Folding kayaks^

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Grian
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Folding kayaks^

Post by Grian » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:46 am

Such as feathercraft, can anyone describe how they differ in feel from a solid boat (particularly a hard chined boat if it makes a difference)? Thanks.

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maryinoxford
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by maryinoxford » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:08 pm

I used to paddle a Feathercraft (now sold, as my needs have changed). I have also paddled a few plastic or glass boats on courses etc. The feathercraft had a degree of flexibility, unlike the rigid boats. I won't say if that's better or worse, just different.

Feathercraft Wisper, lightweight boat with payload of 136kg. 80kg paddler, and very little gear aboard. You can see the kayak dips a bit in the middle.
Image
The red boat is a Klepper folder, heavier and more solid.

People who have paddled folders in more challenging conditions than me say that they tend to conform to the waves rather than crashing through them.

The biggest difference for me is the way I can feel the water movement against my legs, through the skin of the boat. I love that - it makes the kayak feel so alive, while a rigid boat puts a wall between me and the water.

Folders are usually beamier than hardshell boats. That Wisper is one of the narrower folders with a beam of 59 cm, compared to say 56 cm for a P&H Scorpio, which I've also paddled. I wasn't aware of much difference in stability between the two, but again I don't paddle in very rough conditions. If you did, the folder might have the advantage.

On this forum, andreadawn and Helen M paddle Feathercrafts. If you look here:
http://foldingkayaks.org/phpBB/index.php
you'll find much more information, although mainly from folder fans.

Mary
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Grian
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Grian » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:47 pm

Thanks Mary, I think I must find somewhere but they appear to be like hens teeth in the UK.
I love the idea that they feel alive and you have the sense of being more part of the water around you - I'm falling in love with the idea of them, of course I might find the reality different!
I remember some of Andreadawn's trip reports and photos on here were really inspiring, I'll look for her and Helen M on the other forum.

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maryinoxford
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by maryinoxford » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:25 pm

Grian, if you can get to Reading, you might want to look at Wayland UK: http://www.waylandkayaks.co.uk/
They only sell their own kayaks, but they have a reasonable range of models and sometimes have demo boats available. Last time I looked, their boats were about half the price of Feathercraft, Klepper etc.

Wayland are made in Poland, and maybe the quality isn't quite up to the standard of the Rolls-Royce big-name makers. (I haven't seen any of theirs.) But I heard recently that the "grand-daddy of them all," Klepper, are out-sourcing production of some of their models to Wayland. So that's a pretty good recommendation.

Mary
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mick m
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by mick m » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:51 pm

Over the past two years I have started to youse folders for traveling, being a keen skin on frame bilder ther are a lot of similarities.
I started with a good second hand fethercraft Cahuna, and still have it, after geting involved with Sandy Robson and her expodition I became involved with Nortik, a german supler and manufacturer who sponsord her, in short I think ther boata are worth the look at at present I have ther Argo, its grate, its a deter shape and twise as stif on the water,and narowerwith beter acsesorys.we now work together to devellop a expodition ready sail for them, its also suprisingly good in the surff and as yet I havent broken it!

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Grian
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Grian » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:37 pm

Thanks Mary and Mick. I was favouring the idea of finding a feathercraft to try, despite the potential cost if I liked it, but perhaps a trip to Wayland would at least determine whether folding is for me. But am now really taken with the aesthetics of the Argo - and not having broken it is always a good recommendation (beautiful sails Mick)! Unfortunately all the information I could find is in German.

In the end I may continue with my plan for a new hard shell, but feel I may be missing out on something...

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:48 pm

Have a look at the Feathercraft Khatsalano - and compare the shape to your Greenlander Pro!

Chris

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Grian
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Grian » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:59 pm

Ohhhhhh?!

The khatsalano caught my eye, a truly beautiful boat. I've seen it described as tippy and so was put off - but it occurred to me that I also read that about the GP - after I'd owned and loved it for some time! Is it too much to hope the Khat boat may be my GP's flexible cousin...

I have trawled the archives, and I believe you sold yours, which makes me think it wasn't to your liking?

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by 6950rpm » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:40 pm

A friend and I both bought Trak folding kayaks and we are both really pleased with them. Not quite as light as some of the Feathercraft folders but a little more robust and very nicely made.

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Grian
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Grian » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:48 pm

I'll look those up too, thanks.

It seems there are more people paddling folding boats than it appeared when I was looking in the archives. I am puzzled why they seem so uncommon in the UK - is it because there are few, and so people aren't introduced to them? Rather than they are tried and rejected in preference for hard shells? Certainly the initial investment is daunting.

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:00 pm

The Khatsalano is a bit tippy compared to other boats, like any Greenland hull, but it can be made a bit more stable by inflating the tubes built into the chines - you can deflate or inflate depending on the level of 'Greenlandness' you want. The Khatsalano S has tubes that are designed to always be inflated when paddling. (The tubes have a name but, for historical reasons, it's not a word used on this Forum!)

I suspect the price, plus the fact that most UK paddlers drive to the water so have no problem carrying hardshell boats, are the main reason you don't see many.

Chris

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maryinoxford
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by maryinoxford » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:08 pm

Mainly, people buy folders for ease of storage and transport. But there is a penalty in terms of time to assemble, and drying them out afterwards. If you have somewhere to put a hardshell boat, if you own a car and are happy strapping your hardshell on the roof, that's generally easier, and usually cheaper. I live in a flat and don't have a car, so when I wanted to go paddling, I started with inflatables, then "upgraded" to something more kayak-like.

I had a short paddle in a Trak once. Something I noticed, as it had quite a strong V-shaped profile, was an initial sensation of twitchiness, as it seemed to want to sit on one side or other of the V. I noticed the same when I paddled a Folbot Cooper a few years ago. It's not a problem, and you'd probably get it with any V-profile boats. Trak owners may not even notice it. My Wisper had a more rounded profile at the cockpit area, so didn't "twitch."

A compromise might be a non-folding skin-on-frame kayak, but I think you'd have to build your own. Have you seen Tom Yost's website? http://yostwerks.com/ He has designs for both folding and non-folding SOF kayaks, some beautiful boats there. (And some a little quirky...
Image

Mary
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Grian
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Grian » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:27 am

The skeleton of the sea bee is so elegant, but the thought of making my own and going to sea in it... I think probably best not!

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by CharlieS » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:26 am

I second what Mary said about the feeling of the water through the boat. I like the sensation - you can feel small waves passing in series down from your feet; devotees say it enables you to go faster in rougher water than in hardshell boats. I have no real way of evaluating that claim.

I have a feathercraft K1 - bought because I had nowhere to store a sea kayak but wanted to be able to seakayak in a good boat when I was on holiday and away from the club (wasn't impressed with hire options at the time.)

I don't notice too much difference in terms of paddling distance to the hardshell boats I've paddled. It is much wider with those tubes inflated, but they spend most of their time out of the water, and they also make it almost impossible to capsize and roll.

Other benefits: big, wide cockpit (plus those tubes) made it idea for children to sit in or stand up in at the same time. Also takes loads of gear.

The big downside (as has been said) is the time and effort required to assemble them. It makes sense that assembling something with the length and strength of a proper sea kayak out of a bag would require some serious tensioning etc but it doesn't make it any easier to do.

If you'd like to try one out I'm in London. Let me know.

Charlie

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Grian
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Grian » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:40 pm

That's a really kind offer Charlie, and thanks for your review and comparison. This sense of the water moving around you seems really appealing, though I guess it could be quite unnerving at first.

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by ruralweb » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:33 pm

I've tried a few but gave up because of the time involved in setting up, packing up and drying out - midge attacks in the summer and getting cold in the winter as you watch your mates drive off.

Excellent if your heavy and need to carry kit though
Mal

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Grian
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Grian » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:52 pm

I think I'd keep it assembled a lot of the time in summer, so avoiding major blood loss! Assuming they travel happily on top of the car.

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by PeterC » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:33 pm


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Grian
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Grian » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:56 pm

Thanks Peter, I'd never considered an inflatable boat. These look really well made, and apparently quick and easy to inflate, but probably not for me as I'm after something a bit more like my hard-shell.

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by ruralweb » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:59 pm

The problem with leaving them assembled especially if you have been in salt water or gotten sand inside is that the frame joints could become locked. You could end up with a kayak you cannot fold up again!

You really need to be quite carefull and wash and dry everything after you use it, especially if its going to be in the bag for a while to avoid mildew etc
Another problem I had was portages especially when loaded - the thing looked like it was going to snap in two. I figured that two trolleys or unloading kit was a better option.
Mal

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maryinoxford
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by maryinoxford » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:47 pm

ruralweb wrote:The problem with leaving them assembled especially if you have been in salt water or gotten sand inside is that the frame joints could become locked. You could end up with a kayak you cannot fold up again!

You really need to be quite carefull and wash and dry everything after you use it, especially if its going to be in the bag for a while to avoid mildew etc
I wouldn't say wash after "every use," but certainly yes, if it's going to be packed away for a while. Aluminium-framed boats are the ones you want to watch for frame corrosion. Wood-framed ones wouldn't have the same problems, but I dare say they have their own set.

You'll see photos of folders fitted with a sea sock - basically a bin-liner of waterproof fabric that you sit in, in the cockpit. Clearly visible in the Yost transparent kayak. That's dual purpose. It stops the kayak getting swamped in the event of a capsize (can't have bulkheads in a folder) and also it keeps the inside of the boat clean. Grit between skin and frame would be a definite risk of wear. It'll also help keep salt water away from the frame.

Boeshield T-9 is the recommended anti-corrosion treatment. I always used to put a bit on the joints of my kayak frame before I assembled it. Feathercraft recommend dis-assembly every 6 weeks, to make sure the joints didn't "freeze." Since my use was almost always on fresh water, I gradually stretched this time. Even after 6 months assembled, there was no problem taking it apart.

A friend and I took our Feathercrafts on a holiday to Loch Maree, flying with them from Bristol to Inverness, then getting a hire car. Once at our destination, we assembled the kayaks and put a Handirack inflatable roof rack on the car, then for the rest of the week we drove round to various paddling spots, including some sea paddling. After our last paddle of the week (salt water) I folded the Wisper up ready for the trip home without washing it (no facilities). But once home, I washed all of it in fresh water and dried it before packing it away again. No damage. If you were sea paddling all summer, and if you were getting salt or sand inside the kayak, it might be an idea to do at least a partial dismantle every few weeks, to make sure the joints were still free.

All part of the fun - or slog, depending on your point of view. Technology that lets you put a sea kayak in a backpack has to have some complications...

Mary
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by idc » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:18 pm

I've a Klepper and a Wayland single folders. If you're near Cambridge and fancy a paddle you'd be welcome to join me for a paddle and try them out.
The Klepper T9 is a pleasure to assemble and to paddle (it is fifty years old and was beautifully maintained by its previous owner). The Wayland Harpoon is not the same quality of manufacture (it is getting towards a decade old and the more recent ones may be better) but paddles well enough once forced together.
Both were bought second hand at a reasonable price (I couldn't have afforded either new). But you are right that they are hard to find. I was lucky.
All the best,
Ian

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Grian
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Grian » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:46 am

Thanks Ian, it's very kind of you to offer, I'll be visiting Cambridge this summer and will definitely take you up on that. 50yrs old... they are expensive but if they last that long they're good value too!

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by mick m » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:00 am

Im curently away on holidays for two weeks, sandwiged around a kayak symposium, while away I will be trying to get sume vidio and inglish content for the nortik folders, I do have a comershal interest in them, steming from a desiar to have one myself if you like the Katislano look at the lines of the Navigator, the argo is closer to the heron email me if you need eny more info

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by tg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:03 pm

If I were in the market for a folder in the UK at the moment I would be setting my gaze on the Trax first. At £2500 the price is competetive with good hardshells and, having paddled with, not in unfortunately, I can vouch for their performance in large swell and open water. I'm not so blown away by the ability to bend the boat laterally with the jacks but being able to adjust the rocker seems a plus. It has to be said that air bags and sea socks are a necessity at sea and unfortunately the Trax, as far as I know has no 'hatches so loading may be an issue. It does however assemble very quickly. I currently have two folders in the fleet a Wisper and Wayland Amazon. I think if you opt for a folder there will always be a compromise. There are some great ones out there and, as it has been discussed elsewhere, defining what makes them different is tricky. In almost any objective, scientific, test you're probably going to come down on the side of the h/shell. (I paddle those too). Nothing, that is no other canoe or kayak I have paddled, makes me smile as much as the Wisper. Just looking at it makes me smile. I think if you want to get on with a folder you have to be into the concept. The feel of the water is great, and you can check out Ralph Diaz's - 'The Complete Folding Kayaker' to read a lot of justifications for using one. Security is cool too. Just fold it up. Put in the bag sling it in the car and it can pretty much live there. Go and visit Aunty in Oban, go paddling, park in restricted headroom car parks, leave the car on the street anywhere you normally would, it's great. Along with the resurgance on interest in SOF I think builders really are bringing some excellent technology to the folding boat scene. I expect there are greater things to come.

For anything other than Trax I would certainly consider hopping on the Harwich - Hook ferry, I think you'll get a return ticket to the Hook for less than fifty quid as a foot passenger. A short train ride, Holland just isn't that big, and I would think you could find a dealer with demo boats PDQ, I can't be certain but certainly worth checking out, even Germany. For Feathercraft the advantage of going to Euro land is the exchange rate at the moment and avoiding import duty. I once spoke to FC about importing a Khatsalano but they were having none of it referring me to Knoydart (the importer at the time), just looking at Knoydarts mark up made me cringe. In Euroland also is Nautiraid and many others too.

Grooovy...

FC K1 and others

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by ruralweb » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:25 pm

I had a Nautiraid on loan for a while and was very impressed with it. Excellent quality, very stable in the water, quick setup and very ver small pack size compared to others. The price was also much less than most.
Mal

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by mick m » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:02 am

If your traveling to Germany , Nortik is in Ulm , and both Tobias and Stepen are realy easy to get along with and wold have a demo boat or two .

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Grian
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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by Grian » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:04 am

Groovy indeed! Thanks for all that info.

Great boat second from left! I'll look up the trax. If needs be I will make a trip to the continent to try/buy a particular model, but people have been so generous about trying boats in the UK that I can definitely get a sense of what they are like here.

Maryinxoxford's post is very reassuring about maintenance, but are individual part's available for replacement if one gets damaged?

I watched a youtube clip of the nortik navigator being assembled and it's so ingenious, I'd not realised a wood boat could have such a delicate structure and still be robust enough. Mick m I pm'd you but the message is stuck in my outbox, I'm not sure how to remedy that, I'll try again.

I need to try before I buy, but I am certainly into the concept. There are two things I have reservations about. First I might miss the ease of paddling my greendlander pro, once you start moving it just swooshes along effortlessly and I'm not sure whether a narrow model of folder like the khats or navigator would feel unwilling by comparison. The other thing is the rudder, I've usually needed the skeg in wind if there's nothing in my boat - and thought I should make a habit of carrying something just because it makes it handle so more nicely. So it's likely I'd need to use the rudder, and I'm a bit daunted by the idea of it for some reason. I think I need to get Ralph Diaz's book.

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by MikeB » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:21 pm

Grian wrote:--- I pm'd you but the message is stuck in my outbox, I'm not sure how to remedy that, I'll try again.
It'll be in the Outbox until he opens it - regs, Mike

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Re: Folding kayaks

Post by bierings » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:29 pm

Grian wrote:Such as feathercraft, can anyone describe how they differ in feel from a solid boat (particularly a hard chined boat if it makes a difference)? Thanks.
I have for sale Nautiraid raid 1 416 in perfect condition,bild 2011,alu rame €999 starting bid.info
rita.snels-bierings@pandora.be

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