Hiking has been one of my most rewarding hobbies I’ve had. You gain so much, on so many levels, with such a simple objective. In my adventures I’ve been to arguably some of the most beautiful lakes around, but one question I always wondered was why do my trips have to stop at the shore?  Sure I might jump in and experience a swim in one of the hundreds of tarns in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, but what else is out there to see? For me this was the unknown that I needed to answer… What is the view like from the center of the lake?

Assembled, the Oru Kayak measures 12′ long.

Assembled, the Oru Kayak measures 12′ long.

For me the solution to answering this question was an Oru Kayak. It’s an origami kayak made of corrugated plastic. No, this isn’t a craft you are going to hike 15 miles with, but for shorter/steep hikes its the best. Thus far we’ve hiked them in to two notable alpine lakes. The longest of the two being the 3.5mi hike in to Snow Lake near the top of Snoqualmie Pass.

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The second lake on our journey will go unnamed in this post, but we had a 2.5mi hike in and raced to catch the evening golden hour. The trail had 1,000ft or so of gain and we were definitely moving with a good pace. Having the kayak on my back was no problem. In its folded form the Oru measures 32″x28″x13″ and weighs 26lbs. With the Oru pack cover you gain a nice set of shoulder straps and (thankfully) a quality waist belt. There are also three mesh pockets on the outside for water and snacks, plus two heavy duty velcro lashing straps on top for your oars. A trick that I found useful was to store any extra layers, like a jacket, inside the pack with the kayak. The way the kayak folds down there are two big spaces created inside of it that you are perfect for stuffing any gear into. It really worked out nicely.

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Overall I’ve been extremely happy with the Oru. The build quality, design, and materials are all well thought-out. Sure, some may argue the benefits of a solid kayak vs. this folding competitor, especially in open water. However, to me, the benefits of this portable option make it the top choice for my adventures.