Folding Kayaks? Comments from owners

Anyone have a folding kayak? Such as a feathercraft, folboat, long haul, or klepper???

Im interested in getting one to take to SE Asia next winter to do some paddling. Wondering if they have performed well for you?

Leg room? I have long legs and hate to feel cramped.

Tranportation? Any problems you’ve encountered while traveling? Planes, trains or autos?

DUrability of the fabric? Have any of you had to patch yours?

Any other info would be greatly appreacited.


Based on an incident on the Conasauga
Folboats fold much easier than most kayaks.

Owner had to walk out on the old narrow gauge railway trail.

got a link
You sure teased us - where can we find the whole story?

No doubt that Feathercraft are best
But… Folbot Cooper gives you 80-90% of the functionality of a Feathercraft Wisper or K-1 at half the cost. I have paddled a Coopr for over four years here in IL and in the FL Gulf, Georgian Bay in Canada and the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Seattle, Wa. Took the Cooper on the airplane w/o paying for excess baggage. In IMHO the Cooper paddles as well as most other sea kayaks under mild ocean conditions, and it can be adjusted for big and tall people. See review of the Cooper by myself and others on and check out

I have the older, thinner, lighter skin on my 2004 Cooper and have not had to patch it yet; I did install the optional hull protective strips.

2 friends and I took Feathercrafts to…
eastern Greenland in '99. The couple I went with had the older fabric deck K-1 Exp’s, I used the newer version (then) with the Duratek (?) sewn fabric deck. The current versions are electronically welded seams w/the Duratek fabric, nice. I have 34" inseams and had no issues in the K-1 Exp. We flew out of St. Louis > Baltimore > Reykjavik, Iceland > Kusuluk Island, Greenland and took a outboard to the mainland. My buddies kayak bag got pretty beat up in the plane switch in Baltimore, tubes were poking out all over but none were bent. And they broke everyone’s spare paddles.

I think if I ever did a trip like this again (w/Feathercrafts) I’d look into re-enforcing the pack internally with some heavy leather or something, on both the ends to prevent tubes poking through. Always wondered IF anyone makes a hard shell/clam shell affair for folders similar to a golf bag or bicycle case?

I always emptied my hull before hauling it up past the tide line, my partners always dragged theirs, and their boats looked pretty good. My guess is they always drag 'em up the beach when they take 'em to Baja in the winter also. The hypalon hulls are pretty bomber, and it looks as if it would be a simple patch job IF you did hole one (like a bike tube patch)

I’d have no hesitation taking a Feathercraft to Alaska, they are a surprisingly nice paddling kayak, for being folders. Take a look at the K-1 Exp, nice boats and hold a lot more than a Khatsalano (or S model).

paddling trip?
Are you planning to go to SE Asia specifically to paddle? Or are you going for another reason and just wish to get in some paddling while you’re there? If paddling is your primary concern then a folding kayak is a good choice. If it’s secondary then maybe look at one of the higher end inflatables.

Folders have a lot of parts to keep track of and can take some effort to assemble and disassemble. Most people I know who have them can’t be bothered with this for short day paddles. An good inflatable, like the Innova Helios is much easier to pack, transport and assemble, and they are quite capable boats.

I have had a Klepper since 96’
and have paddled it in Wisconsin (where I live), SW Florida and in Oregon & Washington state.

I primarilly bought it to take to Florida where I go most years in spring. After a couple trips I left it there in my aunt’s closet for 5 years. I had a great time paddling it down there and it worked out nicely for my putting it in rental cars (no rack).

I took it to Oregon on the train a few times, which worked out fantastic.

The problem with a Klepper these days is the size and weight for airline travel. I haven’t flown with it since the new regulations went into effect, but it could be an issue.

Want leg room ? Get a Klepper !

Mine has been very durable, never a repair yet. I have had to fabricate parts while on the road (due to forgetting a part or two at home on two occassions) which was not a problem at all.

thanks—keep em comin
Yeah i think im more concerned with the packing aspect than the functionality while paddling. I can get “by” with any folding boat, but more interested in it NOT getting destroyed on buses of planes in asia. Most likely for paddling only…A possilbe two week trip in Laos down the Mekong. A week on Halong Bay in Vietnam, a few days on the Kwai in Thailand…and possibly the Andeman Coast from krabi to the Malaysian border and back…

Why wouldnt they fit into a golf bag case anyway??? I dont golf, but hasent someone tried this?

yeah the extra weight on the plane could be an issue. Air Asia charged me extra for anything over 50lbs when i was there a few months ago.

Broken paddles? NOT good. Why not carry them on? Break-aparts etc???


Folbot Cooper
Skin is extremely durable. I think if I stabbed it hard with a sharp knife it would puncture, but I doubt even a dull knife could do it. Frame is less durable. I’ve bent the frame a bit just from rolling and rescue practice. I haven’t flown with it – and I wouldn’t without putting the frame in a hard case. Its quite light – under 40 pounds. I don’t use it much anymore because the bent frame makes putting it together more difficult. Before it bent, it took 10-15 minutes to assemble. That was after much practice, of course. The first time was about a half hour.

hardshell case for bikes?
I had a Folbot Cooper for 4-5 years. Great boat to paddle, and the skin was durable. But I agree with the others that I wouldn’t put it on a plane without being in a hard-shell case. I bought the biggest hard-shell golf case I find, but if I recall correctly, couldn’t fit the pieces into it (can’t remember why). I concluded that it might be possible to fit it into some hard-shell cases made for bikes, but I think a lot of airlines will charge extra for these while they won’t for a golf case. I ended up selling it because I stopped using it locally much once I got a good fiberglass kayak and I decided that for trips within the U.S., it was easier to rent a kayak than take along the Cooper.

A friend has the Feathercraft Wisper, and it seems significantly more robust and tougher than the Cooper in both the frame and the skin- but a lot more expensive, too.

It could be worth asking the vendor whether they know of particular hard-shell golf cases their boat will fit into.

speaking of the Mekong…
This is from the Innova website:

I’m with Paddlesheep - for paddling side-trips, and expecially river paddling, you should seriously look at the good “touring” inflatables. look here:

FWIW, I own both folding and inflatable kayaks.