Hey Kickstarter! We're Oru Kayak. A few years back, we invented the origami kayak – a craft with the strength and performance of a hardshell boat, the portability of a suitcase, and a mind-blowingly cool way to transform between the two.
We believe in a world with more spontaneous adventure- the freedom to get outside and hit the water anytime, anyplace. Now, we're taking this to a whole new level with our most revolutionary kayak yet - the Inlet.
We’ve done plenty of innovating over the years- we’ve introduced four models for different paddlers and types of water. Now we’re putting all that practice to work- to make the most accessible kayak in the world.
To do this, we had to start from the bottom. Let’s walk you through it.
New Origami Fold Pattern
We wanted to push all of Oru’s key attributes- portability, weight, foldability- to the absolute max. Instead of a suitcase sized box, what about a handbag size? Could we get it under 20 pounds? How many steps could we cut out of the assembly process?
And of course, it had to be a blast in the water- solid, stable and lively. Oh, and it had to be sleek and beautiful- we think a 10 foot kayak should still have sweet lines and curves.
To do all of this, we had to go back to the basics of origami- and develop a SHINY. NEW. FOLD PATTERN. Every crease was designed from scratch, through dozens of paper and cardboard models. Every fold had to be designed to nest and fit perfectly, to eliminate wasted space and make the smallest box possible.
When we started the project, we had no idea if all of this was possible. But we kept pushing to make something AMAZING. We hope it’ll kindle your sense of adventure, get you to your happy place, and just plain knock your socks off.
Time to Recreate
The Inlet makes the water accessible, simple and easy – for everyone. It's designed for flat water, with features to fit paddlers of all ages and experience levels. As of now, we'd recommend max weight capacity topping out around 275lbs and max paddler height around 6'2", depending on individual proportions.
*Some of these features are being fine tuned and may change slightly from the final product.
Store it, Transport it
OK, this part is extra exciting. The Inlet folds down into a box WAY smaller than our existing kayaks. For those new to Oru, this full-sized, hardshell kayak will fold down and carry like a small suitcase. In box form, the Inlet is 42" long x 19" tall x 10" wide.
Throw a few in the trunk of your car, check one on a plane with nary a glance from the airlines, tuck it under your couch – the world is your tetris! No matter where you live, how much space you do or don’t have, the Inlet fits. To make our point, we’ve done some stash-testing for you. Note: no roof rack pictured.
And if you’re the backcountry type, our super-comfy custom pack lets you trek to remote water that’s never floated a boat. How cool is that?
Light as a feather, stiff as a board
Less material + fewer loose parts + streamlined fold pattern = LESS WEIGHT.
This kayak only weighs 20lbs. That’s light enough for paddlers of all ages and muscles sizes to carry, pass, heck – toss this kayak as they please.
The IKEA-challenged of you may ask: OK, how hard is it really to assemble? The Inlet has just a few loose components to put in place and only 3 assembly steps. At most, you’ll need 5 minutes to put this kayak together. No sweat, no hex wrenches.
Under 5 minutes from start to finish
Check out the real-time assembly below.
Note: be patient with yourself and your Inlet on your first few assemblies. The folds will become more flexible over time!
We know it matters to you, and it matters to us. We think “accessible” should mean “affordable”. We’ve spent the last two years overhauling our production process and have gone as far as building our own facility in Mexico and have become vertically integrated in order to fully control processes and our end product. And as we’ve worked on the Inlet, we’ve been maniacal about reducing the costs of new parts through clever design and sourcing.
But that doesn’t mean we’re cheap! We are still committed to using the highest quality materials and giving you an outstanding experience- we’ll never skimp on that. Our goal is to give a great value for a great product- especially here on Kickstarter, where you’ve supported us from the beginning. Our estimated MSRP will be $899. We're excited to launch the Inlet with with extra sweet discounts and gear packages for our backers.
The new Pack:
Because this new model packs up so much smaller than our other kayaks, we redesigned our pack to fit and added some sleek new features. Zip your Inlet into the new pack, clip the padded waist belt, and let your hips carry the easy 20lbs. Free up your hands and hike your boat up narrow rugged trails, down steep steps, or just through the airport with ease. Our estimated MSRP will be $179.
In addition to this new pack, we also have an entire collection of kayaking accessories available on our website that should meet almost all of your paddling needs! One item that you'll absolutely need is a paddle, so we've packaged our Oru's four-piece paddle with the Inlet in a couple of our rewards packages. Like our kayaks (and unlike many other paddles), it breaks down small enough to fit almost anywhere.
- Lightweight, reinforced fiberglass shaft
- Molded ABS plastic blades
- Marine-grade stainless steel connector buttons
- Completely adjustable length and blade pitch (feathering)
- Blade Material: ABS
- Blade Size: 44cm x 16cm
- Blade Shape: Asymmetrical
- Shaft Material: Fiberglass
- Shaft Shape: Straight
- Shaft Size: Adjustable length 220-230cm
- Feather: Adjustable ferrule 0-90 degrees
- Breakdown: 4-Piece
- Control: Right or left hand
- Weight: 2.75lbs (1.25kg)
- Weight: 2.55 lbs
- Adjustable length: 220-230 cm
Nice to meet you! We’ve been around for 7 years and have shipped 15,000+ boats. They’ve been paddled everywhere from the Arctic to the Caribbean, but we’re still finding new fans all over the world- glad you found us! In case the concept of an origami kayak is a little confusing...read on! We’ll go over some Oru basics.
All of our kayaks are made from a custom extruded, UV-treated plastic called OruPlast™. The material is a thicker custom-made version of the same plastic that postal service bins are made out of – and those things take a beating. All of our kayaks are rated to 20,000 folds, and while we recommend treating your Oru like a fiberglass boat, these boats are made to withstand any flat water adventure.
A new category
Our kayaks are hard to categorize, but we're okay with that – we don't like labels. We're not an inflatable, a rigid kayak, a skin-on-frame – we're origami! Oru Kayaks combine the best features of all of these categories to make a boat that's portable and durable without sacrificing performance (*cough* inflatables). It's all thanks to origami and our technology.
Not sure what kind of kayak you need? Check out where the Inlet falls on our lineup, and head to the comparison chart on our website to compare all of the specs side-by-side.
The Reviews Are In
Of course we love the Inlet, but when we call it Our Most Revolutionary Kayak Ever we don't expect you to take our word for it. A few months ago we shared an early prototype with journalists to receive feedback – *spoiler alert* they loved it! Click the video below to watch reviews from Gear Patrol, Technically Katie and Gear Junkie for yourself.
The Reviews Are In
Of course, we love the Inlet, but when we call it Our Most Revolutionary Kayak Ever we don't expect you to take our word for it. A few months ago we shared an early prototype with journalists to receive feedback – *spoiler alert* they loved it! Click the video above to watch reviews from Gear Patrol, Technically Katie and Gear Junkie for yourself.
Inlet Customer Testing
We invited a select group of people in the Bay Area to come paddle the Inlet and tell us what they think. Check out the video above to learn more about their experience and what they thought of the newest Oru Kayak.
OK, that about covers it! Now let's talk about why were doing all this.
Our mission is to connect people to nature, and to make the water more accessible. To reach more people, and introduce more new folks to the joys of paddling, we realized years ago that we needed a boat as simple and easy as this one. But we weren't ready until now.
After months of engineering, paper-folding, paddling, beta testing, team design reviews, we're so ready we can hardly wait. And we're taking it straight to you, our community. You launched our company right here on Kickstarter, and have stuck with us through four more crowdfunding campaigns- we're eternally grateful!
We're eager to get this wonder of origami design into your hands, and out on the water. With your help, we’ll be able to purchase the dies, molds, materials, and factory equipment required to mass produce this product. Show your support, get your own Inlet, and help us do this thing. THANK YOU!
Join the Oru Community
When you buy an Oru Kayak, you join our family. The folks that make up our community are some of the most adventurous, loyal, creative, and enthusiastic paddlers out there. Some of our most passionate owners have joined a crew we call Oruvangelists. Our inboxes and social media accounts are flooded with photos and stories of our owners’ latest Oru adventures. We’re inspired every day by all the ways and places people use their boats and we love to follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.
A kayak that fits into YOUR life
At Oru, our customers are made up of all different types of people who live very different lives. It's one of the beautiful things that makes our community so diverse. We designed the Inlet to fit into as many lives as possible and solve as many universal challenges that come with owning a kayak. Check out these mini-features of the four storylines we told for this campaign.
The Retired Explorers:
The Suburban Adventurers
The Backcountry Trailblazers
We have lofty goals, but we’re also a bunch of fun-loving makers and doers. We recently moved from San Francisco to an old sewing factory in Emeryville, CA and are feeling quite at home in our quirky neighborhood by the water. On a shared block with Pixar, a small batch coffee roaster and a vintage race car shop, there’s enough caffeine and creativity flowing to keep us stoked day in and day out. The bay and the ocean are both a short hop away —we can surf the Pacific in a Coast kayak in the morning, and head to a Giants game in a Beach kayak in the afternoon. We come from all around the world and we’re proud to have an atmosphere of openness and acceptance.
We also want to thank a few extensions of our immediate team for making this campaign come to life – Will Stauffer-Norris for mad video skills and paddling prowess, Joseph Duff for his stunning photography and hustle, and Tori Kayal for assisting with the pack design.
Once upon a time Anton Willis, a kayaker and studio apartment dweller, read an article about origami master Robert Lang. He wondered: could a kayak fold up like a piece of paper? After three years of tinkering in a friend's garage, and paddling and sinking dozens of prototypes, he had a legit boat and a few brave colleagues ready to take the leap and start a company.
We have no doubt there are many more chapters waiting to be written- we're just getting started! Thank you all for being part of our story.
This project is promoted by Jellop, the ad tech power behind the best Kickstarters with 850+ successful Kickstarter projects with over $370M raised between them.
Risks and challenges
This is our fifth crowdfunding campaign, so we are well acquainted with the pitfalls of launching new products.
First and foremost, manufacturing is unpredictable! Parts get delayed. New tariffs get implemented without warning. Truckloads of parts get accidentally delivered to the CEO's former apartment (yes, this has happened to us).
The good news is, we have spent the last couple of years overhauling our manufacturing- not just to save costs, but to greatly improve the reliability, accountability, and transparency of how we build stuff. We can't guarantee that there won't be hiccups, but we feel like we're better equipped than ever to deal with them. And we do guarantee that we will be transparent with any issues that come up and keep everyone posted on how and when they will be resolved.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (59 days)