Best Folding Kayaks For 2020 [Buying Guide]

Man sitting on a foldable Kayak on water.

A foldable kayak is an excellent choice if you have limited storage space, or you want to pack it with your other gear for easy transport.

They’re made out of durable materials to ensure they last season after season in a range of different environments.

However, it can be a challenge to pick out the best folding kayak available on the market since there are so many reputable brands available.

This is why we’ve rounded up several picks for you.

Additionally, we’ll go over what you want to keep in mind when you shop, compare different brands, and answer your frequently asked questions below.

Best Foldable Kayaks – Reviews

Fidget Foldable and Portable Kayak

12ft Foldable Lightweight Kayak.

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This foldable kayak is just over 12 feet long. It has more than enough space to store your gear on the front and back. It comes with several spots to anchor your fishing rods for hands-free fishing, and these holes come conveniently located in easy reach.

The folding seat has a firm but plush backrest that will keep you comfortable for hours of kayaking, and there is more than enough room to stretch your legs out. You’ll get a storage bag to place your folded kayak and accessories in between uses to keep everything in one spot. The bright white design is easy to see.

Pros

  • Very easy to set up and use
  • Has a bright white coloring with black highlights
  • Seat folds for easy storage

Cons

  • Can be difficult to set up the first time
  • Rod holders are more shallow

Inlet Oru Kayak – Beginner Foldable Kayak

Oru Inlet Kayak 1 person folding kayak.

This simple and straightforward kayak folds down to half of the original size for easy storage and transport. It works well for paddlers of all skill levels in flat water. It weighs in at just 20 pounds, and this is half the weight of a regular kayak.

The custom-extruded polypropylene is very durable, and the kayak comes with a manufacturer rating of being good for 20,000 fold cycles. It has a 10-year UV-treatment included preventing breaking down from sun exposure. It’s 10 feet long and 30 inches wide for maximum stability. Finally, it has a large seating area to ensure you stay comfortable.

Pros

  • UV treatment protects for 10 years
  • Folds to half the size of a normal kayak
  • Very easy to set up and take down in minutes

Cons

  • No splash guard
  • Bag is very flimsy

Oru Kayak BayST Folding Kayak

Oru Kayak Folding Portable Kayak.

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This kayak is stable enough for beginners to enjoy, but it also has the length that makes it quick and responsive like advanced kayakers would use. The custom polypropylene construction is very durable and resistant to wear and tear without adding a lot of excess weight.

It comes with a full year warranty attached against defects or wear and tear. The kayak folds up neatly in the box when you finish using it, and it comes rated to withstand up to 20,000 folds without wearing out. There’s plenty of room to stash your gear when you go out as well.

Pros

  • Comes with a UV-resistant coating
  • Very durable and lightweight
  • Able to set it up in minutes

Cons

  • Takes a few days to assemble the first time
  • Has a learning curve

Things to Know Before Buying a Folding Kayak

Not all kayaks are created equal, and it’s important that you do your research and compare your options. The following list will help you compare the different kayaks you come across while making sure you pick out the best one for your lifestyle.

Length
How long of a kayak do you need? There are several different kayaks available. However, you can break these lengths down into three categories.

  • Recreational Length – These kayaks are usually less than 12 feet long and over two feet wide. They’re lightweight, and most of these kayaks weigh in at under 50 pounds. They have excellent stability.

  • Light-Touring Length – These kayaks range from 12 to 16 feet long. The width will vary from 22 to 25 inches wide. They’re heavier, but they’re a good pick for amateur kayakers.

  • Touring Length – The largest kayaks are the touring class, and these kayaks come in at over 16 feet long and 22 inches wide. They work well in more extreme weather conditions with more experienced kayakers.

Weight
The kayak’s weight will dictate how easy it is for you to transport from location to location. Obviously, heavier and bulkier kayaks will take more time and consideration to move. However, most of the foldable kayaks are compact enough to carry without any big issues.

Double-check the weight on the various kayaks you compare. Think about where you’ll use them in, how far you have to carry it to get to your destination, and any other gear you bring. All of these things can really factor into how comfortable you are on your adventure.

Storage
How much space do you have to store your kayak when you don’t use it? Even though these kayaks fold, they can take up a significant amount of storage space. The last thing you want to do is buy a kayak and have to find a different space to store it.

Consider how the kayak folds and the length. Also, consider the length of time each year you have to store your kayak. You want your kayak somewhere that it’ll be safe from the changing weather conditions to help preserve the materials and keep it strong year after year.

Durability
Foldable kayaks come in a variety of different materials, and these materials directly impact how strong the kayak will be. If it uses sub-par materials, the kayak won’t hold up to general wear and tear, as well as other kayaks could. If this happens, you’ll find yourself replacing it.

Ideally, your kayak should have aluminum in the body because it’s lightweight and durable. The outer material should have a coating on it to prevent it from breaking down due to the sun. It should also give a little when you hit something to prevent punctures.

Cost
Foldable kayaks come in huge price ranges starting below $100 and going up to well over $500. Before you shop, consider how much you can realistically spend on it. Having a budget right away will help you narrow down your choices much faster.

If you can manage it, it’s a good idea to spend a little more right away and buy a more durable and structurally sound kayak. This will pay off in the long run because you won’t have to replace it as often.

 

Foldable Kayak Versus Regular Kayak

Aside from the obvious difference that one kayak folds and another doesn’t, these two kayak types are very popular. The foldable kayak isn’t made out of as rigid materials as the regular kayak. Additionally, you can usually carry more gear in the regular kayak because it has a higher maximum weight.

The foldable kayaks have a lower weight because the lighter materials can’t support the weight while remaining stable. It’s easier to transport and store a foldable kayak, but many people see the regular kayak as more durable and resistant to wear and tear.

Foldable Kayak Versus Inflatable Kayak

Both of these kayaks are easy to store and transport, but the inflatable kayak tends to be more lightweight. This makes it easier to carry from location to location. However, it does reduce the maximum weight the kayak can carry.

Foldable kayaks can carry more gear than their counterpart, and they’re slightly more durable. They’re also easier to put away when you use them, and they’re ready to go in the water faster. Inflatable kayaks are easier to patch if they happen to form a hole, and many inflatable kayaks come with patch kits.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are folding kayaks any good?
Yes. Folding kayaks can be just as good as traditional kayaks. This is especially true if you get them from a reputable manufacturer. You do want to take your time and do your research before you settle on a specific one.

Also, take a look at how the kayak folds up for storage and transport. Does it have a fold rating from the manufacturer? Does it come with a warranty? Make sure it has space for gear storage, and that it’s comfortable enough for you to sit in without fear of tipping it over.

2. Foldable kayaks while traveling (car only)?
The beauty of foldable kayaks is that they’re great to travel with. Many of these kayaks fold in half or quarters, and this folding motion gets the kayak down to half of the size of a regular kayak.

Folding the kayak makes it small enough to fit into most cars or light vehicles. You do want to check and see if it comes with a storage and carrying case. This case can help protect your kayak from damage while you transport it. It also makes it easy to hang up and store.

3. How much does a kayak weigh?
Traditional kayaks can weigh between 20 and 70 pounds. The weight depends on the size and materials. Folding kayaks are usually much more lightweight because they come made out of more lightweight materials. They also don’t have a rigid body with aluminum panels to add weight.

Many foldable kayaks weigh around 20 to 25 pounds. This lighter weight makes it easy to transport from point A to point B. It also makes them easy to store between uses because they’re not as bulky.

4. How much is Oru Kayak worth?
Originally featured on Shark Tank, Oru Kayaks are more high-end foldable kayaks. It can be difficult to get your hands on one because they do tend to sell out relatively quickly. These factors help to drive up the kayak’s price points.

Today, you can get a foldable kayak from Oru Kayaks for $850. However, this is the lowest price they offer. Their other kayaks go for around $1,200 and up. The bigger the kayak is, the more you can expect to pay for it.

5. How do you transport a kayak without a rack?
If you don’t have a roof rack, you can still transport your kayak on the top of your vehicle safely and effectively. You’ll need foam blocks or pool noodles and tie-down straps. You place your buffer where the kayak’s bow and stern will rest on the vehicle.

You’ll use ratchet straps to secure the foam to the car, and you’ll need straps to tie the kayak down to the foam. Once you get it tightly in place, you can go to your destination without fear of damaging the kayak.

6. Where are Oru kayaks made?
Oru kayaks are proudly made in the United States using very high-quality materials. Based in California, this company sells high-quality foldable kayaks around the world. They have many different lengths and widths available that make them a good choice for beginners and advanced kayakers.

You can buy these kayaks online directly from the manufacturer or Amazon sells them. Another option you have available is to find a dealership using their interactive map. Oru Kayaks have dealerships throughout the United States.

7. What are the best foldable kayak brands?
There are several reputable foldable kayak brands available, and each brand puts their own twist on these kayaks to make them unique. They also all have different price points, sizes, and features. This is why it’s important to compare a few of the brands we listed for you below.

  • MYCANOE
  • Oru
  • Elevens
  • Tucktec
  • Folbot
  • Bergans
  • Aqua-Xtreme
  • Feathercraft
  • Klepper
  • First Light
  • Advanced Elements
  • Sea Eagle

You can use this short guide to help you find the best folding kayak to suit your needs. Our buying considerations outline everything you need to compare the various kayaks, and our list of manufacturers give you a good starting point to shop and consider.

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