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Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:23 pm
I'm trying to get the family out on the water, but with three to pack kayaks for, I need at least 1 or two to be portable. So I'm looking here for wisdom on foldables.
We're beginning-to-intermediate paddlers, and right now, leaning toward an Oru Bay ST. I am concerned about back support/comfort though, for a 6', 210 guy.
Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:42 pm
I’ve been waiting for several years for a promised test boat from Oru, so I can’t comment on the comfort. I’ve examined one in detail, though, and my take is that these boats, while clever in their design, are not engineered for long life, as evidenced by the one-year warranty. In that price range you can buy frame-and-skin boats that will last for decades.
Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:52 pm
What sort of environments are you thinking of durability/repairability for?
I will mostly be in lakes or maybe class I water. I get the feeling Oru would work well there. But I agree that any significant contact with rocks or repeated abrasions is not the best environment for Orus.
I don't know much about modulars. Are there boats with a <20 min setup that perform as well and are more durable that you'd recommend I check out?
Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:58 pm
I don’t think the issue with the ORU is so much it puncturing as bits of it breaking. I monitor the oru Facebook page and the various plastic bridges and clips do tend to break, to the extent that there is a guy who makes and sells aluminium replacements. The bulkheads also tend to come unglued.
Depending on what country you are in, if you want a short, light kayak like the ORI I think there are better value for money alternatives
In Europe at least, there is the Itiwit X 500 from Deacthlon. It’s about half the price of the Oru bay. Same width as an ORU Bay but 15 cm longer so should be faster. High pressure (drop-stitch) chambers will keep it rigid. Much cheaper than an ORU but 3 kg heavier, Higher seat so not as stable but there is a video online of a guy using it in white water competition without any problems https://youtu.be/CAZF4lOf7O0
Then there is the American Advanced elements air fusion EVO. More expensive than the X 500 but still only about 2/3 the price of an ORU Bay. This is in my opinion the best readily available, “low” cost, small
light folding kayak. I had the original model. Fun in surf, but could be a bit more rigid (the EVO is a bit narrower and will be a lot stiffer, due to the drop stitch side air tubes). The optional skeg really helps as they don’t track that well, although the latest one may be better. I have a friend your size who loves his (original model). Waterline length is only about the same as the ORU, as much of the bow is out of the water – although you can compensate for this a bit by sitting a bit further forward, and this does noticeably increase the speed top speed. Quick to assemble once you learn a few tricks. https://www.advancedelements.com/day-to ... evo-kayak/
Neither of the above have much storage space, so if you’re interested in multi day trips and you want something bigger, ...
There’s a guy in Argentina who makes a lightweight, low-cost, longer and (much) wider folding kayak called the Kauno. Can't remember the cost but around 1000 US I think. It’s a modular design so you can buy a tandem skin and central section if you want to use it with two people.http://kauno.com.ar/kauno-single/
The next step up would be the quality offers from Pakboat, a long established US name. Great kayaks in my opinion (I have their older quest 135), I believe the XT 17 may still be still available and can be configured in solo or tandem mode, and the quest 150 is a very clever, versatile and lightweight design that assembles more quickly than most folding kayaks, although unfortunately it's not available until next year (a factory fire destroyed this year’s consignment). Both are very good value, very capable and seaworthy kayaks that are much faster than the short kayaks mentioned above and so a far better option for longer tripshttp://pakboats.com/folding-kayaks/
Lastly, don’t forget the option of secondhand folding kayaks. I picked up my Nautiraid 416 and Narak 460 like this. They are both beautiful, very well made and easy to assemble wooden framed kayaks that way under 25 kg. They do however take up a fair bit more room in your trunk then the lighter alternatives mentioned above
PS If you want modular, the 14 foot Pakayak is probably your best option. Although it’s neither cheap nor light, it does pack pretty small and appears to assemble very quicklyhttps://pakayak.com/
Hope this helps
Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:33 pm
Thanks, Simon. That is very helpful!
I see in your signature "TRAK 2.0." Do you have one? I found it online today and feel in love, until I saw the $3800USD price tag. Is that the going rate?
That's a boat I'd be very interested to hear some actual experience with.
Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:15 am
The TRAK 2.0, although not lightning fast, is very easy to keep at a high cruising speed (faster than my F1), perhaps because the skin is so tight. It rolls very well with the optional performance knee braces, and the adjustable rocker is nice, although to be honest I’ve put it somewhere near the maximum all the time and leave it there. Unfortunately it’s heavy, around 24 kg so not really practical for airline travel in winter, and you do notice the weight when you’re carrying it. Assembly (and disassembly) is pretty quick, but not under 10 minutes. and both need to be done EXACTLY as per the instructions. The float/dry bags are very well made. The seat is ok, but I prefer sling seats, and but I don’t like the foot rests – they are very small. I fitted a Long Haul footboard. Primary stability is quite low but fine, like my F1, but secondary is good, although not in the same league as the Feathercraft Wisper. The skin is thick but pliable. Unlike with most folders, the 2 cockpit ribs touch the skin at the bottom, so it's more vulnerable to damage when hitting rocks. I like it a lot but as with all folders, it's a compromise, with speed offsetting weight.
Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:53 pm
Every folding kayak I’ve ever owned I’ve been able to assemble in under 20 minutes with a little practice. Here are some very useful tips, courtesy of Ralph Diaz’ Folding Kayak book and newsletter:
Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:52 pm
I envy you Michael, the TRAK is the first kayak I have managed to assemble in under 20 minutes, using every trick I know.