A compact-sized folding boat – at 6-ft (1.8-m) to 12-ft (3.6-m) – is designed to fold for convenient transportation and storage. Foldable boats are constructed in lightweight materials, such as man-made fabrics, and finished with supporting framework.
This matches the need of the boater who cannot store or trail a full-size boat. These simple-to-erect, disassemble, and pack in a storage bag collapsible boats, require up to 2-hours to set up.
Some of the folding boats offer a solid transom for mounting a small 2 to 4HP petrol or electric engine, but some will accept a 9.9HP engine. Clean, quiet, and fuel-efficient, these small engines come with user-friendly features for better control and maneuverability. If auxiliary power is desired, anything more than 10HP is not recommended due to the lightweight nature of the crafts. In general, portable boats will do with only a 2HP engine.
Ease in set-up
Designed for ease in set-up. By virtue most, if not all the parts of the foldable craft are readily available. This means in the event of a loss or damage to a particular piece, it is a simple process of having the item replaced or repaired in isolation of all other parts. A dual benefit results – minimal downtime and low, to minimal repair costs. Also, a further point to note is that vessels cannot be punctured, as seen with the inflatable.
An appropriately designed portable vessel sized to pack small in a storage bag offers complete ease in stowing in the trunk of a vehicle en route to a paddling adventure or stored in times of non-use at home – under a bed, in a closet, inside an athletic locker, etc. Outside in a garage or workshop are also options. A ceiling hoist system provides a great choice for prolonged storage or winterization.
Folding boats have become a lot more common of late. Non-folding aluminum and inflatable boats are still a lot more popular in the marine marketplace, despite the popularity of certain collapsible boats, such as the Porta-Bote, Folbot, and Pakboat for instance. Each of these can easily rival or better some of the similar deployed boats of a rigid construction. Also, these boats often retail at a price higher than the inflatable or rigid counterparts.
Type of construction
Folding boats are available in several different categories. Kayaks, canoes, and dinghies are the most tried and tested – can come manufactured with outer skins made of a resilient water-resistant fabric – with some companies incorporating air-pockets to aid in buoyancy and stability. Supporting materials for the frames are split between a hard-wearing plastic, a lightweight aluminum or the dependable wood – although some small boats can feature a combination of these.
If used in open waters or heavy weather, bear in mind the freeboard height (distance from waterline to upper-deck level) as the small dinghies and folding boat often have a low freeboard – the higher the sides of the hull, the drier, and more comfortable the boat will stay.
All in all, an extremely compact folding boat, kayak or canoe is perfect for light tour trips on quiet, flat waters, as a tender dinghy for larger vessels, or used in conjunction with a recreational vehicle, such as a full-size motor-home.