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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:00 pm 
paddler

Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:53 am
Posts: 9
Reading what I can find on the subject it sounds like Folbot was treading water a decade before it closed shop, a victim of the recent depression. I take it some of the assets sold at auction, and it's not clear, but it sounds as if the core of the outfit was packed away for a better day. With today's surging economy maybe the better day is here. Has anyone been in contact with whomever owns the rights to Folbot? With money in folks pockets and recreation on people's minds I think a new modern Folbot company could do very well.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:25 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:10 pm
Posts: 164
Were I 30 years younger and of independent means I would relish the job. I love the Aleut, Yukon, and GII models as being suited to my purpose and a good value in the folding kayak world. Now for a reality check.

Even in this robust economy I'm not sure a manufacturer of $2k - $3k folding kayaks could survive. The reality is that the consumer market has moved away from sit-in kayaks to stand-up paddleboards and sit-on-top fishing kayaks. Plastic recreational sit-in kayaks can be had at Ace Hardware for $300. Most airlines charge extra for checked bags, making traveling with a folding kayak less attractive than it used to be.

I believe that reference models have been stored to allow for reverse engineering one day. Of course lots of Folbots are still out there being used. There is still hope that one day someone will resurrect the brand.

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Ann and me
Folbots: Too many. It's embarrassing.
Feathercraft: Aeronaut
Klepper: AEI - Jonathan Waterman's boat
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:58 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Posts: 1108
Location: isles of scilly UK
I can,t see Folbot or any other folder manufacturers who have closed shop coming back for many years. Most of the owners of folders are getting on in years and younger people at present want instant things that are new tech. Where I live on one of a cluster of small islands the only folders are mine, Folbot and Klepper. I have the only Triak on the islands and the only Hobie. It is very difficult for anyone who sells folders to keep finding new customers they probably have to stock lower cost sit on tops and paddle boards to try and have some cash flow. The people here who buy kayaks buy the cheapest sit on top available. Years ago groups like the Scouts would build skin on frame kayaks that created an interest that could last a lifetime, but I doubt if they make any kayaks now.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:14 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:09 pm
Posts: 282
BillTexHoyt wrote:
Reading what I can find on the subject it sounds like Folbot was treading water a decade before it closed shop, a victim of the recent depression. I take it some of the assets sold at auction, and it's not clear, but it sounds as if the core of the outfit was packed away for a better day. With today's surging economy maybe the better day is here. Has anyone been in contact with whomever owns the rights to Folbot? With money in folks pockets and recreation on people's minds I think a new modern Folbot company could do very well.

Folbot's demise was discussed in great detail in another thread. The idea they were "a victim of the recent depression", while probably partially true, is overly facile. Since Eric Thome ended Folbot without much notice or explanation we don't know many fact, but we can speculate based largely on Folbot's history, especially after Thome took over.

Perhaps the most significant problem was their specialization: Alv of Pakboats has stated their kayak sales alone wouldn't be enough to sustain the company, which is one of the reasons they also make canoes. Trak seems to be doing OK with only one model, but their production seems to be on a much smaller scale, and someone who can afford or is willing to spend that much on a kayak probably wouldn't be interested in more of a budget manufacturer like Folbot.

Ultimately, the long-term future of folders is probably bleak, not just Folbot. Feathercraft has also closed, and it seems likely others eventually will.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:54 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1716
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
Sadly, Klepper is just a shadow of it's former self. It has even outsourced all of it's production. Pouch Boats doesn't seem to have much happening, either. And I don't know how Fujita and Arfeq are doing in Japan-- traditionally a more healthy market for folding boats, I think. Nautiraid is making an enthusiastic go of it-- they recently started with a new distributor in the US (CLCboats), and they were a central element of a recent feature-movie in France.

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:58 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1750
Location: Southeast Michigan
Don’t forget Long Haul, who are still making great boats.

The fashion conscious outdoors press and trendy retailers aren’t helping by promoting cheap boats and disposable folders and simply printing manufacturers blurbs. I remember a magazine article of a few years ago that log a lot of discussion here. It was clear that the author was just quoting ad copy, and obviously hadn’t paddled or even assembled all the boats she claimed to have tested.

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Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:15 pm 
forum fanatic

Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:10 pm
Posts: 73
Out-Trade GmbH in Germany is doing well, and they probably sell more packable boats than anybody. They have their own brand Nortik, and they distribute Triton and Pakboats. Interestingly, their Triton line (Triton Advanced) is compatible with Triton's regular line, but it is upgraded for the western market.

It may be that Out-Trade has a unique advantage in that the German market has both buying power and a strong tradition with folding boats. We have looked at bringing some of those boats to North America, but I doubt that sales would justify it. Once you take on a kayak line, you have to commit to servicing it with parts, and that only makes sense if you can achieve some volume. That became a problem for CLC when they tried to take on Nautiraid.

If it had been easy, everybody would be doing it :(


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