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Tucktec Folding Kayak Review

Much improved, this origami boat is lightweight and performs decently - though less elegantly - for a more affordable price
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Tucktec Folding Kayak Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Price:  $400 List
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Manufacturer:   Tucktec
By Maggie Nichols ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 11, 2023
68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 15
  • Gliding and Tracking - 25% 7.0
  • Maneuverability - 20% 8.0
  • Stability - 20% 5.0
  • Ease of Transport and Set Up - 15% 7.0
  • Comfort - 10% 6.0
  • Construction Quality - 10% 7.5

Our Verdict

This version of the Tucktec has much-improved clamps from previous styles, helping to hold this origami boat together more securely. We liked paddling the updated Tucktec more than its predecessors, but it requires a fair amount of hand strength and force to assemble, even when warmed in the sun. It's lightweight and packs up impressively small, though its rough shoulder strap keeps it from being a joy to carry on bare skin. It comes with a paddle, and every piece of this package becomes the boat — not even a single strap is left behind. An adjustable skeg hanging off the back adds tracking ability to this wide, stable craft. It's a promising all-inclusive package to get you out on the water, but not without some glaring faults, like sharp edges, a less-than-comfortable seat, and the tendency for the sides to collapse under force.
REASONS TO BUY
All inclusive
No pieces left behind
Lightweight
Decent tracking
Improved assembly
Affordable folding model
REASONS TO AVOID
Sharp edges
Assembly requires strength and force
Uncomfortable carry strap

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Bottom Line This improved folding craft is lightweight and does pretty well, if less technical, for a budget-friendly priceA marginally more affordable folding boat that's a breeze to set up and enjoyable on calm and flat watersThis yak is among our favorites and it's built to last and perform at a high levelAn affordable and pleasant paddling experience with a friend or solo on calm watersIt's the cheapest of the cheap, and it paddles like it
Rating Categories Tucktec Folding Kayak Oru Lake Advanced Elements A... Sea Eagle 370 Pro Intex Explorer K2
Gliding and Tracking (25%)
7.0
7.5
9.0
5.5
4.0
Maneuverability (20%)
8.0
8.5
7.0
6.0
4.5
Stability (20%)
5.0
5.5
7.0
4.5
4.5
Ease of Transport and Set Up (15%)
7.0
9.0
4.5
6.0
5.0
Comfort (10%)
6.0
6.5
8.5
6.5
6.0
Construction Quality (10%)
7.5
9.0
8.0
5.5
3.0
Specs Tucktec Folding Kayak Oru Lake Advanced Elements A... Sea Eagle 370 Pro Intex Explorer K2
Measured Weight (boat and storage bag only) 26.0 lbs 17.0 lbs 33.25 lbs 42.8 lbs 26.2 lbs
Capacity Single; 300 lbs Single; 250 lb Single; 300 lb Tandem; 650 lb Tandem; 400 lb
Kayak Size (length x width) 10' x 2' 7"
(9' 4.5" boat only; rudder not included)
8'11" x 2' 8" 10' 3" x 2' 9" 12' 6" x 2' 10" 10' x 3'
Packed Size (length x width x height) 46.5" x 14.5" x 9" 42" x 18.5" x 10.5" 33" x 16" x 15" 36" x 20" x 8" 27" x 15" x 17"
Included Accessories Paddle Extra plastic buckle, extra velcro patches Repair kit Foot pump, repair kit, paddles Repair patches, pump, and paddles
Material/Construction 1/8" high-density polyethylene thermoplastic Double-layered polypropylene, 10-year UV treatment Aluminum ribs in bow & stern, PVC-coated polyester 38 mil PVC Polypropylene
Features Adjustable foot rest, adjustable backrest, front bungee, carry handles on ends Adjustable backrest Adjustable backrest, bungees, pressure relief valve in floor, skeg Seatback pockets, bow & stern grablines, drainage hole, adjustable seats, two small tracking fins, converts to solo boat Removable skeg, bow & stern grab lines, adjustable backrest, manual drainage hole

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Tucktec Folding Kayak is a single-person origami boat with an advertised capacity of 300 pounds. It weighs 26 pounds and is made out of eighth-inch thick high-density polyethylene thermoplastic. It comes with a paddle, an adjustable foot brace, and a front bungee strap.

Performance Comparison


tucktec folding kayak - we had plenty of space to paddle around with maggie the dog on a...
We had plenty of space to paddle around with Maggie the dog on a warm summer afternoon.
Credit: Maggie Nichols

Gliding and Tracking


With a hard plastic hull and a tracking skeg hanging off the back, the Tucktec tracks and glides better than many others that lack one or both of these features. Getting the placement of the skeg correctly in the water to aid in tracking without creating a snag on the bottom of the boat takes some trial and error.

tucktec folding kayak - the rigid polypropylene body of the tucktec and its adjustable...
The rigid polypropylene body of the Tucktec and its adjustable tracking fin help this boat to move swiftly and truly on the water.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Though this is advertised as a 10-foot watercraft, the actual body of the boat measures just 9 feet 4.5 inches, with the skeg making up the difference. This makes it one of the shorter single boats we've tested, which somewhat diminishes its tracking ability. Compared to other hard-sided origami boats we've tested, like the Oru Beach, the Tucktec has no cover over its bow fold, allowing water to flow into this crevice, adding unnecessary drag.

tucktec folding kayak - the tucktec (green, right) has an open crevice on the bow keel...
The Tucktec (green, right) has an open crevice on the bow keel, while the Oru Beach (white, left) covers that with fabric similar to a wetsuit.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Maneuverability


Because of its wide, flat bottom and short overall length, the Tucktec is easy to turn on a dime to get around objects or change directions. Its open cockpit doesn't allow you to brace yourself in place to aid turning with your hips, but it does just fine turning with paddle strokes. The eighth-inch-thick high-density polypropylene hull is highly abrasion and puncture-resistant, letting you paddle confidently over submerged sticks and land easily on rocky and sandy beaches without worry. The included paddle is a hefty two pounds but is sturdier and more effective than most other paddles included with other inflatable kayaks we've tested. We got wetter than usual paddling with it, but we have no complaints about its functionality.

tucktec folding kayak - the tucktec turns easily and is responsive to changing paddle...
The Tucktec turns easily and is responsive to changing paddle strokes, while still tracking well.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Stability


Out on the water, this wide, flat-bottomed boat feels like a pretty stable ride. It's not too wobbly while paddling and is a great option for folks who dislike tippy-feeling kayaks. The getting in and out process is more challenging, though. While the sides of the kayak are covered to prevent cutting your hands, they are a single layer of very flexible plastic that immediately buckles under the body weight of even a 125-pound pilot. Even getting in and out while docked along the shoreline more than once allowed the wide-open cockpit to flood with water as the side of the Tucktec collapsed below the waterline with the weight of the incoming paddler.

tucktec folding kayak - the sides of the tucktec do not withstand human body weight, making...
The sides of the Tucktec do not withstand human body weight, making it more challenging to get in and out of this flimsy boat.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Transport and Set Up


The Tucktec is one of the smallest packed kayaks in our lineup and slides easily into the backseat of your car or a shelf in your closet. It's on the lighter side, too, weighing 26 pounds — 28, including the paddle. And with no additional pump to carry around, that's a bargain. Its shoulder strap offers only messenger-style carry and is rather rough on bare skin and not our favorite, even over a sun shirt.

Carrying the small, rolled-up Tucktec.
Carrying the small, rolled-up Tucktec.
This strap isn't the most comfortable, even over a sun shirt.
This strap isn't the most comfortable, even over a sun shirt.
The packed Oru Beach (left) and Tucktec (right).
The packed Oru Beach (left) and Tucktec (right).
The Tucktec is small and easy to carry, though it doesn't have the most comfortable shoulder strap. Here you can also see it next to the packed Oru Beach.

The six metal arms that clamp the whole boat into shape are easier to secure in place than the clasps on previous versions. However, the side clamps require a large amount of force and hand strength to swing into place — even when the plastic boat had warmed in the sun. All the components of this package become a part of the boat, though, so you're not left with so much as a strap to lose in the sand.

tucktec folding kayak - getting these clamps into place often required a great amount of...
Getting these clamps into place often required a great amount of force.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

It has no drainage port but tips upside down easily to drain before heading home and dries quickly in well-ventilated storage. The worst part about folding this boat up during our testing is that it easily collected beach sand and made our cars very dirty.

tucktec folding kayak - the tucktec becomes a flat piece of plastic to roll up and pack away.
The Tucktec becomes a flat piece of plastic to roll up and pack away.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort


The Tucktec seat is made of thick but very hard, unforgiving foam. It's rather narrow and only adjusts a few inches forward or backward. The velcro strap holding it in place can feel quite scratchy on bare legs, as well. The large cockpit and high advertised weight capacity seem like a great combo for larger paddlers. However, its flimsy design sometimes bends under heavy weights, making it both less comfortable and less conducive to effective paddling.

tucktec folding kayak - strapping the seat into place is effective, though it's not the most...
Strapping the seat into place is effective, though it's not the most comfortable or spacious seat.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

This version has a bungee cord across the front and a foot peg in the bow. This peg is challenging to use, as it clicks to different lengths and must be placed at the right distance before getting in to paddle. More than once, it popped out of place as soon as we sat down, and the boat widened, and we struggled to wedge it into place at the right length and distance to be able to rely on it for bracing.

tucktec folding kayak - getting the foot peg into the right position proved to be a...
Getting the foot peg into the right position proved to be a challenging exercise in trial and error.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Construction Quality


The high-density thermoplastic that comprised the Tucktec feels durable and long-lasting. The company claims it's rated for “1000s of folds”. We're glad to read that because bending the little plastic arms all the way over onto the body of the boat in order to latch the clamps in place creates extreme pressure points on the eighth-inch polypropylene that appear starkly white and look rather alarming in contrast with the bright color of the plastic. Our worries aside, the actual construction and materials of this craft seem sturdy and reliable.

tucktec folding kayak - folding the metal arms all the way over to assemble this boat...
Folding the metal arms all the way over to assemble this boat creates alarming white streaks in the plastic - though functions perfectly well.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Tucktec Folding Kayak?


For folks looking for an origami boat that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, the Tucktec is a high-value option. It comes with a paddle and gets you out on the water for less than many other hard-sided portable models. Its open cockpit is versatile and stable, and it glides and tracks well for its size. It's not a great option for larger folks or those who rely on sturdy sides to get in and out of the boat.

tucktec folding kayak - comparing two of the folding kayaks (the tucktec in green, left, and...
Comparing two of the folding kayaks (the Tucktec in green, left, and the Oru Beach in white, right) to some inflatable kayaks (pictured here is the Aquaglide Deschutes in orange, center).
Credit: Abriah Wofford

What Other Inflatable Kayaks Should You Consider?


For a similar-sized hard-shelled folding kayak that's far more sturdy but lacks a tracking fin, the Oru Lake is a slightly more expensive option that we love to paddle. Its longer cousin, the Oru Beach LT, tracks very well and is a dream to set up and take down, though it is significantly more expensive. If you like the shape and openness of the Tucktec but are willing to consider an inflatable model, the Aquaglide Deschutes 110 is a very comfortable lightweight option that's easy to set up but lags in tracking ability.

Maggie Nichols