Folding boat changes from rolling suitcase to canoe in 10 minutes
Oru has won much recognition and acclaim for its lineup of folding kayaks, vessels that fold down into their own carry cases, making transport and storage much easier than full-sized rigid kayaks. But you don't always want to paddle solo. The Belgian-designed Onak canoe follows much of the same formula as the Oru, but it offers room for three plus gear.
There are a number of folding kayaks and canoes out there, dating back over a century, and most don't appear all that similar to the Oru. The Onak has a similar look and feel thanks to a pre-folded design that compacts away into its own case.
With the Onak, the carry case isn't a shoulder bag but a 47 x 15.7 x 10-in (120 x 40 x 25-cm) roller case that allows you to wheel the canoe to water's edge (or perhaps "beach's edge" since we're not certain how it'll handle the likes of sand and rock). At around 37 lb (17 kg), it's light enough to pick up and carry when rolling isn't an option.
This design should prove even easier than hauling on your shoulder or back, assuming there's flat, even ground between you and your put-in. It also looks convenient for rolling on and off of public transportation. Couple that with the apartment-friendly storage size, and the Onak looks like a great option for city-based paddlers.
The Onak's hull is made from a custom polypropylene honeycomb-core composite developed with help from Econcore. Onak claims the specific composite construction offers 10 times the strength of standard polypropylene. It is finished in a PET coating that improves scratch resistance while reducing on-water drag. On the water, the Onak measures 183 in (465 cm) long by 33.5 in (85 cm) wide and is designed to carry about 440 lb (200 kg), which should be enough for two adults, a child and gear.
When packing up, the hull folds flat and then both ends fold toward the center, creating two narrow compartments which hold other components, including the paddles. The wheels secure to the bottom, a lid sits on top, and everything moves together in one neat, wheeled package.
Other structural components include two aluminum gunnels, two wooden support ribs, and two hanging seats. Straps attached to the outside of the hull panel pull everything together into a sturdy, seaworthy vessel. Onak claims the package can go from roller case to canoe in about 10 to 15 minutes and canoe to roller case in 10, though we're guessing it'll take some practice to hit those marks with regularity.
After taking its folding canoe on tour through cities around Europe and beyond, including Oslo, Berlin and San Francisco, Onak is gearing up to launch a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign will go live July 1, and the first 50 canoes will be offered at an early bird pledge level of €895 (approx. US$995) before pricing goes up to €995 ($1,105). Estimated retail pricing is €1,195 ($1,325). Onak will also be exhibiting at the OutDoor Friedrichshafen show, which opens on July 13.
The following video shows some nice footage of the Onak canoe on the water in Oslo.
Update: The Kickstarter campaign is now live.