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Oru Kayak : FirstLook/FirstUse

Fits in the backseat...really!!!

Since moving to New Hampshire’s Mt. Monadnock Region it’s been impossible to miss the incredible number of vehicles toting kayaks or canoes on their roof racks. Clearly, the abundance of pretty lakes and waterways in the mountainous scenery around Peterborough are very much appreciated and enjoyed.

Even so, the investment into a kayak and a roof rack is considerable. For this nature-loving driver of a small convertible, it’s not even a viable choice.

Therefore, my summer intern Mikan and I turned to another option: an Oru Folding Kayak. The Oru Kayak company, based in Emeryville, CA, has the entrepreneurial tech feel that is dear to my heart.

I placed my order directly with Oru Kayak, and their Beach LT arrived less than six weeks later, as promised, and well-protected in a large and sturdy cardboard box. It was one of the more exciting arrivals on my front porch!

I chose the Beach LT, knowing that it would be 1) sufficient for the lakes here in New Hampshire, and 2) provide enough room to take the Shiba Inu Intern along, when so desired by both parties…

The architecture and design of the kayak is slick, innovative, and efficient. The body of the kayak is constructed as one piece. The sturdy and foldable material is comparable to the white USPS letter storage boxes, and as such, it does take some getting used to.

Detailed instructions for the origami kayak assembly are available in the leaflet delivered with the kayak, and in the easy-to-follow assembly videos on and YouTube. Because the material starts out a little stiff, it was well worth the time to “use” it in the basement and go through assembly and repacking a few times before taking the magic vessel out into nature.

I would also advise leaving the Beach LT in its kayak form for a few days to let it settle into that structure.

Eventually, a few vacation days came and with them, the maiden voyage for the Beach LT.

The Oru Kayak turned out to be particularly suitable for this first local trip, as the kayak launch was a short walk from the parking lot. At a weight of 23 pounds (the same weight as the Shiba Inu Intern!), the Oru is a comfortable carry for short distances, and therefore it opens up entrance to waterways that are less accessible to others who need boat launches or have heavy gear to drop off.

With the little bit of basement practice, it took me less than 15 minutes to put the kayak together and make it launch ready for this first excursion. I am sure the process will speed up over time. Everything clicks right into place (with a little bit of effort). With the exception of the carrying straps, all the pieces neatly packaged into the portable box (actually, it’s the kayak itself) become essential parts of the Beach LT.

Seat and footrests are fully adjustable, the cockpit is roomy and there is plenty of storage space behind the seat.

Once launched, the Beach LT is comfortable and lightweight, and very stable and easy to maneuver. The kayak feels particularly well-suited for the nature lover, as its displacement is not too deep, and it glides smoothly over water flora without causing damage and with little sound.

In short, as an expert social-distances and nature lover, I am in love with my new means of transportation. In love!

On a windy day in slightly more choppier waters, the Beach LT still maneuvers well, even though it easily drifts somewhat, as one would expect for a lightweight boat without a rudder or a skeg.

Refolding the Beach LT into its transport version takes a little skill but with a practice it is easily accomplished, and quickly. What is especially nice is how easily it can be cleaned, inside and out.

I have been out a in the Beach LT a few times now, and have noticed that, upon completion of my voyages, I typically take no more time to refold the kayak as other kayakers need to place and secure their vessels on their car roofs. On a beautiful kayaking kind of a day, I have rarely have that at my disposition anyway 😉

With a price point at the higher end for a kayak—but still very reasonable—when considering that the Oru foldable kayaks eliminate the need for the pricy roof rack, I can highly recommend the Beach LT.

I hope that one day soon I will get a chance to test paddle the sportier Bay ST, which is probably more suitable for the New England ocean waters than the Beach LT.

Further updates with Shiba Inu Intern on board might follow, but so far, we have not reached agreement for the overall arrangement. We are still negotiating the SSMTR (sitting-still minimum time requirement) to make the kayak, unfolding, worthwhile 😉

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