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Oru Kayak – Take It Anywhere

I learned to kayak a few years ago and it is a lot of fun. The only drawback? Storing and transporting it. Not so with the Oru Kayak.

The Oru Kayak was designed by Anton Willis, a native of Mendocino County and avid kayaker, who was inspired to come up with a more portable craft when faced with compact apartment living in San Francisco. After reading about the art and science of origami, Anton began his quest to perfect a folding kayak.

You may have seen some sit-on-top kayaks that can be separated in half, but the Oru takes portability to a new level. It folds up into a compact flat pack! Combine that with its featherweight 25 pounds — half that of a typical kayak— and the Oru Kayak becomes very urban-friendly, indeed. One person can easily carry it by its shoulder strap, fit in the trunk of a car (no more roof rack) or check it in as luggage when traveling by train or air.

The Oru Kayak folds up for easy portability (Credit: Oru Kayak, Inc.)

The Oru Kayak folds up for easy portability (Credit: Oru Kayak, Inc.)

The kayak skin is made from two layers of corrugated polyethylene that is very similar to that used for the US Postal Service’s mail bins. This makes it sturdy enough to hold up to 260 pounds and can even float when completely swamped with water. The folds are rated for 20,000 flexes, but folding and unfolding plastic still makes me nervous.

The only open seam is on the top of the craft and that seam has a rubber seal to keep water out. If you want, you can add a medium-size neoprene or nylon spray skirt to finish sealing off the hull.

Kayaking in the bay (Credit: Oru Kayak, Inc.)

Kayaking in the bay (Credit: Oru Kayak, Inc.)

Although I’ve heard that some people have tried the Oru Kayak in whitewater, the manufacturer recommends that it be used on flat water or mild waves. That is good enough for me. I hit a major wave once in a kayak and ended up in the frigid water of the bay, so no big waves for me.

12 feet long, but only 25 pounds (Credit: Oru Kayak, Inc.)

12 feet long, but only 25 pounds (Credit: Oru Kayak, Inc.)

The Oru Kayak kicked off its commercial life last year as a very successful Kickstarter project. With a funding goal of US $80,000, it actually raised over $400,000. The guys at Oru Kayak are currently busy delivering units to their backers, so we’ll have to wait a bit to get one. However, you can pre-order at their web site for US $850 plus shipping. There is a US $500 deposit to secure a spot in line.

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