A new company is out to “unlock the wonder and discovery of the great outdoors,” even for city dwellers, they say. And they plan to make it a little easier with a Kayak that folds up like a suitcase to be transported almost anywhere. Kayakers can keep the Oru Kayak in the trunk of the car for spur of the moment expeditions or hike it through the backcountry to remote waters. And, it can be or checked on airplanes as luggage, carried on the back of a bicycle, or transported by train or bus.
Designer and founder Anton Willis grew up with easy access to rivers, lakes and the ocean. When a move to a small San Francisco apartment forced him to store his kayak, “It got me thinking,” Willis says. “What if you could make a boat out of origami? What if you could take a boat with you everywhere you wanted to go?”
It is made from a single, seamless sheet of double-layered, recyclable polyethylene. A patented pattern of folds transforms the flat sheet into a kayak. The durable skin is puncture resistant and manufacturer-rated for 20,000 folds. None of the kayaks have had that many outings, yet, but they have been folded hundreds of times with no degradation, according to the company. Corrugations in the skin increase the structural strength, which may dent with hard impacts, but dents can be popped out by hand.
The kayak measures 12 feet long and just 25 inches wide and weighs a mere 26 pounds. The case dimensions are 33 by 29 by 9 inches; assembly time is about 5 minutes and it has a 260 pound capacity.
The Oru Kayak launched on the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter in November 2012.