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Updated October 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Oru Kayak Coast XT
Oru Kayak
Coast XT
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Expedition Ready
Bottom Line

Updated assembly features, plenty of storage, excellent stability and handling, and the lightest hull in its class make this worth a look for intermediate to expert kayakers.

Pros

Easy to unfold and fold. Zipper-style hull closure is an improvement over earlier models. At 16 feet, it offers stability and speed on rivers, oceans, and lakes. Handles well in rough water and waves. Long glides are comparable to hardshell kayaks. Good storage capacity.

Cons

Storing and accessing gear is frustrating to figure out.

Best Bang for the Buck
Tucktec 10-Foot Folding Kayak
Tucktec
10-Foot Folding Kayak
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Fun Budget Option
Bottom Line

Great for light paddling on a calm, sunny day, but choose another brand for touring or uncertain weather conditions.

Pros

Rated for 350 pounds and thousands of folds, this hardshell foldable kayak should last several seasons. Unique retractable fin can be lifted out of the way for launch. Good tracking through still water. Six-clamp setup makes for fast take down.

Cons

Its low sides and open cockpit make it vulnerable to splashover in choppy waters.

Oru Kayak Beach LT
Oru Kayak
Beach LT
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Best for Beginners
Bottom Line

A great, anytime craft for new and experienced paddlers, thanks to its folding design, stability and tracking, and light weight.

Pros

Quickly unfolds and snaps into place so you can launch within five minutes of unpacking. Folds quickly and can be stored in most car trunks. Rated for 20,000 folds. Extremely light at just 26 pounds. Open cockpit accommodates tall paddlers.

Cons

Clip-and-strap buckle for the bow and stern can be tough to fasten securely.

Oru Kayak Bay ST
Oru Kayak
Bay ST
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Intermediates Only
Bottom Line

Skittish control and an uncomfortable seat mar an otherwise fun, springy experience in this lightweight folding kayak.

Pros

Oru’s first origami design is a revolutionary watercraft. Its prototype hangs in San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. Rust-resistant hardware and polypropylene hull hold up to water intrusion, UV rays, and routine beaching. Best for intermediate paddlers.

Cons

Backrest and seat are uncomfortable. Lightweight, so you can get tossed around.

ADVANCED ELEMENTS Expedition Elite
ADVANCED ELEMENTS
Expedition Elite
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Best for Long Trips
Bottom Line

An outstanding touring kayak with stability and comfort for long paddles that folds to a compact size for portage or the drive home.

Pros

Designed for touring, this sturdy 13-foot kayak combines a folding frame with inflatable hull and floor to provide stability, durability, and accurate tracking. Reinforced aluminum rib at the bow and stern. Plenty of storage space. Deflates quickly and folds into a compact duffel bag.

Cons

Bow and stern can take a while to dry after use in rough water, and it's heavy at 57 pounds.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

62
Models
Considered
60
Consumers
Consulted
30
Hours
Researched
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Foldable kayaks are not exactly a new concept, but until recently, few designs offered what kayakers want: durability, portability, and stability in the water. Manufacturers are beginning to roll out innovative designs that meet paddlers’ demands. A quality foldable kayak can withstand multiple folding sessions and long-term storage without damage to the hull materials. It should be light enough for one to two people to carry and compact enough to fit in a car or small storage space when folded. Look for foldable kayaks that are resistant to ultraviolet (UV) rays and that have fold ratings or a reliable way to protect the hull fabric.

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