The new Oru Kayak Lake Edition seeks to make folding yaks more affordable.
Every experienced kayaker knows the most annoying part of owning one comes down to transport and storage when not in use.
Ten years ago, Oru Kayak arrived on the scene with the solution to both of those problems in the Oru Kayak, a unique craft made of extruded corrugated material that folds up origami-style into a compact box when not in use.
We got to test their signature craft, the Inlet, a few years ago and came away genuinely impressed. Now, Oru is introducing the Lake Edition, which is the newest entry to their line and is designed to be the perfect entryway into paddling both in terms of simplicity and the price.
These kayaks take their inspiration from Japanese origami in the way they fold up, and as we learned from a press event, every design actually does start with a simple sheet of paper and some experimental folding.
Here's what else we learned about the Oru Lake.
Oru Kayak Lake Features
The new Lake Edition is nine feet long by 32 inches wide, and it's Oru's lightest offering yet at just 18 pounds. When folded up, it compacts to a 42 x 10 x 18 inch box that can also store the collapsible paddle in one neat, efficient package. It sets up in only about 60 seconds and is ready for water adventure. They managed to do all this while also keeping the price point at $699 MSRP.
In our review of the Inlet, we mentioned how the $899 price point may be a little intimidating for newer paddlers. It seems Oru wanted to make their craft a little more accessible this time around.
"For the lake, I feel like this was the boat I tried to design ten years ago, and didn't have the tools to at that point," Oru Founder and Chief Design Officer Anton Willis told us. "We'd always wanted to make something that was really kind of an entry point to kayaking and paddle sports. Something really easy, simple to use, simple to setup, easy to understand, [with an] accessible price point."
He said their original goal was to make the water as accessible to as many people as possible. Willis even acknowledged that the company's previous models didn't fully deliver on that due to their more advanced, performance-driven designs, and therefore higher prices.
The goal with the Lake was to make a craft that took the company back to its roots and simplified things as much as possible.
One of the ways they did this was by creating the Lake in only two components, the single piece exterior hull portion and the floorboard/seat portion. Previous Oru models like the Inlet had multiple bulkhead components that needed to be installed to add rigidity to the craft, and it was the part that we found most difficult when assembling the Inlet during our tests. We know we weren't alone on that. The Lake solves the bulkhead problem with a new folded floorboard.
"What that (the floorboard) does is make this whole cockpit area really rigid," Willis said. "You can put a lot of weight in here without really distorting it."
Oru is starting the Lake project on Kickstarter. The Lake will have a $699 MSRP, but early birds can get it for $450 on a limited time offer from Kickstarter. It will be available on Kickstarter starting March 15 at 7 p.m. PST. For more information on the Lake, see the Oru Kayak website.
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NEXT: GEAR REVIEW: THE UNIQUE, FOLDING ORU KAYAK INLET