Folding or hard shell kayak (transportation)

10’ is great for a small lakes,rivers.Fantastic in a creek when you don’t have a lot of maneuvering room.I’ve used them on the 112 mile long Muskingum River,the Licking River,and out at the over 350 lakes in the A.E.P recreation area of the strip mines here in southeast Ohio for 6 years ,we even have enough room for all of our camping gear,and have never had a problem.Get some good ratchet straps.You can buy J racks for as low as $30 a pair online, just shop around.I can transport 3 kayaks that are all 10’ long on a 2010 Honda CRV with no problems.Stay safe, happy paddling :canoe::+1:

Ratchet straps can crush a kayak pretty easy, use cam lock straps instead.


Nope, not true about Ou going together in 5 minutes

Where did I say they go together in 5 minutes?

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you did not, but, when we were researching, THEY did. sorry to disturb you

My wife and I owned Oru’s and returned them, they were difficult to get in/out of. I’m 6’ and 210 and felt like a giant in my Oru. Paddled OK as long as it wasn’t windy and as someone mentioned a great conversation starter. Way too pricey for a big piece of sign material. We now have two 12’ recreational sit in yaks that we love. We have a Malone roof rack on our 2004 Honda CR-V and use super pool noodles on the rack where the kayaks touch it, strap it down tight across the middles, and TIE DOWN THE NOSE AND BOW TIGHTLY! I can load them by myself but it is always easier with another helper.


I have paddles twice with people who had Orus. The firat time the person had to be towed back, the second the person had to beach their boat and get picked up. They are useless in even mild wins. There are lots of hard shell boats for under $1000. Check used boats online. I am a short woman and i have had high vehicles in the past (now i have a truck, much better). There are a variety of ways to get a boat onto a high roof. The simplest is rollers that suction to the back of the rood so you can just roll your kayak up. My friend usus a towel on the back for that purpose. I did carry a folding step stool so i could reach easily to tie it down.

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We bought Tuckteks for their stability, folding transportation and customer service. We are 66 & 68 yrs old and began kayaking in July 22. We paddle on lakes and the Colorado River. I can carry the folded yak myself even tho I have 2 replaced knees, a replaced shoulder and a bad back. It takes us 25 minutes to set up and break down 2 yaks. They are extremely reasonably priced so we purchased 2 very high quality carbon fiber (lightweight) paddles and padded stadium seats.
We transport 2 yaks, seats and gear in a Honda Clarity.
They are slower in the water than other kayaks but as a member ofnthe Sloth Kayak Team, our motto is “We’ll get there when we get there”.

I own a Chrysler Town& Country and a Hyundai Kona. I have several sit on top kayaks and several Tucktec fold up kayaks. I can carry my 9.5’ Hoodoo inside my van with no problem (on it’s side with nose between the seats) At age 76 and on the short side have never attempted to put on the roof. I LOVE my Tucktecs as I can carry 4 inside my small Kona. The first few times it did take me 15 minutes to put together but soon was able to in about 7. They are only 28 lbs, easy to carry, very stable and sturdy and you will never find a company anywhere with better customer service. There is a 90 try it or return it policy and 3 year warranty. And they are totaally US made with USA made parts. Takes no longer to put together or roll up than many people strapping their hard kayaks on roof racks.

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Everything you need to know about folding inflatables ► Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayaks, Boats, & Paddle Boards - How Durable, Safe, & Reliable Are They? - YouTube

As a folding kayak user for 21 years and having owed several Pakboat kayaks I can report that the Puffin models are a bit easier and quicker to set up than the Quest models (though the Quest is a higher performing boat that is more similar to hardshell touring kayaks).

Their 12’ Puffin Saco is a very capable recreational/light touring boat that only weighs 20 pounds (unless you add the optional deck which adds 4 pounds). In your case, having a long van on which you could have wide spacing on the rack, you could carry folding kayaks already set up on the roof if you did not want to transport them knocked down. Since they weigh so little they are easy to get up to a roof rack – they do need to have the inflatable sponson tubes deflated and be secured snugly and with bow and stern lines since they will catch wind.

For long distance high speed travel it would be better to transport them folded and in the duffel bags (continued wind pressure can deform the metal frames if they are not carefully strapped and secured.)

Another advantage that rarely gets mentioned of folding kayaks for travel is security. You can lock a boat-in-a-bag in the vehicle when parked in cities you are visiting, or leave it in a hotel room. Not to mention being able to check them as airline baggage when you want to bring a boat to a destination that you can’t drive to.

I’m really happy with my hardshell kayaks. I’ve paddled an older Folboat but not an Oru. I agree with the other responses - invest in a good roof rack so you can be comfortable that your load will stay in place. I’ve used several different cradle systems on the Yakima bars on my F150 and I think the Malone Seawing is the best I’ve used. It’s solid, easy to strap the boat on with and let’s the kayak slide into place easily when I’m standing in the truck bed. With a van it could be more challenging, but I don’t think your van is as high off the ground as a 4wd pickup. I would avoid foam supports and straps - they just don’t position the boats securely. At the end of the day, peace of mind is worth a lot.

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Definitely take a look at Pakayaks per @Seamus1707’s suggestion. I don’t own one but was impressed when I watched someone put theirs into the back seat of a Camry. He said it takes less than 5 minutes to assemble. It is in essence a decent 14’ hard shell boat that doesn’t require a rack.

It’s been six days sine the OP asked their original question, and they haven’t commented since. I wonder if all of these recommendations are just going into the big, empty void?


Lol, no, it’s for people like us that are reading it. In fact I’m a fan of resurrected threads, I love seeing the changes w/ tech and gear, and opinions, that have happened over the years.

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As others have mentioned, do not use rachet straps to secure a boat. They make it much to easy to overtighten and damage the boat. Use the cam buckle straps that most rack manufacturers include with rack components. They don’t stretch and even ¾" straps have a rated strength of near 1000 lbs. The rack will usually fail before the straps. The shape of the boat will keep it from going anywhere without having to crank down on the straps. Snug is good enough.

I advise staying with major brands of J-racks. Kayaks are subject to a lot of force and buffeting from wind when carried on their sides. There have been a number of reports of cheap J-racks failing at the base from metal fatigue. All the more reason to always use bow and stern tiedowns.

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J-racks can be hard to load, but if you go that route I second the caution about cheap J-racks. I saw a set of the Amazon cheapies for sale locally and they really did look flimsy with small diameter and light gauge tubing. And, for more compact shipping, they come in two pieces that bolt together and that joint looked especially weak. Any of the racks that have a rigid block with pairs of three bolts at the bottom are the two piece type. The three bolts are what hold the two pieces together. I circled the joint in the image below.

I was horrified some years ago when I gifted my brother in upstate NY with a kayak, and a heavy one at that (vintage Necky Looksha 17) and he decided (“handy man” that he is) to replicate my Thule j-racks using wood plates, u-bolts, pipe insulation and glued up electrical PVC elbows and nipples. He proudly sent me photos of the set up with that 65 pound boat strapped onto it. I was briefly a manufacturer’s sales rep for Carlon (electrical PVC manufacturer) and am well aware of the limitations of that material as well as the stresses that were going to be placed on it by highway speeds with that weight on his Rube Goldberg structure. Heck, I was a construction electrician for years and we used to bend offsets in PVC conduit by softening it with a hair dryer! Not to mention how brittle it gets with UV exposure (as anyone who has left a PVC tarp over a boat in their yard knows all too well.)

Bro was very pleased with his ingenuity and therefore very upset when Big Sis rained on his parade with my alarmed condemnation of the arrangement and insistence that he not use it.

In fact I recently was purging excess photos from my jpeg archives and came upon the set that he had sent me back then showing the contraption. It still gave me the shudders to look at it, so much so that I deleted them.