Oru Kayak Review: A Novelty Or Something Much More?

Chances are that since you are researching the Oru Bay kayak, you are familiar with its “coolness” factor. Just in case you don’t know what’s so special about this kayak, let me break it down for you in the various synonyms that I can.

This invention is actually a folding kayak, origami kayak, or can also be called a “collapsible boat”. In the following article, you will find all the details regarding all the models with pictures and videos, and our brand new FAQ section that will answer every question you may have regarding this uniquely built kayak!

Let’s get started:

Currently, The Oru Bay Kayak Comes In Three Models:

Model #1: Oru Beach LT Folding Kayak

The Oru Beach LT is perfect for beginners and professionals alike, and thanks to its folded space-saving design, even apartment dwellers can enjoy the fun of kayaking. This foldable kayak collapses to the size of a backpack and is perfect for flatwater kayaking on large bodies of water, such as lakes and slow rivers, making it perfect for casual fun and day trips.

The Oru Kayak LT Model
Image of ORU LT Model; Credit: Oru Kayak Company

Easy to assemble, the Oru Beach LT has a wide beam measuring 28 inches that makes it stable and easy to paddle, even by those with little experience. It’s durable plastic material can be folded thousands of times without any wear or tear, and a large cockpit makes it easy to get in and out of.

The Oru Beach LT folding kayak measures 12 feet by 28 inches and weighs approximately 25 pounds. It has a padded foam seat and can support up to 300 pounds. The Oru Beach LT  also has an adjustable footrest, backrest, and carrying handles for easy maneuverability.

The Beach LT kayak is also the most inexpensive ones of the Oru Bay kayak line.

Model #2: Oru Bay ST Folding Kayak

The Bay ST kayak is easy to store and won’t occupy a large amount of space like traditional kayaks.

With built-in carrying handles, the ability to collapse into a small package, and a 28 pound weight, this folding kayak is easy to take with you in a car or on a hike. The Oru Bay ST Kayak is easy to assemble, giving you more time to enjoy the water, and is made out of strong, double layered polypropylene. That means that not only can it withstand rigorous folding, but the Bay ST is extremely puncture and abrasion resistant.

Oru Kayak ST Model
Image of ORU ST Model; Credit: Oru Kayak Company

The Oru Bay ST is also comfortable, boasting a foam seat and adjustable footrests and backrests. There’s also plenty of space in the hull to keep gear for longer excursions, and it fits all standard size spray skirts. This model measures 12 feet by 25 inches, comes with half-deck rigging, and structural bulkheads, making this kayak rigid and stable. The Oru Bay ST is perfect for fishing, hiking, and camping.

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Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak
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Model #3: Oru Coast XT

ORU Kayak Coast XT model
Image of ORU Coast XT Model; Credit: Oru Kayak Company

The Oru Kayak Coast XT is the top of the line model, designed from bow to stern to stand up to harsh wind and surf that is found in more extreme waters. This kayak is perfect for Pros looking for an adventure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not comfortable. With an adjustable footrest, backrest, and thigh braces, the Coast XT gives you amazing comfort and control.

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Oru Kayak BayST Folding Kayak - White
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Even with it’s impressive length of 16 feet, this kayak folds into a compact shape that makes it easy to store and take on the go. Not only is it perfect for flatwater excursions on lakes and slow rivers, but the hard-chine hull also responds well to braced turns and edging. Along with full-deck rigging, the Coast XT comes with extra deck straps and lines to store gear.

oru kayaks in water

It’s durable polypropylene material is incredibly puncture and abrasion resistant, and takes only minutes to fold and unfold. Weighing only 34 pounds, it is easy to take it on the go, and the Coast XT is great for overnight camping trips and hikes, as well as overnight tours.

The Oru Bay kayak’s design and construction is tailor-made for those seeking the most out of both their kayaks and their lives.

So, How Did The Original Oru Bay Kayak Get Funded?

Before you read any more about it, did you know that the Oru Bay Kayak started as a Kickstarter project years ago and the founders even made it on Shark Tank? Here, check out the video:

How cool is that? (PS. Shark Tank is one of my most favourite shows!) But enough! More about the Oru Bay…

Check out the Oru Bay Kayak on Amazon!

Yes! The Oru Bay Kayak is one of the coolest kayaks of its kind: you can fold it up and pack it like origami (remember what that is? The cool swan people build using a piece of paper? Yes, just like that). Let’s take a look at how the Oru Bay + Kayak works conceptually:

Oru Bay Kayak: The Coolest, Tech Oriented, Transformable

Now that you’ve officially met the the Oru Bay Plus, you should know that it is a higher priced kayak. I don’t want to explain nitty gritty details over the next 1000 words when you can easily view it here in a few minutes and be excited about this phenomenally cool “gadget”:

Digging The Oru Bay Kayak Apart: Worth Your $$?

While not an inflatable kayak, the Oru Bay kayak is as nifty as they come: first, you can fold it and unfold it like an origami. And guess what? There’s no carrying case, per se, other than the neat fact that the when you fold the Oru Bay+ Kayak up, it itself becomes a carrying case.

The Oru Bay kayak stretches at around 12 feet. Keep in mind that it will probably take you, on average, 15-30 minutes to assemble it. The first time it will probably take you around 25 minutes and after doing it a few times, around 15 minutes.

This is pretty average, as most of the inflatable kayaks indicate around 15 minutes of assembly (inflation / deflation) time.

While this one is more of an “expensive” buy for a novice kayaker, is it worth your investment if you’re a hobbyist kayaker? The next section of our review discusses how the ride feels:

Does The Oru Bay Kayak Feel Good To Paddle In?

Despite the Oru Bay kayak being a feather weight, the kayak makes really sweet, sharp, tight turns and when accelerating, is super responsive–which came to us as a surprise, just because it’s that light!

In fact, a lot of reviews around the web, collectively, compare the performance  to a traditional, hard kayak. While you can’t ignore that the cockpit is a very tight fit and takes a bit of getting used to, neither can one ignore how well it performs.

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Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak
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Even though the cockpit can be deemed as as tight fit, it is very important to also know that in no way does it feel uncomfortable thanks to its high back seat.

Looks like this original Kickstarter project is a win win for everyone! Check out more details here at Amazon!

For fun, check out Big Sur in an Oru Bay Kayak, and get one for yourself:

Frequently Asked Questions Section

We have done our best to present you with a comprehensive, detailed review.  However, we thought we would answer some specific questions that we have been receiving through email.  Here we go:

1. I’m Going Camping. How Heavy Is The Oru Bay Kayak? Can It Be Carried Great Distances?

Yes. The Oru Bay ST, for example, is ideal for camping trips. It uses origami-inspired folding techniques to give you a compact kayak with unrivaled ease of conveyance. It weighs 28 pounds on the water and 30 pounds after you fold it back into its cover.

The Oru Bay Kayak is lightweight but incredibly sturdy, and can carry a total of 300 pounds. Pack it up and put it in the backseat of your car or strap it to your own back. You don’t need a second person, let alone a trolley, to ferry the Oru kayak to your favorite water body. It has the look and shape of a travel suitcase without the weight of one.

2. Can The Material Rip Easily?

No. These kayaks are built from polypropylene sheets that have undergone a 10 year UV treatment. It’s essentially a really tough but lightweight plastic. These kayaks have survived rigorous tests and get a high rating in durability. It won’t rip or tear and does fine with bumps against hard, rocky surfaces.

However, the designers suggest that you treat this rig the same as you would a fiberglass or skin-on-frame kayak. It’s not made to sustain regular, high impact beatings. Treat the Oru kayak with respect, but don’t be scared to put it through its paces.

3. I Am 6 ft Tall. How Big Is The Cockpit of The Oru Kayak? Is There Enough Leg Room?

Yes. The Oru is meant for paddlers upto 6’3″ in height. The cockpit is standard and has an opening of 16″ x 30″. There is plenty of leg room, but you can also take advantage of the adjustable back and footrest to find a comfortable stretch for yourself. You can also do a comfortable wet exit and re-entry without any hassle.

Kayaking enthusiasts who are taller than 6’2″ may find the longer Coast XT an easier fit within the Oru range. But if you are more worried about entry and don’t have particularly rigorous kayaking in mind, the Beach LT, with its wide opening, is probably the perfect craft for you.

4. Is The Oru Bay Kayak A Fast Kayak?

The speed of any vessel is determined by its size, weight, and the flexibility of its hull. With the narrow 25″ width of the Bay ST, this model has been built to cut through water in a sleek line. Its hull has been made deliberately unbending to divert all the power of your paddling into the speed of the kayak. But weight is also a crucial factor in acceleration. The Oru Kayak’s light weight is an advantage in long distance kayaking, but perhaps not in a sprinting race.

It’s extremely difficult to determine how fast a kayak can go. In ideal weather and water conditions, your Oru can traverse great distances at an impressive pace. It feels extremely fast because of its light build, giving you the best of kayaking experiences. But in terms of hard numbers, your speed would depend heavily on your own size, stamina, and technical proficiency.

5. Do I Need Float Bags For This Kayak?

While float bags are not mandatory or required by law, there is a very good reason that they are recommended with any kayak! These bags aren’t really any help in keeping the kayak afloat, but in the event of a capsize, float bags are what help displace water and keep your Oru from filling up completely.

Since none of the models have watertight bulkheads, there is no other way of keeping water out of the kayak. After a capsize, once the kayak has been put right-side-up again, having float bags makes it much easier to get the rest of the water out from the cavity. You might even be able to get back inside.

6. Will Hitting A Rock Tear My Oru? Is It Unsafe To Use In Rapids?

No. The polypropylene material can sustain a lot of hard hits, and the makers guarantee that colliding against rocks won’t damage your kayak. Ideally, a part of taking good care of this material is to wash it with fresh water after every use and store it away from direct sunlight. This will ensure that your kayak will remain resilient for a long time.

Also, no. Oru Bay Kayaks aren’t really made for riding rapids. While the cockpit of the Bay ST can be augmented with a spray skirt to keep water from pouring in, this is only good for surviving some bad weather kayaking and executing eskimo rolls.

It isn’t sealed well enough to be true rapid-worthy crafts.

7. Will Folding And Unfolding “Weaken” Or “Mess” It Up?

These kayaks have been judged by experts to be capable of withstanding 20,000 fold cycles. So you can pack and unpack your Oru as many times as necessary without worrying about fraying the folds of the kayak.

These folding crafts are known as Origami kayaks for good reason. Oru Kayak has utilized the principles of the old Japanese artform into a folding technique that transforms a boat into a box without wasting a single bend. The design of the Oru kayak has worked these folds into the material of the craft, so that you can assemble and disassemble this boat within a span of minutes.

So long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, no amount of use will mess this baby up.

8. What Is The Best Type Of Water To Use It On? Is It Safe In The Ocean?

The Oru kayaks are ideal for calm, sheltered water. The Oru Bay ST is in its element when you use it to explore wide, open water bodies. It’s extremely well balanced body keeps the kayak steady through some very rough conditions, managing to keep the paddler from toppling into the water.

The Oru Bay ST, for example, was built for long sessions of exploration of regions where other boats can’t go. It performs beautifully on icy seas and lakes with high wind speeds. But while this model can handle itself well in a range of different waters, you would be safer choosing the Oru Coast XT as your companion on the unpredictable ocean.

9. Can You Use It For Fishing?

Yes! The Oru can be modified slightly by easily fitting the Oru Fishing Kit parts onto the kayak. This kit includes the RIBPort mount, Fixed Extender, Adjustable Extender, Rod Holder II, and Drinkhold.

You will not have to drill any holes into your kayak because the 3M VHB pad enables you to stick the RIBPort mount firmly onto it. You can then easily affix your fishing accessories to it, such as a rod holder and extender. You can do all this from the comfort of your own garage.

You can also modify your Oru Kayak by fitting a Scotty Fishing Rod Holder onto the kayak’s deck. Position the rod holder such that it is accessible while paddling. Make sure that it does not interfere with the folding process or damage the kayak as you fold and unfold. Preferably, you can position the rod holder just behind the cockpit.

10. Are These Kayaks Easy To Travel With? Are There Restrictions With Airlines?

Oru Bay Kayaks are made of skin that can withstand many folds, which allows you to fold the boat and pack it inside the Oru Pack. The Oru Pack protects the kayak and makes transportation easier, whether you are traveling in your car, pick-up truck, or taking a flight.

The Oru Bay can be checked as luggage on a plane. You can bring it on-board a flight as you travel on both domestic and international flights.

However, you have to strictly follow the rules during the check-in process. When selecting flights, check for airlines that admit kayaks and go through their oversized baggage check-in policies to guarantee that both you and your Oru kayak will be admitted onto the flight.

11. What Accessories Can I Purchase To Use With This Kayak? Does It Come With A Paddle?

There are essential accessories that you will need to purchase which include the Oru Paddle, Oru Pack, and Oru PFD (Personal Floatation Device) which is a life jacket.

In addition to these essentials, you may need to purchase accessories such as the Oru Carbon Paddle, Oru Float Bags, Oru Dry Bags, Oru Spray Skirt, Seat Wedge, Oru Repair Kit, Oru X Luci Inflatable Solar Lights, and NRS-safety Kit.

It does not come with a paddle necessarily, but the DUO Package includes paddles. The Oru Carbon Paddle is more efficient compared to the regular Oru Paddle, although it’s more expensive. You also have to find a paddle that works best with your arm’s reach and how you will be paddling.

12. What Is The Tracking Like? Is It As Good As Hard Shell Options?

This kayak is highly maneuverable and has good tracking, considering its size. This kayak is very stable and it accelerates faster due to its low weight. Of course, a heavier kayak will be harder to accelerate and control.

In calm conditions, the Oru Bay has smooth and efficient tracking, as compared to other kayaks of similar sizes. It is steady and easier to paddle in the wind and waves compared to crossover kayaks.

Now, that should cover EVERYTHING you may have needed to learn about the Oru:

Check One Out In Action

When I set out to check out this unique line of kayaks, I didn’t know that I would find so many fun videos. I will be adding them to the bottom here, just in case wants to view some fun ones before making up their minds. If you’re interested, you can check them out here at Amazon.

Anyway, this is a video of someone enjoying their Oru Bay kayak in a creek with a good water rift and at some point, he’s got his friend on a spare tire, riding alongside him, holding him:


For a kayak that needed funding on Kickstarter to being featured on Shark Tank, the creators of the Oru Bay kayak have seen their vision not only through, but what a success it has become.  The best part about the evolution of this folding kayak is that it behaves, navigates, and actually IS a real kayak; definitely not something that was rushed or comes off as cheap.

This folding kayak seems to hit all the major checkpoints that kayakers seek: mobility, navigation, portability, weight, design, and most of all, aesthetically beautiful when folded or in action. For sure, there are plenty of videos here to satisfy most people researching the Oru Bay or the Oru Bay Plus; however, here is one more really awesome one where this folding kayak is being tested in open waters.

Yep, you read that read: the Oru Bay kayak being tested in open waters!  Yeehaw! Here it is:

If you have any questions regarding this Oru Bay review article, please contact us through the Contact Form or leave us a comment. Thank you!

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