Folding Kayak Advice

I would like to purchase a folding kayak and am thinking about a tandem – which I would use solo.

Long Haul, Klepper, Nautiraid.

Reason for the tandem is I like a lot of space in the cockpit, and for storing gear for extended trips.

My research tells me i will get blown around a bit in a tandem (I weigh 170lbs), however, i plan to rectify this with ballast weight.

Will this work, or should i just get a single?

BTW, i’ve been to, (good site), but haven’t been in the forum section yet.


Carl, contact Chuck.
He has quite a bit of experience with folders and can probably steer you in the right direction, depending on your needs.

I vote for K1
You could fore-go the double-rigged-single and get a Feathercraft K1 Expedition. It has a large cockpit, huge storage space/max weight figures, comes fully rigged for extended trips and big water. It’s fast, stable, maneuverable, rollable, and…expensive. If you can afford it, it’s worth every penny, imho.

Hi Pam.

looks like you’re having fun with the ski.

I agree, Feathercraft is top notch. However, i’m leaning towards a wood frame. I like wood and it has advantages over aluminium.

But it’s hard to beat the performance of the K1 …

Chuck Will Be Along Shortly
If he doesn’t notice this, I will give him a call.

I was going to get a Java for the van, but just not using the van like I thought I would. Seems to be raining every bloody Saturday this spring…

FC K1 if you want performance and …
haulability. (Yes, that is a new word.) Been on ocean trips in and out of surf zones, races and generally big water. If you cannot live out of it for at least a month you need to leave the Barcolounger home and get a kettle smaller than boil-the-white-man size.

Wood frames have the advantage of giving you plenty of scraping and varnishing practice. We would not like to deny you of this hereditary form of menial labor, so by all means scrape and varnish away, if you must.

You will need to consider though, that the FC boats have real cockpit coamings and seasocks. This is a terrific safety advantage if you ever get banged up by a breaking wave. The wood coamings leave me uninspired, particularly with the cheezy spraydecks they come with.

The post 2000 models of FC boats have welded skin which means very little leakage. I say very little as water breaking over your rear deck will allow a small amount to infiltrate under your sock. However, it is minor in comparison to the amount that infiltrates with hypalon or PVC sewn skins.

Try They have a used section for boats if you balk at the new price tag. Worth every penny.


Folding kayaks are different
I have a Klepper Aerius 1, which is a very nice boat for just messing around. The Aerius 2 is the same boat stretched for two people or one person wanting a lot of room. You might also wish to look at Long Haul as his boats are more modern, but come out of the Klepper school of design. These as well as the Nautiraid are canvas skins, which breath better in hot weather. The Klepper and Long Haul are going to be tougher for harsh conditions as they have more redundancy in the framework than other brands. The wood frames do not require much maintenance at all and are particularly easier to live with than aluminum frames in salt water use. These boats would be slower, heavier, and more cumbersome to paddle than just about any modern composite boat. This comment would be even more true if you go with a tandem. Paddle one first if at all possible.

Feathercraft makes much more modern, sleeker, lighter, easier paddling kayaks than the Klepper or the Long Haul boats. They are also more time consuming to put together although the latest designs are much improved over their older ones. Still not as easy to assemble as a Klepper, which sets the standard for easy assembly among folders. The Feathercraft boats use an aluminum frame and they are a PITA if they get grit, dirt, salt, whatever in the joints. They should be disassembled and washed after each use to minimize the hassle. They use a synthetic skin which does not breath and in hot weather they are not as comfortable to sit in as the canvas skinned boats. OTOH, the synthetic dries much more quickly than canvas after use, which makes folding them up for storage much less time consuming.

In summary, a tandem folder is going to be slower and more awkward to paddle than a modern composite boat. For ease of assembly Klepper is the best, with Long Haul similar. These boats are more rugged than others, but they are much heavier and more difficult to paddle. Their quality is without peer. The Feathercraft products are more modern and would perform almost as well as a top composite (only almost because the skin will oil can which is a tradeoff with any skin on frame boat). These boats are lighter to carry too, but they take longer to assemble. Quality of these is also without peer. You need to paddle both.

If you live anywhere near West Palm Beach, FL I would be happy to let you play with mine.



If big cockpit…
is your goal, why not a Klepper/Long Haul Single (Aerius I/Mk I)? Plenty big cockpits. I have a Folbot tandem and it is a lot of boat for one person: I only use it when I’m hauling a kid or I have an adult motor up front. I’ve also soloed with a Klepper Aerius II and found it a real handful in wind.

However, unlike Hans Lindemann, I haven’t crossed the Atlantic in one, so who am I to speak?

Wood frames
"Wood frames have the advantage of giving you plenty of scraping and varnishing practice. We would not like to deny you of this hereditary form of menial labor, so by all means scrape and varnish away, if you must."

So how many wood framed kayaks have you had to scrap and varnish? Or is your comment merely speculation? I ask because I have never had to mess with my Klepper at all and it was built in 1996 and has had plenty of use. I have also seen Kleppers that are over 20 years old and still look like new boats. Granted the average Klepper owner takes very good care of their boat, but based on my experience and observation, methinks your comment has little merit.



What do you plan on doing with a folder?
Do you want one to take with you on the airplane for frequent trips, occasional trips? Hiking in to a put in? Something to use locally with the option to go on trips? Sailing? Just need more storage space?

I can let you try out my Khatsalano sometime. But the real authority on folding kayaks in our area is Peter at or

(530) 626-8647 He is in Somerset near Placerville. He can arrange Klepper, Nautiraid and Pakboat demos for you. I purchased Jun’s Kahuna from him ( when he handled Feathercrafts). I have not met him personally, but he has been hands down the best dealer I have ever done business with and I do not just mean paddling gear.

I guess Jun and I need to get down to Somerset in the near future.

I guess i want one boat to do it all.
(i haven’t learned yet)

I do want to mess about in the bay and ocean with nice stability, but also i want to be able to handle the wind. And tour for one to two weeks.

The F.C. Klondike looks like an interesting boat.

Also, the Aerius 1(sl) – 16’ long. And there’s a guy here in the Bay Area selling a 1998 K1 for $1900. (might have to jump on that one)

Bill, thanks for the offer. Unfortunately i’m on the west coast.

Does anyone have information/experience about the ALLY 560 by Bergans of Norway? Ralph Diaz said that he considered it to be “the quintessential open water kayak”.


The Ally dosen’t have sponsons
and is one of the hardest folders to assemble.

Unless they’ve changed in the past couple years.