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This Tandem Kayak Folds Into a Box—Weird or Awesome?

When I heard that there was such a thing as a foldable kayak, I saw this as my opportunity to own a kayak, since we do not have the space to store a traditional kayak—especially a double. When my husband heard that there was such a thing as a foldable kayak, he was skeptical—especially when I told him I wanted to put one of our kids in it with me. I think both reactions are reasonable.

After trying the Oru Kayak Haven TT, I think that owning a foldable kayak is a good idea if you like to kayak and want to own one but don’t have the space to store it. Oru’s Haven TT performs well compared to traditional kayaks, and it takes up way less space in the garage. You can also transport it in your trunk instead of strapping it to the top of your car.

Whether the concept excites you, confuses you, or simply makes you curious, here is some information that could help you decide whether an Oru foldable kayak is for you.

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Oru Kayak Haven TT foldable kayak 1
Image courtesy of Oru Kayak

Oru Kayak Haven TT: The Nuts and Bolts

Oru Kayak’s Haven TT is a 16’1″ tandem kayak that folds down to a “manageable box.” I agree with Oru that the box is manageable, but I will add that it is, admittedly, awkward to carry, and it’s not extremely light. At 41 pounds, it is most certainly light relative to a standard kayak, but depending on how big you are, it might be on the difficult side of manageable. I am a small but strong person, and I find carrying the box to be on the difficult side of manageable. My 6’2″ husband fares much better.

We store the boxed kayak on a shelf in our garage, along with the accessories: the Oru PFDs, the Oru gel seats, and the foldable Oru paddles. Its folded dimensions are 34″x17″x29″.

When unfolded, the Haven TT tandem kayak is about 16 feet long and 33 inches wide. It can hold up to 500 pounds and accommodates paddlers up to 6’6″. You can set the Haven TT up as a single or a double, depending on who’s paddling that day.

When we first unboxed our Oru kayak, my skeptical husband was surprised to find the kayak made from polypropylene—like, the stuff signs are made from. Indeed, Oru’s foldable kayaks are made from 5-mm double-layered polypropylene with a 10-year UV treatment. This means they’re lightweight yet puncture and abrasion resistant.

Setting Up and Breaking Down a Foldable Kayak

Oru kayak 3
Image by Bethanie Hestermann

But how hard is it to set up? That was my question, too. The answer is that it’s doable and becomes exponentially easier the more you do it. The first time we set up our Oru Haven TT, it took me and my husband around a half-hour. Granted, we did this on the beach with two small children distracting us . . . and we forgot the instructions at home (so we used the YouTube video instead).

After that first time, you’re looking at just 10-15 minutes for set up. It felt helpful to have two people the first time, but I can also set it up by myself with no problem.

Breaking down the foldable kayak is actually trickier than setting it up, in my opinion. The most challenging part of breaking down Oru’s Haven TT is the part where you have to actually fold it up into the box shape. There’s no way to really describe this critical moment, but when you get it, it feels so satisfying. It took us a bit to get it right the first and second times.

Keep in mind that in exchange for the portability of a foldable kayak, you’re committing to unfolding and refolding the kayak twice per use. (Once for the actual use and then again to clean it up before storage.)

Smooth Sailing: My Experience Using a Foldable Kayak

oru kayak 4
Image by Bethanie Hestermann

Of course, the most important part of the experience is not the storage, transport, or set up; it’s riding, paddling, and maneuvering in the kayak. I love everything about riding in my Oru Haven TT. It’s light, responsive, and comfortable.

The seat backs and footrests are adjustable, the gel seats (sold separately) are super cushy, and the adjustable-length paddles are effective and pleasant to use. Our first time out (in a bay), the ride was so smooth, my daughter fell asleep in the front seat while I paddled us from the cockpit.

There’s also something to be said about the uniqueness of this kayak. We have the Black Edition, and it is striking. We definitely attracted some attention gliding by other paddlers in an all-black, foldable kayak. The interior is bright orange, and I personally really like the color combo.

Should You Buy a Foldable Kayak?

oru kayak 2
Image by Bethanie Hestermann

I recommend the Oru Kayak Haven TT for anyone for loves kayaking but who doesn’t have a lot of storage space. Actually, even if you do have the storage space but want to travel with a kayak, this could be the perfect solution for you.

I appreciate how light Oru’s tandem foldable kayak is and how cool looking and innovative it is. Yes, it takes some work to transport and set up and break down, but you can say the same about a lot of outdoor gear, and that rarely stops us outdoorsy folks, now does it?

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