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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:21 am 
forum fan

Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:40 am
Posts: 19
I think there is a large group of people who have disposable income and who appreciate quality and are willing to pay for it.

I agree with the Nautiraid people that there is a market for retro styles.

I do a lot of bicycling and I can tell you the market for high end bicycles is booming. The prices for many of these bikes are well north of the most expensive folding kayak on the market.

The problem with folding kayaks is that there are not enough of them out there, at least in the US. People looking to kayaks don't understand them. We need to revitalize the Ralph Diaz advocacy and publish a new book.

Not to mention the fact that if you want to consider buying a folding kayak, it is very difficult to arrange a test paddle.

Folding kayaks offer advantages to the older, less experienced would be paddler. They are more comfortable, more stable and safer than hard shell boats.

In the Pacific Northwest there is a wealth of resort type locations where you can go and stay for a few days or a week by the water. Transporting a folding kayak by car or suv is pretty simple, no roof rack transport trauma. When you get there assemble the boat once and use it every day for short trips of a few hours or longer.

For those into car camping a folding kayak is also ideal. You can get all your camping gear and kayak into the vehicle. Again, assemble the kayak when you get there and either do day trips from your campsite on the water or paddle to an island and set up camp there.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:25 am 
paddler

Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:11 pm
Posts: 5
Like any part of the population there are those who love the retro look and feel of a kayak that seems to be one with the water and paddler. It has been mentioned in the forum previously the heyday of the folding kayak was and I quote from the Klepper website

(1907 Johann Klepper testing his first model prototype on the River Mangfall in Rosenheim, Germany. Klepper's production-model folding kayak was the right product at the right time. Germany and the rest of Continent were embarking on the "Wanderlust Years" enjoying the thrill of adventure and discovering the beauty of nature.)

The right product for the time. No poly boats or fiberglass boats at the time. The boats were based on the Greenland type of boats, SOF. The early Klepper boats Slalom 58, T 65, T66 were river running boats. No air sponsons You could edge the crafts like a Greenland boat, and even do rolls. With the sponson's they became more stable and the cockpit became larger. You lost contact with the boat.

The newer boats can carry a heaver load but have lost the feel of a Greenland, or Aleutian kayak. There is a growing movement of people building SOF kayaks. They want to get back to a more natural connection with the water and nature. I believe folders still has a place due to the fact that the built SOF boat still can not be transported by air or train as well as a folder. Klepper, Longhaul and Nautiraid have military contracts and they can carry a heavy load, they still have a place, for military and expeditions. I would like to see the wooden folders manufactured without the air sponsons to get the feel of a folding Greenland type boat.

The Trak boat is high tech and pricey. I use my Klepper T65 (no air sponsons), for touring, using a Greenland paddle with a Feathercraft sea sock and strap on skeg, and it tracks and edges great.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:27 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:51 pm
Posts: 662
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Hi Karl,
The Nautiraid Narak range can be ordered without sponsons if you wish. My 550 didn't have them. It’s also worth adding that just because of a kayak hads sponsons, it doesn’t mean that they have to be inflated. I have often paddled my wooden-framed Nautiraid 416 without them inflated; it’s less stable but narrower so a bit faster as measured by gps, despite the skin being looser.

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Simon

Feathercraft Wisper, First light 420, Fujita Alpina AL-1 400, Incept k40 (4sale),Nautiraid Geenlander 1, K1, 416 & Narak 460 (sold my 550), Pakboats Quest 135, TRAK 2.0
Wanted:original Advanced Elements Air Fusion
Cape Falcon F1, Beth, Hobie AI


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:09 am 
paddler

Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:11 pm
Posts: 5
Hi Simon,
Thanks for the info on the 550. I am interested in finding one to paddle. Are there any 550 paddlers on the west coast? I have only seen a few of the Klepper boats with the Sponsons around Lake Tahoe. I talked to Mark at Long Haul Kayaks, He does not plan on building any boats like the 550.

Klepper T65
Advanced Elements Expedition hybrid
Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:06 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:09 pm
Posts: 291
george wrote:
The problem with folding kayaks is that there are not enough of them out there, at least in the US. People looking to kayaks don't understand them. We need to revitalize the Ralph Diaz advocacy and publish a new book.

...

For those into car camping a folding kayak is also ideal. You can get all your camping gear and kayak into the vehicle. Again, assemble the kayak when you get there and either do day trips from your campsite on the water or paddle to an island and set up camp there.

It seems to be exceedingly difficult to figure out a folding kayak business model that is sustainable/profitable. The folding (sorry for the alliterative pun) of Feathercraft and Folbot illustrates this. Alv at Pakboats has also stated their kayak sales wouldn't be enough to sustain them without their folding canoes.

I also hate to disagree, but a folder doesn't make sense for most car campers. While loading a hard shell onto a car is a little time-consuming, it's still much faster and easier than assembling and disassembling a folder. There are also more design compromises with folders and they also require more maintenance.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:54 pm 
forum fanatic

Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:10 pm
Posts: 90
Since I get mentioned in this discussion, I might as well state my feeling again. I agree that it is too time consuming to assemble a folder each time it gets used. But that misses the points that makes folders attractive.
You can pack up a folder when you need to (may be for travel), but a folder travels happily on top of your car like any other boat. In fact, many older people get their folder because of the light weight. They have had hard kayaks for decades, but that 40 lb boat gets too heavy while half the weight is ok to load on top of the car. If you travel by air or by other public transport, you can take a folder along, but a hard boat?
You may feel that the vast majority of people travel by car and has no problem with a hard boat, and you would be right. But as a folding boat manufacturer, we are by definition not part of the majority. We just need to have enough customers to get by. I still believe there are enough customers out there to keep us "afloat".
Canoes are interesting. We make expedition canoes and light duty kayaks because the market for kayaks tends to be local while the market for our canoes tends to be in the far north where it gets too expensive to go with hard boats. We just have to go where the market is.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:35 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:09 pm
Posts: 291
Alv wrote:
Since I get mentioned in this discussion, I might as well state my feeling again. I agree that it is too time consuming to assemble a folder each time it gets used. But that misses the points that makes folders attractive.
You can pack up a folder when you need to (may be for travel), but a folder travels happily on top of your car like any other boat. In fact, many older people get their folder because of the light weight. They have had hard kayaks for decades, but that 40 lb boat gets too heavy while half the weight is ok to load on top of the car. If you travel by air or by other public transport, you can take a folder along, but a hard boat?

I agree with you, at least in principle, but I just wonder about the long-term interest in folders. There are fairly light hardshells that don't weigh much more than folders. For instance, most wood kayaks are only a few pounds heavier than comparably sized folders.

I also agree that folders are a great option for those with limited space and who want to take them on public transit, but again I'm a little skeptical how of how many persons like that are out there. Traveling with a folder on public transit is time consuming, and then you have to assemble and disassemble it as well. It's worth if you're dong a multi-day trip, but if you're only doing a day-trip, it's probably much easier to just rent a kayak.

I'm sorry for not being much of an optimist, but as a consumer there are some of the potential obstacles I see for the biz. I don't have the kind of inside business experience and perspective you do, so please consider this when reading my fairly limited perspective.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:20 pm 
forum fan

Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:02 am
Posts: 17
Location: Wismar, Germany
With that altitude... I wonder why LEGO runs so well. :D
I use to occationally build up my folder(s) in my living room, especially during the winter time, just for the fun of it (in fact its more fun than doing that in a hot sunshine).

I use them over hard kajaks mainly because of the looks and the feels... I think, folders are more like (classic) sports cars... or roadsters with a little bit of a magic invention flair and should be advertised accordingly. Mobility has gone elsewhere and better.

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Caspar

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:35 pm 
forum fan

Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:40 am
Posts: 19
Long Haul seems to be pretty busy these days. They had a backlog over the past several months and now they are seeking to hire additional help.

I think both Nautiraid and Long Haul gain stability from government sales.

There is a trend among all industries in the US to export manufacturing to third world countries with low wage rates. The manufacturers who remain in the US feature higher end technical products or quality craftsmanship and excellent customer service.

Wayland Kayaks is now the primary low wage folding kayak manufacturer. It offers discount prices but you have to deal with unreliable import logistics. To make a purchase you must endure high risk, poor customer service and uncertain and uneven quality.

Is it worth it to spend a little more to get top quality, reliable service and top quality customer service and support? That is an easy question for me to answer.

I voted with my money. My new Long Haul ships next week.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:02 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:51 pm
Posts: 662
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
I don’t think anyone who searches these pages would consider buying a Wayland kayak

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Simon

Feathercraft Wisper, First light 420, Fujita Alpina AL-1 400, Incept k40 (4sale),Nautiraid Geenlander 1, K1, 416 & Narak 460 (sold my 550), Pakboats Quest 135, TRAK 2.0
Wanted:original Advanced Elements Air Fusion
Cape Falcon F1, Beth, Hobie AI


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:08 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1831
Location: Southeast Michigan
Are folders too time consuming to assemble each time you use them? I don’t think so. With practice, following the tips on the main page, it doesn’t take long at all. I can do my AII in 20-25 minutes. Working in a team with my girlfriend, we do it even faster. I can do an Aleut in 10-12 minutes. The secret is to lay out all the parts before you start, and do it the same way every time. I used to paddle my Aleut 2-3 days a week after work, which really sped up my assembly times.

Check the Long Haul web pages for a video of Mark assembling a Mk-II in, I think, 17 minutes- including deck and rudder!

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Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:58 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:09 pm
Posts: 291
mje wrote:
... With practice, following the tips on the main page, it doesn’t take long at all. I can do my all in 20-25 minutes. Working in a team with my girlfriend, we do it even faster. ... The secret is to lay out all the parts before you start, and do it the same way every time.

Just to make sure, you are talking about kayaks right? :P Just want to make because it sorta sounds like you're talking about something else... :o


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:27 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Posts: 1151
Location: isles of scilly UK
We are of course off the subject. But I enjoy assembling my kayaks showing interested onlookers, talking about the good points and the not so good, if there are any. After use I disassemble them, I do this every time I use my folders. A small market will exist for ever with occasional surges but dealers have to have other lines or other outdoor goods to survive, but the question remains will enough people buy new folders each year in order for the manufacture,s to stay in business.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:26 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 421
Location: Coastal New Jersey
The folding kayak has always occupied a niche market among paddle craft and now, with the possible exception of inflatable kayaks and SUPs, the universe of the folder seems to be diminishing even further. On the other hand, the market for quality inflatable paddle craft appears to be holding steady and even expanding. Not certain for the reasons but I think that the time consuming and occasionally difficult task of assembling, disassembling and properly maintaining a skin-on-frame folder can become onerous especially if such must be done each time one wants to spend a few hours afloat. It could be that younger and older paddlers are finding themselves attracted to inflatables and the rather ingenious Oru boats simply for their inherent quality of spontaneity, the ability to go from bag to boat to afloat in 10 minutes or less. In my case, at 78 years and with the usual vicissitudes of the aging body, assembling a folder even one as simple and well made as my Feathercraft Kurrent has become a more onerous task than I find acceptable and something that my stiffened fingers and less than supple back rail against. Still, I must have some sort of kayak that is competent and pleasurable to paddle for the few months each winter when I’m on Florida’s Gulf Coast and it’s likely that next January when I load the Forester for the trip south, I will be stowing a light weight inflatable next to my bicycle.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:17 pm 
forum fanatic

Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 9:47 pm
Posts: 98
John, your comment about replying to onlookers' questions as you assemble your boat made me smile. I NEVER assemble a boat in front of onlookers. Never dare! Since I usually store and transport my boats fully assembled I require extreme and feverish concentration on the rare occasions that I'm forced to assemble one. Needless to say I'm easily thrown off track when performing many other tasks as well, i.e. writing, reading, cooking, fiddling, re-inventing the wheel, etc. Bravo to you who can calmly and patiently perform sophisticated feats of engineering under the curious and oft-annoying gaze of the bystander!


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