The principal idea that led Anton Willis to attempt to make an origami kayak was accessibility. He was living in a tiny San Francisco apartment, lamenting his lack of storage for gear when he set out on the project, and in 2012 revealed his creation: Oru Kayak. Oru has since grown, offering a full range of folding boats that get small enough to fit in the back of a sedan or an apartment closet — the line even includes a tandem model. Today, Oru revealed its latest model, the Inlet, and the new kayak adheres as close to his original craving for accessibility as any he’s developed yet.
The Inlet is smaller, lighter and cheaper than any of Oru’s other kayaks. It weighs 20 pounds (six less than Oru’s previously lightest model), but it packs down into a polygonal box that’s nearly half the size of the company’s other boats. To get there, Oru’s designers created an all-new folding pattern. We had an early hands-on with the Inlet at Outdoor Retailer and can report that, compared to Oru’s other kayaks, the Inlet is significantly easier and more intuitive to transform from box to boat and back again thanks to this new design. (Oru boasts it can be done in less than five minutes with some practice, and we can confirm that claim.)
Pricing is critical when launching a product that’s meant to be approachable. The Inlet will cost $899, becoming Oru’s most affordable kayak yet (its next-cheapest model is the Beach LT at $1,299). Right now, the company is funding the Inlet on Kickstarter and has backer options that’ll get you the boat for as little as $699, if you’re quick. The new kayak is due for delivery in April 2020, just in time for next summer.
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