Take Apart Versus Folder

THis is the classic debate--folder such as the Feathercrafts above--versus sectional. Folders have a weight advantage, weighing 35 to 55 lbs. In the age of airline surcharges, the folder could be checked for a price, the sectional sea kayak likely could not be checked at any price. Flying? Folder! But the less rigid hull of the folder, plus the lengthy construction time (about 45 minutes for the Fathercraft Khatasalano), make them not ideal. The 3-piece sectional is rapid construction, but more unwieldy for air travel. My use of the take-apart is in vehicles, rather than strapping and racking on rooftop, and for that, a sectional is stellar. Provided, of course, that you have the vehicle for it. I will get specific length measurements of each boat section and post for you so that one could determine if it will fit in their personal vehicle.
Marcus Demuth is an experienced sea kayaker, and has some valid points about sectional versus folder on his well-traveled, single webpage on the subject:
Folding Kayak vs. Sectional Kayak
Owners of Feathercraft or Klepper folding kayaks point out that a folding kayak might be the lighter, easier approach of traveling with a kayak since the entire folding kayak can be packed in only one single bag. An advantage over a 3-piece kayak, where you travel with (and have to pay for) 3 oversized bags ...? Wrong! Since in both cases, no matter if 3 piece or folding kayak, you will travel with the same amount of 3 bags. The reason is you always have to bring you gear:
- Folding Kayak: My camping gear, paddles, and kayak kit etc. (barely) fit into 2 (two) oversized bags. Add a folding kayak to these 2 bags, you end up taking a total of 3 bags to the airport.
- 3-Piece Kayak: If you travel with a 3-piece kayak, you will be able to store your entire camping and kayak kit in not only the 2 hatch compartments (bow and stern section), but also in the cockpit (paddles). This eliminates the need for you to bring any additional bags with you, thus ending up again with 3 pieces of luggage (if slightly oversized compared with the 3 bags when traveling with a folding kayak). Since in both cases you end up with 3 oversized pieces of luggage, the 3-Piece kayak offers the advantage of a sturdier hull and a sturdier kayak less prone to damage to the canvas hull of a folding kayak, less assembly time and fewer parts such as wooden or metal ribs, bolts and nuts you might loose, damage, or forget at home.


  1. tsunamichuck18:18

    I carry two bags when I travel with a Feathercraft Khatsalano. The Kayak and some gear in on and gear in other. The paddle goes in one of the bags. I buy my supplies at the paddling destination. Keeps me from having oversize charges to deal with and local public transit doable. I have seen my kayak dropped by worthless United Airlines baggage handlers from 10 feet and the boat was no worse for wear.

  2. Thanks TSC for your ideas. Your comment will live on here for future readers.

  3. tsunamichuck23:37

    Until I am banned :+))

  4. Anonymous22:02

    Hi, Marcus here!

    2 Bags?

    Even if you buy all your supplies (food) at the destination, I do not think this will wall fit into one bag!

    OK, one (1) bag for the folding kayak, and

    only one bag for all this:

    - Paddle
    - Spare Paddle
    - Hand pump
    - Spray Skirt
    - Paddling clothes for underneath:
    - Drysuit
    - Empty drybags
    - Tent
    - Sleeping bag
    - Sleeping Mattress
    - Camping stove
    - Fuel bottles (empty)
    - Water bags (empty)
    - VHF
    - EPIRB
    - Charts
    - Chart case
    - Tow rope

  5. Yes all in 2 bags. I can get paddles and a pfd, pump etc.. all gear I need in the Khats bag. I generally put the frame with some clothes in another to keep both bags under 50lbs each, and pack a heavy carryon. Now it is 3 bags since I bring a sanshin along with me. Recent trip for 1 month total weight going $104 ibs, returning 110ibs, picked up a sanshin