Length: 12' 0" - Width: 25.00" - Starting at: $1095.00See More Details about this Kayak
Now I've had my Oru since the beginning of July and the bottom line is that this boat gets two enthusiastic thumbs way up! It's light, portable, sleek, suitably robust, handles well and makes paddling far, far too convenient. Do yourself a favour and get one!
- - - Handling
Let's talk handling first, because that's what a boat better be good at. If it transforms into a herd of Dinobots but handles like a shopping cart, I ain't buying it.
This may come as a surprise, but the Oru handles as well as any kayak its size. The chines are cut nicely to allow sleek tracking, and the lightweight kayak gets an advantage on speed. An adjustable footrest allows a paddler to push more into each stroke.
For the past couple years, I've made do with some plastic rec kayaks at the local marina to get my kayak fix. The Oru is way above rec status - rec boats are heavy, slow, and well, terrible really. The Oru is definitely a step above that. It can't quite compare to the performance of a 17' sea kayak with a rudder, but is one of the best kayaks of this size I've used and I have no qualms taking it anywhere I'd take a comparably sized and priced Necky for instance.
I've had the Oru on a flatwater man-made lake in the centre of my city (Regina, SK). I've taken it in roughish conditions on a mid sized lake with odd counter-currents and 30km/hr (18mph) winds and on a leisurely paddle in a longish lake. All with good tracking and manoeuverability. At the end of each paddle, an on-looker will almost always ask if my white and orange boat brought in any water. No. It doesn't. The only time I get wet is by paddling under a waterfall in the city lake or from entering the boat with wet sandals. Self-inflicted every time. It has never let in any water. The boat is sturdy, the corrugated plastic robust, and the handling very nice. It's a real boat, folks. I wouldn't paddle it over a bed of dagger-like rocks, but it's taken some bumps and scrapes with no signs of wear.
The Oru comes with a quality seat too, much like other kayaks in it's category. It doesn't have any dedicated storage, but you can stuff things behind the seat and strap items to the bow. (Straps included.) Mostly because of storage, I'd call the Oru mostly a daytripping kind of kayak. At some point this summer I plan do an overnight paddle across a nearby lake with a backpacking tent and sleeping bag tucked behind the seat. If you had someone to carry some of your multiday gear, you could easily take this on a longer trip.
- - - The Clever Twist
People will stop to talk as you assemble the Oru. It's natural. You show up with a box and ride into the waves in a boat. Who doesn't want to know more? It takes a maybe 30 minutes the first time you fold it into a boat, but after that can assemble it in less than 10 (mine has a particularly tough spot on the front fold that will get more flexible with more folds and reduce this time a bit). Collapsing it into a box is even quicker - 5 minutes max and that's mostly if you take time to sponge the water off and let it air dry a bit. There's one especially gratifying step in the folding process, a moment where you are folding it up where it's a boat, basically a boat, still a boat, then wham - a box. This gets a collective "ahh" from a crowd of onlookers every time and makes me grin like I invented the thing. Which I didn't. Still, I get a moment to bask in the brilliance of the design.
Everything - seat, footrest, even a PFD can be stowed in the box. I have a two-piece paddle and that's really the only thing I need to store outside the box. The box is about 32"x29"x12", though I'd give it at least 18" of width for proper storage. It fits in the corner of my bedroom.
While transporting is way more convenient than a rigid vessel, the Oru is a bit big in my Ford Focus hatchback. It takes up 2/3 of the back seat or most of my hatch. Because the straps and handles catch on the seat or hatch a bit, it fits best in an empty hatch, which mine never is. When I first got it I thought I could store the Oru in my hatch under its cover, but the Oru is taller than the hatch cover, meaning I can tuck it in there, but need to cover it with a blanket to keep people from seeing the kayak and its "Oru kayak" wording through my back window. A slightly bigger vehicle would be ideal. You could tuck the Oru in the back cargo area of an SUV easily and nobody would even know it was there.
Carrying the kayak is comfortable for fifty meters (50 yards) or so. But it is kind of awkward any farther. It's just a bit too big and sways into my calf or hip periodically. Once assembled, the kayak is light and easily carried, reminds me of the Olympic-stye racing kayaks for how easy it can be carried.
- - - Costumer Service
I've contacted Oru a few times via email and had friendly responses from Jess, Oru's customer service rep. My kayak arrived in six weeks as advertised on the site. They say four to six, but I'd expect six is the norm.
After the kayak arrived, I misplaced the user's manual and Jess shipped another copy within days of my email.
- - - Extras
The paddle, float bags and backpack. All of these are available on the Oru site now. I don't own any of these, figured I'd make sure I liked the boat first before investing too deeply into the system. I expect them all to be the same quality as the kayak and will probably purchase a backpack as my adventures take me farther from parking lots. I picked up a Aquabound Sting Ray paddle over the Oru paddle mostly because I got to try the Aquabound at a local store. (The Sting Ray is outstanding, by the way.)
- - - The Price
First, I'll say that for the month of August 2014, Oru is offering $100 off if you enter a code from someone who has purchased one. Feel free to enter VXISCSF7 at checkout for your discount. In return I get a gift certificate from REI as well.
By now, price can be your only reservation. The Oru is $1195 US. The Oru is capable and very convenient. I have it in the water about every third day, often on my way home from work. In the month I've owned it, after shipping costs and converting to Canadian dollars, the boat has cost me about $120 per hour of use. By the end of summer, I'll be at $60. And that's just my first summer with this kayak.
In short, the sheer convenience of this boat means I use it a lot. More than I would a rigid-build one that needs to be manhandled from a garage and strapped to a car. For me, it instantly rekindled a love of paddling and is worth every penny.
- - - Summary Pros + Cons
In terms of handling, I'm pretty impressed. The Oru is only 26 pounds, which makes for pretty responsive maneuvering in the water. It seems pretty quick too, possibly because it weighs half the weight of similar sized kayaks.
The seat is about as comfortable as other kayaks I've paddled. It's not sitting on a couch comfortable, but it's definitely something you can handle for a couple of hours on the water. The adjustable back and foot bar make it easy to customize for all sizes.
The cockpit rim is very similar to traditional kayaks, which means many accessories like skirts and clip on cup holders will still work.
Some downsides include the lack of storage bins (it's just not possible since the boat folds). There's plenty of space behind the seat to shove stuff, but it's not particularly accessible while paddling. There are also tie-down straps to attach extra equipment.
I also have a little bit of trouble getting into the boat. it seems slightly tighter than other kayaks I've tried. Each time I enter/exit the boat, it seems to get easier so this may not be a real issue (and I'm by no means a small person at 6'2" so many people might not even notice).
You can read a more in-depth review on my blog:
The kayak is surprisingly fast, tracks very well, and is simplicity itself to set up. The longest trips I've made so far have been around 9-10 miles.
The reason I chose the Oru Kayak is that I live in a second floor walk-up apartment, lack the storage space for a standard kayak, and I drive a small car. Previously, I used an inflatable kayak for several years. The Oru Kayak sets up faster than the inflatables, and has the advantages of rigidity and speed. It is not a perfect fishing kayak, but it is certainly adaptable to fishing and will get you to your favorite fishing hole quickly and easily.
This kayak is an amazing accomplishment from a talented team, and it can open the door to outdoor adventures for thousands of apartment dwellers and others who lack storage space. It could also be a smart choice for others who want to travel with a very capable kayak. This is a winner.
I do question the durability because a couple bumps will show dents and creases which may effect the integrity and fold marks. It is not very stable in rough water, if you become sideways and get hit by a wave, there is a high chance of flipping.
I do wish they give an extra outer vinyl bag to protect the kayak instead of using the kayak folded into a bag itself. This will prevent scratches, creases, and dents during transport.
I think future improvements that will be nice would be to adhere a vinyl skin underneath the kayak.
Have a support brace to convert into a catamaran design with inflatable tubes for extra stability.
I do wish the price point to be around $500.
Here are some highlights:
1) The boat is extremely well made. It's made out of corrugated plastic, and you'd think that the boat would be a bit flexible as a result. It's not. The Oru is rigid and responsive in the water, and doesn't get tossed around easily. Structurally, it can take a beating. I've hit rocks and logs, moored against concrete bridge pilings, and it doesn't have any gashes, rips, tears, cracks, anything. No parts have broken during setup/takedown, either.
2) IT FOLDS UP AND STORES EASILY! I can't emphasize this enough. As an urban apartment dweller, this is by far the biggest advantage it has over a traditional kayak. Not only can I put it in the back of a Smart car (thanks, Car2Go!) and drive to launching points, I've taken it on the light rail and a Metro bus. It's not particularly easy to travel with the kayak on Metro, but the rail was great! And after a full day of paddling, I can put carry it up the stairwell of my apartment and put it in the closet.
3) IT FOLDS UP AND STORES EASILY! Yes, I'm saying this again, but going to talk about the actual process of unfolding and closing up the Oru. Like most reviewers below, it takes some getting used to before actually feeling comfortable when building and taking apart the Oru. The first time I put it together, I used the video provided by the people at Oru and it took me about 25 minutes. Part of the time, I spent explaining the concept and process to passers-by, but it definitely takes a decent amount of time on the first go. Same thing when putting it together. The folds of the boat are extremely stiff for the first couple of folds, but after doing it a few times, it gets much easier and takes substantially less time. I can put the boat together in a little more than 5 minutes, and take it apart in just under 5. (Helpful tip: don't be afraid to sit on the boat to close it up. Just make sure the footrest is free of the folds first!)
4) You can take the kayak places other boats can't go. The carrying strap allows for a shoulder mount, which can be used for easy transport of the boat to more remote locations. I've hiked with the boat about 1.5 miles in the Snoqualmie Pass area to a remote lake where I was the only boat on the water. It is a bit cumbersome to carry it on your shoulder and I wouldn't recommend anything super strenuous until the backpack comes out (sometime soon, I think). But, weighing only 25 lbs, you can easily carry it on a hike.
Other minor things to note:
• I'm 5-11, 175 lbs, so the cockpit and boat fit really well. It seems there would be potential issues for someone who would be extremely tall, or extremely heavy.
• You WILL have to demonstrate the folding/unfolding process if you launch in a public place. Every single time I've launched, even in more remote city locations, people have asked about the kayak and wanted to learn more. But, trust me, this is a rewarding experience and reinforces how cool the product is.
• Like I mentioned above, be prepared to spend a little bit of time figuring out the initial setup and takedown procedures. And don't be afraid to use force to fold it back up. It can handle it! Just make sure the footrest is out of the way of folds when putting it back together, and use any available hull straps to keep it temporarily shut while you put the cover/lid and outer straps on.
• Try not to get frustrated by the initial process. The first few times you setup and takedown the kayak, you should be prepared to spend **at least** 15 minutes each way. It gets faster with experience as you learn to recognize where the folds are and how much force you can actually apply to the boat.
• The initial outing in the boat took some time getting used to. Like some people have mentioned below, the Oru is lightweight, portable, and fast. That also makes it feel light in the water. Spend time in calm water first, and you'll get a great feel for how it handles.
Overall, I'm extremely happy with the Oru Kayak and look forward to many years of use!
The kayak was stable, easy to paddle, tracked well, turned easily, and was dry inside. The freeboard is a little higher than my hard shell. The backrest and seat pad are OK. There is a simple adjustable bar for your feet. All-in-all it performed as expected for a 12 foot long, 25 inch wide, 25 pound plastic kayak despite its unusual construction. I will have to wait for spring to test it further.
Overall, I've absolutely loved it. My wife and I were considering buying traditional rigid kayaks (we are new to kayaking) but when a friend told me about the Oru, I thought it would be a great substitute. For us, the flexibility of being able to throw 2 kayaks in the trunk or take them on the bus at a moments notice is an unbeatable proposition. Oslo is full of new places to head out on the water, and we wouldn't bother if we had to move around two big kayaks. Furthermore, I don't know where we'd store 2 normal kayaks.
Almost as important, the boat feels nice to paddle. It's much stiffer and tougher than you'd expect, it's comfortable to sit in (I'm 6'2", 185 lbs), and it is quite stable (and doesn't leak if you put it together right!). I've mostly paddled on flat water, but also on a couple of rough days in the Oslo fjord. I've also launched in some rocky and steep places and it seems to be holding up outside of cosmetic scratches.
I'd caution folks on a couple things. It's not an iPhone. You need to take some time to get to know how to put it together and take it apart. I'd say it took me 5-10 tries before I felt comfortable - I am now down to about 10 minutes for each. If you rush things before you really know how to do it - which I did of course - you can risk getting a leak. The instructions were very useful to get started and I should have paid more attention to them the first several times I assembled the kayak. Furthermore, I'd also say that you need to be careful if you are more than 6'2". I took a friend out who is 6'4" and he felt it was a little tight.
The best thing about the Oru is it makes you think about kayaking in a whole new way. I go places most kayakers wouldn't consider and I can decide to go last minute if the weather is nice!
This is only a snippet of "Part I" of my review of the Oru. See the whole review on my Facebook page at goo.gl/UfEulN
I don't have enough kayak experience to have a good feel of how it handles compared with other kayaks, but found it handles well. I'm 5' 10" and about 181 lbs. An older woman kayaker told me she bought a Kevlar kayak because it was only 30 lbs and she couldn't carry much weight. She was astounded mine weighted 25 lbs.
I think each kayak design makes tradeoffs, but the portability, and quick set up compared with other foldable kayaks, makes up for any shortcomings.
I had a buckle get stuck. I sent a picture to the company and they said it apparently got cross threaded, presumably because it didn't go in straight. They offered to send in a new strap and buckle, but I succeeded in unbuckling it by pulling hard on the strap with pliers while stabilizing the boat with my feet and pressing the releases.
What this kayak is not is a kayak designed to feel rigid and rugged - it is lightweight, portable and fast. It is however rugged. I don't feel like it is going to fail on me. Once I got used to paddling it, I was racing along and enjoying myself.
The minor issues I had I addressed with Oru, and they were extremely responsive over them.
Personally I recommend them.
Luckily, Oru Kayak is based in the East Bay (Calif.), and though a friend of a friend, I was able to arrange a test run on Saturday. On all counts, I was extremely impressed!
The assembly was as easy as advertised. Anton Willis, the Oru's inventor was there to walk me through assembly, but its simple and intuitive. With a little practice, anyone will be able to assemble and break down the Oru within 5 minutes.
On the water, the Oru handles smoothly and is surprisingly fast. I can't speak for extreme ocean or whitewater kayakers, but the Oru will be able to easily handle whatever I can throw at it.
Lastly, durability. In the video on Oru's Kickstarter page, its hard to tell how strong the material is. I'd seen it described as similar to what postal bins are made out of, but in fact its a much hardier form of corrugated plastic. Its strong enough to stand in with full weight, and I didn't worry about dinging it at all. And Anton said that it can be folded 20,000 times without weakening.
All in all, I really like this boat. My only complaint is that I won't be able to get one of my own until next spring (2013).
120,000+ people can't be wrong!
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