Folding kayaks help you transport your kayak (often large) with ease. You won’t need a ton of space to store your kayak anymore. The best folding kayak is all about convenience, but that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice performance in the process.
You can have it all: folding design, compact size and convenience.
Advanced Elements AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
Our favorite for 2017
MYCANOE 2.5 Origami Folding Foldable Canoe Portable Collapsible Paddle Boat
Comfort and tandem kayaking in one
Point 65 N Martini GTX Solo Modular Kayak-Red
Great modular design with extreme durability
How to Choose a Folding Kayak
Choosing a folding kayak is a lot like choosing a regular kayak, but the focal point is on the folding design. Kayaks are large, so you won’t be able to fit a regular-sized model in your car’s trunk. You’ll need to put the kayak on the roof of your car or SUV in most cases.
But folding kayaks allow you to transport your kayak without needing a large SUV or truck.
The great news is that these kayaks are high-quality (for the most part), and they offer most of the features a regular kayak offers.
When choosing your folding kayak, keep the following points in mind:
- Folding Size: How small does the kayak fold? This is very important. Folding kayaks need to be small enough to fit in your automobile. You’ll also want to consider modular kayaks that can “fold” into small units but provide a very sturdy and durable option compared to inflatable kayaks.
- Maximum Weight: Larger users or pairs that want to kayak together will need to consider the maximum load the kayak can handle. The maximum weight will play a major role in your kayak choice.
- Inflating Time: If you have to inflate the kayak, how long will it take? A lot of models will inflate in just 10 minutes – short enough for most users.
- Breakdown Time: The time it takes to fold the kayak is important, too. If you’re short on time, the last thing you want to do is wait for the kayak to deflate.
- Folding Strength: Some kayaks will state how many times they’re rated to be folded. The MYCANOE 2.5, which we’ll see shortly, can be folded 20,000 times. That’s a lot of kayaking before you’ll need a new model.
- Seating: The seating matters a lot. Not only do you need a seat that allows you to kayak in the utmost comfort, but you may also want a dual seat option. The dual seat allows couples, family and friends to kayak in tandem for a truly unique experience out on the water.
- Puncture Resistance: Inflatable kayaks can puncture, and this is a major concern if you like to kayak in rough waters. Multi-layer models will help reduce the risk of puncture. You’ll also be able to bring your dog kayaking when puncture-resistance material is incorporated into the kayak’s design – a major bonus.
Now that you know what to look for when choosing a folding kayak, you’ll have a much easier time making your final choice.
Do You Need a Folding Kayak, or Will a Regular Kayak Suffice?
How will you use your folding kayak? Do you even need a folding kayak? This depends on your needs. Anyone with a smaller vehicle will find that it’s difficult to transport a large, full-size kayak around.
Smaller vehicles may not be able to transport some kayaks.
You’ll also need to worry about:
- Securing the kayak
- Scratching your auto
- Loading the kayak
A kayak can weigh 50 pounds in some cases. You’ll often need help loading a kayak on to your vehicle to avoid damage. If you’re a solo traveler, it’s often best to choose a kayak you can handle on your own, like a foldable kayak.
Being able to put your kayak in the trunk is a convenience that every serious kayaker needs to consider.
Modular designs snap together, offering a different experience than folding options, but they’re much easier to transport and store than a regular kayak.
What to Know Before Buying a Foldable Kayak
If this is your first time buying a foldable kayak, there’s a lot that you need to know.
- Will the kayak perform like a standard kayak? It depends. Most models will perform similar to a normal kayak and offer great maneuverability, too.
- Will I need paddles or stabilizers? Yes, in most cases. A lot of models don’t offer paddles or stabilizers, so keep this in mind when reading through kayak reviews before making your purchase.
- Are folding kayaks puncture-proof? No. Most folding models will offer a thick material that is highly resistant to puncture, but this doesn’t mean that the kayak can’t be punctured – it can in most cases.
Folding kayaks offer a great way to save space when storing your kayak, and these models also offer the ability to transport your kayak with more ease. Overall, folding kayaks are all about transport and make it much easier for a person to get out on the water.
We’ve done a lot of the hard work for you and listed a few of the best kayaks on the market in 2017.
Review of the Best Folding Kayaks in 2017
MYCANOE 2.5 Origami Folding Canoe Review
Coovy offers the MYCANOE 2.5 foldable canoe that’s so popular, it’s often sold out. The Origami offers a patented design that is TUV certified and has won awards for its innovation, with the canoe winning the 2014 International Best Show Best Invention Award.
The 2.5 can fold to a sleek 37″ x 8″ x 25″ in the case and can expand to a 14.5 foot canoe in under 10 minutes.
This canoe’s folding capacity is backed with high-end features, including:
- 15-year UV treatment
- 20,000 fold design
- Two seat design
- 52 pound weight
- 440 pound maximum load
Heavy-duty, this kayak can hold two people at once, with a recommended load of 400 pounds.
- Folds to just 37″ x 8″ x 25″
- Comes with 2 seats
- Expands in just 10 minutes; folds down in 5 minutes
- Paddles and stabilizers not included
The 2.5 Origami does not come with paddles or stabilizers, and this is the biggest drawback for this canoe. While it’s a high-end canoe, most buyers expect to get paddles with their purchase.
But you can buy the paddles separately.
The Origami performs well on the water, it’s easy to fold and unfold, and it’s approved by professionals. This kayak folds so small that it can fit in most small sedans – perfect for anyone who doesn’t own an SUV.
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak Review
The AdvancedFrame offers a small, compact kayak that comes in one size and has a stylish red and gray color. Built with aluminum ribs, the AdvancedFrame has a defined stern and bow that is meant to improve tracking in the water.
Puncture resistance is offered through three layers of material.
High support, this model features:
- 3 layers of material
- Built-in aluminum ribs
- Adjustable padded seat
- Paddles like a hard-shell kayak
- Supports up to 300 pounds
- Weighs just 43 pounds
- Folds down to 30″ x 17″ x 13″; full-size is 10’5″ with a 32″ width
All kayaks are tested prior to shipping to ensure the industry’s highest level of quality. The AdvancedFrame is tough enough to even bring a small dog along with you on the water. I love not having to worry about my pet’s paws puncturing the three-layer material.
- 3 layers of puncture protection
- Aluminum ribs enhance tracking
- High support allows for hours of kayaking
- Inflates in less than 10 minutes
- No straps to hold paddles in place
The only downside with the AdvancedFrame kayak is that there aren’t straps, so your paddles aren’t held in place neatly. While this is a minor issue, it’s one to keep in mind if you want to stop and enjoy the scenery when kayaking.
Advanced Elements AE1007-R Kayak Review
The AR1007-R kayak is a lot like the previous model we mentioned. It offers many of the same features – and a lot of extras. This model offers the same built-in aluminum rib design and three layers of material.
Pre-assembled and tested before it leaves the warehouse, this folding kayak features:
- Simple fold and quick breakdown design
- Built-in aluminum ribs
- 3-layer, extreme puncture-resistant design
- Adjustable padded seats
- High-support for added comfort when kayaking
- Three seat location setting
- Solo and tandem options
- 550 pound maximum weight
- Folded size of 35″ x 21″ x 12″
The AE1007-R offers the ability to kayak alone or with someone else. When fully expanded, this kayak is 15′ x 32″ in size.
- Solo and tandem kayaking options
- 6 chamber design
- 3 position adjustable seat position
- Built-in aluminum ribs
- Difficult to get the water out of when folding
The main issue with the AE1007-R is that it’s very difficult to get the water out of the kayak when folding it back up. While this sounds like a small issue, it’s one to keep in mind because it does make deflation a lot more difficult.
Otherwise, this is a durable kayak that tracks well, and offers paddle holders, storage and tie downs. There are also molded, low-profile rubber handles along with a Skeg tracking fin for a better overall experience in the water.
Oru Kayak Beach LT Review
The Oru Kayak Beach is dubbed the “friendliest boat” on the market. Oru Kayak states that this model can be collapsed in just 3 minutes. Fast and efficient, the Kayak Beach LT has a width of 28″ for added comfort and stability in the water.
The 2017 version has been revamped to increase the cockpit size, and entry for paddlers of all sizes and shapes is now possible.
Oru’s original folding kayak is able to withstand most waters, and even if it hits a rock, the custom polypropylene material can handle the damage. This kayak features:
- 10-year UV resistance
- 20,000 fold capability
- Stability that’s suited for beginners
- 26-pound weight
- Folds to 33″ x 29″ x 12″
- Large cockpit
- 12′ length and 28″ width
- 300-pound weight capacity
Lightweight, this is a folding kayak that is true to its name. While a lot of models are heavy, this model’s 26 pound weight is light enough for users of all ages to easily pack their kayak away for transport.
And it’s small enough that it can fit in most autos with ease.
This model’s pros and cons are:
- Extreme lightweight design
- Folds to a compact 33″ x 29″ x 12″
- Large width of 28″ makes the kayak very stable
- Comfortable and extremely stylish design
- Difficult to get back into the box
The only small complaint with the Oru is that it’s difficult to repack. When you need to pack this model, you’ll often need help or will need to push it against another surface. It’s easier if you just buy a big bag or other container to store the folded kayak in.
Otherwise, Oru offers a high-end, durable kayak that’s able to withstand even harsh water conditions without an issue.
Martini GTX Solo Modular Kayak Review
The Martini GTX solo is a modular kayak. Featuring a red color, this kayak has a snap-tap modular system that provides comfort, durability and great tracking performance. There’s also an ultra-durable, UV-resistant layer.
Rudder and rudder foot pedals are inside of the cockpit.
An AIR seat is comfortable, with watertight compartments and an adjustable backrest. Carry handles are included in the design of the GTX solo along with:
- Cup holders
- Compartments for storage
- 45 – 50 pound pieces
- Modular to allow for quick assembly and breakdown
- Middle piece snaps in to make the GTX a tandem kayak
- Bungee cord offers more storage
- UV resistant design
The Martini GTX is the first modular design on our list, and this model has a lot of neat features along with one con that hurts this model’s overall design.
- Snaps together to provide solo or tandem kayaking
- Rudder foot pedals in the cockpit
- Watertight compartments
- Cup holders and paddle holders
- Carry handles make transport easier
- Each piece is 45 – 50 pounds
Modular in design, it’s easier to transport the GTX. But this kayak’s pieces are up to 50 pounds each, so they’re quite heavy. With that said, the design makes it one of the better folding kayaks in terms of agility and mobility in the water.
The GTX handles very well in the water and is the perfect kayak for a day of fishing.
Our winner of this roundup is the AE1007-R. While this kayak offers a durability comparable to most models on our list, this model offers three seat locations and solo or tandem kayaking. For versatility, the AE1007-R may be a good choice.
Puncture-resistance adds to the kayak’s durability, while the three-layer design provides a very secure kayaking experience.
There’s also improved tracking thanks to the aluminum rib design. Comfortable, padded seats top this kayak off. While all of the models are a great choice, the AE1007-R offers a good balance between durability, affordability and versatility.