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Folding kayaks: The Future
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Author:  Jeremiah [ Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

I can relate to John about his experiences folding and unfolding his kayak with spectators. I also enjoy the teaching moments regarding folding kayaks and am probably more focused during the assembly as I answer questions. But I do know this is a different time. If this was around the time that " The Complete Folding Kayaker" book came out I would feel like an ambassador to folding kayaks and maybe open someone's eyes to the great reasons to own one. But things are not the same now and I know that, as I assemble my kayak, I'm nothing more than a curiosity and they move on, maybe scratching their head. It's not the same as if I was about to launch a drone.
I spoke with a women about kayaking and she sadly told me she will have to give it up because she wasn't physically able to load and unload her heavy plastic kayak anymore. I told her to research folding kayaks because some were incredibly light and she would have more options for transporting it. Since that time her folding kayak choices have been greatly reduced.
Who knows what will be next regarding folders but I will continue to sing their praises, for their versatility, their beauty and their joy to paddle.

Author:  Jake [ Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

It’s not an easy task for me to assemble my Kurrent on the ground and so I scout out a convenient picnic table at the local bay front park when we arrive for our winter sojourn on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Sometimes a casual observer will stop and ask questions about this odd sort of boat but otherwise I try to stay focused as Feathercraft kayaks are not easy things to put together. On one such occasion, a woman walking a very small dog stopped to watch me at work as I tried to wiggle a rib into place. A minute passed and she asked how much the Kurrent had cost. Not wanting to try to explain to her how much a labor intensive, made-in-North America by skilled artisans folding kayak cost, I fudged my reply telling her that I bought the boat at a yard sale for $100. The woman smiled at me as one might at a rather inept child and told me that I probably could have gotten it for fifty dollars or even less if I had just bargained a bit. They expect you to bargain at those yard sales, she said. I thanked her for her advice and promised that I would try to do better next time. She smiled again and walked off with her tiny white dog trailing behind.

Author:  martin2007 [ Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Jake, thank you! A wonderful anecdote exploring the mysterious subtleties of folding kayak assembly bystander-ism. Cheered me up even without my morning coffee!

Author:  Apathizer [ Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Jake wrote:
Sometimes a casual observer will stop and ask questions about this odd sort of boat but otherwise I try to stay focused as Feathercraft kayaks are not easy things to put together.

This, along with their high price, are probably the two most significant reasons why Feathercraft's business model was unsustainable. Even with hard-shell models kayaking is a fairly elaborate undertaking that involves assembling equipment and transportation in addition to paddling itself. When cumbersome assembly and high price of folders are additional detractors, this significantly limits folders' appeal.

I discussed this awhile ago, but I think it's worth repeating. When I first started learning about folders several years ago, I looked at Feathercraft's prices and thought, 'For a little more I could a decent used car and a decent used hard-shell, so why would I buy a new Feathercraft?'

Author:  Jake [ Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

I bought my Kurrent 2.0 because of Feathercraft’s reputation for quality, it’s light weight and relative simplicity and, of course, because it can be disassembled and transported in a stuff sack. It paddles and handles as well as I expected, my only significant disappointment being the aforementioned “stuff sack” which is essentially just a large duffle bag with back packing straps attached. This functions poorly and painfully as a pack back while offering only minimal protection for its contents. I would be reluctant to send it as checked baggage on a commercial flight. I use the Kurrent mostly on Gulf Coast waters in the winter and I’m much more comfortable carrying the boat inside the car rather than on a roof rack for the 1300 mile trip down I-95.

I don’t disagree with Apathizer. New Feathercraft kayaks were expensive and assembling them can be onerous. If I had to put the Kurrent together each time I wanted to go for a spin on Tampa Bay I’d buy an inflatable and, with advances in inflatable design and technology, this is likely where the bagboat market will go. And as for my Kurrent, it is presently packed away in my bedroom and how many can say that they keep a thirteen foot boat tucked under their bed? :)

Author:  Shilden72 [ Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Could it be possible to replace the stuff sack with something that'd be more convenient, or is there a built-in function in the kayak, or the bag, or both, that forces the owner to use them together? Because I have a couple extremely convenient rucksacks that are both the right size for air travel and redistribute the weight of the load efficiently on the body.
I wanted to ask, though: how well do these handle being stored for a while? Because my wife and I were considering buying one of these houses in Greece for the holidays, and if we were to do so, the kayak would be likely to stay at the holiday house when we aren't there.

Author:  KerryOnKayaks [ Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

If you can find a cool dry place in the Greek holiday cottage to store the folders, and they were put away properly, they should be OK. Both my Pakboat and Feathercraft folders have suffered multi-year storage in their duffels bags at various times without any problems. Well, there was one problem: I stored the Wisper for 2 years without setting it up and my basement, though cool enough, had some dampness issues over that time and the original Feathercraft backpack (which by then was 9 years old) developed a nasty scrim of mold all over it. Fortunately the kayak inside was not affected. And when I tried to wash the backpack all of the waterproof coating on the inside of the fabric peeled off in shreds. That was kind of a bummer, though I admit I rarely used the bag for travel -- an extra large Timberland rolling duffel bag (the kind that a hockey goalie might use for his kit) works better.

Author:  Jake [ Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Folding kayaks: The Future

Last summer I kept my Kurrent fully assembled suspended from the garage ceiling with the sea sock, spray skirt and stuff sack tossed into the cockpit. This winter in Florida I noticed what appeared to be spots of mold on the inner fabric of these items and when I tried to wash them away, bits of the fabric coating also came off. Summer temps in the garage might hit highs of around 90 with high humidity but that shouldn’t damage the waterproof coating or anything else. Seems like the material itself might be the problem. Anyway, it’s not a serious problem and the hull wasn’t affected in any way. And I still believe that a folder’s hull shouldn’t be kept tightly folded and rolled up for a lengthy period. I keep mine under my bed in a fully relaxed posture. :)

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