Folding Kayaks Forum

Folding kayaks: The Future
Page 3 of 7

Author:  siravingmon [ Thu May 25, 2017 10:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

It's specifically headwinds that can be the issue.

Don't paddle an inflatable at sea with significant offshore breezes eg at dawn in summer near valleys or cliffs or where there is a prevailing offshore breeze

The winds don't even have to be offshore to be an issue; headwinds parallel to the coast can be a real problem too if there are long stretches of coast with nowhere to go ashore. I remember this being a real issue on my old Sea Eagle Fastrack on the Amalfi coast once and even on my Incept K40 the one time I took it around Capri.

Author:  Jake [ Tue May 30, 2017 8:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Though unconfirmed, the paddling grapevine has it that New York Kayak Company based on Pier 40 on the North (Hudson) River in Manhattan is soon to close up shop and follow Jersey Paddler which shut its doors last year after 40 years selling canoes and kayaks. I seem to recall that NYKC had been Feathercraft's most active dealer on the east coast and probably sold more K-Lights than any other FC boat. Makes one wonder how many of those K-Lights have remained stowed away in the dark recesses of city dwellers apartments over the years. Anyway, it seems that it is not so much the folding kayak industry that is disappearing, it is the entire paddling universe that is fading away.

Tim Fitton's comments about millenials spending their disposable dollars on outdoor activities makes a valid point. They're spending money but not on the folding cockleshells that many of us hold so dear. If one Is to believe the hyperbole from Oru (and I am skeptical), you would think that these rather costly pieces of chloroplastic origami paddle craft are flying off the shelves at REI. And SUPs with price tags ranging from around $800 to over $2,000 are also being sold in considerable number and quite a few of these are inflatables. i was intrigued by a pair of inflatable SUPs paddled by a young couple I met at a Florida launch site this past winter. I was impressed by their quality and they seemed to be as rigid as the composite SUPs that are common in those sub-tropical waters. They cost the couple about $1200 each and then throw in a couple of hundred for medium weight paddle, add a smallish black Labrador Retriever (on his SUP) and they were good to go. A couple of hours of paddling then deflate the boards and stow them and the Labrador and it's back to the condo in time to cook supper and watch The News Hour. I was tempted.

If I were in the market for another folder, I'd consider these factors: portability, ease of assembly, weight and overall performance for the kinds of paddling that I'd be persuing most of the time. Logically, this criteria would likely lead to either the Pakboat Puffin or a drop stitch inflatable like the Razor Lite. The ancient watermen of The British Isles had a word for their small, skin-on-frame watercraft. They were called "waegflotas" which is Old English for "wave floater". Maybe a 21 pound Pakboat Puffin will be my next (and last) waegflota. Or perhaps an inflatable SUP.

Author:  KerryOnKayaks [ Wed May 31, 2017 12:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Jake, you can read my reports of taking my Puffin to Northern England for 10 days earlier this month. I admit I had not paddled it much at home (having sleeker folders -- my Wisper and Quest -- that get more use). I have used the Puffin for a friend loaner most of the time. But it turned out to be a quite comfy, well behaved and highly portable craft for the small winding rivers that I paddled while over there, and the whole boat and all my kit for it all fit in one compact rolling duffel that met the free baggage parameters and was easy to schlep through the airports. I should think your Kurrent would be a worthy craft for such a trip, no?

Author:  Alv [ Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

I have the same concerns about the folding kayak market that all of you do, and I don't have any good ideas about how to solve the problems. But the way I see the market and the product may be a little different.

Many Puffin customers are older people who have had plastic kayaks for many years, and the boats feel heavier every year. For them, the Puffin is a boat they are able to lift onto the car. If you have problems lifting a 40-pound boat, a boat that weighs half as much is very attractive. This customer group does not tend to consider the assembly process an obstacle. They love the Puffin simply as a lightweight and comfortable kayak. My views about the advantage of a folding boat have changed too. The advantage is not that you can pack it and put it away after each use. The people who love the Puffin tend to be those who store it assembled between uses. To me, the advantage of a folding boat is that you can pack it in its bag when you need to. An interesting observation about Puffins is that we do not sell all that many decks. As you get to the point that you worry about weight, you may not be as agile any more - and it is easier to get in and out of an open sit-on-top like hull.

There is no way that Pakboats could stay in business with only US kayak sales. Our export sales are very important. So are our sales of folding canoes. A little success story is that we are gaining market share in the market for expedition canoes. If you are planning to run a remote wilderness river where long bush plane flights are required, you can save a lot of money by packing your canoe inside the plane. Getting established in this market was an uphill climb because the canoe is literally your life line in areas where a folding canoe is most useful. By now, PakCanoes are simply part of the expedition gear.

We feel that our product lineup is now largely complete. There will be some tweaks around the edges and possibly a couple of new items based on existing designs and materials. I am looking forward to a more stable business situation.

Author:  siravingmon [ Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Many thanks for your perspective, Alv, and glad to hear Pakcanoea are doing so well.

For me light weight is a key feature, not just for lifting and portage but also flights.

Author:  Jake [ Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Alv's last note resonated with me. Now midway through my eighth decade, the days of 25 mile paddles over sometimes gnarly waters are a thing of the past. More important now in any boat that I would want to own are things like light weight, ease of entry and exit and comfort. I see the Puffin more like the double-paddle canoe that one might see on an Adirondack lake. A boat to explore the sedge islands of Barnegat Bay or cruise a serpentine creek meandering through the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey or the mangrove islands on Florida's Gulf Coast and so many other places in between. A boat for the contemplative soul, the engaged observer who finds a soupçon of joy in such things as watching an osprey carrying a fresh caught fish to its chicks or a water snake gliding along a stream bank in search of the unwary frog, an eagle glaring down from an overhanging tree branch. Or simply to experience being there in the moment.

Author:  idc [ Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Hi John,
Glad to hear that things are better with your wife.
Your post has prompted me to look further into the details of the overnight train down to Penzance and the Scillonian III ferry. I took a folder up to West Coast Scotland for a long weekend on the Caledonian sleeper last summer and had a whale of a time, so I like the idea of doing the same in the other direction. It looks as though one can get to Penzance surprisingly cheaply from this end of the country (under £100 with the right rail card and if one foregoes a berth for a reclining seat), and while the ferry effectively doubles the cost, this is looking like quite a do-able trip with a folder. I'm playing with the idea of a trip to the Scilly Isles in the second half of August. I imagine that is peak tourist season, but perhaps with a kayak it is still possible to find a quiet campsite on one of the smaller islands ... I wonder if I could do the trip with my two kids and a pair of folders. (Wife isn't interested in the camping so would be alone or possibly with my mother.)

Paul, I got myself a bike trailer ( in order to be able to haul my folder to the river when the wife has the car. It works well, but I've only hauled the folder with it a few times. The biggest obstacle is not having a garage to leave the trailer set up, I have to go to the extra trouble of climbing into the attic to get it down when I need it. That may change if we successfully move my Mum a bit closer, as I should be able to use her garage to store a boat and trailer, cycle over, hitch it up and I'm away.

Kerry, great to hear that your UK trip worked out well. As you said (here or in another thread, I forget) you could probably have borrowed a boat from friendly paddling folk at this end--but it is nice to have your own boat with you.

For me, anyway, folding boats remain a great thing!
PS Just realised I'm replying to posts which are a couple of pages back--sorry to have been so slow to write!

Author:  john allsop [ Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Ian i sent an email. For general info on the Isles of Scilly i am putting some in the Questions and Trip planning

Author:  idc [ Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Thanks, John, both for the email and the further info in the Questions and Trip planning. Once I've done a bit more research I'll add some figures and details there concerning the overnight train from London. My mother expressed an interest in joining me, so I'll do a bit more research into the practicalities of my son (14 years) and I hauling two folding kayaks down on the train and then paddling my mother and daughter across to one of the quieter islands. Are you on St Mary's? If it all works out, and if it doesn't get in the way of family, it would be nice to meet up ...
I'll keep working on firming up the details.
All the best,

Author:  Apathizer [ Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

As I might have mentioned in another post, it's my understanding that kayak sales in general have been declining over the last several years. There are reasons many kayakers are older, retired persons. I don't know all the reasons, but one of the major ones is that kayaking is so time consuming compared to other forms of recreation and exercise. Assembly and disassembly of folders makes them even more complicated.

For instance, hiking/backpacking is much simpler and also better exercise than kayaking. It burns more calories, requires less equipment, and usually isn't subject to the kind of highly variable conditions and potential hazards of a maritime environment. It's much easier to go hiking or trail running spontaneously or with minimal planning, whereas most of the time kayaking requires some degree of planning.

Author:  yellowboat [ Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

The future of folding kayaks is bound up within the fate of what I call exploration kayaking in general. My usual paddling involves a day-long outing on open water, usually tidewater, in several sorts of weather conditions. I'll do a circumnavigation, or a trip "there and back", working the tides if applicable. When I began doing this, few were on the water sharing this kind of travel, and the handful of us crept along virtually unseen. The only publication was Canoe magazine, and the only folders one found advertised there were Kleppers and Folbots. The Jersey Paddler's Walt Durrua was still splitting his interest between his small canoe/kayak shop and his gas station: which to focus upon?

The next several decades saw the full cycle--kayaking symposiums, shops opening, different sorts of kayak models multiplying, clubs popping into existence, kayaking magazines flourishing, The full flood, but then the inevitable(?) ebb of today. The shops are mostly closed, the magazines withered, the small makers either extinct or swallowed up by corporate giants, the clubs depopulated or vanished. But like Kaa, or Gagool the Witch, we can say that we have seen this before--other enthusiasms waxing and waning--and The Few, The Proud, The Mariners paddle on as we did in the dawn years, still creeping along unseen as long before but secretly smiling as before.

Author:  tfitton [ Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Greetings bag-boaters!
Tim here in Australia, again. I chimed in on this topic some months back, but I had reason yesterday to consider this topic further. Yesterday I was out paddling my kayak on Melbourne's beautiful Yarra River and met a girl about 23 years old doing the same trip on an inflatable stand up paddle board. Stand up paddling is quite a popular craze here in Melbourne lately. I asked her about her board. It turns out that she spent $1200 USD on it. It was a sturdy looking craft made in Colorado. This made me think of some of the comments posted on this thread, and the motivations of young people. Here in Australia there are lots of young people who can afford a folding kayak, but it seems they're not interested in that. They're happy to get outdoors and spend decent money on gear. Kite boarding has more followers than folding kayaks, for example, but it typically costs more to get set up with a kite board than a folding kayak. Hard shell kayaks are more popular than folders too. I think the main reason folding kayaks are not doing so well here is that most people are unaware that they exist. The other issue is that they are competing with inflatables and hard shells, both of which can be far more easily sourced here. The cheaper inflatables and hard shells are also much cheaper than an entry level folding kayak. Obviously there are a few issues at play here, but I still believe folding kayaks would be far more popular in Australia if there was more widespread familiarity with the concept of folding kayaks. if there was a new Hollywood release based on a free spirited traveler with a folding kayak, I reckon demand would jump overnight. Perhaps a movie about Oscar Speck's amazing journey would be a good starting point!

Author:  john allsop [ Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

One of the big problems folders have had for a long time is lack of exposure. They hardly ever were present at outdoor shows and the makers and dealers owing to cost didn,t and still don,t advertise them. When I was at an outdoor show in Toronto years ago and Kleppers,Folbots and Russian folders were on display a visitor to the show said to me I didn,t know these were still made, If you put these side by side with a hardshell to the non kayaker the hardshell will win. But if they thought about it they could go on an extensive trip using a folder with it,s more storage capacity. Folders will come back but it will take some years all we can do is use them and a few will see that they are a versatile craft.

Author:  yogavnture [ Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

I JUST contacted epic. asked them to resurrect the Feathercraft jetstream. best inflatable kayak. (actually its a surf ski) ever made hands down. i have one in mint condtion. i want another.

Author:  Apathizer [ Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

tfitton wrote:
Greetings bag-boaters!
Tim here in Australia, again. I chimed in on this topic some months back, but I had reason yesterday to consider this topic further. Yesterday I was out paddling my kayak on Melbourne's beautiful Yarra River and met a girl about 23 years old doing the same trip on an inflatable stand up paddle board. Stand up paddling is quite a popular craze here in Melbourne lately.

That's seems consistent with U.S. trends. SUPs are more popular with younger persons than kayaks. I don't know the reasons right offhand.

While SUPs are better overall exercise, they aren't as conducive to longer trips with camping equipment, food, etc, because they can't store as much. So maybe it's the case that younger persons are less interested in extended trips and more interest in shorter excursions. SUPs are also simpler (few accessories and related equipment), which might also be a factor.

Page 3 of 7 All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group