This group aims to bring together people who have folding kayaks/canoes or inflatable kayaks/canoes/packrafts, with a view to getting out on day trips and longer expeditions. My name is Tim, and I have a folding kayak that fits into a backpack, which I have used on many adventures. The main advantage of such portable boats is in being able to jump on and off public transport with them, thereby avoiding the need for cars, roof racks and car shuffles (not to mention the ease of storing them at home, compared to regular hard-shell kayaks and canoes). I have taken my folding kayak out on multi-day camping expeditions along the Goulburn and Murray Rivers, and I often take it out on the Yarra River by jumping on a train to Fairfield or some other place near the river, and then paddle back in to the city. Such kayaks are usually slower than a hard-shell kayak, but they allow much greater freedom in some interesting ways.
I am planning to organise a few multi-day kayaking/canoeing expeditions in the coming months.
The group has an annual membership fee of $5 per member, to pay for the meetup subscription.
Please note that you are responsible for your own safety. We're all friends with a common interest in kayaking/canoeing. Happy paddling!
Q. How much does a folding kayak cost?
A. New ones start at about $1000.
Q. How much does an inflatable kayak cost?
A. New ones start at about $70.
Q. Where can I get a folding kayak?
A. Generally through the internet. I am not aware of any Australian manufacturers of folding kayaks, and I have only found a couple of outlets for buying them in Australia, neither of which is in Victoria.
Q. Where can i get an inflatable kayak?
A. Usually Ray's Outdoors, Harvey Norman and Anaconda stock them. The internet is also loaded with heaps of inflatable kayaks and canoes. Generally the more you pay, the better the boat, but I have been quite surprised at how good some of the cheap ones are.
Q. Why would I buy a folding kayak if inflatable kayaks are so much cheaper?
A. Generally folding kayaks are faster and can carry more stuff below deck. However, inflatable kayaks have a number of advantages over the folding kayaks: beyond the price, they are generally more resilient in white water, particularly if you bash into a rock! They are generally lighter than the folding kayaks (especially if you get a packraft or other similarly compact model). They generally pack into a smaller bag (especially a packraft). Typically they can be set up much quicker than a folding kayak. (typically 5 minutes compared to about 25 minutes). They are much more widely available to purchase in Australia. Obviously the inflatable kayaks hold many advantages over the folding ones, and their two main disadvantages (speed and below-deck storage) are not major. Most inflatable kayaks can carry luggage above the deck height. Some are specifically designed to enable this, with tie-down loops, ropes and cargo nets being featured. A third reason you might prefer a folding kayak over an inflatable one is that the cheaper inflatable models often look like pool toys rather than kayaks. This is a pretty snobbish reason, but it does come up very often.
Q. What sort of kayak do you have?
A. I have a folding kayak and a couple of inflatable ones:
The folding kayak is a "Folbot Citibot". It weighs 11 kg and folds up into a packpack that is about the size of a large suitcase. Folbot also make a number of other models. You can see them here, along with their prices: http://folbot.com/line-up/
I note that there are also a number of other brands of folding kayaks, such as Klepper, Oru Kayak, Packboats, Feathercraft, Firstlight and Nautiraid.
My latest inflatable kayak is an "Advanced Elements Packlite". This kayak was only introduced last year, and features some very thin lightweight materials that enable the boat to be only 2 kg in weight, and fold up to something about the size of a football. It looks like a pool toy compared to my folder, but its portability is a huge advantage when you're not on the water. As for its performance on water, it is pretty good, but not as quick as the folder, and much slower than a hardshell. I had to buy this kayak through the internet.
My other inflatable kayak is a cheap two seat model like the ones sold in Ray's outdoors. It goes ok. It weighs about 10 kg and folds up about the size of a medium suitcase. This boat also looks like a pool toy, albeit a big one, and is also slower than the folder.
I should note that I recently took my packlite kayak on a four day solo camping expedition down the Goulburn River, which was a lot of fun. The very light weight and small size of the boat made the logistics much easier than my previous expeditions with my folding kayak. You can read about the trip (and see some pictures) here:
If you're impressed by that, wait till you read about Oscar Speck, who paddled a folding kayak 50,000 km from Germany to Australia in the 1930s: