Best Folding Kayak In 2023 – Minimum Weight, Maximum Portability

As a traveling paddler, hauling a bulky kayak around was a real buzzkill for my wanderlust spirit. Then a fellow nomad introduced me to a game-changing discovery – foldable kayaks! Eager for adventure unburdened, I began testing models for compactness, portability and performance. Now I’m thrilled to share this roundup of the top-ranked folding kayaks guaranteed to deliver fun without weighing you down!
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Sam OBrien

Founder, Kayaking & Paddle Boarding Expert

Sam is the founder and editor of WaterSportsWhiz. With over 20 years of experience across various water sports, he provides trusted reviews and expert advice to help others pursue their passion for getting out on the water. When not working, you can find him kayaking, paddle boarding, or planning his next water-based adventure with family and friends.

“Traditional” kayaks are great and all – but I think we can agree that they tend to be heavy, bulky, and not that easy to transport by yourself. That alone is enough to deter some folks from taking up kayaking altogether. 

And, well, I can’t let that happen. 

Now, inflatable kayaks might seem like the obvious solution to that problem – and they are. But were you aware that foldable kayaks were an option, too? 

Yup – they’re lightweight, portable, fold down to a size of an average suitcase, and don’t require any inflating. How’s that for convenience? 

If that sounds interesting, you may want to stick around – I’m about to help you choose the best folding kayak!

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At A Glance – Here Are Our Top Picks For Best Foldable Kayak

  • Overall Best:  Oru Kayak Coast XT
    “Oru’s origami-inspired Coast XT kayak is many things – sea-worthy, sleek, slender, easy to roll – but “budget-friendly” isn’t one of them. It’s worth every penny, though!”
  • Premium Pick:  TRAK Kayaks 2.0 – Portable Performance Kayak
    “A kayak like TRAK 2.0 is NOT for the budget-minded paddler. It is as expensive as they get – but its long-distance performance is out of this world.”
  • Budget-Friendly:  Tucktec Kayak – Advanced 10-Foot
    “You won’t find a better folding kayak at this price point; that much is clear. If all you want is a budget-friendly, entry-level kayak, this could be it.”
  • Most Versatile:  Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
    “It’s foldable, inflatable, built for two – and a convertible. This kayak does it all – and then some. It’s arguably the most “multi-purpose” kayak out there.”
  • Beginner-Friendly:  ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak
    “If you’re looking for a lightweight, beginner-friendly ‘yak or working with a limited budget, the AdvancedFrame Sport is worth considering.”
  • Tandem Pick:  Oru Kayak Haven TT
    “If you enjoy paddling in two – with the occasional possibility of heading out solo – spare yourself the trouble and go with Oru’s Haven TT tandem kayak.”
  • Do-It-All Option:  Oru Kayak Bay ST
    “The Oru Bay ST is the origami kayak that launched Oru – it is the OG of their origami style kayaks lineup. So, if you want proven design and performance, this one is a safe bet.”
  • Recreational:  Oru Kayak Beach LT
    “This kayak is the definition of keeping things fun, casual, and beginner-friendly. It’s easy to see why the Beach LT is Oru’s most popular origami kayak.”

In A Rush? The Winner After 40 Hours Of Research:


Oru Kayak Coast XT – Foldable Kayak

Why is it better?

  • Made of five-millimetre double-layered polypropylene for puncture and abrasion resistance
  • Suitable for open waters, waves, windy conditions – and even Class III rapids 
  • It weighs only 32 pounds and folds down to the size of 33 x 14 x 29 inches
  • It has pre-creased with folding lines and takes about 10 to 15 minutes to set up 
  • Rated at 20,000 folding cycles 
  • Treated for ten years of UV protection 
  • The roomy cockpit is suitable for paddlers up to 6’3” tall 
  • Has an outstanding 400-pound capacity for a single-person kayak 
  • Backed by a 30-day return window and a one-year warranty

What Is A Folding Kayak? Or: Where Fun Meets Practicality

Assembling Oru kayak on river bank

A folding kayak is a kayak that can be folded down. No kidding, Sherlock – I know, I know.

Okay, time for something less obvious, then:

Folding kayaks can collapse to roughly half the size – and in some cases, two-thirds – to a “suitcase kayak,” as I like to call them. As such, they can get around the usual limitations of traditional, full-sized kayaks – things related to storage space, transportation, and so on.

If we’re talking history, a folding kayak is one of the veterans of the kayak family. Yup, you read that right. These are the OGs in the game. 

Foldable ‘yaks date back to the very dawn of kayaking, as they were primarily designed to be packed away and easily moved by nomad hunter-gatherers.

Fast forward a century later, and manufacturing technology has evolved so much that folding kayaks are built for pretty much every scenario out there – from recreational paddling to full-on touring. And yet, they remain lightweight and portable. 

I genuinely believe that portable folding kayaks are the perfect choice for the modern explorer.

Who Should Buy A Folding Kayak?

Man assembling a folding kayak on the pier

You’re not sure if this type of kayak is the right one for you? 

Say no more. Let me introduce you to the main uses and advantages of folding kayaks; it might help you decide whether they’re something worth considering.

To begin with, these bad boys are beyond easy to store. I’d even add that a folding kayak is one of the most practical solutions if you lack the space for storing a hard-shell traditional kayak.

Maybe your apartment has limited storage space, or your garage is already full of items that are squashed in like sardines. If that’s the case, a folding ‘yak is a real problem-solver. Once folded, it can fit under the desk, bed, under-the-stairs drawers – you name it.

Secondly, a folding kayak equals a portable kayak. Thus, it’s super-convenient to haul a folding ‘yak to your kayaking destination: 

It’s easy to collapse and carry it with you. If you can manage a suitcase, you can manage one of these, too. Best of all, you can tuck it in the trunk if you prefer not to use the roof rack.

Their ability to transform from “boxes” to ‘yaks means you’ll slash the time it takes to transport it and minimize the effort to get it into the water. 

Getting around these problems is no small feat, by the way. 

It could spare you the headaches and the trouble – and make the difference between paddling and not paddling.

Next, a folding ‘yak is an excellent choice for kayak camping trips and long-distance paddling.

I can see how that might seem a little odd. It may appear as though you need something bigger for your long-distance trips or lake camping. 

However, a collapsible kayak will offer you the best of both worlds:

A high-quality model built for adventures will allow you to make the most out of your trip due to its transportability. And what’s more, you’ll quickly find a place to store the ‘yak when not in use, which makes it great for traveling – something that doesn’t usually go well with the word “kayak.”

How To Choose A Folding Kayak?

Oru Kayak - origami kayak on river bank

It’s vital that you choose the right ‘yak – but with so many factors to consider, things can be a little daunting, even more so if you’re a beginner

You might be left scratching your head, thinking, “Where do I even start?”

Well, that’s why I’m here – to nudge you in the right direction and share a couple of tips along the way – I’ve even gone as far to review the best portable kayaks on the market today.

Types Of Folding Kayaks

In general, we can speak of two types of folding kayak:

  • Inflatable kayaks
  • Origami kayaks

It’s a common misconception that a fold-up kayak is always an inflatable kayak. Albeit this is one of the two main types of foldable kayaks, as you can see above, a collapsible kayak isn’t inflatable per se.

Although the end result is the same – folding down your ‘yak – these two types of mechanisms vary greatly. 

So, let’s dissect them further and see about their pros and cons, shall we?

Inflatable Kayak

An inflatable kayak is, well, air-filled and generally comprises of multiple air chambers for added security. It can be inflated using a pump – foot, hand, or electric one, whichever you fancy. When it’s deflated and folded, you can easily store it in a carrying bag that often comes with it.

The inflate-deflate mechanism fits into the whole idea of compactness and easy transport – even if it’s not 100% synonymous with folding.

Interested in how the inflatables function? 

Check out this video:

Inflation / deflation of Hobie i12 inflatable kayak sunset paddle

Also, inflatable kayaks are usually cheaper than their Origami siblings.

Draining an inflatable ‘yak can take a while since the fabric and the creases can retain a lot of water. That also makes them heavier – and slightly less portable than the other type.

Origami Kayak

Ready to take an Origami course? 

Luckily, the art of kayak folding is much easier than its paper counterpart. These ‘yaks are made of material that folds against itself in a very straightforward manner.

Some might argue that the folding and unfolding process is a bit of a pain in the behind – but the truth is the oh-so-boring phrase: 

Practice makes perfect. 

Once you’ve got the knack of the mechanism and done it a couple of times, you’ll go from the “suitcase” to the full-size kayak in a matter of minutes. 

And true, a pump will do it instead of you with an inflatable kayak. But is it just me, or does DIY always feel better?

Here, you can check out the folding and unfolding of an Origami kayak:

Oru Kayak Inlet Folding Kayak Assembly Video | Lightweight Origami Kayak that fits in your trunk

The prototype of Origami-style kayaks would be canvas or nylon “skin” stretched over an aluminum or wood skeleton. However, nowadays, these ‘yaks are mostly frameless, thanks to the carefully constructed geometrical folds that result in a rigid structure.

Origami kayaks tend to win the day when it comes to size. They’ll generally fold down to smaller sizes than inflatables – and you won’t need to carry the pump with you, either.

Also, while inflatables usually come with a bag, the so-called Origami kayaks don’t need them – they are suitcase kayaks in the real sense of the word.


After you narrow down the category of folding kayaks you’re interested in getting – inflatable or Origami-style – you should consider its construction.

The material a kayak is made from ultimately affects its quality and durability.

Now, for inflatables, the most commonly used materials include:

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – Lightweight, easy to fold, and budget-friendly – however, not the best for high temperatures and prolonged UV ray exposure.
  • Nitrylon – A premium construction that combines 1200D polyester and synthetic nitrile rubber, offering complete tear-resistance. Due to its robustness, it’s more often used to reinforce the chambers around the sides and at the bottom.
  • Hypalon – A synthetic rubber fabric lauded for its durability. It’s excellent at resisting harsh chemicals or high temperatures – however, it’s more expensive than the other two options.

On the other hand, the best material for Origami designs is polypropylene. This type of plastic has excellent folding properties and behaves well when exposed to different elements. It’s often double-layered and UV-treated to provide additional protection – on top of general resistance to punctures and abrasion. 


Since you’re here reading this article, you’re already getting some pretty major benefits in the size department:

Folding kayaks are arguably the most convenient type of ‘yaks in this regard. 

Still, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t check its dimensions – both folded and unfolded. And while you’re at it, here’s what else to consider:

  • The width of a ‘yak (the beam) will affect its stability. Wider kayaks are better-suited for taller paddlers who have a higher center of gravity.
  • Length-wise, the rule of thumb is – longer kayaks are faster, but that sacrifices some of their maneuverability. 
  • Don’t forget to check the load capacity rating. It’ll indicate the amount of load a kayak can take on – both in terms of the paddler and accessories.

Of course, all these numbers work together, determining how the kayak will “behave” in different challenges. For instance, Oru’s lineup of Origami kayaks features five different sizes of ‘yaks for different purposes: 

Oru Kayak Model Comparison: Meet the Oru Kayak Lineup

Frequently Asked Questions on Foldable Kayaks

Are folding kayaks worth it?

If you have limited storage space – or don’t have the means to transport a “traditional” hard-shell kayak – then yes, a folding kayak is definitely worth it. It is one of the most practical and portable solutions for paddlers of all levels, although the convenience does come with premium price tag.

How long do folding kayaks last?

A folding kayak will last two to three years on average. Do note that many folding kayaks have a “folding cycle rating,” which indicates how many times a particular kayak can be folded while still maintaining its structural integrity. So, how often you go paddling – and how well you take care of the kayak during that time – also contributes to its potential lifespan.

How much does a foldable kayak cost?

The price of a foldable kayak typically varies depending on the quality of the construction and its intended use. On average, though, a recreational or light touring folding kayak will cost around a thousand dollars. There are, of course, more affordable options for entry-level paddlers that cost a few hundred bucks, but they’re usually inflatables rather than skin-on-frame or origami kayaks

How much do folding kayaks weigh?

The weight of a folding kayak depends on a few different factors, including the type (inflatable or origami-style), the length and width, and the materials used in its construction. However, I found that most folding kayaks tend to weigh between 20 to 40 pounds, with certain models clocking in at around 50 pounds. But in general, they’re significantly lighter than hard shell kayaks.

Best Folding Kayak Reviews – Top 8 Picks Reviewed & Rated

How We Tested & Rated Our Top Picks

The kayaks featured in this round-up were all tested, reviewed, and rated according to the same set of criteria, as outlined below: 

  • Build Quality – This score is based on the overall quality of the kayak’s construction, the materials used in the construction, how well it holds up in different environments, and the expected longevity of the kayak. 
  • Portability – This score is based on the kayak’s weight, its dimensions when packed up, how easy it is to transport single-handedly, and whether it comes with a carry bag.
  • Performance – This score is based on how the kayak behaves in the water and how well it performs in terms of stability, speed, maneuverability, and responsiveness. 
  • Weight Capacity – This score is based on how much weight the kayak can support and how its real-life capacity compares to the manufacturer-specified load limit.
  • Ease Of Setup – This score is based on how long it takes to assemble the kayak, take it out of the water and pack it back up, and how straightforward the process is in general.
  • Value for Money – This score is based on the RRP (Recommended Retail Price) and an assessment of how the price aligns with the kayak’s overall value.

Each folding kayak received a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 – “1” being the lowest and “10” the highest grade. The score earned in each of these categories was based on how well a particular kayak met – and in the case of a “10/10” rating, even exceeded – my expectations.

Best Convertible Foldable Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

I’d like to kick things off with a hybrid of sorts – a ‘yak that combines the advantages of inflatable and folding kayaks into one, with a touch of versatility and customization sprinkled on top. 

Wait, so this Advanced Elements kayak is foldable, inflatable, built for two – and a convertible? 

Yup, that’s right; this ‘yak has it all – and then some. It’s arguably the most “multi-purpose” kayak out there. Think about it: 

It converts from a tandem to a one-person kayak and from an open-deck ‘yak to a sit-in one. 

That said, the Convertible Decks aren’t actually included in the package. So, you will either have to spend more to get them – or stick with the “basic” one. 

Another potential downside would be the weight: 

While it’s not heavy per se, at 52 pounds, this Advanced Elements ‘yak is definitely heavier than Oru’s origami-inspired models. So, if you were hoping for something ultra-light, this might not be the kayak for you. 

Then again, it also has a slightly higher capacity than Oru’s Haven TT, clocking in at 550 pounds – which is a definite plus when it comes to tandem kayaks. 

And given the built-in aluminum frame, I honestly can’t complain about it weighing as much as it does. As far as inflatable kayaks go, this thing is built like a tank, with its three-layer construction and bow and stern ribs. Besides making it feel more rugged, the ribs also contribute to improved tracking performance, making this a more-than-decent choice for day touring. 

Technical Specs 

  • Construction: Three-layer PVC with aluminum frame
  • Hull Dimensions: 15 x 2.7 feet 
  • Hull Weight: 52 pounds 
  • Weight Capacity: 550 pounds


  • Built-in aluminum ribs for structural rigidity 
  • Can be configured as a solo or tandem kayak
  • The deck can be open or closed 
  • Six air chambers for additional safety


  • Has to be inflated (but that’s hardly a downside)
  • It’s the heaviest foldable kayak on my list 
  • You have to purchase the Convertible Decks separatelyThere are cheaper options that offer a bit more

If you want versatility and don’t mind getting a hybrid between a folding and an inflatable kayak, Advanced Elements’ so-called Convertible is as good as they get. 

Overall Best Folding Kayak

Oru Kayak Coast XT

One thing to note about Oru is that their lineup – which currently features six different kayaks – is essentially categorized based on the specific type of environment and the intended use for each model. 

So, for instance, there’s the Inlet, which is designed to be super-easy to assemble and performs best in flat water. Then, there’s the Beach LT, intended for casual, beginner-friendly trips, perfect for recreational kayaking. 

And then, you have the Coast XT, which, as the name implies, is Oru’s sea-worthy folding kayak – and a fantastic one, at that. 

Some things remain unchanged, like the origami-inspired structure and the 20,000 folding cycle rating. However, the Coast XT is much longer and sleeker, measuring 16.2 feet in length and 25 inches in width. Mind you, that’s four feet longer than the Bay ST. 

It also features a closed cockpit design. 

With this change in dimensions comes a slightly higher weight – 32 pounds, to be exact – and a load capacity of 400 pounds. 

On that note, you’ll find bungee rigging in the front for securing gear on hand; everything else can fit in the relatively spacious cockpit. 

The Oru Kayak Coast XT also gets bonus points for being easy to roll, meaning you can venture into Class III rapids or waves without worrying about capsizing. 

But all that’s going to cost you. Oru’s Coast XT is many things – but “budget-friendly” isn’t one of them. In fact, it costs as much as the Haven TT, which is insane, considering that the Haven is a tandem kayak. There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s worth every penny – but still, it’s not a kayak for everyone’s budget.

Technical Specs 

  • Construction: Five-millimeter double-layered polypropylene
  • Hull Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.1 feet 
  • Hull Weight: 32 pounds 
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds 


  • Easy to roll and suitable for heavy surf 
  • Has an excellent capacity and bungee rigging in the front 
  • A spacious cockpit 
  • Impressive speed and tracking performance 
  • Has a 10-year UV-protection treatment 


  • Might not be suitable for beginners 
  • One of the pricier models in Oru’s lineup 
  • Assembly takes a bit longer

If you’d rather venture into the coastal waters rather than spend your day paddling at a nearby lake, then the Coast XT by Oru would be a much better fit.

Best Cheap Collapsible Kayak For Beginners

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak

Again, when it comes to Advanced Elements’ AdvancedFrame ‘yaks, the thing that makes them stand out in the crowd – among both inflatable and folding kayaks – is their aluminum-reinforced body. 

And this so-called Sport model is no different: 

The three-layer PVC construction, 1000D polyester reinforcements, and built-in aluminum ribs that define the bow and stern amount to a surprisingly sturdy, 10.4-foot kayak that weighs only 26 pounds. 

It’s essentially the lighter version of their bigger AdvancedFrame models. 

The Sport also sports – pun intended – a larger, easier-to-enter cockpit opening and its own seat with an adjustable backrest, which is a nice touch. 

Remember that this is a recreational kayak, though. Hence, it has a low weight limit of only 250 pounds and not much else going on – except for a few D-ring tie-downs and some bungee deck rigging at the bow. There’s some space behind the seat, although I wouldn’t quite call it a proper “storage compartment.” 

But again, this isn’t the type of kayak you would go touring in – and for casual afternoon paddles, you probably won’t need more than that, anyway. If you need the higher weight capacity – or just want more space – Advanced Elements’ Convertible might be more up your alley. 

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t cost a fortune, either. It is nearly four times cheaper than Oru’s Coast XT! I mean, you could argue that I’m comparing apples to oranges here – but it just goes to show how much the cost of foldable kayaks can vary. 

Technical Specs 

  • Construction: Three-layer PVC with aluminum frame
  • Hull Dimensions: 10.4 x 2.7 feet 
  • Hull Weight: 26 pounds 
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds


  • A lightweight version of the bigger AdvancedFrame kayak
  • Larger, easier-to-enter cockpit opening 
  • Suitable for lakes and slow-moving rivers 
  • Four chambers for additional safety 
  • The cheapest kayak on the list


  • The limited capacity might not fit larger paddlers 
  • Tends to be a bit hard to control in windy weather

If you’re looking for a lightweight, portable, beginner-friendly kayak and the money is tight, I’d highly recommend that you consider the AdvancedFrame Sport.

Best Tandem Fold-Up Kayak

Oru Kayak Haven TT

I told you this round-up would include more than a few Oru kayaks, didn’t I? Well, here’s another one that deserves mention – the Haven TT, a folding kayak built for two. 

The single-piece hull, constructed out of five-millimeter, double-layered, extruded polypropylene, is pre-creased with folding lines that quickly turn from a suitcase to a kayak shape, held together with neoprene end caps, buckles, and nylon straps. 

And much like its cousins, the Inlet and Coast XT, it also boasts a 20,000-fold-cycle rating. Plus, Oru has a selection of spare parts available – covering everything from floorboards and bow and stern bulkheads to tension straps. Even if something does fail, you can replace it – and your ‘yak will be as good as new. 

When set up, the Haven TT measures 16 feet in length, with a 33-inch beam, and has a weight capacity of 500 pounds. All the while, Oru’s tandem kayak weighs a reasonable 41 pounds, making it a surprisingly lightweight two-person ‘yak. 

The coolest part? Like the AdvancedFrame Convertible, the Haven TT goes from tandem paddling to a single-paddler configuration, promising some versatility when needed.

Compared to the Oru Coast XT, the Haven TT felt a bit more beginner-friendly and was clearly designed for kayakers of all skill levels – and, unlike its sea-worthy brother, it feels more at home in calm waters. 

That’s something to remember if you’re trying to decide between the two 16-footers. 

The setup is pretty straightforward – and it only gets easier as you get to know your kayak better. I’d say that Oru’s kayaks have a definite edge over similar folding kayaks – namely, the Tucktec – in that department.

I should mention that it doesn’t come cheap – but the same can be said about the similarly-sized Coast XT, too.  

Technical Specs 

  • Construction: Five-millimeter, double-layered polypropylene 
  • Hull Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 feet 
  • Hull Weight: 41 pounds 
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds 


  • Can convert to a single-paddler configuration when needed 
  • Relatively lightweight for a tandem 
  • Has a 10-year UV treatment 
  • High enough capacity for two people and their gear
  • Pre-creased lines for effortless folding 


  • It’s not the most affordable model in Oru’s lineup
  • The seat could stand to be a bit more comfortable
  • The fasteners that secure the seat tend to slip and bend under pressure

If you enjoy paddling in two – with the occasional possibility of heading out solo – spare yourself the trouble and go with Oru’s Haven TT tandem kayak. You won’t regret it.

Best Portable Kayak For Touring

TRAK Kayaks 2.0 – Portable Performance Kayak

Okay, in the spirit of being completely honest and unbiased, I have to say, right off the bat, that a kayak like TRAK 2.0 isn’t for the budget-minded paddlers. This thing is as expensive as they get – and if you’re not up for spending roughly $3850 on a ‘yak, I suggest you look away now. 

Are you still interested? 

Well, then, allow me to introduce you to this sea-worthy 16-footer, designed with durability and long-distance performance in mind. 

This sit-inside kayak boasts military-grade polyurethane fabric, coupled with Hi-Tech aerospace aluminum frame – which amounts to tough-as-nails construction. The rigidity of the TRAK 2.0 is – well, insane. Still, it weighs 48 pounds. 

I admit that it took me almost an hour to assemble it the first time around – but it takes about 20 minutes on average. The fact that this bad boy is so heavy (for a folding kayak, anyway) doesn’t speed up the process, either.

Compared to Oru’s Haven TT, the TRAK is only a few pounds heavier, but the load capacity is a different story: 

The Oru has an astounding 500-pound capacity, whereas the TRAK can carry only 300 pounds, which is interesting considering that both are 16-foot kayaks. 

It has a narrow, 22.5-inch beam, a distinct V-shape, and hard chines, promising speed, tracking, and excellent secondary stability. All in all, the TRAK is an incredibly efficient, sea-worthy kayak – and seeing it navigate open waters is a bit like watching performance art – but it’s not a kayak I would recommend to a beginner. 

The initial “hiccups” in production left a bad taste in my mouth, though, and I’ve heard countless stories about the not-so-timely production and lack of communication – which is a shame, given the price tag. But I’m sure TRAK sorted these issues out over the past few years.  

Technical Specs 

  • Construction: Polyurethane fabric with aluminum frame 
  • Hull Dimensions: 16 x 1.9 feet 
  • Hull Weight: 48 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds


  • Sea-worthy, touring fold-up kayak 
  • The V-shape hull with hard chines ensures tracking, speed, and secondary stability 
  • Tough-as-nails construction with an aluminum frame


  • The kayak is insanely expensive – especially with all the extras
  • One of the heaviest fold-up kayaks on my list 
  • There were some hold-ups in the production

If you came in search of a touring kayak that collapses down to an extremely portable size, the TRAK 2.0 is a safe bet – although, again, your wallet might not agree with you on that. Also, be prepared to wait.

Best Do-It-All Origami Kayak

Oru Kayak Bay ST

You’re starting to catch on to which brand dominates the foldable kayak portion of the market, huh? 

The Bay ST is pretty much the OG of Oru’s lineup of origami-inspired folding kayaks – the kayak that started it all. So, if proven performance is what you’re after, this one is a more than safe bet.

Now that you’re more familiar with Oru’s kayaks, you know that the 5-millimeter double-layered polypropylene construction and a folding limit of 20,000 cycles are to be expected. What makes it stand out, though? 

Well, the Oru Bay ST is a 12-foot intermediate-level kayak designed for a variety of water conditions – whether you’re exploring bays or small bodies of water. 

It weighs a mere 26 pounds, making it one of the lightest on the list. To add to it, transporting the Bay ST kayak is a piece of cake. You can bring it along on a hike or take it on a plane. The sky’s the limit – quite literally.

If you put the Bay ST and the TRAK 2.0 side by side, you’ll see a huge difference not just in size and weight but the price, as well. The TRAK 2.0 is almost two times heavier than Oru’s Bay ST – and costs twice as much!

It has a 300-pound capacity, accompanied by bungee cords in the front and a spacious cockpit that can be used as an additional storage area. Speaking of the cockpit, it’s also compatible with most standard-sized spray skirts. 

The 25-inch beam might make the Bay ST feel a bit tippy for beginners, though – at least initially, anyway. But if you have at least a few outings under your belt, I’m sure you’ll be able to make friends with this amazing boat. 

I do have to mention that the low weight also means it is light enough to wind-vane. In our tests we found it a real struggle to keep it on track when there was anything greater than a mild cross wind – so, keep that in mind if you’re likely to paddle in particularly windy areas.

Technical Specs 

  • Construction: Five-millimeter, double-layered polypropylene
  • Hull Dimensions: 12.2 x 2.1 feet 
  • Hull Weight: 26 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds


  • Suitable for a variety of water conditions 
  • Structural bulkheads in the kayak’s front and back 
  • Bungee deck lacing in the front 
  • The cockpit’s compatible with standard-sized spray skirts


  • Total beginners might find the Bay ST a bit tippy initially
  • It can feel a bit stiff during the first few uses
  • The lightweight design makes paddling in windy conditions tricky

The Oru Bay ST is the origami kayak that launched Oru – the OG of their lineup. So, if you want proven design and performance, this is the fold-up kayak for you.

Best Budget Foldable Kayak

Tucktec Folding KayakAdvanced 10-Foot

Oru makes some great folding kayaks, but one thing that’s not-so-great about them is their price tag. So, if you’re set on getting an origami-style folding kayak but don’t quite have the budget for it, the Tucktec Advanced could be the answer: 

It’s dirt cheap compared to a similarly-sized Oru kayak – so the question is: 

Does that cheapness reflect in its build quality and performance? 

The Tucktec Advanced is made of ⅛-inch-thick polyethylene and, when fully assembled, weighs only 30 pounds – which is pretty light for a 10-foot kayak. I can’t tell you much about its expected lifespan, though, since Tucktec doesn’t offer a specific fold cycle rating. 

All I know is that it’s supposedly designed to “last for thousands of folds.” 

You can’t buy spare parts, either – but keeping in mind that the cost is one-third of an Oru kayak, I don’t think there’s room for complaints in that department.

The wide design and flat hull contribute to its stability, making it a great choice for beginners and those interested in kayak fishing. You wouldn’t expect such a kayak to “handle” well, but Tucktec actually tracks better than certain Oru kayaks – probably due to its retractable fin. 

Unfortunately, it can’t handle anything but the calmest of waters – and should you capsize, it’ll be nearly impossible to perform a self-rescue. 

Considering that we’re talking about a tandem, it was kind of disappointing to see that it will only carry 350 pounds of load. In our test, with two adults on board, there’s little room for much else, especially if one of the two people is a bigger guy like me. At 10-foot in length, it is the smallest foldable kayak in this round-up which raises the question of whether it can truly accommodate two people.

Still, it could be a great choice if you’re kayaking with kids.

Technical Specs 

  • Construction: ⅛-inch high-density polyethylene thermoplastic 
  • Hull Dimensions: 10 x 2.5 feet 
  • Hull Weight: 30 pounds 
  • Weight Capacity: 350 pounds 


  • The cockpit is roomy enough to accommodate taller paddlers 
  • Can be paddled solo or as a tandem 
  • The retractable fin contributes to improved tracking performance 
  • Pretty stable due to the wide and flat hull design 
  • The foam side rails add buoyancy and provide cushioning


  • The weight capacity is on the lower side for a tandem kayak 
  • Doesn’t handle wind or waves well 
  • It’s practically impossible to re-enter from the water 
  • It takes some time to figure out how to assemble it

You won’t find a better folding kayak at this price point – that much is clear. Sure, you might have to settle in certain areas – namely, comfort and longevity – but if you want an entry-level ‘yak, the Tucktec folding kayak is worth considering.

Best Recreational Folding Kayak

Oru Kayak Beach LT

Surprise, surprise – another Oru Kayak on this list. What can I say – the folks at Oru apparently know how to build a reliable folding kayak. On that note, I decided to finish up this round-up with the Beach LT, Oru’s most popular model. 

And when you see the price-to-value ratio, it becomes apparent where the Beach LT’s popularity comes from: 

This 12-foot recreational kayak is the definition of keeping it fun, casual, and beginner-friendly. It boasts the same five-millimeter, double-layered polypropylene construction, ensuring durability – and yet, it weighs a mere 25 pounds. 

Let’s talk a bit more about this kayak’s portability: 

Yes, it’s lightweight, but there’s more to it than that. It also packs up nicely, going from a full-size kayak to a medium-sized suitcase in as little as two minutes!

As far as how it holds up in the wind and choppy waters, I have to say that it is much better than the Bay ST. Granted, as a lightweight kayak, it can’t perform as well as its heavier counterparts – but it definitely puts up a fight. 

I wouldn’t test my luck in challenging environments, though. Light wind is fine – but it’s not meant to handle strong winds and rough waters. 

The Oru Kayak Beach LT’s capacity is average – 300 pounds, to be precise – and you’ll get easy-to-access storage space, along with a wide and roomy cockpit, which makes it a great choice for full days on the water. Even more so, it’s cheaper than most other Oru foldable kayaks currently on the market, second only to the budget-friendly Inlet.

Technical Specs 

  • Construction: Five-millimeter, double-layered polypropylene
  • Hull Dimensions: 12.1 x 2.4 feet 
  • Weight: 25 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds


  • One of the lightest kayaks I’ve tested 
  • Can be assembled in five or so minutes 
  • A pretty decent weight capacity for a solo paddler
  • Wide and roomy cockpit  
  • Suitable for beginners


  • Not really a good choice for rough water 
  • Some might find it a bit slow and sluggish

The Beach LT is Oru’s most popular origami kayak, and I think it’s easy to see why. So, if all you need is a reliable – and highly portable – recreational ‘yak, I recommend this one.

A Quick Side-By-Side Comparison 

So far, you’ve learned more about the best folding kayaks currently available on the market – and I did my best to share as much useful information as possible to ensure that you choose the one that fits your needs perfectly.

However, the sheer amount of information you just went through can feel a tad overwhelming. So, I’ve made a quick comparison table to ensure you won’t overlook the most important characteristics of the kayaks featured in this round-up.  

It contains the key features of every ‘yak I have discussed today, including the star ratings of our on-the-water testing. Use it to see how these ‘yaks compare to one another – and, hopefully, it’ll guide you in your decision-making process.

Oru Kayak Coast XT
Premium Pick
TRAK Kayaks 2.0
Tucktec Folding Kayak - Advanced 10 Foot
Most Versatile
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Sport Kayak
Tandem Pick
Oru Kayak Haven TT
Do-It-All Option
Oru Kayak Bay ST
High-Capacity Pick
Oru Kayak Beach LT
Oru Kayak Coast XT
TRAK Kayaks 2.0
Tucktec Folding Kayak - Advanced 10 Foot
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Sport Kayak
Oru Kayak Haven TT
Oru Kayak Bay ST
Oru Kayak Beach LT
Our Rating
Our Rating
Weight Capacity
Weight Capacity
4 liters
Ease of Set Up
Ease of Set Up
Value For Money
Value For Money
Five-millimeter double-layered polypropylene
250D PVC-free fabric 
Polyurethane fabric with aluminum frame
Three-layer PVC with aluminum frame
Three-layer PVC with aluminum frame
Five-millimeter, double-layered polypropylene
Five-millimeter, double-layered polypropylene
Five-millimeter, double-layered polypropylene
16.2 x 2.1 feet
8 x 8 x 3 inches
16 x 1.9 feet
15 x 2.7 feet 
10.4 x 2.7 feet
16 x 2.7 feet
12.2 x 2.1 feet
12.1 x 2.4 feet
32 pounds
0.4 pounds 
48 pounds
52 pounds
26 pounds
41 pounds
26 pounds
25 pounds
400 pounds
300 pounds
300 pounds
550 pounds
250 pounds
500 pounds
300 pounds
300 pounds

Conclusion – The Winner Of Best Folding Kayaks Is?

You’ve made it to the end, which can only mean one thing: 

You’re genuinely considering buying a collapsible kayak. The only question left to answer is – which one should you get? 

Now, you already know that the Oru Kayak Coast XT is my personal favorite. I’d say I made that pretty clear by now. 

The Coast XT is all about performance; it feels right at home in waves and Class III rapids and can hold a good amount of cargo – and yet, it weighs a mere 32 pounds. 

It’s far from the only fold-up kayak worth considering, though. There are other fantastic models – some cheaper, some pricier – featured on my list. 

For instance, I would gladly recommend the Tucktec Advanced as a budget-friendly alternative – because, honestly, you won’t find a better folding kayak at that price point. 

It comes down to sorting your priorities and requirements out – and choosing a kayak that meets them. 

Let me know which one you pick!

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Sam OBrien

Sam is the founder and editor of WaterSportsWhiz. With over 20 years of experience across various water sports, he provides trusted reviews and expert advice to help others pursue their passion for getting out on the water. When not working, you can find him kayaking, paddle boarding, or planning his next water-based adventure with family and friends.

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