ORU make ingenious folding kayaks inspired by the Japanese art of origami (paper folding). They are lightweight, easy to assemble, and great to use.
There are two ranges and five variants in total, catering for the complete newcomer to pretty serious sea kayakers:
– the RECREATIONAL series, open cockpit 10ft Inlet (coming to UK soon), 12ft Beach LT, and 16ft two-person Haven (all three featured on Beach page, as they’re quite similar)
– and the PERFORMANCE series, enclosable cockpit, 12ft Bay ST and 16ft Coast XT.
All models fold up to form a suitcase-like box, and uniquely the walls of the “box” are part of the hull itself. Unlike other folding kayaks THERE IS NO SEPARATE BOX… the boat is the box, and the box is the boat.
Each version made from a single sheet of specially-formulated ultra-durable corrugated plastic, with the folds set in for life. (Don’t worry about longevity – the folds are rated to 20,000 cycles!)
All models include seats, with adjustable footrests and backrests. The Bay and Coast models have skirt-ready cockpits, but the skirt is not included.
Oru Inlet Kayak
The 10ft Inlet – new to UK for 2021 – is the lightest and most portable boat in the Oru Kayak range. With its wide, open cockpit it’s clearly not designed for adventurous touring on the open sea, but it’s great to paddle on flat water and the Unique (to this model) fold/unfold system is amazingly simple and easy to use.
Beach LT 12ft. Next up from the Inlet, the Oru Beach is 2ft longer and 2″ narrower, so it’s easier-driven and faster with the same load on board. Whilst it’s more “recreational” than the Oru enclosable cockpit kayaks (Bay & Coast), it offers much better performance, faster assembly, and greater durability than most comparable folding or inflatable kayaks. It’s often our “go-to boat” if we just want to get on the water on a nice sunny day.
Oru Haven Kayak
The 16ft Haven is Oru’s two-person or tandem kayak, which can also be set up as a vast (and fast) single. It is effectively a two-person Beach.
Bay ST 12ft The original Oru Kayak. Stable enough for beginners while its length and contouring make it fast and sporty for expert kayakers. Get out and explore – great for a variety of casual trips. Put it in your car, check it onto a plane, hike it out to remote lakes. High performance for full days and short camping trips. Faster set-up and more comfortable for long days. Great for fishing, sailboats and countryside trips.
The Oru Kayak’s “hard chine” design – or sharp change of direction from the bottom to the sides – also means confidence-inspiring stability for beginners to the sport. Those with more experience of paddling kayaks are generally amazed by the performance. These are not kayaks for ocean crossing or violent whitewater, but they do have very good all-round ability. And of course their portability means you can take an Oru kayak to a lot of places that would be impossible for a “normal” solid kayak.
Optional buoyancy bags, paddle (four-piece) and even your own buoyancy aid can be packed within the folded Oru box (without increasing size).
You don’t have to believe us about the performance. There are many, many independent reviews of the Oru Kayak online, eg paddling.net. See what they say here: Oru Kayak Reviews
A folded Oru Kayak will fit almost anywhere, no roof rack required! For example:
– your understairs cupboard, or loft
– back of your car
– inside your motorhome
– on your yacht
You can take it in a lift, or even check it in as baggage with many airlines (talk to them first though!). A folded Oru will fit in the back of most cars with ease. In the picture gallery below you will see an Oru in the boot of a BMW 5-series estate – you could get 3 or possibly 4 in (enough for the whole family), even with the back seat up.
Our predictions were correct and we were able to comfortably fit two Oru kayaks in the boot of a VW Golf, again with back seat in place. And we can confirm that the boot closes effortlessly. For a couple going away with two Oru kayaks, there’d still be plenty of space for other luggage. Remember that the buoyancy bags, paddle (4-piece) and even a buoyancy aid will also fit in the folded Oru box. It’s also worth mentioning here that the genius’ at Oru HQ miraculously engineered the longer 16ft Coast XT to pack down to the same size folded dimensions so any of the models will fit as shown here (update 2020: the Haven is a little larger but takes two people, the Inlet is smaller).
There is also an option to buy a backpack that the folded kayak fits into. That means almost no limits at all to where you can take it. And even if the water’s only a few inches deep, an Oru kayak will float.