. (And I recently picked up a folding canoe to go with them.)

Ian


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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:22 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Posts: 1113
Location: isles of scilly UK
From what i have experienced the skins/hulls life is shortened by many many years through the way owners kept them. Some owners decide to stop paddling because of age or other reasons and put their boat away in a dry safe place. The wood stays perfect but the hull dries out and cracks appear on the folds which are usually not seen untill the hull is laid out. This dry storage which the owner thought was good (out of the damp) may last 10 years or more, it could be a lot less. I am fortunate that during our long winter my hulls are laid out full length inside and after the last paddle of the season i treat the hull with the solution that replaced hull wax and before the start of the next season i apply it again. So maybe the hull in Florida could have been the original.


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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:19 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:03 am
Posts: 180
Location: Arizona, USA
This praise names Klepper, specifically. Fittingly so. But on another ocean there is the highly rated Feathercraft. What do you sense will be said of their boats after 51 years?

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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:25 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 394
Location: Coastal New Jersey
The owner of the 51 year old Aerius 2 told me that, when the paddling season ends, he lays the skin out full length in the attic until spring arrives. That's probably a good thing to do with any folder. So far as a Feathercraft lasting five decades and still be in good condition, I don't see why that shouldn't be possible. There are quite a few ancient wood and canvas canoes out there still being used on a regular basis but they need a small dollop of TLC on a regular basis. I have a hunch that people who paddle folders actually don't mind the extra maintainence too much :)


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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:26 am 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:46 am
Posts: 537
Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
I own 9 kayaks at the moment, including hardshells from 9' to 17', an 18' traditional skin on wooden frame and two folders, a Feathercraft Wisper and a Pakboat XT-15. My favorite all round kayaks among the fleet are the two folders, not just for their portability as travel boats but because they are 10 to 20 pounds lighter than the equivalent sized hard boats, their cockpits and seats are more comfortable and mostly because they have a better feel in the water, especially in waves and lumpy conditions. Since I started kayak touring with a folder (my first, a Feathercraft Kahuna, 10 years ago) I admit I may be permanently biased (or spoiled, depending on your point of view) by the way they feel. If I could only own one kayak, it would be the Wisper, hands down.

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Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
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Previous:
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Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:53 pm 
Why I prefer my folder:

I prefer my folder because it is easy to store and transport, lighter, different, nice to paddle and alive. What I mean is that it feels like a living thing rather than the heavy, solid, dead and noisy hulk all hard shells are. I like the fact that there are many pieces which come together to form its shape. It is not solid and all parts are free to move in response to shifts in balance and the pressure of the water itself. It does not make loud clunking sounds when knocked about on land. It has personality; none of my kayaking friends ever speaks affectionately about their boats. It paddles well enough and I feel safe aboard and appreciative of that fact. Every new place we go together is a memory shared and I have felt the traitor when selling. So for me a folder is closer to being a friend than any piece of plastic I can think of.


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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:14 am 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:05 am
Posts: 824
Location: atlanta, georgia
It is a wonder to me that there is an "argument" over which is better, folder vs. hardshell. Do I need to justify my investment in an expensive, unusual, and sometimes impractical (in surf and over rocks) water craft? Do I need to somehow diss a devotee of kevlar, carbon, poly whatever? Nope.
I love white water canoeing, and I appreciate hardshell kayaks in swift water shoals or at the beach when surf landing is required.
But my favorite is a folder. I like the fact that I have a hand, literally, in making the boat seaworthy. I like the feeling of compliance (if I let my sixties heritage show, I might say "oneness") with the elements, whether wind, waves, or currents. I love being able to feel the water temp through the heels of my feet. I love feeling the dynamic tension between wind, wave, rudder, and flexing frame and hull.

Just my $.02.

g

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"There is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats"

1990 A1 Expedition
2010 carbon Klepper Quattro
BSD sail rig, 24' mizzen + 36' main
36' jib
Torqeedo outboard
1938 Sachs-Fichtel seitenbordmotor


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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:37 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:51 pm
Posts: 618
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
I think it goes back to Jake's original reference from Sea Kayaker. I find there's a lot of prejudice from hard shell kayakers about folding kayaks being second best, so there's a temptation for me at least to feel I have to defend the boats we love so much.
The fact that with my new improved cockpit outfitting and consequently better technique I can now smoke the most vociferous critic among my hardshell buddies in a sprint in my longer, skinnier Narak means I get a bit more respect now (not that I'm by any means the fastest paddler in the club!) :D

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Simon

Pakboats Quest 135, Nautiraid Narak 460, 416 & K1 (sold my 550), First light 420, Feathercraft Wisper, Fujita Alpina AL-1 400, Incept k40 (for sale)
Non-folders: Cape Falcon F1. Beth sailing canoe, 2014 Hobie Adventure Island


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 Post subject: Re: Why a folder?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:55 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:05 pm
Posts: 1398
Location: South Salem, NY
I really like what Huntley said, 'It has personality.' For me this hits the nail on the head. I don't take my boats apart after every outing as there is a lake right down the road, but, I honestly think it would be easier if I did take them apart sometimes. These boats require a lot of care and attention. You don't just drop your folder in the backyard, throw a tarp over it and come back in two weeks... oh no... They're like my babies out there in the yard and I love going out to make sure they are OK. When there's not enough time to go out on the water I find I can easily spend an hour playing with some new rigging of the sail, or placement of the seat, or dreaming up some design that might make this or that work better.

I love this quote from Greg, "There is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats"

I was talking with Mark Eckhart of Long Haul a few weeks ago and he said one of the beauties of these boats is that they inspire creativity among their owners. I think that's true. I know I have a constant shopping list of things I want to make or adjust on my boats. What a great diversion from the labors of daily life... right in the backyard!

And how cool is this whole skin on frame concept? Ribs, stringers, hull... flexing a little with the water. Becoming one with the sea, with me inside. I love that.

Those big plastic boats just don't get me too excited.

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Klepper Aerius II
Klepper T9
Long Haul MK1 Expedition 'light'
Klepper S4 sail rig
Kayaksailor 1.6 +genoa
BSD 36HP


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