Five years ago, Oru Kayak was a crowdfunding sensation thanks to the introduction of its origami-inspired folding boat. At the time, the company’s Kickstarter campaign was among the most successful ever, and helped take it from a struggling startup to a full-fledged success story in the outdoor industry. Paddlers were drawn to Oru’s lightweight design, which allows it to fold down to a surprisingly small size for easy transport and storage.
Now, Oru has taken the wraps off of its updated Coast XT expedition kayak, bringing a complete redesign to its flagship model. That redesign includes a new folding pattern that does away with wasted interior space, while still managing to make the interior roomier at the same time. The craft is also now sleeker and easier to assemble, which will be a welcome update to anyone who has ever put one of these kayaks together. While not overly complicated, they do take a bit of time to figure out.
The Coast XT’s new “zipper” channels play an integral role in keeping the boat together once it is fully assembled. After folding the Coast XT into shape, a set of three “zippers” are slid into place along its seams, holding the entire boat together and making it watertight. With this redesign, those zippers have gotten a complete overhaul, reportedly making them much easier to use. The result is a folding kayak that is faster to put together and performs much better out on the water, too.
The Coast XT is Oru’s largest and most sophisticated kayak to date. It includes such features as a spray skirt-ready cockpit, 180 liters of onboard storage, and improved tracking and swiftness in both flat and moving water. The boat weighs just 34 pounds, has a carrying capacity of 400 pounds, and folds down to a 33-inch by 12-inch by 29-inch space. Its lightweight and plyable plastic body provides plenty of flexibility without adding extra bulk.
It’s no secret that Oru founder Anton Willis came up with the idea for a folding kayak after reading an article about origamist Robert J. Lang and his ability to apply paper-folding concepts to everyday products. Lang’s influence has been felt on Oru’s designs ever since. To pay homage to Lang for that inspiration, the company has created the Coast XT– Robert Lang Edition, which includes custom skin featuring Lang’s “Birdwing Butterfly” folding pattern on the outer shell of the boat. This model will sell for $2,599 when it begins shipping next month, although it is available to purchase now for just $2,099 (19 percent off) through the crowdfunding campaign. A standard edition Coast XT will sell for $2,499, but is also available for $2,099 while the campaign is still live.
Considering Oru’s crowdfunding track record, the Coast XT seems like a fairly safe investment for paddlers looking for a folding boat. Still, as with every crowdfunding initiative, it pays to know the risks you face before pledging your support.