It’s not often that a kayak constructed of a single sheet of double-layered, recyclable plastic adorns the halls of the San Franscisco Museum of Modern Art. Then again, the origami-inspired Oru Kayak ($1,195) isn’t your everyday piece of plastic. Company founder Anton Willis, a young architect and ambitious designer from Northern California, constructed and tested more than 25 full-scale prototypes before landing on the final build — one capable fitting in the trunk of your car.
“The key to good design for me,” said Willis in an interview with CNN last year, “is to create products that are really in sync with 21-century ideas. [Ones] in sync with the notion that sustainability is something that is obtainable and non-expensive, in sync with the notion that people want to make things their own, to build them or enjoy them in their own way.”
Weighing just shy of 26 pounds and measuring a mere 32 inches when collapsed, the lightweight kayak is perfectly designed for the adventurous type with no room to spare. A double-layered, polypropelyne exterior ensures the sleek boat lasts more than 20,000 fold cycles while additionally resisting natural abrasion and the outside elements. The two aforementioned layers also make the Oru Kaya naturally buoyant, and though the boat folds down to roughly the size of a large briefcase, it unfurls to a standard 12 feet in length in less than five minutes.
Size isn’t the only appeal, though. The structure is rigid and incredibly sturdy, rendering it just as apt for expert kayakers as beginners, with a single seam resting above the waterline atop the boat. Furthermore, the fully-adjustable seat provides the utmost comfort and the two rubber deck straps offer plenty of storage space for stashing gear for short camping excursions and day trips on the coast. Each Oru Kayak is even built in California using fully recyclable materials, each of which is still manufactured in the United States for American-made peace of mind we can all stand behind.
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