Oru Lake Kayak Review
The Oru Lake Kayak is the lightest non inflatable kayak on the market. When I first heard about foldable kayaks, I imagined complicated mechanisms and engineering. To my surprise, the Oru Lake Kayak is actually polypropylene origami which unfolds from a compact suitcase to a kayak in a couple of minutes. It’s portable, lightweight, and convenient for outdoor adventures on calm waters.
Material: The Oru Lake model is made from 5mm custom extruded polypropylene. A single sheet creates the origami style hull. Custom-extruded corrugated high-tech Oru plast is tough and durable.
The Oru Lake folding kayak was tough enough for a failed snow sledding attempt while going stir crazy during the winter freeze. Origami kayaks don’t make good snow sleds but are great for calm waters. The Oru Kayak crushed through slush pack around the shore just before the waters froze. It skimmed smoothly over shallow reeds and through cat tails, roots, and driftwood in the spring. Running into the dock and metal ladder multiple times didn’t phase it. The popping in and out of the folds doesn’t seem to have had an effect on the material, and it’s maintained the same structural integrity and durability over multiple trips. It’s even tough enough to bring your dog.
Performance and Handling 8
The Oru lake model skims across the water making it easy to get around, even paddling through reeds in the shallows. Great maneuverability and turning. Stability is solid and I never felt like it was going to tilt and toss me in at full speed or during sharp turns and spins. Waves from boat wakes on a busy lake are another matter, however, as they can wash over into the boat.
Tracking could be better, but the zig zag effect is minimal and tolerable. You can order a skeg from Oru as an extra accessory to improve tracking. On the water, the weight limit is 250 pounds. At 185 pounds of human, plus gear, it felt like I was stretching the limits a bit, and the boat rested low, but once I got going it wasn’t an issue. Keep the weight limit in mind when filling your cooler. If there is going to be motor-boat traffic creating wakes or high winds and choppy water, more weight will cause the Oru kayak to rest low in the water.
When I first crawled into the Oru Lake it felt like crawling into a cardboard box. I was reticent, but once seated it was stable and sturdy. There’s plenty of leg room in the cockpit and room to spare at the back for some extra gear. The basic model comes with a very plain, flat seat, and backrest that can be tiresome on the rump and lower back on longer trips. Oru has a line of accessories such as splash guards, gel seats, and even LED light sets to add more comfort and fun.
The Oru Lake weighs eighteen pounds and is their lightest model yet. When folded, the Oru Lake turns into a compact 42″ x 11″ x 18″ suitcase with a convenient carrying handle, making it easily portable. You can also attach a D-ring to DIY a shoulder strap, or you can order one from Oru. A shoulder strap is good for longer treks if you have a bit of a hike to the water.
Through origami magic, the Oru Lake unfolds to 9′ feet by 32″ inches. When folded, it can easily fit in your trunk or the back seat. Easy to transport and carry like a suitcase and lighter than your luggage. The Oru kayak is compact enough to enter checked baggage on your next flight.
Ease of Setup 10
Once you get used to popping in the folds on the Oru Lake, set up time is quick: Less than two minutes. Read the directions to learn the proper method. There is a guide on the kayak itself with dashed lines and a hand symbol to let you know where to place your palm when popping the folds in for setup and out for folding it back up. Riveted straps with plastic buckles make it a cinch.
Unfold the Oru, pop in the folds with your palm, align the seat, snap the buckles, tighten the straps, and you’re ready to get in the water. The Oru portable kayak unfolds from compact suitcase to a boat in less than two minutes. This box to boat approach eliminates the need for roof racks and tow straps.
With such compact dimensions (42″ x 11″ x 18″) the Oru Lake can fit in a closet, under a bed, in your trunk, backseat, and into checked baggage on a plane. The versatile and lightweight folding kayak is a great alternative for senior citizens who might have trouble lifting a traditional kayak, or college students who need to store a kayak in their dorm room and have to take a bus to the nearest lake.
Pros and Cons
Lightweight (18 lbs.)
Compact Design (Folded: 42″x11″x18″) (Unfolded: 9’x32″)
Easy to store and transport
Ease of setup (2 minutes)
Skims the water for fluid maneuverability
Open to wash over from waves
Sharp edges on seat
Minimal tracking capability
Uncomfortable for longer trips
Every model of Oru kayak has a one-year warranty for any defects in material or workmanship from the date of purchase.
The Oru Lake model is great for casual kayaking on calm waters. Storage is effortless compared to most kayaks which require a lot of space. Once I got over the “crawling into a cardboard box” feeling, the Oru is a lot of fun. Paddling in choppy waters from wind or boat wakes causes the handling and maneuverability to drop depending on how much weight is in the boat. The tracking isn’t straight forward, but the zig zag effect is minimal, and it never took away from the fun of being out on the water. A skeg is available from Oru as an upgrade.
The Oru Lake model has held up nicely through ice and snow and freezing temps, trudging through thick reeds in the shallows, and all the accompanying bumps and dings along the way. The Oru foldable kayak’s convenience and portability are what sold me on it.. The Oru Lake and other Oru models are ideal for people who can’t lift heavy weight and still want to get out on the water. Being able to toss an eighteen-pound kayak in the car makes for quick spontaneous adventures and it’s great for day trips. Just leaving it in the trunk has created opportunities for adventure on back roads. You never know when you’ll come across a good watering hole.
Bonus: Tips for Using Your Oru Lake Kayak
Popping the folds in to use the Oru kayak took a moment to get used to. It’s sturdy enough to put some force into it. ‘X’ marks the spot for your hand placement to pop the folds in or out. The instructions are easy to follow, so be sure to read them. Setup time takes about two minutes.
Make sure the seat is in place and under the ledge before tightening the straps during setup. When folding the Oru back down for storage, make sure the single handle is outside of the seat, or you’ll have to unfold the whole thing and disassemble the seat holder to get to it. This handle allows you to carry the folding kayak like a suitcase.