When most people think of origami, small folded paper animals are usually the first thing to come to mind. But origami is good for a whole lot more than cute decorations. Case in point: Oru, a kayak company launched in 2012 that makes folding watercraft. Today, the company released its latest folding kayak, the Inlet, and it illustrates that a foldable boat is definitely no gimmick—it might just be the future of paddling.
The Inlet joins the company’s existing lineup of five kayaks, but it’s a big upgrade from the earlier models. At 20 pounds, it’s the lightest of all the company’s boats, and it has the thinnest profile when folded: just 10 inches wide.
According to a press release, it also includes an integrated floorboard (a first for Oru kayaks) and the company claims it can be assembled for paddling in less than three minutes—giving you plenty of extra time out on the water.
The key to these improvements is the Inlet’s new folding pattern, the first new pattern the company has developed since it launched in 2012. It’s more streamlined than the system used on Oru’s other kayaks, and it even allows for the elimination of several parts, which helps make assembling the Inlet easier and faster. The deleted parts also translate into weight savings and help the Inlet take up less space when folded. On top of that, it’s also cheaper than the rest of the boats in Oru’s lineup. It’ll retail for $850, which is $450 less than the company’s next most affordable boat.
The Inlet’s origami redesign is the brainchild of Anton Willis, Oru’s founder and Chief Design Officer. “This boat represents what I always wanted for Oru: kayaks with intuitive and quick assembly, great stability, an affordable price, and unbelievable portability,” he said in a statement.
Portability and affordability make the Inlet a compelling option, especially considering that most kayaks—folding and otherwise—retail for north of $1,000. With the Inlet, you get a full-size paddle craft (it measures 10 feet long and 31 inches wide) that packs down small enough to fit inside the trunk of a car, and is light enough for one person to carry around easily.
“The Inlet is as close as we’ve ever come to building a product that breaks all the common barriers to boat ownership,” Willis says.
Ready to get out on the water? The Inlet goes on sale today.