After borrowing a kayak from a friend for a few seasons, and discovering that I really enjoyed a casual paddle, mostly on flatwater, I decided it was time to pick up a kayak of my own. Receiving some positive word-of-mouth reviews from friends, and considering some space and storage issues, I decided to go with a TuckTec folding kayak.
Here is my review.
Keep reading to find out what I like and a few things I didn’t like about my new kayak. But for now, these are the high points in the following categories, based on a five-star rating system.
- Ordering, Price, and Shipping: 5/5 Stars
- Assembly: 4/5 Stars
- User Experience: 4/5 Stars
- Disassembly and Storage: 3/5 Stars
Here is a closer look at what went into my decision in each of these four categories.
TuckTec Folding Kayaks: Ordering, Price, and Shipping
5/5 Star Rating
First off, Tucktec doesn’t have the broadest array of products, just their folding kayak so their website is pretty streamlined and easy to use. You can also pick up a paddle from the company, and I like the ample information on the site, clearly displayed through text, an FAQ section, and video elements.
Once ordered, the product ships quickly with good communication from the company, and the price really can’t be beat, especially compared to some other collapsible kayak options on the market.
4/5 Star Rating
Once my kayak arrived, it was time to take it out of the box and try to put it together in my garage. All the assembly instructions are online and presented through a Youtube video. I found them clear and easy to follow.
A few words of caution when it comes to assembly however, is that the first time you try to fold the thing up, you may be tempted to throw it all in the lake, wondering why you didn’t just buy a regular kayak.
Don’t give up!
The plastic is pretty stiff at first, and you do have to be willing to get down on the ground and wrestle with the thing. But after a time or two, it really does become pretty easy and you’ll have the thing folded and ready to float before you know it.
Also, don’t be afraid to put your back into it — the plastic really is pretty durable.
TuckTec User Experience
4/5 Star Rating
I should probably explain I’m an advanced beginner, or maybe a low-intermediate kayaker. I have some experience on rivers, but I mostly flatwater kayak. I’m also not the most adventurous person in the world when it comes to adventuring in the water.
That said, I’ve tried:
- Touring kayaks
I am basing my review of the TuckTec against those experiences.
The first time I tried the Tucktec was on a mellow reservoir near my house in Eugene, OR. Simply throwing the thing in the back of my Honda C-RV without hoisting it up on the roof rack was pretty great. Once I arrived, I realized it’s probably a good idea to only use a Tucktec somewhere with picnic tables, or some other surface that would let you elevate the kayak while you assemble.
It really is easier to assemble that way, and otherwise, you’ll be down on your hands and knees, which is neither good nor bad: just be prepared. Otherwise, there’s a nice shoulder strap and getting the kayak out of the car, hoisted up onto a table, and ready to float was simple.
In the water, Tucktecs really are stable, and they handle and track well. It’s not a cruising kayak by any means, but it’s pretty comparable to a touring kayak, and better probably than inflatable as far as responsiveness.
One small thing I wish could be better about Tucktec is the footrest.
It’s easy to adjust to different leg lengths, and given the way it’s held into place, it tends to slip once you’re out on the water. Not a significant issue, because the footrest can be readjusted while you’re floating, but it is a bit of a nuisance and I wish it could be locked down a little tighter.
Tucktec: Disassembly and Storage
3/5 Star Rating
Once out of the water, folding the Tucktec back up is the same process of unfolding it, just in reverse. Again, it takes a little bit of oomph and you may recall some of your high school wrestling moves while you’re at it, but in my opinion, most anyone could do it.
Regardless, It really is easier if you can get the thing up a bit on something like a picnic table.
Something else to note:
Once the thing is rolled back up, the seat and foam pads for the sides of the boat are supposed to be able to be folded up along with everything else in one nice and convenient package, according to the instructions.
I have a hard time getting the thing compressed small enough to get the velcro strap (the same one that holds the seat in place) around the thing, and have kept those things separate. Maybe the strap needs to be longer, I don’t know.
Otherwise, storage is no issue. So if you’re short on space, Tuckteks really are great. There’s even enough room in the boat to bring a small cooler along with you, stored between your knees, and I imagine, Tucktec kayaks could be used for fishing.
Tucktec Folding Kayak Review: Final Verdict
With no tandem kayak options, Tucktecs are still an ingenious and well-designed system for a foldable kayak. They’re waterproof, and though stiff at first, pretty quick to assemble and disassemble. If you can throw a conventional kayak in the back of your truck and strap it down with a bungee cord, I’m not sure you’re saving any time with a folding kayak, however.
But as far as putting a kayak up on a roof rack, I got my Tucktek folded and loaded into my car before my friend got his kayak strapped to the roof of his vehicle. Since you do need some space to assemble and collapse the thing, it might be the best choice for more remote kayaking spots.
But for the urban kayaker, or for anyone looking for simple, easy solution for beginner to intermediate kayaking on mostly flatwater, Tucktec kayaks are certainly on par with an inflatable, sit-on-top or even a cruising kayak.
And the price and compact size truly can’t be beat.