Saturday, October 5, 2019

Foldable Kayak? - ORU Bay St Kayak Review

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Is a foldable Kayak the right boat for you?
What are the pros?
What are the cons?

Is it worth $1,600?

This is my Agenda Free review of the ORU Bay St Kayak.


Price : $1,600
Weight : 28lbs 
To be honest, I haven’t heard of this company but I have been impressed by how many people have! 
ORU offers multiple styles of foldable kayak, each with a specific area of use; this is the Bay ST which is perfect for fishing, river, lake, etc us. Best Use Flatwater Kayaking
12ft long, 25” wide
Packed Dimensions33 x 12 x 29 inches
300 lb weight capacity, allowing room for 1 adult + plenty of gear
Made in USA.

  • Half Deck Rigging
  • Floor Board
  • Adjustable Footrests
  • Bow and Stern Bulkheads
  • Skirt Ready Concept
  • Six Zipper Channels for Installation
  • Back Rest and Seat Pad
  • Maintenance Kit
  • Made of 5mm double-layered custom-extruded polypropylene (double walled plastic)
  • Manufacturer-rated for 20,000 fold cycles
  • 10-year UV treatment
  • Withstands sliding over rocks or bumping into obstacles under the water
  • One-year warranty
  • Seat Type Padded / Foam

Who is this for? :
Because of the lightweight nature of this kayak I would recommend this for relatively smooth water; hit the lake on a nice day, launch into a slow flow creek.  Oru rates this for handling class I and II rapids.  Personally my comfort level with this kayak would be class a and class 1.
Class A; - Lake water. Still. No perceptible movement. Calm
Class I - Easy. Smooth water; light riffles; clear passages, occasional sand banks and gentle curves. The most difficult problems might arise when paddling around bridges and other obvious obstructions. Classification

The Bay ST wouldn’t be my first choice for Class II or higher rapids; it’s simply to light and is easily affected by the elements which you are facing.

Class II - Moderate. Medium-quick water; rapids with regular waves; clear and open passages between rocks and ledges. Maneuvering required. Best handled by intermediates who can maneuver canoes and read water.
Review Pros :
Folding and unfolding is going to take some learning but once you have done it a few times it can go quickly. 5 minutes is about the norm for both setup and breakdown; that is me though and it should be said that everyone is going to have different levels of difficulty with this; I’ve spoken with people who it took hours to put together to begin with and after years of use it can still take them 30 minutes.  Everyone is different.
It folds and that is amazing - Stash it pretty much anywhere: your trunk, closet, boat, garage, van, even under your bed – Easy to put inside of your vehicle, easy to maneuver it.  That’s huge! 
Because of the design, you don’t have to worry about putting your kayak on top of your vehicle.  Forget having to strap your yak to the top of your SUV or truck
Size when folded is impressive – 
Weight is impressive –
Easy to clean
Skirt is available
Great acceleration due to it’s light weight
Performance is very good, slices through the water smoothly.
The turning radius on this kayak is also quite good for a 12 foot boat!
Sitting is comfortable; I broke my back when I was in high school and my back generally beings to hurt after roughly 2 hours in any kayak and the Bay ST is no different.  With that being said, I find the sitting to comfortable.
Can hold a surprising amount of gear – multiple smaller bags work better than larger ones.
Speed isn’t bad; you won’t set any records but its not bad.  At the highest I would estimate 5mph going all out.
Plastic is strong enough to handle average use with beaching, grounding and so on.
Review Cons :
Depending on the design of kayak which you are accustomed to, you may find that this boat handles differently and that is due to the sharp lines of the boat and the light weight.  
Not the straightest of traveler because of the light weight of the boat.  In other words, it’s not the straightest in terms of tracking.
Water can gather inside of the channels of the boat material which you will have to drain.  This translate to time and even potential water inside of your vehicle
While I haven’t had a roll, the boat doesn’t feel as stable as more rounder, heavier kayaks.  Make sure to clip everything in just in case of a rollover.
I’ve found that a good bit of water will get inside of the kayak due to the openings in the front and back; they are cover with neoprene but water still makes its way in.  You will need to make sure to use dry bags.
Price – It is pricey and there is no way around that but what you are paying for is size and convenience.  With that being said, there are other foldable kayaks on the market which are much more expensive.
Instructions can be a bit confusing; luckily there are plenty of videos online to take care of you.
No knee braces but you could come up with something fairly easily
Get ready to talk to people about this boat; this may actually be a good thing depending on who you are.  But if you don’t like having lots of conversations, this isn’t the kayak for you as people are going to notice it and are going to ask questions.
Company claims the kayak folds down to roughly the size of a suitcase….yeah, the biggest suitcase I have ever seen!
I have noticed a fairly high amount of negativity online concerning this company, the quality of their boats and their customer service.  I have to mention this due to my allegiance being with my viewers.  I have had an issue in terms of quality as well as a bulkhead channel ripped off after my first use.  With that being said, this boat is a used one which the company sent me and with the bulkhead channel becoming detached I can see that this was previously repaired by the company and yet again it has failed.
The issue with the bulkheads is a common one and there are reports of failures that I have bound online which are very recent.
Seat isn’t really comfortable; after an hour I start becoming uncomfortable.
There is only a 1 year warranty and because this kayak is so expensive and there are known issues, I would like to see a lifetime limited warranty. If I smash it into a rock, it’s my fault but if the bulkheads rip off then they should replace it; you have to keep in mind, this kayak costs $1,600.  
Summary :
When it comes to kayaks, this one falls in the middle in terms of use.  In my opinion, it’s better and more robust than an inflatable but not as durable as a hardshell. With that being said, it is way way way more convenient to store, to load and unload.  For people who have cars, apartments, condos, etc this is an option for them to consider so that they can get into kayaking.  Considering that, one has to keep the cost of this boat in mind as the price is certainly high; my first car was less expensive that this kayak.
The slimmer design of the kayak may make you feel less stable; you have to use 
An inexpensive kayak can be had for a couple hundred dollars; my personal kayak is an old emotion which cost around $450; I purchased it from Amazon and that price included free shipping to my home.   
Yes it is heavy, it’s a pain to get it to the water at times but again, it only cost $450 and while it takes up a lot of space in my back yard, I can store outside no matter the weather and it’s always ready to go when I am.  It should be mentioned that my hardshell kayak weighs in around 45lbs.
With the Bay St, it has many advantages but they do come at a cost and even still there are disadvantages with this boat.
Do I recommend it? 
I like where the company is going with this kayak but the one question that comes to mind is durability.  As mentioned I have had an issue right off the bat and there are plenty of reported issues online.  With my old Emotion kayak, I’ve had it 8 years and it will last another 20 easily.  There is nothing to break where as with the Bay ST; there is plenty which can fail you.
The Bay ST solves a lot of problems and the question becomes, does it solve enough of the common kayak issues to justify the price?  Only you can make that decision.  
With TOGR the channel is 100% agenda free; Susie and I present our thoughts and feelings on a product so you can make the best decisions for yourself.

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