Citibot, Sunny, or Oru for quiet rivers


I am new to kayaking although I have canoed all my life. I recently started looking for a folding or inflatable kayak. I live very near a river, but I don’t have any boats of my own, nor do I drive. I need something light enough to carry just a mile or two to the river. I have narrowed my choices down to a Citibot or Oru, or (on the inflatable side) an Innova Sunny. I wouldn’t be traveling on anything treacherous, just calm rivers for a few hours at a time on nice weekends, with maybe a little fishing thrown in. My main concerns are setup/deconstruction time, stability, and durability. Any thoughts on which of these boats might serve me better? I am particularly drawn to the Oru, but I haven’t been able to find out how it compares to more traditional folding or inflatable kayaks in the same pricerange.

another choice
You might also want to look at the Pakboat folding kayaks – their 12’ Puffin is only around 25 pounds. I’ve owned 2 Pakboats, including a 12’ Puffin, and they are nicely designed boats that set up easily. Great bang for the buck and they paddle very similarly to hard shells. They are sort of hybrids, in that they have a frame but also have multiple inflatable tubes that shape the boat and add flotation as well as tightening the skin.

Orukayaks are still a bit hard to come by and still costly even when they show up on the used market. They are cool looking but I would be cautious about a boat that has really only been in the market for a bit over a year – no long term data on durability.

Full inflatables like the Innovas paddle quite a bit differently. Better for whitewater but they do get blown around a bit by wind and are generally not as fast as a folder will be. And you have to have space to dry them out before packing them down.

It kind of depends on your personal taste.

There is a paddling site specifically for folders and inflatables ( but it has not been terribly active over the past 6 months. But you can find information in their forum archives including reviews of various collapsible boats.

The lightest most high performance collapsible is the Feathercraft Kurrent (25 lbs) and they have a new boat coming out this year called the Aironaut at 20 lbs. But these cost thousands of dollars. I’ve owned 3 Feathercrafts and they are terrific boats, but you really have to bite the bullet on your budget to buy one – not everybody can afford that. I lucked into finding used ones but they were still costly.

article on pros and cons of folders, etc
California Kayaker Magazine had an article on the pros and cons of folder, inflatables, etc. in an article on kayaking and small living places. Can be read online for free at Issue #9, summer 2012.

thank you
Thank you very much for the advice. I took a look at the Pakboats and I think I will start saving up for the Saranac. It looks more like the canoes I am used to, and being able to configure it for tandem use is very appealing to me.

The Pakboat Saranac
is a good choice and should serve you very well. I have a Feathercraft Kurrent and like it very much but, as Willowleaf noted, it is a bit on the pricey end and not as light nor as easy to assemble as the Saranac. Good luck.

easy to put together kayak is the TRAK seeker

Best Wishes


You can also build your own
You may not realize that you can also build your own super light folding or inflatable kayak, with common tools and basic skills. Check out Tom Yost’s site with free instruction and patterns for over a dozen different models. Be sure to look at the “Gallery” to see examples ordinary folks have built on their own for only a few hundred dollars worth of materials. One woman even used old aluminum crutches to make her frame!

I admit I have no personal experience with them, but the 13’ Advanced Elements Airfusion Elite strikes me as an interesting inflatable solo option, under $800. I like that they add a rigid tube “backbone” to stiffen the hull.

If you do get the Puffin I expect you will be pleased with it. Very nice boats. There are some videos on Youtube of people paddling them. Don’t know where you live, but if you are near New Hampshire, the company HQ is there and you can test paddle demos – I think they have also arranged some demos in other places. Nice people to deal with if you have questions about buying the boats and accessories. I highly recommend adding the inflatable foot support to whichever one you buy. We rigged one initially using some straps and a length of PVC, but the factory one is nicer and not costly.

Air Fusion
A friend uses a 13 foot AirFusion as his boat of choice for exploring small lakes and streams. I have paddled with him and the boat moves along quite smartly despite all of its wrinkles and creases. Still, I think the Pakboat is your best choice.

one for sale in classifieds
I have a Trak T-1600, which is what the Seeker used to be called before the name change, for sale in the classified

I had a pakboat 12’Puffin for 3 years and it went with me to Mexico on 3 trips…loved it and should have kept it. Sold it to a friend in Puerto Vallarta and she loves it. Never had any problems with it and it’s very decent to paddle too. I carried it in a backpack/duffle and weight with boat, paddle, hand pump was right at 40 lbs. Could put it together in 20-30 minutes.