Oru Bay ST Kayak Review

An incredibly stable folding kayak that's a lot of fun for both beginner and experienced kayakers.

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Oru Bay ST Kayak Seat
Oru Bay ST Folding Kayak
Oru Bay ST Kayak Unfolded
Oru Bay ST Kayak Folded Up
Oru Kayak Carrying Case
Oru Bay ST Backpack
Oru Folding Kayak Backpack
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 Summary

  • The Oru Bay ST is the updated version of the original Oru Kayak – the foldable kayak that raised more than $400,000 in Kickstarter and put Oru in the map.
  • With performance-enhancing upgrades, the Oru Bay ST handles better than ever. It’s remarkably stable, tracks well, and has been tested in Class I and Class II rapids.
  • Using Oru’s signature origami-style folding design, the Oru Bay ST folds in roughly the size of a large portfolio. You can either strap the folded kayak into your shoulders for a hike or throw it in the back of your truck for a road trip. It’s compact enough to be stored under the bed or inside a closet.
  • The Oru Bay ST is made with a double-layer of corrugated polypropylene. The material is tough enough to withstand scrapes and bumps with sharp rocks or logs and has been manufacturer-rated for 20,000 fold cycles. Constant outdoor exposure will not degrade the kayak as it has been treated for 10-year UV protection.
  • The standard-sized cockpit can make entry and exit difficult for larger users. It does make the Oru Bay ST compatible with standard spray skirts but does not necessarily ensure that the cockpit does not get flooded.
  • The lightweight design, while convenient, also makes the Oru Bay ST prone to getting tipped over. This is something that can be prevented with a good paddling technique, though. Even if you do get capsized, rolling over the Oru Bay ST is very easy and you’ll be back to paddling in no time.

Reviews by our Readers


Introduction

MAKE:
Oru
MODEL:
Bay ST
TYPE:
Folding
MSRP PRICE:
$1,599
RECOMMENDED FOR:
All experience levels, calm water, adventure travel
WARRANTY:
1-year
MODEL YEAR:
2019
WHERE TO BUY IT:
Oru Kayak’s website

Kayak Details

LENGTH:
12′
WIDTH:
25″
WEIGHT:
28 pounds
COCKPIT DIMENSIONS:
62″ x 22″
PACKED DIMENSIONS:
33″ x 12″ x 29″
MAX CAPACITY:
300 pounds (1 adult + gear)
CONSTRUCTION:
5mm double-layered polypropylene

Written Review

Way before Oru became a major player in the kayaking scene, they had started to recognize a market gap for affordable foldable kayaks. If you were on a budget, you either had to get a hardshell kayak that took a lot of space or an inflatable kayak which was prone to get punctured. With this vision, Oru launched the original Oru Kayak which received over $400,000 in Kickstarter funding and won a massively successful in Shark Tank. The extremely innovative design of the Oru Kayak helped it earn a spot in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The original Oru Kayak has since been updated and can now be purchased as the Oru Bay ST. The all-around kayak from Oru, the Bay ST has received upgrades through the years to enhance its performance. This kayak is stable and easy to use for beginners but is dynamic and performance-oriented enough to appeal to more experienced paddlers. With good speed and maneuverability, the Oru Bay ST Is for long or multi-day trips either in flat or choppy water. There’s also plenty of room to stash your gear and supplies.

What sets the Oru kayaks apart from other kayak alternatives is its signature origami-style folding design. This brilliant innovation allows a full-sized kayak like the Bay ST to fold into a bundle roughly the size of a large suitcase or portfolio. The folded kayak has enough space to fit all of its standard accessories, so there’s no risk of you leaving anything behind. This will certainly benefit paddling enthusiasts who don’t have the spare apartment space to store a hardshell kayak or wouldn’t want to have to mount their kayaks on their cars every time they get the itch to go paddling.

The kayak, along with its accessories, weighs only 28 lbs., so it’s even possible to strap it on your back and take a hike to that secluded river or lake. If you’re flying off to a vacation, you can even check in the Oru Bay ST during your flight without having to pay extra for over-sized baggage.

The Oru Bay ST, due to its origami folds, sets up in just a few minutes. It can take some getting used to, but we’ve heard of many paddlers that can keep assembly time to less than 5 minutes. The process is quite intuitive and made even easier by the liberal use of clip-on buckles and adjustable straps. Bulkheads at both the stern and the bow give it extra rigidity, as does support poles connected to the backrest and the footrest.

The Oru Bay ST offers the best combination of durability and lightness. The credit for this goes to a body made of a 5 mm. — thick double-layer of propylene with corrugated support. Despite its appearance, the Oru Bay ST is super durable. It can withstand the scrapes and bumps paddlers have come to expect in rivers and open water and has even been tested in multi-day paddling trips in Class I and Class II rapids.

The pre-marked seams that allow the Oru Bay ST to be folded are manufacturer-rated for 20,000 fold cycles. The material of the Oru Bay ST has even been treated with UV protection that will last up to 10 years. The bottom line is that this kayak will last you several years even when put through reasonable amounts of abuse.

In terms of performance, the Oru Bay ST hits just the perfect spot to be accessible to beginners and still be fun for experts. The 12’ x 25” profile is wide enough to be stable, but the contour helps make it fast and sporty. Aside from providing plenty of room for gear, the extra space of the Oru Bay ST also allows it to support a maximum capacity of 300 lbs. This is great for going on multi-day trips where you’ll need to pack tents, extra clothes, and lots of food.

The Oru Bay ST tracks well under any condition, but it can be tough to control in rough water mostly because it’s so light. With its streamlined shape and neoprene fairings on both the bow and stern ends, it cuts through water beautifully and helps it achieve higher top speeds. For an even more performance-oriented foldable kayak, then the Oru Coast XT is worth your consideration.

Since it does not have the smooth profile of a hardshell kayak, the side to side motion of the Oru Bay ST can feel jerky especially when the water level transitions through the hard edges. Fortunately, the kayak is narrow enough that it can be easily rolled over should it capsize.

Unlike the Oru Beach LT, the Bay ST comes with a regular-sized cockpit. This can make entry and exit challenging for larger paddlers. The cockpit still comes with all the usual furnishings of Oru kayaks which can be adjusted for optimum comfort. The cushioned backrest, foam seat, and adjustable foam rest make long paddling trips tolerable – and even enjoyable.

Although the standard-sized cockpit has a provision for a spray skirt, taking the Oru Bay ST paddling on big waves will almost certainly result in some flooding inside the kayak. This is because the enclosures on the bulkheads and the bow and stern ends aren’t exactly built to keep the water out. This is not as serious of a problem as it sounds as you’ll probably be taking on very little water, but it does mean that you’ll need to keep all of your gear inside dry bags.

The Oru Bay ST costs around $1,600. It’s certainly not a budget option, as you can get a hardshell kayak for less than a third of this amount. However, foldable kayaks are an entirely different market. They offer virtually the same level of performance as hardshell kayaks but are infinitely more portable and easier to store. Compared to other foldable kayaks, the Oru Bay ST is still one of the most affordable options. If you are someone who loves paddling but doesn’t have the luxury of having a lot of storage space, then the Oru Bay ST is a great investment that will last you several years.

 Warranty

All Oru kayaks come with a 1-year warranty that covers any product defects due to workmanship or materials. Renting out the Oru Bay ST or using it for any commercial purpose the warranty void. The warranty also does not cover damage due to misuse, improper storage, accidents, and normal wear and tear.

Before sending in your Oru kayak for a warranty claim, you must get in touch with Oru as soon as you can and ship the product with prepaid postage. Oru will decide if the damage of your kayak is covered by the warranty after conducting an inspection. With a successful warranty claim, you will receive a repair or replacement of your product free of charge.

If you end up unhappy with your Oru kayak for any reason, then you’ll be glad to know that Oru offers a 30-day return policy for their products. Take note that the original undamaged product with a complete set of accessories must be returned to Oru to be eligible to receive a full refund. All you need to do is to ship the product to Oru, with all the shipping costs already covered by you. Upon processing the return claim, Oru can provide a full refund or offer an exchange with a different model.

Pros:

  • The Oru Bay ST is an all-around kayak that is stable enough to be beginner-friendly and yet performs well enough to appeal to more experienced paddlers.
  • Using Oru’s signature origami-style design, the full-sized Oru Bay ST kayak can fold into roughly the size of a large portfolio or suitcase. This makes the Oru Bay ST one of the easiest kayaks to store and transport.
  • Assembly of the Oru Bay ST is pretty easy. With a bit of practice, it’s possible to get the assembly time down to less than 5 minutes.
  • The Oru Bay ST is remarkably lightweight despite its durability. The double-layer corrugated polypropylene is tough enough to withstand scrapes and bumps with sharp rocks, and can even endure long paddling trips in Class I and Class II rapids.
  • The cockpit of the Oru Bay ST is compatible with a standard spray skirt and has fully adjustable furnishings including a backrest, a foam seat, and a footrest.
  • Despite its foldable design, the tracking, handling, and overall performance of the Oru Bay ST are comparable to any hard shell kayak.

Cons:

  • The Oru Bay ST may be smaller and lighter than a hardshell kayak, but it still takes up more storage space than an inflatable kayak. Moreover, setting up an inflatable kayak can take less time and effort.
  • Due to its lightweight nature, it doesn’t take much for the Oru Bay ST to tip over. However, it is this same characteristic that makes it easy to roll over to its upright position should it ever capsize.
  • Despite having a spray skirt on, the cockpit of the Oru Bay ST is still prone to get flooded when you hit big waves. This shouldn’t be a serious amount of water, but it means you’ll need to be prudent and pack your gear in dry bags.

 Final Thoughts

The Oru Bay ST is the latest iteration of the foldable kayak that has made Oru a force to be reckoned with in the kayak market. While the convenience of storage and transport were what made it stand out when it was first launched, Oru has gone ahead and made performance-enhancing upgrades to make it a more all-around excellent kayak. Performance-wise, the redesigned Oru Bay ST is up to par with any standard hardshell kayak.

While it’s not a cheap kayak, the value it offers will be greatly appreciated for people who don’t have a lot of spare storage space but are really into paddling. It’s also much easier to travel with the Oru Bay ST – throw it in your trunk, your car’s backseat, or even strap it on your shoulders. Adding value for money is the fact that it’s designed to last for years with its super durable polypropylene body and UV treatment. All things considered, the Oru Bay ST is still one of the best entries in the foldable kayak market.

Click Here to Buy the Oru Bay ST Kayak

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