Before the Oru Bay Kayak ST you had three options. Get a hardshell kayak and figure out how to transport/ store it, get an inflatable kayak and pray that you do not get a leak or get a modular kayak and still have something that takes up a good amount of space.
Oru has successfully managed to take the best aspects of all three and put it to use in one kayak. The result is actually pretty impressive considering the hardships that you can get from the different types of kayaks.
- Sometimes Leak
- Quality ones can start getting expensive
- Have to be taken care of IE not sit in the sun, have regular checks
- Are slower in the water in general
- Take up a lot of storage room
- Need a roof rack or trailer to be transported
- Can be very heavy
- Are awkward to transport from vehicle to water
- Still take up a good amount of room
- Clips have to work
- Not suitable for expeditions
Oru Bay ST
Who is the Oru Bay ST kayak for?
- People who want convenience of storage
- Paddlers who want a stable kayak
- Beginner and intermediate paddlers
- Paddlers who want good paddling speed
- Paddlers who want good maneuverability
- People who do not have a lot of room
- People who have cars
Who is the Oru Bay ST not for?
- Kayaking Traditionalists
- People on a stiff kayak budget
- People who do not follow instructions well
About the Company
Oru’s main vision has been to blend the two worlds of Kayaking and Oragami together. Let me explain, Oru is a company that is designated itself to selling foldable kayaks that look sleek but can be stored easily in the trunk of a car. Their inspiration behind this was looking at the collapsible kayak industry and seeing a gap in affordability.
Oru is a relatively new innovative company that got it’s start through a wildly successful kickstarter campaign. Infact, the company ended up raising 443,806 which blew its originally pledged $80,000 goal out of the water! They were not finished there. They ended up appearing on an episode of Shark Tank and getting a deal of 25% of the company for $500,000 with Robert! Episode Below:
Since then They have gone on to produce three different models! The Coast XT, Beach LT and the Bay ST which will be the model I will be reviewing.
What is the Oru Bay Kayak used for?
The Oru Kayak Bay is a revolution in terms of folding kayaks. Many Folding kayaks that are on the market are very expensive and can range anywhere within the $3,000-$5,000 price range. As seen below the Oru is much more affordable and actually outperforms many other “compact” kayaks including inflatables in a wide variety of tasks. These tasks include on water performance, ease of setup as well as comfort.
This is the Original Oru Kayak that started it all, it can be used is a wide range of different conditions. From the outside it may look a bit flimsy but this kayak is actually very durable and is more than capable of handling class I and II rapids.
The Bay series is meant as an all around kayak that is stable enough for beginner paddlers but can hold more than its own for Paddlers who are more experienced.
The Oru Kayak Bay actually tracks better than many recreational branded kayaks because it’s pointed shape slices through the water with little correction needed. The turning radius on this kayak is also quite good for a 12 foot boat!
Oru Bay Kayak Features
- Half Deck Rigging
- Floor Board
- Adjustable Footrests
- Bow and Stern Bulkheads
- Skirt Ready Concept
- Six Zipper Channels for Installation
- Back Rest and Seat Pad
- Maintenance Kit
Oru Pack Specifically for Oru Kayaks
Traveling to somewhere nice but you want a bag that can fit it? Look no further than the Oru Pack! It features padded shoulder straps and a hip belt for maximum support, two handles at the top and side for more grip. It also features heavy duty zippers, exterior mesh pockets for a two piece paddle and compression straps for extra gear you may be bringing.
Oru Spray Skirt
A custom spray skirt to fit onto Bay and Coast models of Oru kayaks. Made from neoprene these spray skirts provide a comfortable fit with an adjustable waistband and suspender straps for those harder class I and II Rapids. It also features a Grab Loop for saftey reasons and stays strong in all conditions.
Oru Dry Bags
Made out of 500D PVC tarp material it keeps all of your valuables dry and is completely water tight when used properly. It is double stitched, seal seamed and has a reinforced bottom to keep everything safe.
- Tracks better than many Recreational models of kayaks.
- Great for people that do not have a lot of room to work with
- Made of Strong material and can endure Class I and II rapids
- Well designed, the concept of an Origami Kayak that is actually durable is impressive
- The Kayak is very light at 28 Lbs!
- Paddles smooth and is a smooth ride
- Supported by a wide array of accessories
- Great acceleration due to it’s light weight
- Instructions manual is not overly clear, so go to the company website (or my site) to see how to install
- It is complicated to set up the first time and takes longer to set up than many inflatable kayaks that I have reviewed
- The Oru Bay Kayak ST does take up more room than many inflatable kayaks
- It is not recommended to order direct as there have been quite a few customer complaints about that. This probably due to it being a smaller manufacturer.
Bodies of Water
This kayak can handle a wide array of different bodies of water. The Oru Bay Kayak is most at home in calmer waters such as lakes and bay but can handle its own in class I and II rapids! It can also handle some surf but I would not test it through treacherous conditions.
The Oru Bay Kayak is ideal for day trips but has been tested for multi day trips and seemed to survive the trek! This kayak can handle bigger bodies of water but is also light enough to maneuver in smaller rivers and ravines which gives it the quality that a solid all around kayak should have.
Customer Feedback on the Oru Bay Kayak has been generally Positive. Read some experiences below
A common theme with the Oru Kayaks seems to be that Customers are usually generally impressed with its performance on the water. Many customers have raved about how it has exceeded expectations in that regard. Some have even gone on to say that they have owned many kayaks over the years and this one has been the best! Other Positive comments about the Oru Bay Kayak has been:
- “I have never once taken my boat out and not started a conversation with someone about the uniqueness of it. You are instantly the most interesting person on the water with your Oru 😉 This kayak is a must for any adventurer or outdoors person!”
-Christin Healey (Oru Site)
- “I have gone out with my Mother, who is in her early 70’s, and we had a blast, as well as her husband’s grandson, who at 12 handled it like a pro, even though he had never been in a kayak before.”
-Donali Peter (Oru Site)
- “I absolutely love my bay+! It’s perfect for my on-the-go lifestyle. It’s so easy to assemble, light weight, and a dream to kayak! It has definitely become an essential for me on all of my adventures. Thanks Oru!”
-Kelli (Oru Site)
- “I’ve taken my ORU kayak around the world. It’s been dragged over rocks, handled by airline workers, filled with water a few times, and it’s managed to handle everything I’ve thrown at it. Paddling it around is a breeze. It glides through the water with minimal resistance and has taken me out to some amazing places to get the perfect shot. This is the kayak I recommend to all my family and friends!”
-Chris Bukard (Oru Site)
With Positivity sometimes one finds negativity. Most of the negative comments directed at this kayak had to do with direct orders. A lot of people gave this kayak a one star review based on the poor customer service from Oru. Which I believe is a bit unfair but that’s just me. Most of the comments had to due with how long the shipping process was and the fact that no customer service reps would update or respond customers on how long the order would take or what its status was. To avoid this buy from an established online retailer ;).
Negative comments that did not have to do with orders included:
- Test paddled this kayak down here in Mexico on the Pacific. What a letdown! This kayak takes too long to assemble, does not track well at all, glide is minimal, and flexes way too much in rough water. The seat is the most uncomfortable I’ve ever sat in… who designed this?? Guaranteed to be a wet ride in waves of any sort. I tipped it to practice a reentry and its way too flexible. Glad I did the test paddle and now moving back to the Pakboat which gives a much better paddling experience in every way.
- “My biggest complaint is the seat and foot rest. I don’t find either comfortable. I did get an additional cushion and that did help some and I will consider upgrading the seat once the newer one becomes available as a separate item. But the foot rest, I don’t see any way that it will improve. I did buy some pipe insulation, cut them to the width of the kayak and then duct tape them together and put that under my knees. That did help but despite trying having the footrest at different positions I just don’t like it. Getting in and out is also challenging, granted being used to a canoe, that is a new learning curve for me but the size of the cockpit does also make it challenging.”
- “I am about 195 lbs. and was able to paddle the Oru today. I am slightly underwhelmed. I was on flat water and the boat felt like what it is. Folded corrugated plastic. Tracking was okay and rigidity was sloppy. The boat went together as expected for the first try and with several engineering types in command. It does fold up nicely, but ….? It’s not enough boat for anything other than very flat conditions.”
Johnny p (Oru Site)
The Oru Bay Kayak is a great innovative kayak that has really taken off. Maybe not to the same extent as fellow Shark Tank participants Tower Paddle Boards but it has solved a lot of problems. Many people want to buy a kayak and get into kayaking but they do not have space to put it or simply they do not trust inflatable kayaks. If you sound like one of those people then chances are this kayak is for you!
The Oru Bay Kayak is an overall solid water craft! It tracks well, maneuvers pretty easily and it is also accelerates well thanks to its light 28 lb build! This kayak thrives in calmer waters but can for the most part hold its own in class I and II waterways as well as some surf.The durability of this kayak is pretty impressive although it is not completely scratch proof.
Putting the kayak together can be a bit hard to figure out at first but once you get the hang of it it’s relatively straightforward. Be warned that the folded Oru kayak is bigger than your typical folding inflatable kayak and will therefore take up a bit more space. It can however still fit in a trunk or the back of a truck or even in a closet relatively easily though.
The main complaints directed at the kayak are not so much about the kayak but more ordering it directly from the Company itself. Customer Service seems to be hit or miss as well when it comes to ordering from Oru. To avoid this its good to order from an online retailer that is able to provide customer service. If you click the link below you will have a hassle free time ordering this kayak.
Overall this is a great kayak at what I believe to be at pretty fair price when you compare it to other models both in the hardshelled and Inflatable/ fold up category.
Box to Kayak
Step 1: Loosen and remove the shoulder straps from the side of the box and place them in a safe place. They are not necessary for kayaking but are essential for putting the kayak back into box form.
Step 2: Unclip the two buckles from the sides of the box and Remove the Orange Cover. The Cover will be placed on the cockpit floor down the road as the floor board.
Step 3: Dig inside the “Box” and remove the six Zipper Channels, stern bulkheads, back rest and kayak seat pad. Next unclip the center strap and unfold where the two orange stickers are and lay everything flat.
Step 4: With the box transforming into a long sheet grab the female and male ends attached to the footrest and connect them.
Step 5: Close up the Bow and Stern by folding them and tightening the straps at each end. Next you insert the Stern and Bow Bulkheads into the U channels on the floor of the kayak. (On Either side)
Step 6: Do the Bow First!: Attach the Front Zipper Channel located at both ends of the cockpit. Attach combing latch and guide the six (3 on each side) Zipper channels onto the deck trim at the tip of the bow. Do not force it if it does not go, Oru provides lubricant that will help it glide along the channels gently.
Step 7: Fold Floor Board into a U shape and place it on the floor of the cockpit. Next Flex the middle of the floorboard upwords to form a “W” shape and rotate the handle to lock into place. It will make a snapping noise once assembled properly.
Step 8: Slide Seat Column into the backrest plate on the floor board and tilt it upwards to lock into place. Buckle side of backrests into the sides of the combing.
Step 9: Repeat Set 6 but for the Stern: Push down, do not pull on the strap! Close Rear Combing latch behind the seat
Step 10: Locate Tension Strap located inside the hole underneath the bow combing latch fasten the hook onto strap loop and tighten. For maximum rigidity make sure the strap is tight. Using the foam block attached to the end straps, plug bow and stern and then stretch the neoprene fairings over the bow and stern and clip the buckles
Step 11: Stretch the bungee over the cockpit in a criss cross motion and then simply place the seat on the cock pit floor! Adjust Foot rests and seatback to your ideal position. Grab a life jacket and a paddle and you are off!
A lot of these instructions probably mean little unless you see the product so BAM video!
Kayak To Box
Step 1: Unclip fairings and loosen Bow and Stern. Unlock Deck Web
Step 2: Loosen tension straps before removing the Zipper Channels.
Step 3: Unlatch Combing latches, remove zippers, Remove footrests and accessories from the kayak.
Step 4: The Folding Process begins! Fold the Ends inward and fold each end of the kayak like an accordion, use knee if necessary. Fold the two ends towards each other , push the orange and black arrows towards their targets. Compress into a box, connect the center straps, throw accesories into the box and place the floorboard on top, slide shoulder straps on and thats it!
I made the instructions so that it mostly coincides with the video so follow along!