Onak Canoe Follows in Oru Kayak’s Origami Footsteps

Onak canoe - foldable canoe - origami canoe

The growth in paddle sports is lost on no one, though with that increased popularity comes a need for increased storage solutions. As the number of outdoor enthusiasts spreads into more-urban environments, people simply don’t have the space to store 10-foot (or longer) gear. Folks like Oru have built a business on their folding kayak concept, and the Pakayak packable kayak hopes to find success with a slightly different approach. Canoes have been a different story, one that’s remained a challenge for the storage-deprived. The origami-like Onak canoe hopes to change that.

The Onak canoe follows the fold-up model of Oru, but it results in a canoe rather than a kayak. Looking at the product designs, the concepts actually appear borne from the same design team. That may be with good reason: it appears to be a popular approach. Onak raised more than $10,000 on July 28 alone, pushing it past its Kickstarter goal with three days to go.

Made from a bendable and patent-pending Honeycomb – Curv Polypropylene material, the Onak canoe is “extremely tough” and has enough buoyancy to even stay afloat “when entirely flooded with water,” according to the design team. It’s also fully recyclable, though I can’t imagine disposing of such an elegant boat in a curbside bin.

There was a time when the idea of an origami boat frightened people. Oru has made great strides — at least here in the Northwest — to prove doubters wrong. As projects like Pakayak continue to find footing among people for whom storage space is at a premium, it was only a matter of time before other boat form factors tested the foldable origami model. Though it wasn’t without challenges — namely hull design — a canoe made total sense.

The Onak canoe has an assembled size of 183 inches long (just over 15 feet) by 33.5 inches wide (just under three feet). Yet when its folded down into its wheeled case, it packs down to just 15″ by 47″ by 10″, not quite small enough for an airline carry-on, but certainly small enough to store in a car’s trunk or home closet. In terms of weight, the 37-pound Onak canoe can support up to 551 pounds.

Since the Onak canoe design team is based in Europe, the company’s composite hull material will be produced in the EU, and the hull pressing and end assembly will be completed there as well. Now that the project’s been funded, shipping will be available worldwide for those who want to own, fold and unfold their own origami canoe in regions beyond.

The first batch of Onak canoe models are expected to ship in March 2017. Their Kickstarter price is about $1,100 (995 Euros).

Jonas Allen

Jonas spent 17 years covering travel, technology and entertainment for regional and international media. He now writes about gear, clothes and tips to stay warm. He hopes his lessons will help other people who get cold (re)discover the great outdoors.

2 thoughts on “Onak Canoe Follows in Oru Kayak’s Origami Footsteps

  • April 22, 2017 at 9:56 am

    how does this onak canoe perform in thw water? Issues? do you use a sitting or kneeling position to paddle?

    • May 18, 2017 at 7:00 am

      Hi, Doug. I haven’t had a chance to personally test it, so I’m not sure about performance. I was just writing about its unveiling/announcement. It looks like it uses a standard sitting position to paddle, though depending on the cockpit size it might support kneeling if your stance isn’t too wide.


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