Creating swans and airplanes out of paper is child’s play, but designing a fully functional boat using the same origami techniques? Oru Kayak has brought more outdoor lovers into the fold (pun fully intended) by doing just that.
Inspired by the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, Oru creator Anton Willis developed a first-of-its-kind collapsible kayak that goes from box to boat in minutes (interesting fact: Only one prototype boat sank during initial design testing).
That means the company’s full-size kayaks — models range in size from the recreational Beach boat to the rugged Expedition+ — can be stowed in the trunk of a car, under a bed or in a closet, making paddling accessible to a subset of people who previously didn’t have the storage space for their own boat.
Unfolding the Beach Series kayak for the first time was overwhelming and intimidating, but after following the directions once or twice, the folds soon became second nature (like the instructions say, just stick with it and don’t get frustrated).
The assembly is pretty user friendly and the boats are surprisingly durable, stable and adept at tackling both still water and small ocean waves. While there’s no dry storage, there’s plenty of room in the spacious boat for dry bags should you choose to bring gear with you.
The hull is made from a custom polypropylene that was treated to stand up to 10 years of UV abuse and more than 20,000 folds — treat it like you would a fiberglass model and it’ll last a lifetime.
The price of the Oru Kayak is steeper than big-box store boats, but the benefits are substantial.
The boat fits into its own backpack, so you can carry it into remote lakes and rivers. It stores easily and takes less time to set up than it takes to tie a kayak down to your roof racks, and is incredibly lightweight and easy to use.
And best of all, after the novelty of it wears off, you’re left with a high-quality boat that’s nimble and fun to paddle. It’s time to come into the crease.
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