Oru Kayaks: Where the Principles of Origami Meet the Outdoors

What if you could bring your kayak wherever you wanted, without having to worry about where you’d store it when it wasn’t in use, and without having to arrange alternate transportation to lug it around?

Based off the principles of the Japanese art of origami, Oru Kayaks has developed a folding kayak, making the sport accessible to a wider range of participants.

The Oru Beach LT kayak ($1,299) makes getting on the water an easy and seamless experience. The main appeal of the kayak is pretty obvious: It can fold. But that’s a pretty novel concept, and one that singlehandedly makes the sport of kayaking much more accessible for those that don’t have the traditional transportation methods needed to cart a kayak around.

When folded up and stowed, the Beach LT is basically the same size and weight as a foldable table, and lays flat without getting in the way. It weighs 26 lbs, and at full extension is 12-feet long and 28-inches wide.

My travel partner and I took two of the foldable kayaks on a week-long road trip through Oregon in our Chevy Bolt, a mid-size electric car. They were alongside two duffle bags, two backpacks, and other outdoor gear we needed for the trip … and they fit just fine.

Besides the convenience of being able to fold, the Beach LT performed beyond our expectations in other ways as well. Improvements for 2017 included an increased cockpit size, making entry into the kayak even easier. It unpacks and can be assembled in about five minutes once you get the hang of the process, and once on the water, provides a sturdy and comfortable ride that supports hours of kayaking on end.

The handling of the Beach LT is smooth, and will have you gliding gracefully across the water in no time.

We took the kayaks out on Sparks Lake, at the base of Mt. Bachelor, after an unexpected flurry of snow had left everything covered in a magical white glow. It was our own winter wonderland – no one else was out. The serenity and stillness of the lake was broken only by the faint splash of our paddles dipping in and out of the water as we meandered along the banks and out into the center of the lake and back again.

Oru Kayaks offers two other models: the Bay ST, which has a faster setup time and is perfect for extended periods of time on the water, and the Coast XT, built to handle rugged expeditions and adventure trips.

Photos by Katie Rodriguez.

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