How good are the folding yaks?

How well do the folding perform and paddle? Are they equal to the rigid hull boats? Thanks FishHawk

PS there are times when I think that being able to bring alone you own yak to a far of destination would make a lot of sense.

Depends what you get.
I have had my Feathercraft Khatsalano for 6 years. It has survived surf landings, coral reefs and asshole baggage handlers well. I paddled it loaded from Okinawa to Amami Island last summer and it handled 10 ft swells and 25 kt winds on a 25 mile crossing fine.

What about speed?
Would you say it is slower than a rigid hull boat in your experience (since you have both)?

Cruises a bit slower
than my Nordkapp and takes more effort to drive full out.

They can handle well in rough water.
flexing with the waves …

A good inflatable handles rough water even better.

Can be surprisingly quick
I got to demo a Feathercraft Wisper and was surprised that it was NOT slow. Perhaps I had been expecting a slug because most folders are very wide. The Wisper has a 23" beam. It was also nice and light at about 33 lbs.

It also looks good!

not a slug at all!
I agree that the Wisper is no slug…I could tell from the first ‘glide’ that it would be a pleasure to paddle. If you get a Wisper remember to play around with the sponsons, you can dial in how much chine you want, example for rolling practice dont inflate them at all. The Wisper is very accomodating of changing out the rib behind the seat to facilitate the lay back rolls.

When you order DEFINETELY get the bow hatch…it will make assembly much easier and packing as well.

medicineman, wisper.

– Last Updated: Dec-14-06 6:12 AM EST –

I liked your review of the Feathercraft Wisper on Pnet. Very informative.

Here is one on eBay with the bow hatch, and I was wondering what you thought about pricing. How much do these babies go for new? Really $3400? Whew. This sure seems steep for price. A little more than the price of this one used and I could get a brand new fiberglass boat on sale. And for the original $3400, if that is the retail, I could buy a wonderful 35 lb kevlar kayak, brand new and pick my own color. I know I know, we are talking apples and oragnegs here, but still...


the 3400 price is Canadian, I just checked the FC site and the USA price is 3036…if I could get another at the current ebay bid of 1800 i would be on it like pigment in paint…the question is can you stand yellow :slight_smile:

I did look up to see what I paid…2950, so it hasnt gone up too much in a year.

forgot something
look at the pic your tinyurl link too at e-bay,notice the white behind the seat and the white just inside the coming in the cockpit area…white=rib.

when I first started studying the Wisper the pics I saw mainly on the FC site had the sea sock in place and you didnt see the ribs…one would have thought that FC would have put the ribs under the coming???

OK so why is it important? It might matter depending on your height…for any reading this note in my review of the Wisper that at my height and leg length with the stock rib placement for me getting into the Wisper is a straight legged affair.

I’ve got a Strand qajaq which requires this in a big way, having a knee tube in several kayaks also makes this entry more necessary BUT some people abs. must be able to sit in the cockpit butt first and then pull in the legs or they are not happy.

With the Wisper in the most used configuration, e.g. with a rolling rib, entry is more typical of a normal length keyhole…and yes the coming is somewhat standard keyhole, its the ribs that make it shorter.

Just wanted to make that clear.

Folding kayaks
I have a Khatsalano. It will be the last boat in my fleet to go if that sad day has to happen. It does everything well, including weathercock like the metal rooster on a barn. Having said that, it is beautiful, fast, stable, maneuverable, weathercocks like the metal roooster on a barn, beautiful, so beautiful I just want to set her up to pet her. It also weathercocks. Badly.

The boat is tough enough for the 3 day beating session of 5* training. I’ve used it primarily for 1-2 week trips in Alaska, Florida, California, Mexico and Costa Rica. The link to my CR trip is here:

Nutshell: river bar surf 3-10 feet for LONG sessions getting in and out. The boat, as all Feathercraft are in general, is very tough, well made and versatile enoughh to be a primary or secondary kayak. Having a good folding kayak puts the world in play for paddling, not just the areas you can find a suitable rental. Besides, the boat you bring is what you actually want to paddle. Same goes for sectional hardshells.


Rob G

folding kayaks in Olympics
Folding kayaks performed in 1936 Olympics over 10 km distance. Check these times!

There is also a folding racing K1 kayak built by Nautirad for Birgit Fischer: