Launched as a Kickstarter campaign, Oru is now one of the most innovative kayak manufacturers in the world. Since Oru’s establishment in 2012, the company has introduced five origami kayaks. These rugged kayaks convert from boxes to boats in minutes.
The Coast XT is currently the market’s most compact high-performance kayak. This 16-foot boat can handle calm lakes, ocean waves, and even Class III rivers. It’s capable of saying the course on long excursions. Plus, it can pull off advanced maneuvers. Not to mention, it offers impressive tracking, stability, and speed. That’s saying a lot for a boat that can transform into a suitcase-sized box. Naturally, few kayaks can beat this boat in terms of lightness and portability.
If you have limited storage space or you want to be able to take your kayak to remote waterways, then this collapsible boat is probably worthy of your consideration. Let’s see how this oru coast kayak review compares to popular alternatives.
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Things to Consider Before Purchasing the Oru Coast XT
The Oru Coast XT is the most travel-friendly high-performance kayaks available. It enables people who lack the space and transportation means needed for a traditional kayak to achieve their high-performance paddling goals. Thanks to the Coast XT, city slickers, travelers, and those with small vehicles can own and transport a performance-oriented yak.
While Oru has worked hard to keep their manufacturing costs down (going so far as to open a production facility in Mexico), some may still consider the Coast XT’s price to be a bit lofty. The company refuses to skimp on materials or innovation. They even make their kayak hulls out custom-extruded polypropylene. That puts the price of a new Oru Coast XT somewhere around $2,500.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly sea or touring kayak, then you might be better off with one of Oru’s base models, such as the Bay ST (which fares well in relatively calm ocean waters) or the Beach LT (the Oru’s roomy open-cockpit kayak). Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a super portable boat that you can trust during serious expeditions or harsh water conditions, the Coast XT is absolutely your best option.
Keep in mind that the Coast lets you save money on otherwise essential kayak accessories, like roof racks and trailers. Still, the Coast XT isn’t a wise investment for beginner or recreational paddlers, as there are plenty of more economical inflatable options.
Type of Kayaking
If you’re an intermediate kayaker, the Oru Coast XT will help you take on long, rough journeys. It’s also an ideal watercraft for intermediate paddlers with limited storage or transportation options. In fact, the Oru is one of the few kayaks that we would consider tucking into an overhead compartment or truck.
Features and Benefits
Are you wondering why so many paddlers are yakking about the Coast XT? Here’s a comprehensive list of the Oru Coast XT’s features and benefits.
Assembling the 16-foot Oru Coast XT becomes less challenging after a few initial sessions. While the polypropylene material is very rigid from the get-go, the creases become very pliable after they have been folded and unfolded a few times. With a bit of practice, you should be able to assemble your Coast XT in no more than 10 to 15 minutes.
Fortunately, the Oru comes with a set of easy-to-read illustrated instructions. Assembly consists of 10 steps, not including the final adjustments. Meanwhile, disassembly consists of 16 even easier steps. Breakdown should also takes no more than 15 minutes.
After paddlers open their Coast box, they need to separate all the loose components. There are seven different parts in addition to the box. The main piece doubles as the kayak’s deck and hull. There should be numbered orange labels on each of the main components. These stickers help simplify the initial assembly process for first-time users.
The Coast’s assembly process is deceitfully simple. The hull and deck are held together with six front and rear zipper channels. According to repeated customers, this is a tremendous improvement over Oru’s original clip closure system. According to many customers, you needed at least two sets of hands to assemble Oru’s original models.
Once you unfold the polypropylene box, you should be set assemble your kayak hull. Before you do, you must insert the floorboard, attach the footrest, tighten the end straps, and insert the bulkheads. Then, you must install the Coast’s front zipper channels, rear seat column, and back zipper columns. At last, you tighten the tension straps and make a few final adjustments to ensure your Oru Kayak is ready for the water.
Naturally, Oru has written and video assembly guides posted on its website.
As one of the original folding origami kayaks, the Coast LT is highly portable, lightweight, and easy to assemble. The Coast weighs just 36 pounds, making it one of the lightest 16-foot kayaks on the market. When folded correctly, the boat fits into a 33-by-12-by-29-inch box. It is small enough to fit in most trunks. Not to mention, it is easily slipped under the bed or into a closet.
If you are an experienced paddler with little to no storage space, you can benefit from this one-of-a-kind folding kayak. Then again, even individuals that have enough storage for a hard-shelled yak will be able to appreciate this innovative offering.
Transporting a 16-inch boat is not usually this easy. In many cases, portability issues prevent paddlers from getting off the beaten path. The Oru enables paddlers to tote a kayak to remote waterways and far-away destinations. The kayak box even boasts a removable back strap, should you want to take this watercraft off the beaten path.
Oru also sells a heavy-duty nylon pack with a shoulder and hip strap system. This aftermarket accessory enables hikers to bring their Coast to remote waters. It retails for $199.
Don’t let the Coast’s lightweight, flexible hull fool you. Oru constructs all of their boats out of 5-millimeter double-layered custom-extruded polypropylene. Since the material boasts 10-year UV treatment, you can be sure that extended sun exposure will not be the death of your kayak. The materials are also rated to last through 20,000 fold cycles. They can most definitely withstand their fair share of punctures and abrasions, including those that stem from collisions with rocks and other obstacles.
The newest version of the Coast is even easier to assemble. The boat is held together with a series of zippers and ratchets. According to the manufacturer, experienced paddlers can completely transform the Coast in less than 15 minutes. Meanwhile, first-time users usually clock in closer to 30 or 40 minutes.
While it may take you a bit of time to memorize the folding pattern, you should eventually be able to construct and deconstruct the kayak from memory. The more you fold the pieces, the more pliable they become. Due to the hull’s pliability, you should never force it into a configuration. This can cause it to snap.
Keep in mind that the boat is not entirely impervious to damage. Misuse, accidents, and general neglect could cause the boat to become damaged. With that said, all Oru Kayaks boast a one-year warranty. You may be able to repair small damages on your own. While the Coast is nowhere as rugged as hard-shelled kayaks, it is exceptionally durable for a collapsible kayak.
The Coast XT performs exceptionally well for a foldable kayak. Removable bulkheads and a 25-inch support beam give it much more rigidity than its predecessors. With that said, the lightweight plastic hull is tossed around easily in high winds and poor weather. Still, the boat has excellent primary stability and decent secondary stability. Intermediate paddlers agree that the Coast XT is a reliable touring vessel. Most paddlers can cruise along at speeds of 3 ½ to 4 miles per hour when traveling long distances.
Given the size of its hull, which is 4 feet longer than the Oru Bay, it comes as no surprise that the Coast also tracks well. This yak cuts right through water, moving steadily and swiftly when prompted to do so. With that said, a removable rudder or skeg would make it easier for paddlers to steer this boat in adverse water conditions.
The Coast performs well in a diverse range of water conditions, including 6-foot waves and Class III rapids. However, in all likelihood, these sorts of water conditions will cause water to accumulate the boat’s cockpit and bulkheads.
Of course, no one is going to argue if you take this boat on a calm lake or slow-moving river. If you do not plan on taking rugged expeditions, you might be better off with one of Oru’s recreational models, which are more affordable and mostly geared toward recreational paddlers. Despite its high-performance potential, the Coast is stable enough for paddlers of all skill levels.
With all that said, many paddlers said it took them a bit of time before they felt comfortable taking this seemingly flimsy boat away from the shore. While this Oru Kayak may not be as rugged as a hard-shelled kayak, it handles just as well as touring kayaks in the same price range.
As a closed-cockpit kayak, the Oru XT offers plenty of internal storage. According to the manufacturer, you can fit up to 180-liters of gear between the bow and the stern. On top of that, the boat is also compatible with a propitiatory spray skirt, should you be interested in keeping your belongings dry during the long haul. Other than that, you will need a couple of waterproof float bags if you want to keep your gear away from moisture.
At 16 feet, the Coast XT is Oru’s longest kayak. All that extra hull space translates to lots of internal and external storage room. This foldable boat also has extensive decklines, which are essential for easy-to-access gear stashes and self rescues. Of course, paddlers should be careful not to overload the bungees.
Keep in mind that the Coast has a 400-pound weight capacity. While there’s plenty of room for overnight gear in between the bow and stern cavities, it can sometimes be challenging to manage the cargo area. All this is not too bad since most paddlers can carry all 36 pounds of this boat over their shoulders.
Removable bulkheads give the boat extra rigidness while making it easy for paddlers to structure and organize the internal storage space. The Coast has three bulkheads, including one in the bow and two in the stern. Replacements are available through the Oru website.
Overall, most paddlers say the Coast can hold enough gear for a few days of paddling. For the most part, the bow and stern cavities are easy to access. With that said, you need must partially disassemble the hull to access the closed bulkheads. As a result, gear access requires a brief portage.
While the Oru Coast XT offers decent cockpit amenities, the seat can become uncomfortable on long paddles. The base Coast model boasts a decent-sized sit-inside cockpit with a solo seating arrangement. According to the manufacturer, the 16-by-30-inch cockpit is large enough to comfortably accommodate a paddler than is 6 feet 6 inches tall.
Tucked under bungees on the floorboard is an exceptionally rigid seat pad. There is also a saddle-shaped backrest that offers adequate lumbar support and structural rigidity. After pretty consistent customer complaints, Oru released a proprietary seat wedge. This thin piece of foam fits under the Coast’s stock seat. Its job is to lift a paddler’s legs while adding a bit of support under their sit bones. At just $25, this accessory is well worth the investment. However, like Oru’s kayaks, the item frequently sells out.
The coaming-based handles support paddlers when they are entering and exiting the kayak. Paddlers may also notice a set of box buckles on the cockpit floorboard. These elements keep the kayaking box closed, but are of no use when the Coast is in Kayak form. They are too much of a nuisance, but they do detract from the cockpit’s design.
The Coast also boasts an adjustable footrest. Though, many customers have complained that this piece is no more than a piece of corrugated plastic (the same material used for the hull) on a bungee. It does not offer enough support to brace a paddler’s feet and torso during turns and other maneuvers.
There are also predrilled holes on the sides of the cockpit/ These are intended to support Oru’s aftermarket thigh and hip pads. These accessories make it easier for paddlers to tilt and roll their kayak.
What Customers Are Saying
Overall, customers seem very pleased with the Coast XT. According to many, the boat is super reliable but has a few shortcomings.
Customers seem pleased with the Coast’s handling. Once new users get over the fact that the boat is merely corrugated plastic, they have no problem taking it on lengthy and even multi day excursions. Intermediate paddlers have confirmed that the kayak is capable of advantaged edging and even rolls. Most customers agree that the Coast is capable of achieving decent speeds.
According to most customers, the boat has excellent initial stability and good secondary stability. As a result, most paddlers would consider this reliable touring kayak.
Other customers were pleased with the Oru Coast’s ease of assembly. Most agreed that the suitcase-sized box was easy to carry. Not to mention, it fits into small places, including car trunks, compact garages, and closets. Most did not see a problem with the Oru’s high price point, especially given the fact that they did not need to invest in transportation accessories, such as roof racks and trailers.
Customers agree that you can assemble the Oru Coast in less than 15 minutes. Most found it easy to follow Oru’s 10-step assembly process. Some customers said the combination of ratchets and zipper channels assure them that the hull will not come apart.
Customers also agree that the Oru Coast has a pleasing aesthetic. While the white plastic is somewhat transparent, it still looks excellent on the water. The Coast and other Oru boats are only available in a single (white, black, and orange) colorway.
One of the consumers’ biggest frustrations is the Coast’s availability. These popular kayaks are usually on backorder. Currently, customers must wait an average of four to six weeks for their Coast XT to ship. Replacement parts and accessories are also often out of stock.
According to some customers, Oru’s customer service is often lacking. Some consumers said their emails and calls went ignored. A few customers also reported that their Coast Kayaks were missing essential parts. While the manufacturer is not always quick to respond to customer inquiries, they still manage to resolve most complaints. Due to the lack of prompt and consistent customer service, many Coast owners recommend that future consumers purchase Oru from dealers. We can only hope that this relatively new company works out the issues that are holding back their customer service department.
While most customers agree that the Coast performs well on the water, some have stated that this performance kayak could benefit from the addition of a rudder. After all, the lightweight hull does not hold up well in windy conditions.
Some customers also complained that the Coast’s white plastic hull is easily damaged. In most cases, you can remove discolorations with a little elbow grease. It is also worth noting that the hull is not watertight. As such, most users will want to invest in float bags when embarking on lengthier expeditions. Keep in mind that many of the kayak components are very small and, therefore, easily lost. A paddler needs to be committed to keeping this boat in top-notch condition.
Finally, most customers agree that the Coast XT’s seat lacks enough padding for lengthy excursions. However, it is worth noting that the backrest and seat cushion are thicker than those on the Oru Bay.
Check out this video for Youtuber Cosmo Weem’s review of the Oru Coast XT.
Oru Bay Kayak
- Excellent budget alternative
- Not as rigid as the Coast LT
- Great primary stability
- Great for exploring shores, bays, and rivers
- Compatible with Oru Spray Skirt to keep cockpit dry in rough waters
- Maneuverable and quick for a beginner kayak
- Does not offer as much leg room as the Oru Coast or (open cockpit) Oru Beach
Advanced frame Elite
- Ample storage space
- Rudder for better tracking in windy conditions
- Roomier, more comfortable cockpit
- Aluminum ribs for better stability
- Assembly is more difficult and time-consuming than that of the Coast
Oru Beach LT
- Open cockpit is better suited for individuals over 6 feet 4 inches
- Ideal for calm lakes and bays
- Ideal for bringing along a small companion or cooler
- Does not require as much experience
- Not ideal for choppy water or waves
- Excellent ease of entry and comfort
Overall, the Oru Coast XT is an excellent option for intermediate paddlers looking for a collapsible high-performance kayak. There is no question that this compact kayak is revolutionizing the portable kayak game. However, if you are looking for a more budget-friendly or recreational option, one of the alternatives listed above may suit you better.