Best Folding Kayak in 2020 - A Detailed Guide

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In today’s world, property can be a great investment. On the downside though, it can also be a super expensive investment, and every foot can be measured by a physical currency. As a result, many of us are stuck in small spaces, houseshares, or cramped apartments in a desperate effort to save some cash (New York City anyone?).

This cramped lifestyle makes getting out and about in the great outdoors even more important; being able to enjoy the bright blue skies and open waters, and escape restrictions that can bring down your mood.

Finding storage space for your kayak can be a real challenge if you are living in a smaller property, and may not be an apparent priority. With a little research, however, we have the answer: welcome to the world of folding kayaks!

Reviews of the 10 Best Foldable Kayaks


Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Folding Kayaks

Eye Catching, brightly colored and super appealing, this is a great option for anyone who is looking for a foldable kayak to stand out from the crowd.  This model is a hybrid and exists as a cross between an inflatable kayak, and a folding frame kayak.

Built-in aluminum ribs are added at the bow and stern, helping to improve performance and tracking, as well as being super portable and easy to transport. It is unusual to enjoy a hybrid kayak that tracks as well as a traditional hard shell model, but this Advanced Elements model manages to do just that.

As an added bonus, this is a best folding kayak with plenty of storage space – not always guaranteed in smaller models – and can be easily set up and launched in minutes. The three-layer construction helps to ensure durability and longevity, without weighing you down on a long trip.

  • Plenty of storage space – not usually a feature on hybrid or inflatable kayaks
  • Good size makes it comfortable even on long journeys
  • Combines hardwearing longevity with portability and a lightweight finish
  • Offers excellent tracking and performance
  • Can feel a little unstable on choppy and rough waters
  • Air chambers do need to be re-inflated fairly regularly


Oru Foldable Kayak

They are a brand with a strong reputation in the world of kayaks, and this model makes it easy to see why. This is a serious contender for the best portable kayak on our list and offers a wealth of benefits that are sure to make it a firm favorite for many kayaking fans.

The design is innovative and award-winning, having been featured on Forbes, Shark Tank, Wall Street Journal, Oprah, and CNN, to name just a few,  and is small enough to fit easily into the trunk of your car for ultimate transportation.

It can even be carried in an Oru Pack carrying case, and this makes it the perfect pick for hiking or traveling – you can even take it on public transport or a bicycle! In addition to low weight and ultimate portability, the Oru model is also super strong, and able to withstand the elements with ease.

It meets and exceeds US Coast Guard recreational vessel requirements, and the contoured shape offers extra durability. Overall, this is one of the best folding kayaks we have reviewed and is sure to be a firm favorite.

  • Comes with a full 12-month warranty, and a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Can handle even rough water and strong currents with ease
  • It can be constructed in under 5 minutes, making it perfect for taking advantage of any weather!
  • Combines portability with durability, allowing you to fold away the kayak and transport with ease
  • The sleek, streamlined design allows for strength, speed, and stability on the water
  • The price tag is quite high compared to other models
  • Tends to feel a little fragile in tougher waters, compared to other models in a similar or cheaper price region


Advanced Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak

This folding kayak from Advanced Elements allows you to combine both performance and practicality in one handy vessel. It is also one of the most comfortable folding kayak models we have reviewed and offers a host of extra features to keep you relaxed and comfortable even on longer trips.

The pointed bow features a rocker, designed to help track and improve performance, and the inclusion of a removable deep tracking fin means that you can stay perfectly on course, even if the water gets a little choppy.

It also comes with a few bonuses not usually included in inflatable kayaks, including a multi-layer construction and a range of multiple grab handles – this makes it easy to use as well as enhancing the life of the kayak.

Comfort is key, and there is a choice of three seating positions for single or tandem use, as well as a super high-back supportive backrest.

Kayakers can also enjoy plenty of storage, with bottle holders and pockets to take care of all your essentials, and a rear drain plug means you can drain and clean your kayak when not in use. Overall, a great folding kayak option for those looking for minimal maintenance.

  • Very easy to set up – simply unfold, inflate and attach the seats
  • Designed with comfort in mind – perfect for long kayak journeys
  • High volume side tubes help to maintain stability and buoyancy on the water
  • Not as tough as some other kayak options – may become damaged more easily
  • Has a tendency to lose inflation halfway through – this can be frustrating on long trips
  • Unlikely to be suitable for deeper water


Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 Kayak

With a bright, vibrant finish, this kayak is sure to help you stand out for all the right reasons. Built-in rigid panels on the stern and bow also help to ensure top-quality tracking on each and every trip, and the inflatable finish allows you to speed through the water with ease.

Set up is designed to be super simple thanks to the quick-inflating Twistlok.  The set of high-flow Spring valves allow you to take full advantage of any break in the weather and head out to tackle lakes, bays, and rivers.

A 250-pound weight capacity makes this a great option for most paddlers, but may not be suitable for bigger guys.  The inclusion of a padded high-support seat helps to keep you comfortable and stable even on a long trip.

As an added bonus, the lightweight finish ensures portability and easy transportation – you can get the vessel from car to lake with ease, and have no problems folding away the kayaks after use.

  • Very bright finish – easy to spot on the water!
  • Quick and easy to set up and take down
  • Inflatable construction is lightweight and easy to transport
  • Unlikely to be suitable for very rocky or rough terrain
  • Quite tricky to inflate with just one person – you may need another pair of hands


Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite Kayak

Upgrade from a traditional inflatable kayak with this Advanced Element Elite, and take your folding kayak experience to the next level. With a bright finish and a combination of strength and light-weight portability, this is a great choice for anyone who needs to make sure they can store their vessel in a compact space.

The rudder mount allows you to cut through the water without too much effort, and the inclusion of a repair kit means that you can enjoy the extra peace of mind during every trip. The high-back lumbar seat ensures comfort even on long trips or rough water, making this great for fishing and longer adventures.

The kayak also includes a drop-stitch floor, and this helps to offer a rigid, stable, and solid base which is unusual in most inflatable models. Aluminum ribs allow the kayak to cut easily through the water with smooth, clean lines and allow excellent tracking in any conditions.

Even better,  there is added storage space – again, an unusual but very welcome feature in a folding kayak! Convenience is ensured thanks to a duffel bag, which comes with removable shoulder straps – perfect for storing and transporting your kayak from place to place!

  • Comes complete with a duffel bag for carrying and transportation of your kayak
  • Plenty of space and storage
  • Combines high performance with a portable design
  • Can be a little tricky to inflate the first time you take it out


Sea Eagle Razorlite 473RL Foldable Inflatable Kayak

When it comes to choosing the best folding kayak, this SeaEagle model has to be amongst the top picks.  The design is unique, with a rigid bow and stern molds working to create a speed entry system – the first of its kind – which then opens up into a flat planing surface.

The bow has a double concave design, which allows pockets of air to enter the space between water and hull, and this creates a little lift while reducing the amount of drag and friction for increased speed and movability while on the water. In addition, this double concave effect at the stern allows for a clean exit with every journey.

The walls are also unique, with a tapered drop stitch used for the side walls; this helps add stability on the waterline – essential for buoyancy and stability. These features all come together to create a smooth, speedy, and streamlined curve through the water, which is unusual for an inflatable model.

Even better, the FlexBrace footrest allows you to position your body in the most comfortable way, keeping you perfectly positioned throughout your trip.

  • Very comfortable, ergonomic design which  can tackle a range of water types
  • Suitable for both fresh and saltwater for maximum convenience
  • Can fit two full-sized kayakers with ease and comfort
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • It can lose a lot of air if you forget to shut the valves!


Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Folding Kayak

Combine the speed of a sports kayak with the convenience of a folding model when you pick this AdvancedFrame model from the Advanced Elements brand.

This is a universal design that has the potential to tackle a wide range of water types and can deal with both rougher currents and cool, calm lakes.

There is plenty of space, with a large, spacious cockpit that allows for easy entry and exit. This is a kayak that can handle a weight capacity of 250 pounds with ease, making it perfect for one person to enjoy total comfort.

As a bonus, the kayak itself only weighs 26 pounds, making it easy to transport alone, and allowing you to head from vehicle to water with ease. The smaller size even allows you to take your kayak on the bus or via bicycle!

Convenience is a key factor, with a design that is easy to set up, inflate and deflate, giving you more time heading out and having fun.

As well as comfort and convenience, performance is also considered; the aluminum bow and stern ribs help to boost paddling performance and allow you to control the vessel in all situations.

  • Super lightweight, making this foldable kayak easy to transport and move
  • Very fast and easy to inflate and deflate
  • Can fit easily in the trunk of your car, and packs away for easy storage when not in use
  • Very comfortable to sit in even on longer journeys
  • Does not come with a seat included as standard – this is a little unusual
  • Quite hard to clean and maintain


Advanced Elements Foldable Inflatable Kayak

Make your kayak work for you with the ultimate convenience and flexibility. This is a super Foldable kayak which can be transformed from solo to tandem kayak in no time, allowing you to tailor the vessel to your needs and requirements without issue.

There are three potential seat locations, depending on whether you are paddling solo or as a pair, and these offer comfortable padding and high support for extra comfort even on a long journey or day on the water.

Both options offer a series of D – rings, both of which include deck lacking, mesh pockets, and rear cargo hatches for ultimate storage. This is unusual in a foldable kayak but means that you can bring all your essentials on board, and never have to go without!

In addition, the built-in aluminum ribs help to improve tracking and performance on the water, as they offer extra definition to the stern and bow.

At just 52 pounds, the kayak is light enough to move and maneuver without too much effort, and the design also allows for easy setup – unfold, inflate and attach the seats, and you are good to go straight away!

  • Three layers of material help to reduce the chances of a puncture or damage
  • Very adaptable and flexible – go from solo to tandem in no time
  • Aluminum ribs allow better tracking and improved performance
  • Centre seat can slip when paddling solo
  • Can be difficult to dry

Are Folding Kayaks Any Good?

Folding kayaks are perhaps less well known than their counterparts, but they have a wide range of advantages. These include:

Wide Capability

Folding kayaks are able to tackle a wide range of journeys, from calm lake paddles to fast-flowing rivers and rapids. They can handle Class 1 and Class 2 rivers with ease – from easy and relaxed to whitewater challenges, and this means that they can be a valid option as the best pick for both beginners and experienced kayakers.

Great Portability

The biggest advantage of folding kayaks is their portability. They are usually around 25-30 pounds, making them perfect for popping into a backpack and transporting from place to place.

Easy Storage

The flexible nature of a foldable kayak allows easy storage – anywhere from the back of a trunk to tucked neatly under a bed. This means you can enjoy your kayaking experience even if you live in the center of the city!

Plenty of Storage

One of the major advantages of folding kayaks is the fact that they allow you to bring your essentials on board. Depending on the model, there can be between 90 and 180 liters of storage onboard – a benefit that is not usually available on inflatable kayak options.

The best folding vessels combine plenty of storage with a compact frame and portable structure for ultimate convenience.

Easy to Use

Most of the best folding kayaks will be easy to set up and take down, and can usually be unpacked and on the water within around five to ten minutes with a little practice and experience.

What are the Lightest Kayaks?

As a rule, inflatable kayaks tend to be the lightest option for sailors. This is due to the lightweight material, and as a result, they are a top choice for beginners, children, and those who are only kayaking recreationally.

There are, however, a range of disadvantages to an inflatable kayak; they tend to be less durable and can be damaged easily in high winds or rough currents.

Foldable kayaks are therefore a great alternative; they offer the same reduced weight as an inflatable but tend to be larger in size, and are more compact. The folding aspect means that the kayaks can be stored securely, even in cramped living conditions.

What to Look for in a Folding Yak?

There are a few key considerations when picking the top kayak for your needs. These include:

Size of Kayak

The folding size of the kayak tells you the dimensions it will fold down into. A foldable kayak packs into a far smaller size than their inflatable alternative.

Strength of Yak

The strength refers to the number of times a kayak can be assembled, used, and disassembled. Most will have a limit of around 20,000 before they will need to be replaced.

Inflation Time

You should always check the inflation time and method of your chosen kayak – most will need an electric or foot pump, and will take around 10 to 40 minutes to fully inflate. Check out how long it takes to inflate and break back down.

Seat Position

Depending on your kayak, there may be multiple seating opportunities available. Some options will allow you to switch from solo to tandem, and back again, and others will also offer the chance to change from a closed to an open deck. You should also ensure that you have adequate leg room to stay comfortable.

Beamwidth and Assembled Length

The beam measurement refers to the width of the kayak – the wider the vessel, the more stability. On the downside, this can also lead to a slower, less easy to move experience.

Assembled length is the measurement from bow to stern, once the kayak is inflated. If you are looking to bring plenty of equipment, or are especially tall, choose a longer length.


You need to check the durability of your kayak, and the ability to resist punctures. The best options will include a triple-layered skin to maximize durability.

Weight Limit

All kayak options will have a weight limit, folding or otherwise. Make sure you check this before you commit.

UV Resistance of Yak/Boat

Make sure that the kayak you choose has UV resistance; this will help reduce the chance of the skin degrading when exposed to sunlight or harsh elements such as wind, rain, or salt.


When it comes to choosing the best folding kayak, there are a lot of high-quality choices on the market, and the best option ultimately comes down to your own personal needs and preferences.

The ultimate model needs to offer a good size with generous weight capacity, while also being small and portable enough to function effectively as the best folding kayak.

If pushed, we would have to name the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame kayak as the best on our list; it has a huge range of benefits and advantages which are perfect to kayakers of all experiences and preferences.

Speed and stability come together in an ergonomic design which allows you to cut through the water with ease, and the overall package is light in weight, meaning that it can be easily transported without drama or effort.

Last update on 2021-06-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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