Best Folding Kayaks Reviewed In 2021

Best Folding Kayaks

The Winner after 32 hours of research and testing is:

icon
Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Kayak
Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Kayak
Why is it better?

High weight limit for a single rider

Small enough to check on several airlines

Bag makes it easy to carry this to any body of water

Compact when folded, easily fits in the car

Assembles quickly

Made of durable double-layered propylene to withstand many folds

Seat is comfortable and easy to install

Roomy cockpit area

Adjustable padded footrest

Traditional kayaks may be large, bulky, and hard to transport by yourself. This is especially true if you have a long trek to the water or drive a smaller vehicle. Folding kayaks are more compact, making them easy to travel with. To get the most out of your folding kayak, it’s important to choose one that handles well in water without being too bulky. It should be durable enough to withstand years of use on all types of water. Below, you’ll find our recommendations for the best folding kayaks and a handy buyer’s guide if you aren’t sure what to look for.

Top Foldable Kayaks In 2021

RankKayak CoversDetails 
#1Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Kayak - 12’

 Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Kayak
Materials: 5mm double-layered propylene
Length: 12’
Width: 28”
Weight: 26 pounds
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
Style: Flexible, foldable materials
Number of Riders: Single rider
CHECK CURRENT PRICE
#2Oru Kayak Bay ST Folding Kayak

 Oru Kayak Bay ST Folding Kayak
Materials: 5mm double-layered propylene
Length: 12’
Width: 25”
Weight: 28 pounds
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
Style: Flexible, foldable materials
Number of Riders: Single rider
CHECK CURRENT PRICE
#3Oru Kayak Inlet Folding Kayak - 10’

 Oru Kayak Inlet Folding Kayak
Materials: 5mm double-layered, UV-treated propylene
Length: 10’
Width: 30”
Weight: 20 pounds
Weight Capacity: 275 pounds
Style: Flexible, foldable materials
Number of Riders: Single rider
CHECK CURRENT PRICE
#4Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak
Materials: PVC-coated polyester with aluminum ribs
Length: 15’
Width: 32”
Weight: 52 pounds
Weight Capacity: 550 pounds
Style: Inflatable
Number of Riders: 2 riders
CHECK CURRENT PRICE
#5Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
Materials: PVC-coated polyester with aluminum ribs
Length: 10’ 5”
Width: 34”
Weight: 36 pounds
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
Style: Inflatable
Number of Riders: Single rider
CHECK CURRENT PRICE

Folding Kayak Reviews

1. Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Kayak – The Best Folding Kayak

 Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Kayak

Specification

Foldable Kayak Type – Origami

Folding Size – 29 x 33 x 12 inches

Carry Weight – 28 pounds

Assembled Length – 12 feet

Maximum Weight  – 300 pounds

The Oru Kayak Beach LT Kayak – 12’ is made of flexible materials that you can unfold and have ready to get in the water in about three minutes. It also fits into the included carrying/storage bag that you can wear on your back like a backpack, making it easy to get to the water. Something to note is that this kayak is recommended for flat water kayaking, so it’s better suited to lakes or ponds than rivers or rapids.

The Oru Beach LT is designed for single riders. With its compact size, you can easily fit 2 in the back of an SUV without folding down the seats. The kayak can also be checked on an airplane. It’s folded dimensions are 33” x 12” x 29”. Even though it’s designed for single riders, the cockpit design is wide and easy to sit down in. There’s even enough room for a pole, tackle box, a child, or a four-legged friend on your day trips.

The double-layered propylene is flexible enough to fold but durable enough to withstand frequent use. It doesn’t weaken even after thousands of folds and resists abrasion and punctures. When you’re looking for something durable, something that has this quality is best. Additionally, the origami kayak fold makes this compact for better storage space options and transportation without a roof rack.

When unfolding this kayak for use on the water, you’ll use a system of straps and ratchets that secure the material and shape the kayak. While it doesn’t take long to get this assembled, it can be difficult to get the stern to come together. There isn’t a lot of straps to connect to the ratchet system and it’s a very close fit. It is easier to assemble if you have a second person to help, however, this isn’t always an option and takes away from the convenience of owning a portable kayak.

The Oru Kayak Beach LT also is designed for comfort. Even though it’s designed lightweight, the included seat comes well-padded and has a recline function. It also has a padded footrest with adjustable straps so you can fit it to your liking. Something to note is that the footrest can move around because it is adjusted to straps. It may not benefit people who need something to brace against while they are paddling.

Something else to note is that there are two versions of this kayak. Oru Kayak has made updates to the LT portable kayak model and you’ll want to choose the later model for the best benefits. The biggest changes are the materials used for the system that holds the kayak’s shape. The newer model is significantly easier to assemble.

Pros
  • High weight limit for a single rider
  • Small enough to check on several airlines
  • Bag makes it easy to carry this to any body of water
  • Compact when folded, easily fits in the car
  • Assembles quickly
  • Made of durable double-layered propylene to withstand many folds
  • Seat is comfortable and easy to install
  • Roomy cockpit area
  • Adjustable padded footrest
Cons
  • Need to buy the newer model
  • Difficult to get the front hull together when assembling alone
  • Adjustable footrest is not stable enough for bracing
  • Only recommended for flat-water kayaking

2. Oru Kayak Bay ST Folding Kayak

 Oru Kayak Bay ST Folding Kayak

Specification

Foldable Kayak Type – Origami

Folding Size – 29 x 33 x 12 inches

Carry Weight – 28 pounds

Assembled Length – 12 feet

Maximum Weight  – 300 pounds

The Oru Kayak Bay ST Kayak is 22’ long and perfect for beginners or experts. It picks up a little speed on the water but is also stable enough that beginners don’t have to worry about tipping it over. It also has a construction from 5mm double-layered propylene which is durable and flexible.

This Oru kayak also features a padded seat and footrest. The seat reclines and the footrest is adjustable. Something to note is that the footrest does sway because it is adjustable by moving two straps. It is not stable enough to provide balance while you are paddling.

The folded dimensions of this kayak are 33” x 12” x 29”. Once folded, you can put it on your back in the convenient carrying bag and easily take it to and from the lake. It can also be checked on most airlines (though you’ll want to check the specific dimensions of items allowed beforehand).

The roomy hull leaves plenty of room for storing gear. This is a better choice for people who feel more secure in a smaller cockpit. Whereas the previous model was 62” x 22”, this is only 30” x 16”. It is still roomy enough for you to sit inside, however, it may not leave room if you want to bring a small child or a dog along with you.

This kayak is also easy to assemble and get on the water so you can have fun kayaking or fishing faster. It uses a system of straps and buckles that are fairly easy to figure out. This kayak is a little more rigid than the previous model because of the structural integrity of the cockpit and bulkheads. This is preferred by people who want a faster ride. It is not as wide so there’s a little less stability, however, it is wide enough that most beginners can maneuver it on their first adventure.

Something to note is that this is a little stiff, especially for the first several uses. This makes it a little harder to get all the pieces pulled together to get on the water. After the first few tries, however, it should be easy enough to assemble within minutes.

This kayak model is also compatible with medium-sized standard spray skirts. The compatibility is nice because you don’t have to spend extra time searching for something that will fit the kayak right.

Pros
  • Constructed from flexible, durable propylene
  • Padded seat and footrest
  • Roomy hull offers plenty of storage space
  • Good for beginners and experts
  • Picks up a good amount of speed
  • Easy to assemble
  • Compatible with standard spray skirts
  • Compact enough for easy storage and transport
Cons
  • Footrest doesn’t provide a lot of stability
  • A little stiff at first

3, Oru Kayak Inlet Folding Kayak – 10’

 Oru Kayak Inlet Folding Kayak

Specification

Foldable Kayak Type – Origami

Carry Weight – 20 pounds

Assembled Length – 9’6 feet

Maximum Weight  – 275 pounds

The Oru Kayak Inlet Kayak is shorter than the previous origami kayak mentioned. It is manufactured for 20,000 folds, meaning that you can open and close the origami kayak 20,000 times without worrying about the propylene material breaking down so much that it is unusable. When you’re shopping for a portable kayak, finding something durable like this is best.

This kayak is a little stiff the first few times you put it together, however, it’ll get less rigid and easier to assemble after that. Even so, it’s likely to take less than ten minutes the first time. You should be able to set it up quicker with a little practice, which means less time getting ready and more time out on the water.

The smaller size makes this lighter than the previous options, weighing only 20 pounds. It folds differently, however, so it’s longer when folded than the previous models. This one is 40” x 19” x 10”. It may not be as easy to find an airline that accepts this as cargo because of the larger folded dimensions.

In addition to the durable materials used to construct this kayak, it comes with a good UV treatment for 10 years. The ten-year treatment stops the sun’s harmful rays from damaging the propylene material and ensures you’ll get a good amount of use out of this kayak.

With the smaller size, this has a weight limit of 275 pounds. However, this is sufficient for most riders and their gear, especially since this is intended to be a single-person kayak. The included seat is made of a padded foam material and is comfortable to sit on.

The Oru Kayak Inlet kayak origami kayak is 30” across, so it is wider than the previous models. This kayak is a great choice for beginners because of the greater stability offered by the shorter length and wider width. However, something to note is that it will not move through the water as fast as a narrower or longer kayak would. Some people may not like how the smaller size restricts their movement through the water.

Pros
  • Propylene is UV-treated for 10 years
  • Wider design is good for beginners that need stability
  • Can be assembled and in the water in minutes
  • Manufactured for 20,000 fold cycles
  • Comes with a well-padded seat
  • Weight limit of 275 pounds
Cons
  • Shortersize and wider beam width isn’t as quick through the water
  • Longer when folded than other models

4. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Specification

Foldable Kayak Type – Inflatable

Folding Size – 35 x 21 x 12 inches

Carry Weight – 52 pounds

Assembled Length – 15 feet

Maximum Weight  – 550 pounds

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak is the only one on this list designed for two riders. However, you can use it solo by adjusting the position of the seats. Something to note is that this is rather heavy, weighing over 52 pounds. This is to be expected with the higher weight limit and ability to support two riders.

This inflatable kayak is made from PVC-coated polyester for durability and waterproofness. The polyester is triple-layered and double-coated with PVC for more protection. Additionally, the seams are welded so you don’t have to worry about pinholes. The inflatable kayak also features aluminum ribs that improve tracking through the water so you can pick up more speed. This kayak also has tracking fins that further enhance the way the kayak cuts through the water.

Even being designed for two people, this kayak has plenty of space for on-board storage. With the higher weight limit, it should be easy to fit you, a friend, spouse, or family member, and any gear you may need on board. There are also storage features like D-ring tie downs, bungee deck lacing, and air-lifted decks that stop you from getting sprayed when you’re trying to access gear.

Another nice feature is the padded seats that are comfortable to sit in. Additionally, this kayak comes with paddle holders and low-profile rubber handles that make the kayak easier to carry.

Something to note is that to prevent capsizing and get good performance from your kayak, it’s important to inflate it fully. Advanced Elements recommends using a 12V electric pump for initial pumping and then using a hand pump to fill it up the rest of the way. Spring and Twistlok valves are compatible with a wide range of different pumps. The pumps are not included, however, this does come with a heavy-duty duffel bag for carrying to and from the water and a repair kit in case of damages.

Pros
  • Plenty of room for storage space on board
  • Can be used solo or tandem
  • Comfortable padding on seats
  • Aluminum ribs for better tracking through the water
  • Good balance between stability and speed
  • Comes with carrying bag and repair kit
  • Welded seams and PVC-coated polyester make the kayak durable
  • High compatibility with different pump brands
Cons
  • No pumps included
  • Very heavy
  • Important to fill kayak all the way for performance

5. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

Specification

Foldable Kayak Type – Inflatable

Folding Kayak Size – 30 x 17 x 10 inches

Weight – 36 pounds

Assembled Length – 10.5 feet

Maximum Weight  – 300 pounds

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak is another durable, compact option that will help you get on the water easier. It features a rigid bow reinforced with aluminum ribs and tracking fins that let the inflatable cut through the water for a smoother, faster ride.

In addition to the aluminum ribs, this is constructed from triple-layer polyester coated in two PVC layers. With the extra layers, a puncture- and tear-resistant fabric is created. The seams are welded for increased durability, as well. The kayak also features Spring and Twistlok valves, which are compatible with a wide range of pumps to make set up easier. The pump is not included with this inflatable kayak but many pumps are compatible and meet the requirements to get this ready to go on your next adventure.

While the pump is not included, this does come with an adjustable padded seat that provides a good amount of support. This support is nice if you plan on spending hours out on the water. You may also appreciate the paddle holders and neoprene paddle guards. These protect your knuckles while you’re paddling from bumping against the holders.

For storage, D-ring tie downs and bungee cord give you plenty of room to store gear. The hull is also roomy and protected by air-lifted decks and water-resistant zippers from spray. This helps you keep any gear you may have on board dry. With the high weight limit of this inflatable kayak, it’s easy to bring along everything you need with you.

Another nice feature is the heavy-duty duffel bag that makes this easier to carry from your car to the water and back. There is also a handy repair kit to have with you just in case of damages or the need for on-the-go maintenance. Finally, the molded, low-profile handles make this easy to handle while inflated. This gives you the option of carrying it ready-to-go in open areas or even benefits while putting the inflatable kayak in the water.

Pros
  • Created from strong PVC-coated polyester
  • Seams are welded for added durability
  • Adjustable padded seat provides good support for long hours on the water
  • Paddle holders and neoprene paddle guards
  • Plenty of space for storing gear
  • Comes with a duffel bag and repair kit
  • Low-profile handles are molded on the outside of the kayak
  • Good amount of speed and stability
  • Compatible with many different pump brands for inflation
Cons
  • Need to inflate kayak properly to prevent capsizing
  • Pumps are not included

Folding Kayaks Buyer’s Guide

 

Buying a folding kayak or any kind of outdoor sports gear is an investment. It’s important to choose a high-quality product so you get good use out of your kayak. This is especially true for folding kayaks, which have extra hardware you want to be sure is durable. Below, you’ll find some considerations for choosing the best folding kayak.

Folding Style

There are two basic types of folding kayaks. The first kayak type has a collapsible frame covered in a heavy-duty waterproof material. The most common materials are polyester, vinyl, nylon, and synthetic rubber for the material and aluminum or wood for the frame. Usually, these can be folded in on themselves. Paying more for higher quality folding portable kayaks is best since the materials used affect durability.

Other styles have more advanced folding mechanisms. Usually, this offer easier set up and better durability than other styles of folding kayaks. In most cases, they have connected panels with joints between them that fold up for storage.

Finally, inflatable kayaks are considered folding kayaks as well. In this case, you’ll want to consider how durable the inflatable is and how easy it is to inflate and deflate. While they are not necessarily a true folding kayak, they are a more compact, easy to transport option. They offer the same portability and convenience during transportation, however, you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons of an inflatable kayak. For example, they might not stand up to sharp rocks or other dangers when whitewater rafting.

Ease of Assembly

If a kayak isn’t easy to get in the water, it’s better to buy a traditional kayak. In most cases, you can expect it won’t take longer than 15 minutes to get out on the water. This is one of the challenges of inflatables, especially if you have to pump manually. In addition to wanting kayaks to offer easy assembly, consider how easy or difficult it will be to install the seat. The seat is usually separate on folding kayaks. Make sure the seat will be comfortable and provide enough support for your time out on the water.

Weight and Overall Size

One of the primary reasons people choose folding kayaks is because they are lighter weight than traditional options. Most can be carried by one person. However, if you’re limited on how much weight you can carry or you expect you’ll be hiking a long distance from the car to the water, you’ll want to choose a lighter weight option.

In addition to considering weight, you’ll want to think about the total size when folded. Even though it might seem like going with the most compact option would be best, keep in mind that smaller kayaks are less likely to handle as well as larger kayaks in the water. Choosing something compact is about finding one that is smaller in size without sacrificing how well it handles in the water.

Finally, take into consideration how much weight the kayak can hold. If you plan on hitting the water with some friends or family, you might want something that can hold more weight for additional riders. Adhering to weight limits is important for making your kayak last longer.

Beam Width and Stability

This is something you’ll want to consider when buying any kayak. These factors are the most important for the stability and speed of a kayak on the water. For beginners, something with a wider beam (more than 30”) is a better choice. It is not as fast, but it is more stable. More experienced paddlers may want a narrower beam. It is more likely to tip but they can handle it better. Additionally, kayaks with narrower beams are faster.

When you’re looking for the best folding kayak, it’s important to consider stability. As they might not have the same benefits as a hardshell option, they can be easier to tip over. If you’re a novice, you’ll want to try something wider to ensure you have fun on the water instead of in it when you reach your kayaking destination.

Durability

Buying something like a folding kayak is an investment. Hopefully, you’ll be able to continue enjoying it for years. For that to happen, you’ll want something durable on and off the water. Material quality is important for improved durability. Usually, rugged materials like polypropylene or PVC are the best for folding kayaks. The folding mechanism also affects durability. In most cases, manufacturers list that their hardware is good for a certain number of folds. For example, Oru foldable Kayaks are often good for up to 20,000 folds.

It is useful when searching for kayaks that you read portable kayak reviews. This can help you choose something that people have said is durable. You’ll also want to look for something that is watertight. Finally, consider looking for UV-resistant or treated kayaks. These provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays, which is important for improving the longevity of your kayak.

Folding Kayak FAQs

Q. What is a folding kayak?

A. A folding kayak is any kayak type that can be folded into a more compact size before storage or transport. This makes it easier to handle. There are several designs to consider when choosing a portable kayak. Some options are inflatable, while others use a waterproof material that has been stretched over a frame. More advanced technology has allowed for some kayaks to be made from connected panels with joints between them, which lets them fold over themselves. The style you choose depends on factors like durability, convenience, and overall cost.

Q. How should I store a folding kayak?

A. foldable kayaks must be stored properly to prevent rusting or damage to any important parts. While you can let the kayak dry and take it home, you’ll want to take time to rinse it once you get it there. Be sure there isn’t any sand, plant matter, or other debris you might have picked up in the water where you were kayaking. After you’ve rinsed it clean (especially near the joints), let the kayak dry completely before folding it up. Added:

After the kayak is clean and dry, the kayak is best stored in a dry area. Keeping it outside leaves it susceptible to damage from sun rays and the elements. Since it folds, it is easy to store inside a garage or shed between uses. People limited on storage space or who live in an apartment can even tuck it away under a bed or in a closet. You can also use a cover or tarp to protect it from dust between uses.

Q. What are some of the pros and cons of buying a foldable kayak?

A. The foldable option is preferred over a traditional kayak because of the added convenience of having something more compact. They are easy to transport by car and to the water because most are not any bigger than a mid-size suitcase when folded. Many can even be checked on airlines, which is perfect when you plan on hitting the water at your destination. Additionally, real foldable kayaks have the advantage over inflatables because there is less wait time while waiting for it to inflate and deflate. They are also more durable than inflatables because they’re typically made from harder materials.

Of course, even though the added portability has advantages, keep in mind that folding kayaks are less rigid. They may not slice through the water as quickly as a folding kayak. Additionally, they are usually a little less durable. The life of the kayak depends on the folding mechanism- most are designed to withstand a certain number of folds before the hardware starts to wear down. Additionally, the more advanced hardware makes the overall cost higher than with traditional kayaks.

Conclusion

Folding kayaks are a great investment if you’re looking for something lightweight and compact that you can get in the water easier. They’re a great choice if you plan on traveling with your kayak or if you’re limited on car space or storage space. When looking for the best folding kayaks, it’s important to choose a kayak with a sturdy folding mechanism. The ones listed above are all great choices, it’s just a matter of narrowing what works down best for your needs. Hopefully, this article and the folding kayak reviews have been helpful in guiding you to the right choice.

Other Kayaking Gear

The Winner after 32 hours of research and testing is:

icon
Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Kayak
Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Kayak
Why is it better?

High weight limit for a single rider

Small enough to check on several airlines

Bag makes it easy to carry this to any body of water

Compact when folded, easily fits in the car

Assembles quickly

Made of durable double-layered propylene to withstand many folds

Seat is comfortable and easy to install

Roomy cockpit area

Adjustable padded footrest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *