Oru — The bombproof kayak that folds into a suitcase

For years, I drooled over kayaks online. I’m a researcher and a realist, and as much as I dreamed about hitting the river, there was always a list of rational reasons why I shouldn’t own a kayak. At the top of that list– storage and transportation.

Kayaks are big and bulky. If you live in an apartment or a small home, owning a kayak just doesn’t seem practical.

Further, if you have a small car (I used to drive a Prius) getting a full-size kayak to the river is a challenge.

I think the amazement of the Oru is usually replaced by two pressing questions. Is it seaworthy and is it durable?

A few years ago Oru created the Oru Bay Folding Kayak. Oru popped-up on the radar for many people in 2014. The creators pitched the origami-like kayak on Shark Tank.

Oru Kayak – Shark Tank – Season 5, Episode 28 – May 9th, 2014Vimeo.

One Shirt = One Tree
Plant a Seed

I think anyone that sees pics or video of an Oru in action are always amazed. The Oru Kayak can morph from suitcase to 12-foot kayak in about 15 minutes.

Oru Kayak Foldable
You can transform an Oru Kayak in about 15 minutes

It’s amazing and it opens the door for so more people to own a kayak.  You can fit an Oru in a small car, store it in a closet and you never have to worry about a spouse complaining about it being in the way.

But I think the amazement of the Oru is usually replaced by two pressing questions. Does it maneuver well and is it durable?


I’ve put some serious miles on one of my two Oru’s. Most of the paddling I do is in Mississippi.  The rivers I paddle have a good flow [Some Class II Rapids], but it’s not like I’m on the Nantahala in Tennesee.

The kayak tracks very well, just as you would expect a 12-foot kayak to track. But I also feel like I can maneuver it very quickly.  Usually, the longer a kayak, the better it tracks, but it’s also harder to maneuver.  With my Oru Bay, I have a great mix of the two.


There are some fast-paced rivers around here, and there’s also a lot of fallen trees on the rivers.  Trees that I’ve slammed into and scrapped over with my Oru.

I purchased my first Oru in 2015 and my second in 2016 and both are still in great shape.  With all the hard wear and tear, and about two years of usage I’ve only had to replace one flashing on my older kayak.


As I mentioned earlier, I used to own a Prius. I fit two Oru Kayaks in the back, and I still had room for dry bags, paddles and camping gear. It’s remarkable how small you can compact a 12-foot kayak.

Kayak Camping

I love backpacking. Unfortunately, Mississippi does not offer a lot of great places for overnight hiking. Mississippi does have some incredible rivers for paddling and the rivers have beautiful sandbars.

With drybags, camping gear and my Oru I can fit enough gear and food for two nights.

I usually bring dehydrated food, a reliable water filter, a camp stove, and I’m good to go.

There’s nothing more rewarding than being off-the-grid for a few days and having to make it with what’s in your kayak.

We all need to Disconnect to Reconnect.

The Oru is available in three models on REI.

  • Oru Kayak Beach – Designed for comfort and more casual paddling
  • Oru Kayak Bay – Good for recreation river running. You can add a spray skirt with this model should you want to hit some rapids or want to try rolling.  [This is the model I have]
  • Oru Kayak Coast – Great for long trips and open water. Tracks very well, but its length makes it naturally less maneuverable than the Bay model.
  • As of the time of this writing, the older Version of the Oru Beach is 15% off at REI.  But I imagine that’s just while they sell off their old stock.

Oru’s are also available on Amazon.com