Oru Lake unfolding

I’ve always owned a kayak, but the first time realized a kayak could be portable was when we unfolded the Oru Lake portable kayak and took it for a spin. And I actually do mean unfolded—the Oru Lake kayak is made of polypropylene, folds up like origami, and is only 17 lbs. Folded up it can fit in the backseat of my car and there’s still room for another person. To get out on the water all you need is the Oru paddle, and you can paddle anywhere.

Here’s what I thought of the Oru Lake kayak and Oru paddle.

Features on Oru Lake kayak and Oru paddle

Oru Lake Portable Kayak Review

The Oru Lake kayak measures 8 feet 11 inches x 2 feet 8 inches and folds down to the size of a suitcase for transportation. When folded the kayak measures 42 in (106 cm) x 10 in (25 cm) x 18 in (45 cm).

  • Portable kayak that folds up like origami
  • The roomy interior gives you space for yourself or you and your pet
  • Made from UV-treated plastic called OruPlast
  • Only weighs 17 lbs so it’s easy to transport
  • Rated for 20,000 folds without weakening
  • Comfortable clamshell seat
  • Sets up in a matter of minutes
  • Add an Oru LED light kit and your kayak will light up at night
  • Weight capacity of 250 lbs or 113 kg
Oru Paddle review

The Oru paddles I tested out are add-ons for the Oru Lake kayak. They can be stored inside the kayak when it is folded.

  • Designed with a fibreglass shaft and moulded ABS plastic blades
  • Adjustable length from 86 in (220 cm) to 90 in (230 cm)
  • Weighs 2.75 lbs (1.25kg)
  • Uses marine-grade stainless steel connector buttons that click together and apart for storage
  • Adjustable blade pitch

Setting up the Oru Lake portable kayak

I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical when I first unfolded the Oru Lake. My first thought was the material used for the kayak was like the material I have on the roof of my greenhouse. It’s not quite the same though—the Oru Lake kayak uses a type of polypropylene that’s UV-treated. Oru calls it OruPlast.

Oru has designed their portable kayaks to fold and unfold just like origami, and setting one up is exactly like that. They include a set of instructions you can follow but it’s pretty easy to see what needs to snap together. The material is quite stiff the first time you unfold it, but it gets a lot easier as you use it. The hardest part of setting it up was popping out the bow and stern of the kayak. It requires a bit of pressure to expand the first time, but like folding paper, it gets easier every time. 

We managed to snap together the Oru Lake within five minutes the first time. Every other time we unfolded it the average time was about 2-3 minutes. It’s really that easy. The Oru paddles also click together easily in under a minute. I like how you can store the paddles inside the Oru Lake so you only need one hand to carry everything.

Testing out Oru Lake kayak and paddles

Folded up, the Oru Lake fits in the backseat or trunk of any vehicle. Portability is the biggest reason why it’s a great choice for anyone who doesn’t have the means to transport a full-size kayak. Given that it’s only 17 lbs I think it could easily be strapped to the back of a bike if you had a rack on the back, so you don’t even need a car.

I love the water, and I’m grateful there are no shortages of places to paddle near where I live. We’ve also been lucky to have fantastic boating weather over the past few months, so we put the Oru Lake in the back seat of my car and headed to the river to test it out.

From a glance, the Oru Lake doesn’t look like any other kayak on the water, but it definitely floats like one. The water was like glass, the sun was setting, and as you can see from the photos, we had the perfect kayaking conditions.

The interior compartment of the Oru Lake kayak

The Oru Lake portable kayak is pretty roomy when unfolded, but it’s definitely a single-seater. It has a weight restriction of 250 lbs. Because BC is a province with a huge canine population and I always see people boating with their dogs, I naturally thought about whether there would be room for a dog in the kayak. In my opinion, I think there would be enough more than enough room to take a small dog along for the ride. I have a corgi who is 25 lbs and she and I would have no problem fitting in the Oru Lake together.  

The clamshell seat on the Oru Lake is comfortable. It gives you a bit of elevation and keeps you firmly positioned in the middle of the kayak. I’m not sure how I would feel after hours in the seat, but it does have a bit of cushion. It has decent leg room too. My husband is 5”7 and he could comfortably stretch out and still have a bit of room.

Handling of the Oru Lake portable kayak

Oru Lake portable kayak review

As I’ve only ever used an ocean kayak with a rudder, floating in the Oru Lake was a new experience. It’s a bit trickier to maneuver and turn. You really have to rely on your paddles. Thankfully Oru paddles are designed for a portable kayak, and they are height adjustable and have feathering on the oar so you can dip and turn when you need to. The water was very calm the evening we went out so turning was easy. Maintaining straight navigation was fairly simple once you got used to standard kayak strokes. We both thought the light weight combined with the lack of a rudder made it drift from side to side more often than a larger, heavier kayak, but it is a portable kayak made from fairly thin plastic so that’s to be expected.

As you can see in my review video, my husband was cruising down the river in no time. We never took on water at any point, and it was a lot of fun explaining what the kayak was made of when asked by other people on the shore.

How durable is the Oru Lake?

The Oru Lake and other Oru portable kayaks are designed to fold up to 20,000 times without weakening. I folded it 5 times and it got easier to unfold and fold each time. The material seems very durable. The water was only a few feet deep where we were so we weren’t concerned about capsizing, but I would feel comfortable using it in deeper water too.

One of the bonuses of the material used in the Oru Lake is that it’s somewhat transparent. That means you can put a set of LED lights in the Oru Lake and head out for a night paddle. It looks really cool when lit up. Oru offers its own LED Light kit you can pick up if you’d like to enjoy night kayaking.

Should you choose the Oru Lake kayak?

The Oru Lake is a great choice for anyone who wants a kayak but is limited by transport space or can’t carry the weight of a full kayak. There’s no hiking to water with a heavy kayak on your back or missing out on the experience because you have a small car or you don’t own a car at all. With a portable kayak, you can hit the water anywhere.

I love how easily the Oru Lake kayak folds and unfolds, and I really like how the oars, seat, and kayak all fold up into a shape that’s as easy to carry as a suitcase. The thin plastic design takes a bit of getting used to but floating in it felt safe. I don’t know if I would take it out in choppy water, but if you are mindful of the conditions and you’d just like to enjoy the experience, Oru Lake is a great choice.

You can find the Oru Lake portable kayak at Best Buy.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag



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