If you’re a touring kayaker, you have another choice when considering a new boat — a folding kayak. Based on the age-old designs of the Aleuts, these recreational folding kayaks have several advantages over their rigid-hulled counterparts. First, due to the fact that they can be taken apart and the components packed into trunks or backpacks, they’re very portable and easy to store. And second, because the frame of a folding kayak is flexible, a skilled kayaker can match the kayak’s movement to currents or wave action.
Folding kayaks are generally constructed with wood or aluminum frames and an outer skin of a waterproof, tightly-knit fabric. Hull fabrics are normally either canvas or Hypalon, a cloth that has a waterproof synthetic rubber bonded to its exterior. Both of these materials are breathable, which allows heat to escape–a bonus when paddling in warm climates.
Though more portable than rigid boats, the folding kayak still requires some effort to lug around. Most models weigh in at over 80 pounds, so you’d better be in shape if you plan on packing one into a remote area. Another disadvantage with these boats is they’re not as slippery in the water and require a little more effort to paddle. To many paddlers, though, the advantages of having a boat they can break down, carrying onto an airplane, and store in their closet far outweigh the potential drawbacks.
In summary, if you’re considering a folding kayak, you’ve got several options. If you have a dealer in your area who stocks them, you might see if you can take one on the water for a test drive. If not, and you’ve decided that a folding boat is the way to go, there are several online dealers that provide great deals on these amazingly versatile craft.