Kayaking can be a wonderful experience, but transporting a heavy kayak to and from the water can be exhausting. Kayaks are difficult to carry, which may deter people from participating in the sport that they love on a more regular basis. For this reason, inflatable kayaks are quickly gaining popularity. In fact, having the best portable kayak can completely change your kayaking adventures this summer!
But in order to get the best portable kayak, there are many important things to consider, such as ease of assembly, durability, storage capacity, and weight. In this guide, we will simplify the decision-making process for you by providing all the information you need. We have also completed kayak reviews to show you the best products on the market. Once you’ve read through this guide, you’ll be able to choose the perfect foldable and portable kayak for you.
How To Choose The Best Folding Kayak – Buying Guide
Ease of Assembly
Assembly is perhaps the most important aspect of your portable kayak – if it isn’t easy to do, you may as well buy a traditional kayak. On average, a well-designed foldable kayak can be set up in 10 to 15 minutes (even faster when you master the process).
In relation to this, the materials shouldn’t get damaged after folding them many times. For example, the Oru Kayak models we featured in the folding kayak reviews can endure up to 20,000 folds. And, as something that is installed separately on most foldable kayaks, the seat should also be easy to assemble and adjust in minutes.
Durability On and Off the Water
A portable kayak has more moving parts than a traditional one-piece kayak, meaning that it needs to be even tougher to withstand all the trials of use. Given that you don’t go with the cheapest kayak you can find, most of these are incredibly tough and can last for a large number of years without issues.
The main thing to consider here is material quality. The best portable kayaks are made of rugged ingredients such as PVC and polypropylene. These are great because they are strong enough to bend without breaking, and tolerate being manipulated into place.
On top of this, the foldable kayak should be watertight (not have any leaks while you’re paddling). However, keep in mind the weight capacity– all kayaks have a maximum weight that they can carry before problems start. Lastly, the kayak should be resistant to UV rays, so it doesn’t deteriorate in the sunlight.
Beam Width and Stability
When talking about stability and speed on the water, beam width and kayak length are the factors that directly determine it. A shorter folding kayak with a wider beam (over 30 inches) will be more stable, and a better choice for beginner paddlers. On the other hand, a longer portable kayak with narrower beam will be much faster, but also easier to tip.
Your kayaking skill level will show you which beam is best for you. If you’re a new kayaker, you probably want to get to grips with paddling and being in the water without having to worry about your kayak tipping. But, if you have more kayaking experience, you’ll want to go with something that can bring some excitement.
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Storage and Packing
Easy storage is certainly the main benefit of having a foldable kayak, whether we’re talking about putting it in the trunk of your car or keeping it in your closet during the off-season. This allows you to have your own kayak even if you don’t have a garage to store a hardshell. Also, with a folding portable kayak, you won’t need a roof rack when transporting it.
Packing is also an important aspect, as it contributes to the overall convenience. After a long day of paddling, you want to avoid spending too much time folding the kayak. Most foldable and inflatable kayaks can be packed and ready to go within 10 minutes, so this should be considered too.
Keep in mind, however, that the most compact kayak usually won’t also be the best folding kayak to buy. While they may be convenient for transport, they might be lacking in comfort on the water. For this reason, make sure that you find a balance and get a kayak that works well from both aspects.
Weight of the Kayak
Portable kayaks are generally much lighter than one-piece hardshell kayaks, which is one more reason why so many people buy them. Depending on the kayak weight, transporting it from your car to the water can be very challenging. Not only are folding kayaks compact, but they are also easier to carry over larger distances.
The best portable kayaks can be transported comfortably by one person. Still, there are significant differences between models, and you should pay attention when choosing. If you can’t carry the extra weight or you have a long way to go from the car to the water, make sure to get a lighter option.
Q: What Is A Foldable Kayak?
A folding kayak is a type of kayak that has a collapsible frame covered with heavy-duty waterproof material. Its main purpose is to make it easier for you to transport the kayak to the water, as well as to save you storage space at home.
The frame is usually made of aluminum tubes (like the AdvancedFrame inflatable kayak), but it can also be made of wood. The fabric on your lightweight folding kayak needs to be completely waterproof, so the choice comes down to nylon, polyester, vinyl, or synthetic rubber.
Modern foldable kayak models often feature a more sophisticated design, with connected foldable panels that have joints between them (like the Oru foldable kayaks). This not only makes the setup easier, but greatly improves the overall durability.
Q: How Do I Store A Folding Kayak?
Most folding kayaks come in their own bag (or fold into one), so storing them won’t be a problem. Still, you should be careful where you put the kayak when you’re not using it.
Always choose a dry spot, and avoid direct sunlight to prevent damage to the materials. Even the best portable kayaks can be vulnerable, so proper storage will greatly prolong their lifespan.
Q: What Is The Best Way To Pack Folding Kayaks?
This depends on the type of folding kayak that you have. If it’s an inflatable kayak, the best way to pack it is to deflate it fully and then roll it up tightly. As for Oru Kayaks and similar products, the creases between the panels will guide the process so you’ll always have a well-packed folding kayak.
Globo Surf Overview
Foldable kayaks are the perfect choice if you’re always looking for new waters to explore. They are lightweight and compact, so you can just throw them in your car and go.
At the same time, the best portable kayaks perform just like hard shells, offering impressive stability and speed. With the help of our folding kayak reviews, we’re sure you’ll find a model that will allow you to explore and enjoy the water even more.