Oru's origami camping furniture delivers flat-packing convenience
Ever since launching its original origami kayak back in 2012, Oru has made a name for itself building a lineup filled with some of the market's most conveniently portable watercraft. At the same time, it's been quietly working to broaden its horizons by applying its signature pre-folded polypropylene construction to other outdoor products. It's now ready to introduce a lineup of camping furniture that packs down small and flat and quickly builds up into a series of sturdy, durable and multifunctional tables and chairs.
Instead of just launching a single piece of origami camping furniture, Oru has introduced a full campsite's worth of furniture. Each model is constructed from a single piece of double-walled, custom-extruded Oruplast polypropylene carefully pre-folded to easily set up and break down in about 30 seconds.
The largest item in the new Oru Camp family is the SwitchTable, an adjustable-height table that can work as a dining table, prep table, work space, coffee table or all of the above. At full height, it stands 29.5 inches (75 cm), pairing with Oru's FlipCube stools into a dining set or working as a standalone surface for food prep, cooking and other tasks. With a few quick adjustments, the legs fold in half to drop the table height to a 15.5 in (39 cm) for use as a coffee table or two-person bench.
The SwitchTable's split top also lifts open to reveal two storage compartments designed for dry storage or use as a backup ice-filled cooler, rounding out an impressive list of uses for a single piece of gear. The 11.5-lb (5.2-kg) table folds down into a slim, easy-carry 18.5 x 22.5 x 6-in (47 x 57 x 15-cm, L x W x H) package, and an attachable shoulder strap makes it its own carry bag.
The 7.3-lb (3.3-kg) PopLounge chair shares the same packed length and width as the SwitchTable, making for neat stacking that doesn't waste valuable vehicle space. It builds up into the type of stable Adirondack chair usually reserved for home and lodge decks but now portable enough for primitive camp. The seat lifts to reveal a storage compartment.
Perhaps the most versatile member of the Oru Camp family, the 7.3-lb FlipCube can work as a storage box, step stool, footrest, bench and/or side table. It features a fully empty interior below its top, providing plenty of space for carrying gear. In addition to folding down to a 16.3 x 16.3 x 3.5-in (41.4 x 41.4 x 8.9-cm) package, it can remain fully assembled and stack atop other FlipCubes to hold gear during travel. So your camping bench/table doubles as your camping storage box.
Oru's kayaks have long offered a big advantage in terms of storage size and easy portability over traditional kayaks. Its camping furniture does fold flatter than some of the alternatives, but it doesn't necessarily save that much space because there are already many foldable camping furniture products out there that are every bit as compact, lightweight, and easy to set up and break down. And many of them cost well less.
What Oru does look to offer with its furniture, however, is performance and durability that stands head and shoulders above traditional camping furniture. The SwitchTable, for instance, boasts a weight capacity of 400 lb (181 kg) – several times the 100- to 200-lb (45- to 91-kg) capacities common on other folding camp tables.
Traditional folding camping furniture, particularly chairs, is also notoriously flimsy, something Oru says its Camp line addresses. It explains that its pre-folded "living hinges" distribute weight evenly and are tested for 20,000 folds. By contrast, traditional folding chairs have mechanical hinges and joints that often prove to be weak points ripe for failure.
Personally, I've often found myself replacing a cheaper folding camping chair after only a year or two of use, either because of a broken joint or hub or because of fabric that weakens and tears due to sun and weather exposure. While the Oru PopLounge's US$150 MSRP is quite high compared to cheap folding chairs, it's in line with more premium products like Dometic's Go Chair, and if Oru's design does indeed last well longer than inexpensive alternatives, it'll pay for itself over time.
In addition to offering some unique features and advantages, the Oru Camp pieces also lack some popular features. The SwitchTable does not include individually adjustable legs to stabilize on uneven ground, and the PopLounge lacks the armrests and integrated cupholders common on other camping chairs (and traditional Adirondack chairs, in terms of armrests).
Oru will launch the Camp lineup on May 9 via Kickstarter, the platform it's used in the past for five of its kayaks, including last year's Lake. The SwitchTable will have an MSRP of $200, and the FlipCube $75, joining the aforementioned $150 MSRP of the PopLounge.
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