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Tucktec vs Oru – Which Is Better?

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Tucktec vs Oru – Which Is Better?

Nowadays, not everyone has the ability to haul a regular kayak around on all their adventures. That is a large reason why folding kayaks have become so popular, and why the Tucktec vs Oru debate has gained steam.

Both of these companies produce some of the best folding kayaks you’ll find. In fact, they may just be duking it out for the title as the ‘best folding kayak brand’ on the market today.

In reality, there are pros and cons of both companies. So if you’re looking to invest in a folding kayak, investigating a little more about Tucktec and Oru kayaks should be part of your buying process.

In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive look at these two folding kayak brands to help you make the best possible decision for your kayaking and adventure needs.

Photo by fivetonine via Shutterstock

What are Folding Kayaks?

Photo by fivetonine via Shutterstock

Folding kayaks are exactly what they sound like, but there are many different designs out there these days. They all have the same purpose: to fold up and store in a significantly smaller space than a recreational kayak would ever fit in.

The two kayaks we are primarily concerned with in this article are both constructed with a thin, plastic-like material that can be folded without cracking or breaking. Other folding kayaks, however, are made of a wooden frame with some sort of waterproof skin stretched around it.

The latter style of kayak tends to be much more expensive than those made of the plastic material. They also require a bit more deconstruction and tend to take up more space than the kayaks made by Tucktec and Oru.

These are just a few of the reasons that these two brands have emerged as the more popular names in the folding kayak industry. They make kayaks that are more accessible to beginners as well, which expands their audience further.

Still, all folding kayaks are best suited to kayakers that have similar challenges: a lack of storage space at home, a lack of ability to transport a kayak on a vehicle roof rack, or the need to travel to kayak in remote destinations.

So if you are struggling with one, or several, of those challenges, investigating more about folding kayaks is definitely a good idea.

The Benefits of Folding Kayaks

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Many long-time kayakers worry about the ability of a folding kayak to perform as they expect of their old trusted touring kayak. With innovation and time, they are getting better and better, and here are a few of the other benefits of owning a folding kayak:

Storage Space

It all really starts here with folding kayaks because many of the original models were designed with urban dwellers in mind. How the heck are you supposed to get a 13-foot kayak up and into your third-floor apartment?

And because of the minimal height of most apartment parking garages, many are forced to take the chance of leaving their car on the street with a kayak strapped on top overnight. Those nights are always uneasy as you wonder whether or not your kayak will still be there in the morning.

Fortunately, folding kayaks solve that problem by packing up into a box that can either be stored securely in your trunk or slung over your shoulder and carried up to your apartment. Even once you have your kayak up there, it hardly takes up more room than your work briefcase.

Transportability

Like we just mentioned, one of the great parts about folding kayaks is that they can be stored in the trunk of your vehicle. This means you don’t have to shell out extra cash for a kayak roof rack once you’ve finally popped for your new kayak and realized you have no way to transport it around.

It also means that folks with smaller sedans can get into the kayak ownership game without completely upgrading their vehicle or awkwardly trying to strap an oversized kayak to a vehicle that isn’t designed to transport it.

Weight

As you will start to notice as we get into some of the different specifications of Tucktec and Oru kayaks, these folding kayaks are quite lightweight when compared to more traditional styles of kayaks.

That makes them more suitable for smaller paddlers and even teaching children how to kayak. A lighter kayak also makes it easier to access boat ramps and launch points that require a bit of a hike from the parking area.

While you could always get a rolling kayak cart to help you in these cases, that’s just another kayak accessory you will have to purchase. A folding kayak can eliminate that purchase by being easier to carry to harder-to-reach put-ins.

Setup and Assembly

While folding kayaks take more time to set up and assemble than regular sea kayaks, for example, they compare favorably to inflatable kayaks on this front. Most take a maximum of 15 minutes to set up and some require much less time than that.

Additionally, you won’t need to have a foot pump, hand pump, or electric pump to inflate one of these kayaks. That means a lot less work to get your folding kayak set up for your paddle and it also means another kayak accessory that you can remove from your kayaking checklist.

All About Tucktec Kayaks

Photo by Andrew Penney Photography via Flickr

Tucktec hasn’t pushed as much money into social advertising as Oru over the last several years, so they have somewhat flown under the radar. Still, they make a darn good folding kayak that suits certain purposes better than most.

About the Company

Tucktec is a family-owned and community-centered company based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They take pride in constructing each kayak (as well as most of the smaller parts that go in them) in-house and sourcing locally when they can’t make it or manufacture it themselves.

About the Kayak

Tucktec’s folding kayaks are designed with the RVer, tent camper, or apartment-dweller in mind. They claim you can set up one of their kayaks in just two minutes and you’ll have a durable, hardshell design that is ready to paddle.

Their kayaks are made of high-density polyethylene material that is a solid eighth-of-an-inch thick. Each fold line is then reinforced with carbon fiber to reduce the likelihood of tears, splits, and punctures.

The material is rated to be folded thousands of times without cracking or breaking down and it is tough enough to hold up against impacts to rocks, trees, and other obstacles on the bottom of your favorite lake or river to paddle on.

Every Tucktec kayak is manufactured to exceed US Coast Guard manufacturing and safety requirements and each comes with its own unique hull identification number (HIN) that you can register with the company (for your warranty) and with the proper safety organization if you ever need to be rescued.

The assembly of a Tucktec kayak only requires about six clamps and each model is protected by a three-year warranty. Here’s a quick video of how easy the Tucktec kayak is to assemble:

Some of the Tucktec’s additional kayak features include a retractable tracking fin, an adjustable footrest, a wide bottom for extra stability, an adjustable back support, and an open cockpit with plenty of legroom.

Tucktec Kayak Specs

So far, Tucktec only makes a single folding kayak design, although it is available in varying colors. Here are the available specifications for Tucktec kayaks:

  • Length: 10 feet
  • Width: 30 inches
  • Folded Size: 15” x 47”
  • Weight: 28 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 300 pounds

All About Oru Kayaks

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If you follow any kayaking or paddlesports-related accounts on social media, the odds are pretty good that you have seen an advertisement for Oru Kayaks. They clearly have made a big campaign to grow awareness of their product in the last few years.

About the Company

They’ve tagged themselves the “original origami kayak” and this company is headquartered in Emeryville, California. They came up in the San Francisco startup scene and now share a block with the likes of Pixar and a vintage race car shop.

Their team comes from all over the world, but they all share a passion for connecting their customers with their love for the water. In short, it is about a whole lot more than just selling some of the most innovative folding kayaks out there today.

About the Different Oru Kayak Models

Oru manufactures five kayaks that are designed for varying purposes. So let’s start by sharing the ideal paddling situation for each model before we discuss what all of their kayak designs have in common.

  • The Inlet: Ideal for beginners and paddling on calm lakes and/or slow-moving rivers. Their widest and, in many ways, most stable design.
  • The Beach LT: Great for casual paddling with family and friends. It boasts plenty of storage for all-day trips with a stop for a picnic lunch along the way.
  • The Bay ST: Made for long days on the water. Whether you’re into fishing, backcountry kayaking, or want something to easily get to and from your sailboat, this is a nice option.
  • The Coast XT: Their most rugged expedition-style solo kayak. It’s made to handle rough water conditions, surf, and wind while covering ground more efficiently and offering more storage space than the rest.
  • The Haven: The only tandem folding kayak in their arsenal (and one of the few on the market at all). Ideal for fishing, camping, or casual family paddling and can be converted for a single paddler if desired.

Now, that is the very basic overview of each Oru kayak model. For a more in-depth comparison, we suggest checking out their full comparison table here.

So What Do All Oru Kayaks Have in Common?

While the length, width, weights, and carrying capacities of these kayaks are all different, they all share the same basic construction. All Oru kayaks are made with a custom-extruded polypropylene material.

That material is five millimeters thick and double-layered to provide extra rigidity. It is also coated with a 10-year UV treatment so that the plastic material doesn’t break down with prolonged sun exposure.

The anchor points that hold the kayak’s shape once it is unfolded have been reinforced to provide more structure and the aluminum cockpit latches have been bulked up for added durability.

Each Oru kayak is rated to be folded and unfolded tens of thousands of times. The custom polypropylene material is also strong enough to withstand being bumped against rocks or dragged up onto a sandy beach without tearing or splitting.

Finally, all Oru kayaks can be assembled in anywhere from three to 15 minutes. The longer models take a little longer to put together, but you’ll get quicker the more you do it.

Here’s a quick video that explains the basic process for assembling an Oru kayak:

Oru Kayak Specs

Oru currently has five different kayak models, if you don’t count the Bay ST Black Edition (which is just the same as the normal Bay ST, but in black). Here are the available basic specifications for each Oru kayak model:

Oru Inlet

  • Length: 9’8”
  • Width: 31 inches
  • Folded Size: 42” x 10” x 18”
  • Weight: 20 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 275 pounds

Oru Beach LT

  • Length: 12’1”
  • Width: 29 inches
  • Folded Size: 33” x 12” x 29”
  • Weight: 25 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 300 pounds

Oru Bay ST

  • Length: 12’3”
  • Width: 25 inches
  • Folded Size: 33” x 14” x 29”
  • Weight: 26 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 300 pounds

Oru Coast XT

  • Length: 16’2”
  • Width: 25 inches
  • Folded Size: 33” x 14” x 29”
  • Weight: 32 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 400 pounds

Oru Haven

  • Length: 16’1”
  • Width: 33 inches
  • Folded Size: 34” x 17” x 29”
  • Weight: 41 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 500 pounds

Tucktec vs Oru – Which is Better?

Photo by Andrew Penney Photography via Flickr

So now we really get to the crux of our argument: which is better – Tucktec vs Oru kayak?

The short answer is…(drum roll please)…both! They each have their applications that they’d prove better for, not to mention the fact that some of you will be better suited to paddling one or the other based on your kayaking preferences.

So, let’s try to summarize this the best we can by providing a brief breakdown of the situations and types of padders we think each of these folding kayaks would prove most useful for:

What is a Tucktec Kayak Best For?

  • Savings: Right now, you can get two (and maybe even three) Tucktec kayaks for less than the smallest Oru kayak model
  • Adjustability: You’ll have more ability to adjust your footrests and back support with Tucktec
  • Assembly Time: Tucktec boasts a shorter average assembly time compared to all the Oru models
  • Safety: We give Tucktec the slight nod here because they included info about US Coast Guard requirements and the addition of a unique HIN for each kayak.

What are Oru Kayaks Best For?

  • Choices: You will be able to find a kayak that is specifically designed for the kind of paddling you want to do.
  • Storage Space: If you need room for a lot of extra kayaking gear, you’ll find more among Oru’s selection of kayaks.
  • Material Thickness: Oru = 5 millimeters (double-layered) and Tucktec = 3.175 millimeters (⅛”)
  • Long-Distance Performance: The Coast XT will far outstrip any Tucktec kayak on a long-distance, multi-day kayak trip.
  • Tandem Paddling: The Haven is actually one of the few folding tandems out there.

So, there you have it. There are pros and cons to each of these folding kayaks, so you should be careful to do further research before settling on your final purchase.

If you can, go online and see if there are any guide companies in your area that offer folding kayak rentals. If not, you might get lucky joining a local kayaking or paddling group on social media and inquiring if anyone has a folding kayak you can try out.

Both of these routes can be great ways to test out either an Oru or Tucktec kayak before you buy. The good news is that these folding kayaks are so popular right now that you could buy one, decide you don’t really like it, and resell it for nearly as much as you originally purchased it for!

Final Thoughts

Photo by Olena Rublenko via Shutterstock

So, which one will you decide to try for yourself? There are certainly instances where you would be better served with a Tucktec vs an Oru kayak, but the reverse can be true as well.

We hope you have a better sense of the pros and cons of these folding kayaks after reading through this guide. As always, we wish you the best and safest of kayaking adventures to come!

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Tucktec vs Oru – Which Is Better

Author: Peter SalisburyPete is the Owner of KayakHelp.com. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him skiing in the mountains, reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.

Welcome! I’m so glad you are here :-) I’m Pete. I am the owner of KayakHelp.com. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, I grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When I am not out on the water, you can find me skiing in the mountains, reading my favorite books, and spending time with my family.