7 Best Folding Kayaks in 2022

Testing folding kayaks on water

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Not everyone has a garage or enough storage space for a full-sized kayak. Folding kayaks solve the problem of space in a big way as they can relatively quickly fold into something compact.

You can also put some folding models on your back and hop on a bus to get to your waterway.

There are a number of folding kayak-style products and it can be difficult to find the best fit for what you are looking for. Although some of them can be a little expensive, folding kayaks are a great way to take your kayak with you on holiday as well as transport it without having to use roof racks.

The folding kayaks featured on this list are not only extremely portable, they also offer exceptional performance and versatility in the water. Read on to find out the best folding kayaks currently available on the market.

Top 7 Folding Kayaks in 2022

All the Folding Kayaks We've tested

Best Overall

Oru Kayak Bay ST Folding Kayak
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Made from a single sheet of reinforced plastic, this Oru kayak is inspired by origami and can be assembled in 3-4 minutes. The Oru kayaks are some of the most lightweight and versatile folding kayaks on the market. The inlet is their entry model, and the least expensive.

There are five Oru kayaks models available designed for different conditions. The three open cockpit models are the Inlet, the Beach and the Haven. They are built for flatwater and are stable and beginner friendly. The Haven is a 2 person or tandem model.

The other two models are the Coast, and the Bay that are closed cockpit performance models that can handle harsh water conditions but do take some practice to master.

The Oru Inlet folding kayak is a great example of the Oru product line and is designed to be used recreationally on flat water. It takes 3-4 minutes to set up, once you get the hang of it, and it’s lightweight enough for easy transport.

This folding kayak is also durable and tough, featuring a double-layered hull that is both puncture and abrasion-resistant. Additionally, the Oru Inlet provides a range of features that make it comfortable including a spacious cockpit and adjustable foot and backrests.

Specs & Features

  • Material: Polypropylene plastic
  • Length: 9’ 8”
  • Folded Dimensions: 40” x 19” x 10”
  • Capacity: 275 lbs (125 kg)
  • Weight: 20 lbs (9 kg)

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7

Reasons to buy:

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    Beginner friendly
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    Lightweight and compact
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    Stable with a good level of tracking
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    Quick set up
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    Puncture and abrasion-resistant

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markDoesn’t include the paddle

Excellent Tracking

pakayak-bluefin-142-featured
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Through an innovative nesting design, Pakayak has created a folding sea kayak that can be easily stored within itself (much like a Russian Doll). On the water, there’s little to distinguish this model from a standard, recreational, plastic kayak.

Each of the 5 sections connects through tongue and groove and is held together with multiple stainless steel clamps, while a silicone gasket rests in the inside of the kayak keeping it watertight.

The Pakyak Bluefin 142 folding kayak features a lean and long hull that tracks well in most conditions and can even be used to surf small waves. The Pakayak folding kayak can be assembled in just 3 minutes by unpacking and attaching each section.

With the Pakayak Bluefin 142, you get two bungee systems, two storage compartments, and lots of cockpit space. The carry handles make this folding kayak quite easy to transport. This folding kayak is generally more suited for paddlers with some experience and we don’t recommend beginners take into choppy waters.

Specs & Features

  • Material: Specially formulated plastic resin
  • Length: 14’2”
  • Folded Dimensions: 170” x 24” x 16”
  • Capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Weight: 59 lbs (26.7 kg)

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.5

Reasons to buy:

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    Quick and easy set up
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    High level of tracking and maneuverability
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    Suitable for experienced kayakers
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    Innovative packaging design
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    2 sealed bulkheads at fore & aft for floatation

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markHeavy compared to other folding kayaks
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Pakayak Bluefin 142

Most Portable

tucktec-featured
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The Tucktec folding kayak offers a roll design that makes this folding kayak extremely compact when packed away. This folding kayak is a lot more affordable and less durable than some of the other folding kayaks on this list.

While not a very good performer, it’s still suitable for a fun time on flat water and will even do well enough as a fishing kayak on calm stream rivers.

The Tucktec utilizes a hard plastic shell and a wide design that helps stabilize the kayak when on the water. The Tucktec is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a recreational and easy-to-use folding kayak.

It’s relatively quick to set up and once mastered you can set it up in about 3 minutes. That makes it maybe the fastest folding kayak, which makes up for it not being so good at tracking.

It’s important to note that the Tucktec folding kayak won’t handle choppy or difficult water conditions very well, making it most suitable for flat water.

Specs & Features

  • Material: ​​High Density Polyethylene
  • Length: 10’
  • Folded Dimensions: 48” x 31” x 15”
  • Capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Weight: 28 lbs (12.7 kg)

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.4

Reasons to buy:

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    Lightweight
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    Affordable
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    Easy to setup and take apart
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    Good tracking and maneuverability
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    Center fin helps with tracking

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNot very durable and doesn’t handle choppy conditions well
  • check-markCan be hard to set up and fold in cold weather
  • check-markDifficult to get back into the kayak once in the water
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Tucktec

trak-20-featured
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The TRAK 2.0 is an excellent, portable folding kayak that offers better performance with the purpose of touring in mind. This folding kayak features 3 hydraulic jacks and a skin-on-frame design that gives it as much a sea kayak experience as any folding kayak.

The TRAK 2.0 folding kayak can handle almost any condition you’ll encounter when kayaking. With military-grade durable skin and carbon fiber ribs, this folding kayak can take a hit and will not puncture easily. It takes around 10 minutes to pack or unpack the pieces for the kayak and you won’t need any tools to set it up. Additionally, this kayak is comfortable and spacious with the option of customizing the cockpit to your specific needs.

Specs & Features

  • Material: Durable military-grade polyurethane and carbon fiber
  • Length: 16’
  • Folded Dimensions: 41” x 19” x 9”
  • Capacity: 350 lbs (159 kg)
  • Weight: 53 lbs (24 kg)

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.2

Reasons to buy:

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    High quality and durable materials
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    Keder storage system for dry storage
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    Great stability and tracking
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    Can deal with harsh conditions
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    Hydraulic jacks allow for changing rocker for different conditions

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markExpensive
Read full review

Where to buy:

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TRAK 2.0

mark-i-long-haul-featured
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If you are an experienced kayaker looking for a folding kayak that will allow you to travel long distances and even go on expeditions, you definitely want to check out the Long Haul folding kayaks. The Mark I is a slightly more complicated skin-on-frame design for touring or expeditions.

As one of the heaviest folding kayaks on the market, this boat is both more robust and less portable than other models. But the Mark I Long Haul offers paddlers a high level of comfort, stability, and reliability allowing them to paddle into rough conditions.

Other features include an 8” keel strip, 12 D-rings on deck, and grab handles at both the bow and stern of the kayak. Each Mark I comes with a comfortable seat, a packing sleeve, and a bag for portability.

Specs & Features

  • Material: Ash and birch wooden frames, CSM rubber hull, and vinyl-coated acrylic deck fabric
  • Length: 16’
  • Folded Dimensions: 29" x 19" x 5"
  • Capacity: 600 lbs (272 kg)
  • Weight: 69 lbs (31 kg)

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4

Reasons to buy:

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    Great for touring and expeditions
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    Becomes extremely compact when folded
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    Durable and can deal with rough conditions
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    High capacity for bringing along extra equipment and gear

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markExpensive
  • check-markHeavier than some other folding kayaks
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Mark I Long Haul

aerius-490-sl-klepper-america-featured
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The Aerius 490 SL multipurpose folding kayak by Klepper America is ideal for heavier paddlers and offers a large storage capacity for expeditions. It’s length gives it a pretty decent tracking profile and makes it a very decent touring boat.

The Aerius 490 SL is a spacious and comfortable folding kayak that provides a high level of performance. One of the distinguishing features of this kayak is its extremely high capacity of 660 lbs, making it ideal for heavy paddlers who also want to bring lots of gear with them.

With a weight of 63 lbs, its robustness means that it’s less portable than some other models. But with a higher price tag, this is going to be for yakkers that want to do more than just float around in circles.

It takes about 12 minutes to set this kayak up as you need to connect all the pieces, however, this is easy with Klepper’s snap-lock system. The Aerius 490 SL folding kayak offers many features including an adjustable foam seat and backrest, two air sponsons, a large deck bungee system, and a number of carrying toggles for extra portability.

Specs & Features

  • Material: Reinforced CSM hull with a waterproof Egyptian cotton deck
  • Length: 16’
  • Folded Dimensions: 52”x14”x10”
  • Capacity: 660 lbs (300 kg)
  • Weight: 63 lbs (27 kg)

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4

Reasons to buy:

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    Comfortable and spacious
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    Made of high quality, durable materials
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    Excellent for long journeys and expeditions
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    Can be used in rough conditions and offers a number of safety features
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    Very high capacity for heavy paddlers and bringing along extra equipment and gear

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markTakes a while to setup
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Aerius 490 SL Klepper America

neris-smart-featured
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The Neris Smart folding kayak features a hybrid construction that has a frame that makes it rigid but also inflatable kayak-like chambers that allow it to maintain its lightweight quality. It’s more of a fun option that will provide portability over performance.

The Neris Smart folding kayak is spacious and comfortable and offers paddlers a fun and enjoyable experience. With an intelligent hybrid construction of both a frame and inflatable sections, the Neris provides a stable and maneuverable folding kayak for use by both beginners and experienced kayak enthusiasts. It takes about 15 minutes to set up this folding kayak as you need to blow up the inflatable sections. This innovatively designed folding kayak is ideal for anybody looking for an affordable yet good-quality kayak that is best suited for recreational kayaking.

Specs & Features

  • Material: High-quality marine grade PVC fabrics
  • Length: 13’
  • Folded Dimensions: 39” x 22” x 8”
  • Capacity: 440 lbs (200 kg)
  • Weight: 39 lbs (17.7 kg)

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

3.8

Reasons to buy:

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    Lightweight
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    Affordable
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    Simple and reliable hybrid design
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    Spacious and comfortable cockpit
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    Compact for portability

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markDoesn’t come with a paddle
  • check-markTakes a while to set up because of inflation
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Neris Smart

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Folding Kayak Buyer’s Guide

Types of Kayak

There are a number of different types of folding kayaks to choose from depending on what you are looking for. The two main types of folding kayaks are origami kayaks and frame folding kayaks.

Origami kayaks are made of hardened reinforced plastic that folds to create the hull of the kayak. Alternatively, frame folding kayaks are constructed using pieces of wood that form a frame that is then covered by a kayak skin that is composed of some type of waterproof fabric.

You might also want to check out our guide to the best inflatable kayaks as they are a more affordable option compared to folding kayaks.

Durability

There is a misconception that folding kayaks are weak, flimsy, and not as durable as traditional kayaks, however thanks to advances in technology and design this is no longer the case. Nowadays folding kayaks are constructed using strong and durable materials such as PVC, CMS, tough rubber, or reinforced plastic.

This means that folding kayaks are very durable and can take a lot of punishment. They are also built to be watertight and resistant to scratches and knocks as well as being pierced. That said, the main reason you’d buy a folding kayak is because of the portability that they provide.

If you’re looking for the most durable kayaks you might want to consider reading our guide to the best sea-touring kayaks.

Capacity

Another factor that you will want to consider when buying a folding kayak is the capacity of the kayak.

Origami kayaks tend to be lighter but have a lower overall capacity, whereas frame folding kayaks are heavier but have a much higher capacity. This makes frame folding kayaks better for touring and expeditions while origami kayaks are better for recreational fun.

Folding size

The folding size is an important factor to take into account when purchasing a folding kayak as this is the product’s unique selling point and the feature that will determine how compact and portable your kayak will be.

Generally speaking for the most compact folding kayak you will want to go with a frame folding kayak as they can be broken down into many different pieces and placed in a small backpack.

Although they are extremely portable and can be folded into a backpack, origami kayaks are designed to be one piece that folds making them slightly less compact than frame folding kayaks.

Setup Time

Finally, you will want to consider how long it takes to set up the kayak. Most folding kayaks take anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes to set up depending on the design of the kayak. Origami kayaks are normally a lot faster to set up than frame folding kayaks.

For example, the TuckTec can be set up in around 3 minutes as it is an origami style kayak. On the other hand, the Neris Smart folding kayaking needs up to 15 minutes to set up as you need to build the frame as well as inflate various sections of the kayak.

FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What is the best folding kayak?

There are a number of products available on the market that are calling themselves folding kayaks, however, to be one of the best folding kayaks (and make our list) the kayak needs to be extremely portable.

Check out our list of the best folding kayaks:

  • Oru Inlet Folding Kayak
  • Pakayak Bluefin 142 Folding Kayak
  • Tucktec Folding Kayak
  • TRAK 2.0 Folding Kayak
  • Mark I Long Haul Folding Kayak
  • Aerius 490 SL Klepper America Folding Kayak
  • Neris Smart Folding Kayak

Read this article to find out more about the best folding kayaks on the market.

What is a folding kayak?

A folding kayak is a portable kayak that can be packed down or folded to a transportable size. Read our article on the best folding kayaks to find the right folding kayak for you.

Are folding kayaks durable?

Yes, however folding kayaks tend to be less durable than traditional kayaks. All the folding kayaks on this list are durable, reliable, and can take a hit.

Check out our buyer’s guide for more information on the durability of folding kayaks.

How much is a folding kayak?

Folding kayaks are generally quite expensive given that it takes special know-how and adapted materials to develop them. They can cost anywhere between $500 and $5000 depending on the materials and design of the kayak.

Looking for more affordable yet still portable kayaks? Click here to see our review on the best inflatable kayaks on the market.

How to store a folding kayak?

After using your folding kayak, make sure to wash it with fresh water and let it dry. Then depending on what type of folding kayak you have, either take apart the pieces or fold them into the backpack. Make sure you take special care when storing your folding kayak as the way you store the kayak will determine its longevity.

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