Oru Kayak – An Origami Wonder Or A Fluke?

Oru Kayak: World’s First Folding, Origami Kayak…

…. or a folding nightmare?!

In this review, we will be discussing all three Oru kayak models in-depth:

1. Beach LT

2. Bay ST

3. Coast XT

But let’s rewind first…

History of the Oru Kayak & Its Models

The original origami kayak hit the market back in 2013 when Anton Willis, the founder of Oru Kayak and kayaking enthusiast, solved the problem of kayak storage and transportation while giving only a few concessions in terms of structural integrity and handling. His solution took the boating community by storm as it successfully made over $400K on its Kickstarter campaign and again another $500K through an investment offer by Robert Herjavec.

Since then, the company has gone on to make a range of Oru Kayaks in various kayak styles, the Beach LT, Bay ST and the Coast XT 2018, opening up their product to a wider range of kayaking enthusiast’s wants and needs. The lightweight and easily transportable design really does trump the older, solid kayak design in terms of allowing its owner to take their kayak further than ever before without the need of expensive transportation costs.

While the kayak has obviously been very well received, with the Bay ST model even being accepted into the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as an installation, we’ll be looking into the question of whether such a lightweight kayak really can cope with the rough and tumble of real world conditions?

To answer this, we’ll be looking into three key aspects for each of the three Oru kayak models:

  • Handling
  • Durability
  • Comfort

Let’s get started with this Oru kayak review.

As you’d hope to expect with any water transport, all 3 Oru Kayaks can float and handle standard coastline and inland waters in calm and slightly rough conditions. Their lightweight frames also make them easier than a standard kayak to paddle through the water, making the transition from land to water that much more seamless. As any seasoned kayaker should know though, different kayak styles handle differently.

As expected with a foldable lightweight kayak the durability is lower than your standard solid kayak, that being said they are still designed for outdoor activities and have to provide its user with some level of safety, meaning while being lightweight they can still take a punch, just not too many. We’ll discuss their durability in terms of on and off the water.

When you’re spending hours sitting in the same position in a small boat you need to be assured that the comfort of your vessel with sustain the duration of the trip, and that after X amount of hours on water, you won’t find your lower half in agonising pain. However, in this department Oru Kayaks all seem to match up pretty similarly. All Oru Kayaks come with a backrest and legroom able to satisfy over 6ft tall kayakers.

Mini Review of the Oru Kayak Beach LT Model

How does the Beach LT handle?

The easiest of the three, the Beach LT really personifies what an Oru Kayak is, a simply designed foldable kayak suitable for calmer waters. Weighing only 12 pounds, measuring in at 12ft and being the widest of the 3 at 28in, this kayak handles perfectly in its intended environment, offering stability for the less experienced kayakers. Definitely created with a causal experience in mind the handling would suit a newbie but annoy an expert.

Is the Beach LT durable?

On water:

On water this Oru Kayak, similarly to how it was explained in andling’ above, really is designed with calm waters in mind, meaning keep away from rough seas and whitewater. It’ll be able to take an unexpected knock but don’t go testing her limits.

Off water:

All Oru Kayaks promise a 20,000 fold lifespan and generally are made of hard stuff. As long the kayak is being treated as one would expect it can survive the knocks of being taken in and out of storage compartments in vehicles or at home.

Is the Beach LT comfortable?

Being officially the most comfortable of the three, having been designed with the beginner or causal kayaker in mind, this kayak supports a user up to 6ft 6in and a wide variety of body shapes thanks to its wider hull. A comfortable favorite for casual and calm kayaking.

Mini Review of the Oru Kayak Bay ST Model

Does the Bay ST Model handle well?

Slightly thinner than its Beach LT brother at 25in while equaling length at 12ft, the Bay ST is still handledable for newer kayakers but it’s thinner size and smarter design makes it faster and more maneuverable in the hands of a seasoned kayaker. Still better used in calmer waters as the frame does seem to flex while in rough waves or performing an eskimo roll and tracking & gliding issues have been noticed.

Is the Bay ST durable or not?

On water:

Continuing in the Oru style, the Bay ST kayak is durable up to a point. While it handles better than the Beach LT in terms of durability it’s made from the same material and designed with speed and handling in mind.

Keep away from whitewater and large waves.

Off water:

Durable as any of the Oru Kayaks, designed to be packed and moved around with ease with the ability to take unexpected knocks. As long as you don’t throw it in-front of a bus it’ll do fine.

Is the Bay ST comfortable?

Being slightly thinner at 25in and designed for a smaller 6ft 3in person, the comfort level in this kayak is moderate and possibly lacking for its intended design. With modifications to increase comoft levels being available from Oru they may turn out to be a necessity if one intends to spend a prolonged period out on the water.

Mini Oru Kayak Coast XT 2018 Review

Does the Coast XT 2018 handle well?

Being the longest at 16ft and with a width to match the Bay ST at 25in, the Coast XT 2018 wins by a mile in terms of on water handling in the right hands. Being officially designed for ugged expeditions’, the latest Oru Kayak tracks and glides better than it’s older counterparts and seems to be able to handle rougher waters. Able to achieve high speeds due to its updated design this kayak handles perfectly in the hands of a seasoned kayaker.

Is the Coast XT 2018 durable?

On water:

Having been designed to be capable of erious expeditions’ according to their website, the Coast XT 2018 has been designed to be and is the most durable of the Oru Kayak range. Able to knock and slide over rocks without fault guaranteed for 1 year, this Kayak offers the most in on water durability.

Off water:

Weighing in at 36 pounds, the heaviest of all three also comes with being the most durable. As expected, with increased on water durability comes increased off water durability within reason. Still guaranteed 20,000 folds, the Coast XT 2018 is the most durable to the series.

Is the Coast XT 2018 comfortable for long rides?

Designed with intent, the Coast XT 2018 is made for more extreme conditions and so while comfort plays a role, doesn’t and shouldn’t take centre stage. Similar to the Beach LT, it’s been designed for a 6ft 6in person giving plenty of legroom to stretch out in.

Opening up the water to a wider range of people has never been easier thanks to Oru Kayak’s intelligent design. While the kayaks may not always handle like their sturdier fully molded counterparts, they offer varying degrees of casual water fun to serious explorative possibilities. Essentiality, these kayaks can handle real world conditions and while lacking in durability, and so incur a greater need for awareness of one’s surroundings, if used correctly and sensibly these kayaks can offer a real solution to the kayak transportation and storage problem.

Oru Kayak Review Summary: Should You Buy The Oru Kayak?

Not only do you have this question that you have to answer for yourself, but then you have to decide which Oru kayak model will serve your needs well. The Oru kayaks are known for their durability, comfort, and most of all, the fact that they can save you tons of space and hassle that hard, normal kayaks come with.

Even though this is a single person kayak, it’s quite a unique one and we thought it may serve your needs well.