Oru Kayak Bay ST
The 2017 Oru Kayak Bay ST is light, extremely portable, easy to assemble, and strong. It is pricy, but that’s the tradeoff for its weight and portability.
- Ease of assembly
- Cockpit latches can break
i purchased the Bay ST and the Beach LT from REI online for my wife and me after we inspected and sat in them at the 2017 REI Labor Day sale. I had them shipped to my local REI for pickup. Both fit inside my Toyota Prius.
When I got them home, I assembled each in my backyard. The folds were pretty stiff during the first few times I assembled and disassembled them. I went from about one hour to assemble the Bay ST (I'm 68) to about 13 minutes after the third or fourth assembly.
CRITICAL POINT—Oru Kayak provides a lubricant for the tracks of the zipper channels, with instructions on how to lubricate them. It greatly eases assembly. Packing up went from about 30 minutes to 10 minutes.
I drove with the Bay ST to a local river, carried it down the bank, assembled it, and was on the water in 15 minutes. The Bay was amazingly fast, responsive, and quiet. After about an hour of paddling on the river, and sneaking up on wildlife, I packed up and headed home. I took a number of photos, but don’t know how to attach them with my iPhone.
This is was only my second time in a kayak. The first time was in a rotomolded kayak during an afternoon guided tour with my family. What a difference! The Oru felt so much more responsive.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $1,360
Folds up to take up very little space; is lightweight and portable (don't need a special rack on my car).
- Folds up so it doesn't take up lots of space
- Tracks pretty well
- Will sink if flipped without ballast bags
- Tricky to unfold/refold without practice
Folds up to take up very little space (approximately 30" x 30" x 10"); is lightweight (~25 lbs) and portable (don't need a special rack on my car), fits inside a Ford Taurus' trunk (I have fold down seats in the back but it'll fit in a taurus without those seats too). Can be [semi-easily/inexpensively] checked on a plane! Folds out to ~25'. Tracks fairly straight in water.
Can be tricky to unfold/refold without practice, but the Oru company's online videos are helpful.
Material is similar to the white plastic corrugated material that post office bins are made out of. Bumps on the body are highly visible as permanent very opaque markings (which is annoying).
I have a first edition 'Bay' version kayak. When tightening a middle bow seam, I accidentally pulled 'up' to try to tighten instead of 'sideways' and the plastic mount popped out of the white plastic body. I managed to pop it back in the place, but it was scary since it was my brand new expensive toy. I think this has been fixed in later kayak editions.
The kayak has two velcro straps to hold lights. Strapping in approximately omni-directional lights will light up the Oru very nicely (plastic body is a frosted-translucent material).
Kayak comes with a shoulder strap to carry it around. Oru company sells a backpack for the kayak. The pack is expensive (~$250) but does make carrying it around easier. The Oru pack also has pockets and outside velcro straps to carry your two-piece paddle(s), PFD, spray skirt, etc.
Kayking in Alaskan summer means kayaking on pretty cold water (40-50°F). I can feel that cold through the bottom of the kayak and long pants. Fits a spray skirt nicely. I love this for flat water paddling but wouldn't trust myself in it in rough water (although the company has representatives that do whitewater). Will probably sink if flipped without ballast bags (which the company does sell).
This isn't my gif but it animates to show how the kayak folds away into a box:
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $1205
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Current Retail: $1,499.00
Historic Range: $1,082.93-$1,599.00
Reviewers Paid: $1,205.00-$1,360.00
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