In August, news reports cited kayaks to be outselling canoes in Canada. When we brought up the topic on our blog, a number of you defended the cottage icon, saying that when it comes to multi-day and multi-lake expeditions, it’s the canoe that shines. “The storage capability and ease of portaging really give it an advantage over the kayak,” one reader said.
But a new folding kayak, set to release in the spring of 2013, may change all that. The goal behind what’s known as the Oru Kayak is to make outdoor activities like kayaking more accessible to city dwellers. “To me, boats represent freedom, expanding horizons, and great adventures,” says architect, founder and designer of the Oru Kayak, Anton Willis, in a promotional video for the boat. Willis grew up kayaking the rivers and coast of Northern California but, as he describes in the video, when he moved into an apartment in San Francisco, it became too difficult to store and transport the boat.
Now, after countless sketches, papers models and more than 20 different prototypes, Willis and his team are introducing a full-scale kayak—weighing 11.3 kilograms and measuring 3.6 metres long with a weight capacity of 111 kilograms—able to fold out of a compact carrying box in only minutes. With the Oru, you’d have no trouble stashing the boat in your vehicle when traveling to and from cottage country, no matter what you drive. Another reason cottagers may be especially interested in this boat? It’s fully recyclable and uses 70 per cent less petroleum to manufacture than a standard kayak.
At this point, I’m sure you’re asking the same questions all of us at Cottage Life asked when we first heard of this miracle boat. What happens when it gets wet? Can you roll it? How sturdy is it? And how long will it last?
Not only is the kayak full-scale, it’s fully functional, too. Made of a tougher version of the white material used for post-office storage boxes, this origami-inspired boat’s double-layered skin is extremely puncture resistant. While it may dent given enough pressure, according to the manufacturers, you can easily pop out the dents with your hands. In fact, those at Oru have folded their kayaks hundreds of times with no issues. The boat won’t sink if flooded with water, and if you’re a really skilled kayaker, you can even practice standard tricks like the Eskimo roll.
It is, however, limited to more leisurely rides across rivers, lakes, and mild waves as it doesn’t stand up well in rocky whitewater rapids.
Don’t believe it? Watch the video below to see the kayak fold into a fully functional boat.
The company is currently taking pre-orders for the kayak on the crowdsource funding platform for creative projects Kickstarter.