Perfect for city dwellers and beginners
Although I use Kayak (the travel website) all the time to research airfares and car rentals, I don’t use a kayaking as much as I would like. Every time I’m part of it, I think, “It’s fun. Why wouldn’t I buy one? And then I remember they tend to be big, expensive, and hard to transport. So I’m waiting for the next time I find a place on land to rent one. But after spending a few months with Oru’s latest folding kayak, the Lake, I think it might make sense for me to grab one of these smart folding kayaks to enjoy the water more often.
In keeping with its namesake, I tested the lake on a few lakes in the New England area. I first took it out myself on Pattaquattic Pond in Palmer, Massachusetts (with help from my knowledgeable buddy, Dave). At a family reunion on Lake Bantam in Connecticut, paddlers of all ages took it on a cruise (including kayakers as young as my daughters, ages 9 and 11, who each paddled by them themselves without any problem). And finally, at Hampton Ponds State Park (also in western Massachusetts), my five-year-old son and I met my good friend Joe, a recreational kayaker on rivers, lakes, ponds, harbors and some oceans for more than 20 years. years. Joe can perform rescues and self-rescues, has owned a 16-foot sea kayak for 18 years, and describes his skills at levels 2-3.
How easily Lake Oru unfolds and folds
Everyone, of all ages, who lifted the lake was impressed by its lightness. For perspective, at just 17 pounds, it’s less than half the weight of the lightest model in our roundup of the best kayaks, and it’s an inflatable model.
I did most of the folding and unfolding in each place. And the second time, I was pretty much an expert. Oru rates the setup time at 1-3 minutes, which seems right on target. I never raced to see how fast I could do it, but I’ll bet I could probably take one from suitcase to seaworthy in 30 seconds.
Their assembly video does a great job of showing exactly how to fold and unfold it. For the record, I didn’t watch the video before trying it for the first time; but I had my friend Dave (who has tackled other folding kayaks) to help me out. One big factor that made things simpler is that there are only two parts: the kayak itself and the seat/floor. Once you figure out where and how to attach the seat, it’s easy as pie.
How Lake Oru Works
Every time I have entered the lake I have found it delicious. I particularly enjoyed the feeling of being below water level and seeing the water through the translucent body of the ship. As Joe eloquently put it, “It makes you feel connected to Mother Earth and brings out the spiritual side of the paddle.” One thing we both noticed was that although it was generally straight, the lake seemed to tilt a little to either side with a firmer kick. In Joe’s words, “This can be a bit of an adjustment for stronger, more experienced paddlers, as the boat is more responsive than a hard-bodied kayak.” But it’s an adjustment you can easily make.
Other than that, it was pretty solid. For example, the lake is designed for paddlers up to 6’4″ and 250 pounds. And yet Joe – who happens to clock in at 6’6″ and 260 – said he “fits comfortably and felt stable all the time”.
How Lake Oru Compares To Others
Although I haven’t personally used any other folding kayak, Tucktec is the other big name I came across in my research. It appears to be cheaper, a little longer, and is rated to hold up to 300 pounds. Although I can’t fully comment on the contrast between these two models, Dave – who has direct experience with Tucktec and other Oru models – said the Lake was by far the simplest, most robust and the most affordable he’s seen.
Final Thoughts on Lake Oru Folding Kayak
The fact that the Lake is so compact and lightweight makes it a boon for city dwellers who probably don’t have enough storage space to house a comparable rigid kayak. But even commuters will appreciate how easy this well-designed origami piece is to toss in the trunk or backseat. (In fact, I was able to fit two folding kayaks not only in my spacious Highlander, but also in the trunk of a Subaru.) Combine these factors with its affordability and smooth ride, and you have a very accessible folding . kayak which is an easily recommendable choice for casual beginners and intermediate paddlers.
Other versions of Lake Oru
Since the lake was first released this summer, Oru has released several packages. Most notably, the upgraded Lake+ ($150 more and 1 pound heavier) features an upgraded footrest and seat with a 60% thicker gel cushion that also offers height adjustment. Definitely a welcome upgrade for longer rides. Additional packs that include the Lake and Lake+ include an assortment of other accessories, such as paddles, straps, bags, dry bags and even cool LED lights, so you can glow in the dark when floating . But at the heart of each one is a stylish recreational folding kayak that even your fourth grader can proudly wear and deftly operate on their own.
Lake Oru in brief
- Extremely easy to store and transport
- Super simple setup
- Very affordable
- Not intended for rough water or heavy surf
- Experienced paddlers may need to adjust their stroke
Price: $599 | Sitting style: sit-ins | Lester: 17 pounds | Dimensions folded: 42 x 18 x 10 inches | Dimensions unfolded: 9 feet long, 32 inches wide | Weight capacity: 250 pounds | Maximum paddler height: 6 feet, 4 inches | Installation time: 1 to 3 minutes