Water sports have a ridiculously high barrier of entry. Unlike hiking, snowshoeing, or cycling—where you really just need one or two specific pieces of gear and then you're good to go—there's a lot of gear involved in any water sport like kayaking, rafting, or stand-up paddleboarding. And that gear is expensive. And heavy. And takes up a lot of space. Space that your 300-sq-ft downtown apartment doesn't have.
For the past eight years, San Francisco-Based Oru Kayak has been developing watercraft to eliminate the most common barriers to kayak ownership—storage and transport. And this month they’ve released an impressive update to their original origami-inspired design, the Oru Kayak Beach LT—a kayak we've spent many hours in, enjoying every moment of it.
Since launch on Kickstarter a decade ago, Oru Kayak has yet to stop innovative, releasing new designs and collaborations almost yearly, and ever updating the existing lineup to be lighter, easier to assemble, and more accessible. The redesigned Beach LT boasts all the same clever design features that’s made their beginner-friendly boat a genuine classic, with a few inventive additions.
A new buckle closure strap system makes for a more intuitive setup, while additional functional updates make long term paddles more comfortable, like a cushioned seat and adjustable footrest and backbrace to maximize support. The redesigned floorboard system increases stability and rigidity in the boat for better tracking and performance, making it a perfect vessel for beginners. Something we can confirm, fully.
In terms of stowage and assembly, the overall box design is now more compact when collapsed. Weighing just 26 lbs with a capacity of 300 lbs, the suitcase sized folded kayak is small enough to lug on a subway, city bus, or stash in a compact car’s trunk. And of course, it’s near infinitely easier to stow than a full size kayak.
Setup wise, the American-made Beach LT is now easier than ever thanks to instructional QR codes and a fresh screen print right on the kayak itself. While the highly durable, double-walled “learning” polypropylene material that is often stiff at first, it will become more playable and easier to assemble after fold cycles. From experience, we can confirm the Beach LT can go from box to boat in around five minutes. Real pros can even do it in as little as three.
Though you might be glaring at the price tag, keep in mind that similar hard flatwater kayaks of the same size (about 12 feet long) will run you around the same price, if not more, and they will not fit in your shoebox of a closet when you're back home. It's a much better deal if you ask us.
Plus, there are many things you'd need to consider if buying a hard kayak—things you wouldn't even have to think about with an Oru Kayak. Like, what kind of car do you have to haul this monstrous 60+ pound vessel from point A to point B? Does this car already have roof racks? Because nice new roof racks can cost you anywhere from $250-500 if you want to ball out; and even decent used ones can run you more than $100. And, most importantly, where the hell are you going to store it?
These are all things a buyer doesn't need to think about when investing in an Oru Kayak, which make these so much more accessible. Additionally, expensive pieces of gear like this one almost always offer payment plans that'll help you get you out on the water quicker.
Now that you're convinced, just pop this puppy in the back of your Prius and head to your nearest body of water.