Best Folding Kayaks in 2021

Guide to the Best Folding Kayaks

Whether it is about fishing or enjoying a relaxing recreational trip to nearby waters, a kayak is sure to offer you a great experience. However, it may be tiresome to store as well as to carry a heavy kayak to and from the water and, hence, most people avoid kayaking. So, for their convenience, kayak manufacturers have introduced folding kayak, which, as the name implies, can be folded down to a smaller size.

BEST FOLDING KAYAKS

If you don’t have enough room for storing a standard kayak or you are worried that you would not be able to transport a heavy kayak to the water then, folding kayaks are a great option. A variety of them are available on the market, and this can make it difficult for you to choose one for yourself. So, to make it a little easier for you, I have enlisted some of the best folding/portable kayaks in this article that you can consider.

Do not confuse them with inflatable kayaks. You might have heard about inflatable kayaks as well. But in my opinion, foldable kayaks are much better than inflatable ones as there is no need of inflating or deflating them. Also, foldable are handier and less bulky.

There are some things to consider before purchasing a portable kayak, which include its storage, durability, weight, and assembly time. I have reviewed all these kayaks by keeping in view such important aspects. So, let’s have a thorough look at them to see what they have to offer and what makes them the best folding kayaks.

WHAT IS A FOLDING KAYAK?

Let’s understand what a folding kayak exactly is! It is just a regular kayak, which you can easily fold. Its foldable frame is a combination of wood, plastic, and aluminum. Such kinds of kayaks are designed specifically to provide the user’s convenience to carry them since they can easily be folded down to small suitcase sizes and do not require any trolley or a car rack for their transportation.

Compared to the inflatables, the folding kayaks are much better since they do not require inflating or deflating the kayak. All you need is to fold and unfold, which not only saves your time but your energy too. Most of these kayaks are UV protected that makes them more durable. Many use air chambers inside them, which offers them more buoyancy.

THE BEST FOLDING KAYAKS

1- ORU KAYAK COAST XT FOLDABLE KAYAK

ORU KAYAK COAST XT FOLDABLE KAYAK
The first place on this list goes to the Coast XT Foldable Kayak manufactured by the Oru Kayak. With all its cool specs and features, this kayak is sure to give you a great adventurous kayaking experience and is, therefore, our top pick. It has been designed for rough and tough conditions and exhibits good stability on choppy waters. It takes very little time to set up that is, in just less than 10 minutes, you are ready to go!

Its manufacturers have guaranteed its excellent speed, handling, and stability. Because it is meant to be folded for storage, the durability of the Coast XT has been extensively tested and rated to 20,000 fold cycles. Moreover, it also meets the U.S. Coast Guard recreational vessel requirements.

You can conveniently carry it with the help of its carrying case, which comes with it. The Coast XT comes with a 1-year warranty, and if in case you don’t feel satisfied with it, you can return it and get your money back within 30 days.

Specifications
  • Length:16 ft.
  • Weight: 36 lbs.
  • Maximum Capacity:400 lbs.
  • Material:Custom polypropylene and rust-resistant hardware
FEATURES
  • Adjustable footrests for different heights and sizes
  • Lightweight and durable, and resists punctures and abrasions
  • Bow and stern storage compartments for storing up to 180L of gear
  • Made up of polypropylene with a 10-year UV treatment
  • Very strong hull capable of withstanding bumping and sliding over rocks
  • The Coast XT can be folded to the size of a large suitcase.

2- ORU KAYAK BAY ST FOLDABLE KAYAK

ORU KAYAK BAY ST FOLDABLE KAYAK
Another folding kayak from the Oru Kayak has made it to this list due to its cool performance and specs. The second place goes to one of the best foldable sit-inside kayaks, the Bay ST. After a bit of practice, you will be able to assemble your Bay ST in under 10 minutes. You can take this kayak fast and versatile kayak to smooth waters as well as to the oceans.

The transportation of this lightweight folding kayak to and from the water is easy. Furthermore, it offers storage space for you to store your supplies. Also, you can enjoy a comfortable ride with its padded seat and adjustable footrests. With all these cool features, this kayak is sure to provide you a comfortable recreational and fishing experience.

Just like the Coast XT, the durability of the Bay ST has also been extensively tested and is rated at 20,000 folds, and it also meets the U.S. Coast Guard recreational vessel requirements. Likewise, it comes with a 1-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Specifications
  • Length:12 ft.
  • Weight: 28 lbs.
  • Maximum Capacity:300 lbs.
  • Material:Custom polypropylene and rust-resistant hardware
FEATURES
  • Adjustable padded backrest for all-day comfort
  • Adjustable footrests for sizes and heights of paddlers
  • Made up of polypropylene with a 10-year UV treatment
  • Deck lines to attach your gear
  • Very strong hull capable of withstanding bumping and sliding over rocks

3- MYCANOE 2.5 ORIGAMI FOLDING KAYAK

MYCANOE 2.5 ORIGAMI FOLDING KAYAK
Here is the best-priced folding kayak on this list, the MyCanoe 2.5 Origami. This award-winning canoe is one of the best quality folding canoes in this price range. You can conveniently fold it into a box, store it inside your car or van, and take it to the water. Assembling takes less than 10 minutes only, after which the canoe is ready to take you to your recreational or fishing trip. After your trip is over, fold it back again, which takes even lesser time (approximately 5 minutes) owing to its origami folding.

Another cool thing about it is that MyCanoe is a tandem kayak. It offers two seats, which means you can bring along your friend or partner on your fishing or recreational trip. Furthermore, this durable kayak is composed of custom polypropylene with a 10-year UV treatment, that is rated 20,000 fold cycles. Its lightweight allows its easy transportation to and from the water.

MyCanoe is a TUV certified canoe, whose performance makes it ideal for fishing and other activities. All the mentioned features make it one of the best folding kayaks capable of providing the best kayaking experiences!

Specifications
  • Length:5 ft.
  • Weight:52 lbs.
  • Maximum Capacity:440 lbs.
  • Material: Custom polypropylene
FEATURES
  • Made up of polypropylene with a 10-year UV treatment
  • Origami folding
  • Very lightweight for easy transportation

4- ORU KAYAK BEACH LT PORTABLE KAYAK

ORU KAYAK BEACH LT PORTABLE KAYAK
Once again, we have another portable kayak from the Oru Kayak, the Beach LT, which guarantees excellent performance. It is most suitable for cruising on smooth waters such as lakes and rivers. Furthermore, it is convenient, stable, and spacious, which makes it perfect for beginners. In just less than 10 minutes, you can assemble your kayak to get it ready for the trip.

Just like other foldable kayaks from the Oru kayak, this one has also been extensively tested and rated and 20,000 fold cycles. Furthermore, it is composed of custom-extruded polypropylene with a 10-year UV treatment. Likewise, it offers a 1-year warranty with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Specifications
  • Length: 12 ft.
  • Weight: 26 lbs.
  • Maximum Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Material:Custom polypropylene and rust-resistant hardware
FEATURES
  • Adjustable padded backrest for all-day comfort
  • Adjustable footrests for sizes and heights of paddlers
  • Made up of polypropylene with a 10-year UV treatment
  • Very strong hull capable of withstanding bumping and sliding over rocks
  • Lightweight and durable, and resists punctures and abrasions

5- ELEVENS CRUISE PLUS FOLDABLE

ELEVENS CRUISE PLUS FOLDABLE
Elevens Cruise Plus Foldable kayak is a perfect package that is sure to make your kayaking experience enjoyable with the additional accessories that come with it. These accessories include a life vest, cup holder, free paddle, camera/cellphone mount, storage bag, and a seat.

With its custom-extruded, double-ply FRPP material, this folding kayak is quite durable (rated to 10,000 folds) and is capable of resisting damage from the sun and saltwater. Furthermore, it is very light in weight, which aids in its easy transport to and from the water. Its assembly is easy and takes only 10 minutes.

Generally, folding kayaks do not have fast speed. But the Elevens Cruise Plus is a fast portable kayak whose hull shape and stability add to its speed, giving it the ultimate portability. It comes with a 12-month warranty.

Specifications
  • Length:8 ft.
  • Weight:30 lbs.
  • Maximum Capacity:200 lbs.
  • Material:Custom-extruded, doubly-ply FRPP
FEATURES
  • High performance and stability make it one of the fastest boats
  • Durable and resists damage from the sun and salty water
  • Tool-free assembly only in 10 minutes
  • Lightweight for easy transportation
  • Comes with a variety of side accessories

6- FOLBOT FULL EXPEDITION PACKAGE

FOLBOT FULL EXPEDITION PACKAGE
Here comes another complete package, the Folbot foldable kayak. Just like the previous one on this list, this one also comes with many easy-to-install side accessories. The accessory kit can be conveniently installed with the help of a fastener.

You can conveniently fit the foot-operated rudder with foot controls at the stern, which kicks-up in the shallow water or can be completely retracted onto the rear deck. The full deck joins with the washboard, which aids in keeping the water out of the cockpit. Furthermore, its wilderness repair kit contains enough supplies to assist you in any emergency. There is extra padding for the base of your keel frame to protect the hull.

Specifications
  • Length:N/A
  • Weight: 3 lbs.
  • Maximum Capacity:N/A
  • Material: N/A
FEATURES
  • Light in weight for easy transportation
  • Comes with easy-to-install side accessories
  • Durable and water-resistant

7- FOLBOT RECREATIONAL CITIBOT FOLDABLE KAYAK

FOLBOT RECREATIONAL CITIBOT FOLDABLE KAYAK
This lightweight and ultra-portable kayak is all you need for refreshing paddling trips to the nearby lakes and rivers. It is made up of aluminum and Elvaloy and hence, resists corrosion, punctures, abrasions, and the changes that occur due to long exposures to heat, saltwater, and UV. Furthermore, its frame provides an accurate keel for tracking.

The hull of the Citibot foldable kayak is built to absorb shocks and handle minor damages and scratches. You can conveniently assemble it within 10 minutes without any tools and fold it back into a small, easy-to-carry bag which can even fit in your backpack.

Specifications
  • Length: 10 ft.
  • Weight:24 lbs.
  • Maximum Capacity: 210 lbs.
  • Material: Aluminum and Elvaloy
FEATURES
  • Skin-on-frame design and very lightweight
  • Resists abrasions and punctures
  • Resists changes from prolonged exposures to heat, UV, and salt water
  • Easy to carry and assemble

8- ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R CONVERTIBLE KAYAK

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R CONVERTIBLE KAYAK
Advanced Elements AE1007-R is a versatile inflatable as well as a convertible kayak. With its three seating locations, it is suitable for both solo and tandem paddling. Its built-in aluminum ribs support its bow and stern and enhance tracking. This inflatable kayak is made up of three layers of material so that it resists punctures.

You can get this preassembled kayak ready for the trip by just unfolding, inflating, and attaching the seats. As it allows tandem paddling, it offers two adjustable (and removable) seats for that purpose. The kayak exhibits enhanced tracking performance and stability with its patented BackBone accessory or rigid high-pressure floors that use drop-stitch technology. For easy transportation, it has molded handles so that you can conveniently carry the boat to and from the water.

Specifications
  • Length: 15 ft.
  • Weight: 52 lbs.
  • Maximum Capacity:550 lbs.
  • Material:Puncture resistant durable double-coated fabric material
FEATURES
  • Adjustable padded seats for all-day comfort
  • Integrated pressure relief valve on the floor
  • Molded rubber handles for easy transportation
  • Advanced elements spring valve
  • Paddle holders to keep your hands free for other activities
  • Other accessories include a repair kit, duffel bag, two folding seats, and owner’s manual

9- TUCKTEC 10 FT FOLDING KAYAK

TUCKTEC 10 FT FOLDING KAYAK
As the name implies, this foldable kayak is about 10 feet long. You can easily carry the Tucktec 10 ft folding kayak by folding it into a very compressed size and can lock it into shape via six heavy-duty latches. Furthermore, it assembles in just two minutes, and you are all set to go!

Tucktec 10 ft is suitable for beginner as well as advanced level anglers. Its wide flat bottom bestows stability to it, and it maneuvers smoothly in the water owing to its retractable tracking fin. Also, with a folding seat with a backrest, you can comfortably sit in your kayak for hours while enjoying your fishing or recreational trip.

Talking about its ease of transportation, it features foam rails with the help of which you can conveniently carry your kayak to the water. Moreover, it comes in five different colors for you to choose from.

Tucktec 10 ft is rated for 1,000’s of folds and meets the US Coast Guard manufacturing and safety requirements. It comes with a 3-year warranty, and in case you don’t feel satisfied with it, you can return it within 90 days with a full refund. In short, this kayak has all the cool specs and features that make it one of the best folding kayaks out there.

Specifications
  • Length:9 ft 6 in
  • Weight:30 lbs.
  • Maximum Capacity:350 lbs.
  • Material: Thick solid HDPE material with carbon-fiber reinforced fold lines
FEATURES
  • Flat bottom for stability
  • Adjustable back support seat for providing comfort
  • Durable and capable of withstanding rocks and river bottoms
  • Puncture-proof and tear-resistant
  • Retractable tracking fin
  • Easy to carry and assemble

10- ADVANCED ELEMENTS ADVANCEDFRAME SPORT KAYAK

ADVANCED ELEMENTS ADVANCEDFRAME SPORT KAYAK
Advanced Frame Sport Kayak is yet another cool portable kayak from Advanced Elements, which is constructed of a very durable material and gives excellent performance. Its roomy cockpit provides sufficient space for the angler.

Just like the AE1007-R convertible kayak, its bow and stern are also reinforced with aluminum ribs, which aid in paddling and regulating the kayak. The bow helps it to easily glide through the water while the stern enhances its tracking performance. It takes very little time to inflate and deflate.

Despite being lightweight, this kayak has a high weight capacity and can withstand up to 250 lbs. of weight. Moreover, it has 4 chambers for your safety in case of any emergency. It is made up of double-coated fabric and heavy-duty PVC with welded seams and is capable of resisting damages from bumps and choppy water. This kayak will give you a similar feeling as that of a hardshell kayak.

Specifications
  • Length:10 ft 5 in
  • Weight:26 lbs.
  • Maximum Capacity:250 lbs.
  • Material: Double-coated fabric and heavy-duty PVC material
FEATURES
  • Adjustable back support
  • Built-in aluminum ribs reinforce the bow and stern
  • Durable and puncture-resistant
  • Improved tracking
  • Integrated pressure relief valve in floor

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUYING YOURSELF A FOLDING KAYAK

Now let’s discuss some of the basic things that you should know before buying a foldable kayak.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE AND DISASSEMBLE A FOLDING KAYAK?

Some people might find it hard to assemble and disassemble a folding kayak as the procedure is different for different models. However, the package in which a folding kayak comes usually contains a user manual that can really help you out.

In general, the hull of a folding kayak is designed with a carrying container. You can fold the frame by taking out the seats or other separating parts. Here are some of the steps that will surely help you do so.

STEP 1: OPEN THE BOX & TAKE YOUR KAYAK OUT!

First of all, unbox your kayak and take it out from the packing. You’ll see a large unit inside the box, which will form the hull of your folding kayak.

STEP 2: INSTALL THE FOOTREST

Many folding kayak models don’t offer the footrests option, so make sure that whether your kayak comes with such a feature or not. If yes, then install them right after you unbox your kayak. You should check the instruction manual carefully so that you can get some idea about the exact procedure for the installation of the footrests of your kayak.

STEP 3: NOW CLOSE THE BOW & STERN

Now here comes the turn for bow and stern of your folding kayak. Firstly, close the bow by folding the corresponding section upwards. After that, tighten the straps and then fold the center near the cockpit and sides over the footrest.

Once you complete the bow, close the stern by tightening the straps at the end of the stern. If there is a buckle head, then install it first before getting busy with the stern.

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE THE COCKPIT

After doing the bow and the stern of your kayak, put the floorboard into the cockpit. A floorboard usually comes separately, which provides your kayak a floor. Now, pick the seats up and install them according to the instructions given in the user manual.

HOW TO FOLD OR PACK YOUR KAYAK BACK?

You’ll want to fold your portable kayak again as it was before after you are done with your kayaking adventure. For this, all you need to do is to follow the above steps in reverse order. For your ease, let’s take a quick view on how you can do this!

First of all, remove the seat and then the floorboard. After that, loosen the straps on the bow and the stern, take away the buckle head, and finally, remove the footrests. After detaching all these parts, fold the bow and then the stern section with your knee. Now fold both the stern and the bow, such that they come next to each other. Consequently, your kayak will look like a box or a suitcase that you can secure via some straps. And now you are ready to go home while holding your kayak in your hands!

HOW TO CHOOSE A FOLDING KAYAK

The folding kayaks used to be very expensive in the earlier days and most of the people weren’t able to afford them. However, those kayakers who didn’t have enough space to keep a regular hard-shell one or car racks for its transportation owned such kayaks at that time too. If you want a folding kayak too, and finding it hard to select one, then here are some of the factors that will surely help you in choosing a suitable portable kayak for yourself!

PURPOSE & REASON FOR BUYING!

Before getting yourself a kayak, you should be aware of the purpose for which you want to use it. If you want to paddle for a recreational trip and if you don’t care about the high speed or length of your kayak, then a portable folding kayak is for you. Besides, if you are into angling and want to spend the whole day waiting for the fish to take the bait, and if you want portability and convenience at the same time, then you should go for a folding kayak with an adequate weight limit.

HOW FREQUENTLY DO YOU KAYAK?

How often do you use your kayak? It is also one of the factors that you should always consider before buying yourself one! The reason for this is, if you are a frequent kayaker, then folding and unfolding your kayak more often can have some adverse effects on its functionality. The efficiency of most of the foldable kayaks decreases with the increase in the number of folds. Folding your kayak, again and again, produces creases, which can weaken the entire structure of your kayak. Some models that can endure more folds and still last longer are available too but, they are not much sturdier than the other ones.

COMFORT AND EASE OF USE

One more important thing that should always be your top priority is the comfort level a kayak can offer. Make sure that whether the very kayak you are planning to buy offers your desired comfort level or not! If you want to sit on water for a few hours or a day, then your kayak should be capable enough to provide you a very comfortable and restless ride for this whole time.

Another worth mentioning factor is the ease of use. Make sure to choose one that you can assemble and disassemble. Your portable kayak should not take more than 20 minutes for its assembling. You can estimate the time required for the assembling by looking at the number of separate parts that come with your kayak.

YOUR BUDGET!

Last but not least, the kayak upon which you have an eye to buy should not be very heavy on your pocket. So, you should go for a budget-friendly portable kayak that contains all the necessary features. If you are a beginner and new to kayaking, then a cheap one would be pretty enough for you!

PROS AND CONS PORTABLE KAYAKS

PROS

  • Portable kayaks are easy to carry, store, and transport to or from the water.
  • Those who love kayaking but do not have enough space to place a regular hard-shell kayak can have portable kayaks that will help them go on a recreational trip on water too.
  •  These are lighter in weight.
  • The assembling of these kayak does not require any additional tools.
  • These are very easy to assemble and takes comparatively less time than the inflatables.

CONS

  • Foldable kayaks are a little more expensive than the traditional ones.
  • They are not very much durable as the regular hard-shell kayaks are.
  • The assembling and disassembling can be tiresome and needs practice to do it faster.
  • These kayaks are not so good for speedy rides.
  • They don’t offer enough storage so, you can’t take much of your stuff with you on water.
  • These kayaks may require more maintenance than the normal ones.

FOLDING KAYAK VS INFLATABLE KAYAK?

Most people usually get confused when it comes to distinguishing between foldable and inflatable kayaks. Both of these are mostly considered as same; nevertheless, a few differences make them unique from one another.

Now let’s take a peek at some of the differences between both these kayak types. The main difference between these two types is that the folding kayaks, as the suggests, are folded while the inflated ones are inflated. As far as their storage is concerned, both of these can be stored easily.

Moreover, the assembly time of foldable watercraft is comparatively less than the inflated one. A foldable kayak usually gets ready to take you to an adventure in about 2 to 3 minutes, whereas an inflatable one takes around 15 to 20 minutes for setup.

When it comes to weight, the folding kayaks win the race as they are lighter in weight than the heavier inflatable kayaks. Hence, compared to the inflatable kayaks, the foldable ones are easier to carry and transport from one place to another.

Another thing that makes them different is drying your kayak after you ride. The inflatable kayaks are a little hard to dry as they take more time for it, especially when the sun doesn’t shine. On the other hand, the folding kayaks are easy to dry. All you need is to take your kayak out from the water and then wipe it thoroughly with a dry towel. That’s it!

Performance-wise, the foldable kayaks are devised to give high performance and better efficiency while the inflatables are usually designed for spending a day out on the water. However, the inflatable vessels offer more stability due to their heavyweight as compared to the foldable ones.

Both of these kayaks have advantages and some disadvantages at the same time. Like the foldable are lightweight but less stable; on the other hand, the inflatables are heavier in weight and offer more stability. So, the selection between the two depends only on your choice and preferences!

CONCLUSION – SHOULD YOU BUY FOLDING KAYAK?

If you prefer portability and want to get rid of the worry of carrying and storing your kayak plus, if you don’t care much about the speed, then a folding kayak is the best option for you to paddle on the water. If you are into angling, then you’ll find it harder on a folding kayak since it is less stable and doesn’t offer more space to carry extra stuff with you. However, they are perfect for recreational trips on the water.

In this article, I have presented you with a list of different folding kayaks with their features and specs, and I hope you’ll find it quite helpful if you are deciding to get yourself one. Happy kayaking!

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