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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 12:42 am 
faltbootemeister
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:41 am
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Looking to the future through the lens of the past.

http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/81021767.jpg

The mighty U-Boat fully loaded, ready to start its journey from the Danube Delta south onto the Black Sea... :)

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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 7:54 am 
faltbootemeister
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Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:36 pm
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Location: west burbs of Chicago
Holy cow that's a lot of gear.
Looks a bit top heavy too.
But obviously you didn't drown as you're still here posting.
:)

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Five Folbots - Super TSF, two GIIs, Kodiak, Gremlin


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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 9:09 am 
faltbootemeister
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:41 am
Posts: 222
flatwater wrote:
Holy cow that's a lot of gear.
Looks a bit top heavy too.
But obviously you didn't drown as you're still here posting.
:)


Actually, with 40 (sometimes 60) litres of drinking water placed along the keel and the heavier camping equipment below deck, the boat was pretty well balanced. One of the main advantages of a heavy boat was in the surf... Not bouncing and jumping with the waves, but quietly and calmly going through them... :)

For example, here, fully loaded:

https://68.media.tumblr.com/4e1a9659e5d ... o1_400.jpg

We really like to pack the kitchen sink for longer trips away from the grocery store... :)

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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 11:26 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:57 am
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Location: Anchorage Alaska
DoiNomazi wrote:

I am very sad to admit that this is the third summer since I did not put the U-Boat together for a trip. I haven't opened the case I keep it in and I didn't touch it in three years. And, most likely, I won't open the case in 2017, either... :(


Absolutely no reason you can't paddle your kayak locally. I am finding my Nautiraid a go to kayak. It is without a doubt, the most comfortable kayak I have ever been in.

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 4:27 pm 
faltbootemeister
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Posts: 222
Chuck, I dislike excuses, my own included, but there is a fact that the daily/weekly routine in NYC, doeans't leave much time to assemble and enjoy a few hours of paddling a folder. Besides, I love nature so much that gliding through noisy/busy waters around the city is anything but enjoyable. I'd rather wait until I can enjoy a break in the Everglades or even farther away.

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 6:50 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1719
Location: Southeast Michigan
Folders were first popular with urbanites in Germany, who took railway faltboote tours by the thousands. Perhaps today's millenials prefer to just rent kayaks. Or perhaps they're losing interest in adventures that require more than a credit card.

The outdoor magazines have shifted their focus from nature to gadgetry and adventure tourism. Kayak Magazine has gone out of business. The remaining magazines are written by people with no knowledge of traditional gear- note the fascination with the Oru, and the denigration of traditional boats. (When an Oru crosses the Atlantic or is rowed around Cape Horn, I'll stand up and take note ;-)

It's up to us to keep the folding kayak industry alive by spreading the word.

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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 4:40 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:46 am
Posts: 501
Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
I just returned from a 12 day trip to Yorkshire, in the UK, and I took my smallest folder (22 pound Pakboat Puffin that I retrofitted with a jazzier Pakboat Arrow deck) and all my paddling kit along (4 piece Cannon carbon paddle, PFD, boots, gloves, skirt, yadda, yadda) all packed in a 48 lb rolling duffel that Icelandair allowed me to check for free. I set it up in the courtyard of the rural cottage I rented and hauled it on a rented Citroen Cactus wagon using a pair of inflatable roof racks -- cushioned the boat so it didn't scuff the roof and I lashed it to the wagon's side rails. Having my own boat is far more convenient than renting, as anyone who travels and paddles can attest.

I see the folder as less a product for the young than a more attractive option for geezers like myself (67 next month) who have the means and freedom to travel and who also love the lightness of folders. I use my 37 pound Feathercraft Wisper and 28 pound Pakboat XT-135 even around town. Keep them set up all season when not traveling and haul them on the Thule roof rack. I got rid of all but one of my plastic boats (except for a 44 pound low volume sea kayak). If I can't load a boat solo without grunting and straining, I no longer want it. Besides, setting up the boats keeps me flexible. The Pakboat Puffin is probably the simplest I've owned -- didn't even break a sweat setting it up in about 20 minutes.

Tell you what -- even knocked down, I can usually take out my bag boat, assemble it and be on the water in less time than it takes my trip companions to go through the paperwork and access hassles of most rentals. Plus rentals almost always have a restricted time frame and location where you can use them. If I'm on vacation with my boat with me, if i spot a waterway I can paddle on it, no matter how remote.

Folders have never been marketed well enough. Hmm, except for Oru, which spent a LOT on professional grade videos and getting news outlets to cover them with feature stories. As often happens, an inferior novelty product with clever marketing gets the bulk of the market.

I've been a folder evangelist for 15 years and used to fantasize about approaching the major folder makers about semi-sponsoring me to go on the road after I retired driving a mini Class B motor-home with multiple folder models to set them up and demo them at various popular paddling sites to drum up awareness and sales. I've even joked about how many one could sell with one of those QVC info-mercials (though, as is the case with most stuff flogged on those things, most of them would end up stashed in somebody's garage.)

I'd post some pics of the trip but reducing them to the microscopic file sizes permitted for posts is too much of a headache right now -- still pretty jet lagged after my red-eye back via Reykjavik. I'll get around to reducing files later.

By the way, there are social media sites connected with paddling that seem to serve the needs of younger folks to be "seen" and by others to see interesting potential destinations -- I sometimes post on one on Facebook "Look at the front of my kayak" which has over 11,000 members.

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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 4:49 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
I think the huge "tiny homes" market is the same one that would be open to folding kayaks, if they were properly approached.

This is why any company should hire third party marketing firms with expertise in their markets -- especially when your product is one of your own design. True believers have blinders and tend to expect others to magically appreciate how cool their product is and to naturally gravitate to buying it. Doesn't work that way -- a good marketing and branding firm will know how to attract attention and generate buzz and they will know who the target audience is and how to reach them. Artisanal firms (which is what most folder makers are) tend to quail at spending money on advertising and promotion, but doing so can be the difference between success and failure, especially when you have a unique product with a narrow potential sales population.

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Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
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Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2017 2:24 am 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:51 pm
Posts: 607
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Speaking of "the future", have you seen the crazy prices they're asking for an Oru Coast?! Their Facebook owners page is also sobering - quite a few reports of components breaking with near new kayaks, even though most owners seem happy

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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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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 3:44 am 
paddler

Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 7:53 pm
Posts: 9
My 2.8 cents: The future of folding kayaks according to a 40 year old Australian Folbot Citibot paddler...

Here in Oz, folding kayaks are far less common than inflatable boats. Price is possibly the major issue, but availability is also relevant. Here you can walk into plenty of large outdoor / camping stores and buy yourself a cheap inflatable kayak for about a hundred bucks. These boats look a bit like a pool toy compared to a folder, but they're about 20 lb in weight, and paddle okay. If you go up the price ladder to about 500 Aussie Dollars (about US$350) you can get an inflatable Advanced Elements Packlite kayak that weighs only 4 lb, which packs up to something about the size of a football. These also look like pool toys, but their portability is self evident. I have one of these, as well as my Folbot Citibot. Because of the vastly smaller packed size and weight of the Packlite, I find it very useful for trips where plenty of walking and public transport is on the agenda. I used to do lots of these public transport + walking + river paddle trips with the 24 lb Citibot, and I can happily say the Packlite has been a much easier proposition, even though it is not as fast as the Citibot and gets punctured more easily.

As for the question about changing attitudes and lifestyles of the younger generation, I am not so sure. Yes, there are loads of young people with their electronic device habit essentially ruling their lives, but I also meet a lot of young people on hiking trips these days. They don't mind blowing a few hundred bucks on hiking gear. I think there are many who have the disposable income that is spent on that type of stuff, but kayaking / canoeing is just not on their horizon. I think good old fashioned adventure is still a hot pursuit of many young people still, but perhaps paddling just needs some more promotion to them in movies or TV shows or some youtube fad.


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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 2:31 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:15 pm
Posts: 118
I was having a conversation with a woman who sadly stated that she might have to give up kayaking because she struggled to get her plastic kayak on to her roof rack ( a physical set back I think). This shouldn't happen I thought to myself so I told her about folding kayaks and specifically the Citibot (this talk happened long before Folbot's demise). Easy to assemble, lightweight and you don't necessarily need a roof rack. This leads to Kerry's great point about marketing, or the lack of, regarding folders. If you are a regular here you see the multiple reasons why folding kayak are the way to go. Some members here use them in the classic sense and travel to exotic locations. Others seem to collect them as if they are beautiful pieces of art (of course they are!) and others for the lack of storage or space to accommodate a hard-shell. For these reasons, a combination of them, or for others that many here have mentioned before, folders are great choice. Unfortunately, in the market place they are an afterthought.


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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 4:23 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:15 pm
Posts: 118
Forgot to mention that there was a time when I would see good numbers of folding kayaks wherever I paddled. It was around the time that Ralph Diaz published his The Complete Folding Kayaker and a number of years after that. Maybe the best marketing folders will ever have. Now the sightings are becoming more rare.


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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 3:58 am 
paddler

Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 4:12 pm
Posts: 9
Looks like I will have to press ahead with using a folding boat for the near future, since my toy hauler is dead, or until I can find someone locally that has spare room on their roof rack.

I'd prefer a hard shell kayak - fiberglass, or plastic, for day tripping, and short trips, just to avoid the wear and tear on the folding one, and the set up and breakdown time.

Inflatables sound like a good solution, especially for lakes, and some slow rivers, but along the coast near me, I'm concerned they'd be more of a liability than an asset, what with strong winds, chop, currents, etc..

Perhaps they'd be better in the tropics, and for traveling to far off destinations like that, but I can't see how they'd have any chance of tracking well in following seas/swells, and/or in strong winds. Clearly, a rudder would be a must, but even that would probably only provide marginal control, I suspect.


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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 4:21 am 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:51 pm
Posts: 607
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
You're right, the windage is a deal breaker at sea

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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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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 8:03 am 
faltbootemeister
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:41 am
Posts: 222
I agree on the wind challenge. Unless, you put a proper sail on it and try to use almost almost every wind except head wind.

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