This origami kayak is the perfect solution for small spaces

oru kayak

Oru Kayak has created a lightweight, durable kayak that unfolds from a box to a boat in minutes. Photo: Courtesy of Brandon Scherzberg

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).

An Oru Kayak folds up into a large, flat box-shape that's easy to carry and stow. Photo: Brandon Scherzberg

An Oru Kayak folds up into a large, flat box-shape that’s easy to carry and stow. Photo: Brandon Scherzberg

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.

There are only a few removable sections to the Oru Kayak, including the padded seat back and cushion. Photo: Brandon Scherzberg

There are only a few removable sections to the Oru Kayak, including the padded seat back and cushion. Photo: Courtesy of Brandon Scherzberg

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.

Oru's origami-inspired boats are simple to set up and get easier to fold with each use. Photo: Brandon Scherzberg

Oru’s origami-inspired boats are simple to set up and get easier to fold with each use. Photo: Courtesy of Brandon Scherzberg

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.

Oru's Beach Series kayak is nimble and steady on flat water and small waves, a great all-around option for recreational paddlers. Photo: Johnie Gall

Oru’s Beach Series kayak is nimble and steady on flat water and small waves, a great all-around option for recreational paddlers. Photo: Johnie Gall

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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