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    There’s a lot of gear that goes into a day on the water. At minimum, you’ll probably have a kayak, a paddle, a life jacket, maybe your dog, and a dry bag with your lunch, sunscreen, and bug spray. Carrying all that down to the water can be a drag, especially if you have a giant, heavy paddle craft.

    As someone who isn’t very strong (and who is constantly wrangling my two dogs), I can’t fathom having to lift a full-sized kayak off of a roof rack and take it down to the water alone. That’s where the Oru Lake kayak comes in.


    All the best folding and inflatable kayaks that we tested and loved

    The Lake model folds down to about the size of a carry-on suitcase and probably weighs less than your average packed carry-on too. Where a traditional kayak might require a roof rack, a kayak lift-assist tool, and a rolling cart to take it down to the water (all added costs), the Oru Lake can be tossed in the back of a sedan, easily carried to the water with one hand, and set up in about a minute by one person.

    Is the Oru Lake kayak easy to set up?

    The best part of the Oru Lake is how light it is and how easy it is to set up. I can easily fit it in the back of my car, carry it down to the lake with one hand, and set it up in two minutes, max.

    Oru Kayaks use origami-inspired folding patterns to make setup and takedown easy. Each boat is pre-creased for easy folding, and they fold down to a nice, buckled, suitcase-type shape with a handle on top. Oru’s kayaks are rated for up to 20,000 folds without weakening, so you don’t have to worry about the structural integrity getting weak with frequent use.

    To assemble, simply undo the top clips, unfold the boat, and push down on the creases to give it structure. Oru’s kayaks are rated for up to 20,000 folds without weakening, so you don’t have to worry about the structural integrity wearing with frequent use.

    Folded Oru Lake Kayak on a sandy beach

    The Oru packs down to a compact briefcase-like shape.
    Credit: Jae Thomas / Mashable

    An unassembled, half folded Oru Lake kayak

    Unfolding the kayak for assembly is simple.
    Credit: Jae Thomas / Mashable

    Next, just buckle in the seat and buckle the clips on the outside of the boat, and you’re ready to paddle.

    Oru also has a Lake+ model that features a footrest and an adjustable seat, which is ideal for taller paddlers. The Lake+ is slightly heavier and has an extra step during assembly as you need to assemble the footrest.

    Oru Kayaks are ideal for apartment dwellers and small car owners

    The Oru Lake gives you more freedom and accessibility to paddle than most other paddle crafts. Because it only weighs 17 pounds, it can easily be set up by one person, so you’ll be fine if your friend or partner doesn’t have time to go paddling with you. It can also be carried further than a normal kayak because of the lightweight design, so there’s no issue if there’s a bit of a hike to get to the body of water you’ll be paddling on.

    Apartment-dwellers will love the Lake’s small size since it can be stored in a closet or in the trunk of a car instead of requiring a whole backyard or garage to store like a traditional kayak. You’re also good to go even with a small car — I regularly transported my Lake in the trunk of a Toyota Corolla last summer.

    Fully assembled Oru Lake kayak on a lake shore

    The Oru seat isn’t the most comfortable, but it’s adjustable.
    Credit: Jae Thomas / Mashable

    Are Oru kayaks stable?

    During testing for our best inflatable and foldable kayaks guide, I tried both the Oru Lake and the Oru Beach LT. I found the Lake to be just as stable, if not more stable, than the bigger, more expensive Beach LT. Compared to some other inflatable kayaks that I tested, the Oru Lake is a tiny bit more wobbly, but even for beginner kayakers, it’s by no means unstable.

    The Oru Lake is also incredibly maneuverable because of how light it is. It’s easy to make quick turns and doesn’t take a ton of muscle power to really get going. Perhaps one of the only downsides of the lightweight design, though, is that it does tend to get blown off course in very windy weather. You might find that going in a straight line is a challenge when battling wind gusts.

    Is the Oru Lake kayak worth it?

    Kayak rentals average at about $20 per hour in most places. Taking that price into account, you’d only need to take the Oru Lake out on the water for about 25 hours in its lifetime to make the price justifiable. Assuming you paddle for three to four hours each time you take it out, that’s around seven to eight days of paddling before the Oru Lake pays for itself, when compared to a rental kayak.

    If you think you’ll paddle more than seven to eight days in the entire time that you own the Oru, the price is worth it. Add onto that the portability, the easy setup, and the super lightweight design, and it’s easy to recommend it for most casual kayakers. Compared to a heavier, bigger inflatable kayak, the Oru Lake is the fastest way to get out on the water, so you can spend more time exploring and less time trying to wrangle an air pump.


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