Folding kayaks

I’m interested in getting a folding kayak as my next boat. These are the boats that got me interested in paddling. You know those ads with the Kleppers and Folbots rigged with sails in some exotic place? Everytime I see a folder I can’t help but put myself into the daydream of the world explorer. The Caribbean, Everglades, Baja, Na Pali, Tahiti, Fiji, Bora Bora, Borneo, Seychelles…ahh the list goes on!!

Anyway back to reality. I’m most interested in the Folbot line. I’m curious as to how durable the Hypalon hulls are. While I may expose it to a coral head in the South Pacific once a year or two, mainly it’ll be exposed to rock, sand and the occassional oyster reef. How much abuse can these hulls handle?

Sharp oyster shells can
do damage, from what I’ve read. No personal experience, just what I’ve seen in the Folbot user forum in the past. I’ve got one of their doubles. The hull is tough but certainly hitting a sharp rock at speed could rip it open. More rounded rocks won’t do much at all, especially if you install the optional hull protection strips over where the underlying framework goes.

More info could be obtained in the Folbot forum, or you could join and ask directly.


Wanna Folbot?
I have an antique (cirica 1970?) tandem Folbot that has the sail. It doesn’t fold up though.

Bought it on impulse as a restoration product for $100. The same $100 will make it yours.

Frame is wood and a few pieces need to be replaced.

It’s a very complete package. It has original patching material and came with the original can of glue used to patch it. (I threw out the glue as it had turned into a sap colored rock years and years ago.)

BTW… the material it’s made from does not look like it would survive an encounter with oyster shells.

Folding boats

I have quite a bit of experience with folding boats and can say that they are much tougher than alot of folks give them credit for. If you want to travel to exotic places and paddle they are really the best way to go. They take much more care than hardshell boat but will stand up to alot of what you find in the paddling world. Oyster shells are something you want to avoid. I had some pretty serious gouges taken out of my Klepper hull on a trip to the everglades.

Folboats are not a bad boat for the money but if you want something that will last longer and are better designed I would recomend you check out Kleppers, Feathercraft, and Long Haul folding kayaks. They are not cheap but a good used one can be picked up for around 1500 to 2000 dollars. The big thing to look for is the condition of the hull. If taken care of properly they will last a long time. I have seen Klepper hulls that are over 30 years old and still in good shape. Beware of some of the older Feathercraft hulls as they had a tendacy to shrink,


i’ve had two folbots, the aleut and kodiak, and a friend of mine has the double which he has paddled in the arctic ocean. they are tough and durable! not the fastest kayak but very, very stable. and folbots customer service is second to none. if your looking to travel the aleut is perfect. i know of a fellow that takes his to austrailia. go to folbots web site and talk to the people on their forum. though they may be a bit bias they are knowledgeable about folbots.

As I approach 60…
…I can’t help wondering if they make a model

that can transform into a walker.

Sharp coral, rocks etc… can puncture
the shin, but it is pretty easy to fix. Treat a folder like a hardshell and it will hold up fine.

Does anyone have any info,
or feedback on the Folbot cooper? I have been thinking my next boat should possibily be a folder, and this one seems like it might be a good fit for me, and is reasonably priced.

A GA paddler insisted on using his
tandem Folboat on WW, and finally folded it in half on a rock on the lower Conasauga. He walked out on an old logging railroad roadbed.

Folbot offers the best
bang for the buck in the folding kayak world. The company is also reputed to have the best customer service in the business. They sponsor a forum on their web site and I strongly recommend that you go there for a visit. The company offers a lot of gatherings and such, too, which all adds to the experience.

The Klepper, Long Haul, Nautiraid, and Feathercraft companies offer better boats, for more money. I have a Klepper, but would be happy to own any of these boats, including Folbot.

As far as the durability of the skins, you would be very foolish to take any skin on frame boat, folder or otherwise and notwithstanding any brand, into an area where there are sharp or very abrasive obstacles. Hypalon, while very tough stuff, is easily cut by barnacles, oyster shells, sharp rocks, and the like.

There was a story told last year at the Palm Beach Fishing Club about a guy in a Klepper who found himself in the shallows over oyster beds in the Everglades with a receding tide. The boat started to get cut, when he tried to walk out, the oyster shells cut through his shoes. Frankly the only small boat material that can withstand these types of things without harm is aluminum. Even composites and plastic are not proof against this stuff.