Oru Kayak Review 2023: Who Says Kayaks Must Be Clunky and Heavy?

Oru kayaks are a special breed of kayaks that stand out with their origami-style folding construction. Inspired by the ancient art of paper folding, these boats pack down into a compact box that transports easily and sets up in minutes into a full-sized kayak.

Made out of custom durable plastic sheets with pre-scored folds, Oru kayaks merge portability and convenience with the ruggedness of a hardshell kayak. This guide covers everything you need to know about these popular folding boats.

How Do Oru Kayaks Work?

Oru kayaks transform from a carry case into 12-16ft kayaks thanks to the unique folding process. Simply unzip the case, unfold the kayak, lock the front and rear sections, insert the seat, and tighten the straps – done!

Assembly takes 5-15 minutes depending on the model. It takes practice to smoothly assemble origami kayaks so go slow on early attempts. Study the video guides, start on clean surfaces, and use assists.

Soon you’ll be launching folded boats in under 5 minutes! We share more setup tips and folding best practices ahead.

Reviews of All Oru Kayak Models

Oru Kayak makes recreational kayaks for everything from casual paddling to serious touring. Here’s how the 8 models compare on features and performance:

Oru Lake – Compact portable model best for calm waters

Oru Kayak: Lake
  • 18 lbs carry weight, 9ft length, cockpit 24x66in
  • Pros: Easy setup and transport. Convenient for new paddlers.
  • Cons: Porosity in rougher conditions. Basic seat comfort.
  • Prince: $ 499
  • Rating: 4/5

Oru Lake+ – Upgrade over Lake with a more ergonomic seat and footrests

  • Retains portability. Improves comfort for longer trips.
  • Shared mediocre stability in wind/waves.
  • Rating: 4.5/5

Oru Inlet – Recreational sit-in model for recreational flatwater kayaking

Oru Kayak: Inlet
  • 20 lbs weight, 9ft 8in long. Offers stability with maneuverability.
  • Tracking could be better. Needs seat add-ons.
  • Prince: $ 849
  • Rating: 4/5

Oru Beach LT – Extremely stable large cockpit kayak for beginners

Oru Kayak: Beach LT
  • 12 ft model with max 300 lb capacity. Excels in flatwater gliding.
  • Tendency to ship water in rougher conditions.
  • Price: $ 1199
  • Rating: 4.5/5

Oru Beach LT Sport – Retains Beach LT’s stability while allowing easy accessory upgrades like rod holders

Oru Kayak: Beach LT Sport
  • Accessory mounting rails. Protective bow and stern caps. Upgraded gel seat.
  • Pricier than Beach LT. Not covering greater range of conditions.
  • Rating: 4/5

Oru Coast XT – Performance kayak handling surf and swell

Oru Kayak: Coast XT
  • 16 ft enclosed cockpit design. Fast and touring capable.
  • Heavy for portability. Snug cockpit for larger builds.
  • Price: $ 1999
  • Rating: 4.5/5

Oru Bay ST – All-rounder for day trips and overnights

Oru Kayak: Bay ST
  • 12ft sit-in kayak allowing river touring. Quality made.
  • So-so seat comfort. Needs expertise in choppier waters.
  • Price: $ 1424
  • Rating: 4/5

Oru Haven TT – Spacious tandem (or solo) kayak

Oru Kayak: Haven TT
  • 500 lb capacity. Extremely rigid and stable. Customizable accessories.
  • Heaviest folding model reducing portability. Slow turning.
  • Price: $ 1799
  • Rating: 4/5

Essential Accessories For Oru Kayaks

While Orus need no extra gear to get started, certain accessories enhance the experience:

  • Oru Paddle – 4-piece lightweight paddle with adjustable feathering
  • PFD – Necessary safety equipment for recreational paddling
  • Spray Skirts – Protect the lower body from splash (for Coast XT and Bay ST)
  • Oru Pack – Padded backpack case to protect during transport
  • Oru Float Bags – Aid recovery and drainage post capsizes

Seat cushions, rod holders, and gear tracks offer further customizations for comfort, fishing, and adventure photography.

Oru Kayak: Pro Bundle
Oru Kaya Inlet with accessories (Pro Bundle kit).

The Oru Kayaking Experience

Thanks to smart engineering and lightweight, Orus offer speedy cruising combined with decent stability. Shorter models allow better maneuverability in exchange for weaker tracking.

The wide Beach LT provides exceptional primary stability for beginners while the Coast XT compromises some initial wobbliness for faster top speeds. So choose a model fit for your recreational paddling style.

Cockpit space varies based on intended kayaking too. The compact Lake series focuses on maximum portability while the Haven TT tandem model prioritizes accessibility and gear capacity.

Durability and Maintenance

Being folding boats, Oru kayaks demand slightly more meticulous care for maximizing lifespan. But they are built to last generations if maintained right.

Construction – Made out of custom polypropylene plastic certified to endure 20,000 folds. The hard shell handles impacts better than most inflatables.

UV Resistance – Oru claims a 10-year anti-UV treatment. But some discoloration is expected with years of sun exposure. Use UV sprays additionally.

Common Replacements – End caps, tension hooks, and straps take the most abuse. Replacing annually prevents catastrophic failures. Occasional jammed zippers also crop up.

Best Practices – Rinse with fresh water after trips. Fully air dry before collapsing. Tighten straps moderately when storing. Inspect hardware before each use.

Repairs – The modularity of Oru kayaks allows for replacing damaged parts like hull panels, bulkheads, and seats conveniently.

Oru Kayak vs Inflatables – Which is Better?

While inflatable kayaks win on affordability, Orus deliver superior quality, performance, and durability. Casual users may overlook the price premium but enthusiasts get fuller value from folding kayaks.

Inflatables suit well for occasional calm water paddling without investment. But their porous fabric is prone to punctures and UV damage and needs replacing every few years.

Meanwhile Orus last over a decade when cared for. The plastic construction makes them faster, more efficient, and ocean-worthy while being compact during storage and transport.

So evaluate your recreational paddling interests before deciding between inflatable and folding kayak models.

FAQs – Oru Kayak Queries Answered

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about these folding boats:

Are used Orus worth buying?

Yes, if well maintained. Verify hull integrity, creases, and hardware function before purchase. Factor in any part replacements needed.

Where are Oru kayaks manufactured?

All models are proudly made in California, USA supporting local workers and the economy.

Do Orus require maintenance before long-term storage?

Rinse seats and hull, and store completely dried out. Tighten straps moderately and keep them folded top-side up. Avoid placing heavy objects.

How durable is the plastic against scrapes?

The thick polypropylene holds up very well against rocks or abrasion damage during beaching. An additional plastic layer strengthens high wear points near the seat too.

Can Oru kayaks withstand saltwater use?

Yes absolutely. Simply rinse thoroughly with fresh water after use to wash away salt deposits and prevent long-term corrosion damage of metallic parts.

How well do Oru kayaks perform in windy conditions?

The lowest-sitting models like the Lake series struggle to stay on course when gusty. But the Coast XT and Bay ST handle moderate winds quite well being longer waterline touring models. For extreme winds, inflatables face similar tracking issues.

What capacity do Oru kayaks support?

From 250 lb on the Lake model up to 500 lbs on the Haven TT tandem kayak. So they work for family excursions or heavier gear loads.

Why Invest In An Oru Kayak?

When choosing a folding Oru, prioritize your recreational kayaking interests first. These best-in-class boats cater well to certain needs despite the premium pricing:

For Travelers – Excellent checked luggage when flying to exotic waters

Small Space Dwellers – Compact storage solution without a garage

Adventure Photographers – Customize with camera/fishing mounts

Groups / Family – Transport and store multiple kayaks easily

Active Lifestyles – Spontaneous setup gets you paddling anytime

So evaluate if the sheer convenience and custom accessories an Oru unlocks outweigh the higher sticker price.

Used responsibly and cared for properly, they deliver lifetimes of world-class paddling adventures few other kayaks promise!