Oru has been making folding kayaks for almost a decade. In that time, the California-based company has earned a stellar reputation (and several awards) for its elegantly designed watercrafts. What sets them apart? An Oru unfolds from a box into a strong, sturdy kayak in minutes. While a traditional kayak is a pain to travel with, Oru models pack down to the size of a large suitcase—ideal for storing in an apartment or tossing into the back of your car. Oru’s latest models double down on what makes these kayaks so unique and useful. With new design tweaks and upgrades across almost all of its kayaks, the brand’s 2021 lineup combines improved performance with excellent portability.
The Oru Inlet, an entry-level kayak launched in 2019, was a big step forward for the brand, and the company applied key qualities from that model—increased accessibility and ease of use—to the rest of its lineup for this update. All of Oru’s kayaks now come with stronger footrests for better comfort and durability, and new, more rigid floorboards (similar tech debuted on the Inlet), which helps them track better on the water.
In addition, the corrugated plastic hulls now have QR codes stamped on them to make assembly even more convenient: Just scan the code, and you’ll be directed to an online manual with video demonstrations on how to set up your craft. That’s a notable step up over paper manuals, which are easy to lose on a windy beach (or in the depths of your storage closet).
Some models have received additional upgrades, too. Beach LT, Oru’s beginner-oriented, smooth-water offering, now features a redesigned seat for a more comfortable ride, especially on longer trips. The company also replaced the torsion rod with a new tension strap system that saves weight and adds durability. Haven, Oru’s tandem kayak, gets an updated “stabilizing cross bar” that doubles as a mounting point: It’s compatible with universal track mounts, so you can attach accessories like fishing kits, cup holders, and even cameras. Like the previous version, you can also set it up as a single-person kayak for solo trips.
There are other portable kayaks on the market, but Oru’s origami-style solution offers unmatched portability and performance (it’s easy assemble, too). If you’re looking for an accessible, affordable way to start paddling, Oru kayaks make a great pick.
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