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Home / Features / The Oru Kayak folding kayak is the best bit of outdoor gear I’ve tried in years

The Oru Kayak folding kayak is the best bit of outdoor gear I’ve tried in years

Will the Oru Kayak folding kayak give me a sinking feeling?

Oru Kayak

After too many months spent under grey skies and heavy clouds, we’re finally into BBQ season – a time for late nights, t-shirt tans and outdoor adventure. At least it is for me, having traded hedonistic festivals for more wholesome pursuits. Where once I would drink three day-old cider that’d been stewing in a hot tent, now I find joy in long hikes and bike rides. I’m hoping the Oru Kayak can add water-sports into the mix.

Keeping a kayak isn’t exactly convenient. They’re big, heavy and, thanks to the British weather, can rarely be used outside the warmer months. The folding Oru Kayak aims to change that, for both casual and pro rowers. Here’s how I fared with one out on the water.


The Oru Kayak is a no frills kayak, but its strength is in its simplicity. This foldable boat packs down into a compact and convenient carry case that I easily popped into my car boot. At 8kg, it’s a little too heavy to take on longer hikes, but it can easily be transported by foot over shorter distances. It’s far more convenient than navigating the countryside with a full-sized boat under my arm, at least.

It looks the part too. It only comes in white, but is sleek, tidy, and devoid of any garish branding.

I’m usually quite dubious when a product claims it’s a doddle to set up. That might be more of a me problem and my inability to follow simple instructions, but still. The Oru Kayak states that it can be built in 1-3 minutes, which I think is a slightly lofty claim. However, it’s not far off.

To make this boat water-friendly, you simply fold out the front and back, open it up along the embedded seams, attach a few clips, and tighten it all up. On my first attempt, I manage to put it together in around 8 minutes, but quickly shaved that down to around 3 or so minutes.

Fold out and float

Oru Kayak

Taking it out on the water for the first time was a somewhat nerve-racking experience; there’s very little you can do in a sinking boat, after all, other than accept your fate and go down with your ship. But I was quickly reassured after pushing off from the edge of the reservoir I’d picked for this test.

This kayak is impressively sturdy for something so lightweight. I felt secure as I paddled, and there was enough room for me to sit comfortably. Soon I was carving through the still water in the English Spring sunshine.

My kayak was the ‘Lake’ model, which as the name suggests, is intended for still waters. Oru has six different versions for various water-based adventures, including ones that handle rougher waters. There’s the compact Inlet, a Beach variant for recreational paddling, and a Bay model for choppier waters. Coast is made for more rugged weather, while Haven is a tandem kayak. I found my lake model was more than capable at handling a calm reservoir. I’d also feel confident taking it on canal systems or calm beaches.

Like a duck/dog to water

I’ve never been much of a water lover, in all of its forms. Beaches bore me, the sea scares me, and I hate rain. I believe the only good thing about water is drinking it. But I now may be converted. As I sit in the Oru I feel a level of peace and contentment that’s hard to find in the crumbling hellscape we call the United Kingdom. As I float along the still water, I become tuned into the world around me. I hear the trickle of waterfalls and the chirping of birds in the distance. The sun is on my face, and a cool breeze is in the air. For a time, my dog joins me on the kayak, and is just as happy about being there as I am. It’s days like this that make the UK almost bearable. Almost.

The Oru Kayak folding kayak is a simple but amazing product. I can go on about the refined design elements, its weight and overall convenience, but it does something more than that. It has given me a new hobby, and opened up new ways of exploring the outdoors in all its beauty. For that, it’s the best product I’ve tested in a long time.

Profile image of Jack Needham Jack Needham


A writer of seven years and serial FIFA 23 loser, Jack is also Features Editor at Stuff. Jack has written extensively about the world of tech, business, science and online culture. He also covers gaming, but is much better at writing about it than actually playing. Jack keeps the site rolling with extensive features and analysis.

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