Experience w/sectional kayaks?

I have noticed that several manufacturers build sectional or take-apart kayaks, but have never paddled one. Nor do I know anyone who owns or has owned one. I recently saw an advertisement from Nimbus kayaks showing their Horizon-S in a 3 piece sectional boat. I thought I would pick the “collective brain” here to find out what experiences you have had with any sectional kayak. I’m also curious has to just how convenient they could possibly be. I don’t think I’ll run out and buy one, but I would like some real world info on them. Thanks!


Paddled a plastic Ainsworth briefly
a few years back. It paddled ok as I recall. I do not think there would much difference between a sectional and a one piece of the same model. As far as convenience… well storage could be the major factor. For travelling, you could get your boat on the plane but would be likely charged oversized and excess baggage fees, and the airlines have lowered their free baggage allowance. I prefer my folding kayak for travel. It is not as fast as a glass model, but handles rough conditions just as well and I can meet airline international weight limits easily and US weight standards in winter, just barely.

Valley, NDK & Kajak Sport
have made sectional kayaks for some time. The 2000 Antartic expedition was done with sectional Nordkapp and Explorers. Tom Bergh would have some insights.

Ken Fink uses a folding yak for traveling. It is probably more practical unless you are planning a major expedition.

seem ok
I was on a week long trip with two people using the nimbus s. I did not paddle them, but they seemed to handle fine and held up to the abuse of touring.

Check Out Tom Yost’s Work

– Last Updated: Nov-29-04 6:18 AM EST –

at http://www.kayakforum.com, builder's forum. The man is amazing at designing and building performance, foldable skin on frame kayaks. One was used at the Greenland competitions last year, I believe.

If I want a sectional, Tom's designs would be high on my list. Tom asks and takes no money for his designs and gladly shares the info on his instructional web page. The man is truly sharing when it comes to his passion for kayaking and kayak building. It's his avocation.


I think John Dowd also used a sectional in his New Zealand circumnavigation.

why anyone would want a heavy sectional, at big bucks, when they can have one of these (no accounting for “different strokes for different folks…”):



I’ve seen a couple of Stan Chladek’s slide shows of the expeditions he’s used sectionals on, (Easter Island, Anarctica, etc.) and the launching/landing options seemed to be mostly rocks or ice. Not having native Inuit skills, I’d probably prefer a hardshell for that kind of paddling.

Are You Or Anyone Considering
a sectional looking at that kind of expedition? Or are you looking at a boat just carry along to places which may only have an rec or SOT for rentals?

One of the foldable Yost kayaks went to Greenland. I doubt folks there were doing seal launches and ramming/landing onto icebergs. At the same time, I doubt folks doing that would get a sectional either. Heck, if you doing a serious expedition, the logistics of getting a one piece kayak to the starting point is probably the least of the logistical worries.


Gerry Gladwin’s VOLKSKAYAK (VK) has long had a modular counterpart - the VOLKSKOMPONENT KAYAK (VKK). Basically the VK, with doubled bulkheads inserted during construction - when the boat’s finished, you drill thru the doubled bulkheads to get your properly aligned boltholes, remove the bolts, and then basically hack it into three sections, fair up the bulkhead faces, and voila -

I’ve seen three of these, and they look just like a regular VK when assembled. Adds about 20 hours to the 40 hours Gerry allows to assemble a standard VK. There’s a link on the Volkskayak website to Ulli’s site, which has a quite detailed description of the VKK process. Gerry took one to Mexico via air, in three pieces, when he went there to do a building workshop a few years ago.

You can check 'em out at www.volkskayak.com

Don’t know anyone who is looking…
at buying one, but I was curious as to how well the boats held up over time. I was also curious about the reasoning behind the design. I simply don’t see that a sectional kyak would have any advantages other than storage. A 16’ boat broken into three sections still would not fit in an SUV or a wagon, and seems like it would be a pain in the butt overall. Great info so far…

Several advantages:

Fits in a Honda Civic Hatchback

Goes to the 17th floor via elevator

Accepted as luggage by airlines

Great furniture/storage when the water’s gone solid

The VKKs I’ve seen seemed as durable as the VK Standard. One lady did have a leak problem, but finally got it sorted out.

Easy Rider makes them, too
They have at least two different lengths of the Eskimo available as sectionals (3 pieces), and you can get them in Kevlar to keep the weight from getting horrible.

I know two people who have used their Easy Rider sectionals on long expeditions. The advertisements make these boats appear to be for sailing only, but they can carry a tremendous amount of gear and they have good speed (long waterlines relative to overall length).

Take a look…
at the latest issue of Adventure Magazine.

They show the new Feathercraft, and it looks and sounds like a dream.



I had the Horizon-S

Prior the purchase of the Horizon-S nearly new at an excellent price I had (still have) a folding kayak Feathercraft Kahuna, and a Tempest 16.5.

I wanted to try the concept. Conclusion: I sold it and I would only buy another one if put in extreme necessity. The potential of possible leaks is high on long term. On first outing, after 10 minutes, I had 2 liters (64 onces) of water in cockpit and in stern. With great advice by the designer Steve I repair the problems. Note that I had the previous design, so I don’t know for the actual design, but my problems originated from the factory.

Let me say that I am a lot less afraid of trouble with my Feathercraft.

I don’t want to judge the other designs by VCP, NDK and Kajaksport, but beware that the people who used them are often sponsored paddlers so the company put extra-attention on quality for their kayak. I’m not sure it would be the case for a nobody who order that kind of kayak.

Let pray the kayak’s GOD!