There is nothing better than going for a trip down the river or canal on a beautiful, bright Sunday morning. That water lapping at your paddles, a gentle breeze in your hair. However, there is often nothing worse than getting that kayak back on top of the car after you’re done.
Wrestling with 80 pounds of rigid (and now wet) plastic, not to mention all the straps, buckles and clips can add unwanted and unnecessary time onto your trip, and can really take the shine off the experience.
Then you have to unload the thing at the other end, and haul it into the garage where it takes up so much room it is unreal. Unless…
Tucktec’s have created an incredibly lightweight, foldable kayak that will save you all the usual hassle of mounting and storing whilst affording you all the wonderful benefits of kayaking on the water.
You can enjoy your favorite hobby with friends and family and not worry about how much space the vessel takes up in the car or garage. But is this ingenious design worth it?
Or does the Tucktec kayak lose in performance what it gains in portability? Read on for a full review of this innovative product.
Weight – 25 lbs (including storage bag)
Capacity – 350 lbs
Dimensions: 9 ft 6 inches x 2 ft 7 inches
Material: polyethylene thermoplastic and closed-cell foam
Price range: Affordable
Suitable for: Casual kayaking on calm waters
Unsuitable for: white water or choppy water
Notable features: foldable design
Stability On The Water
The Tucktec foldable kayak is long and wide in shape, and this width provides not only comfort in the cockpit, but also balance on the water.
The Tucktec maintains lovely stability on calm waters so that you don’t need to be constantly tensing your abdominals and clenching your glutes in order to try to stay upright.
You can relax in the open belly of this kayak without experiencing unnecessary wobbling and wavering with every stroke of your paddle. This makes for a very pleasant ride on the water… as long as the water is calm.
The low sides of the Tucktec are not compatible with choppy waters as they allow H2O to easily slop and slosh into the well of the kayak. The sides are so low that there is even a danger of sinking this vessel if the waters are anything more than millpond calm.
The low sides are designed to aid the foldability of the kayak, and they actually allow you to have a really relaxed arm position when paddling so that your wrists and forearms don’t tire as easily. However, they let a large amount of water onboard if there is a slight wave.
The other downside to the Tucktec’s low sides is that this kayak is near impossible to re-enter in the water if you should fall out.
Even in shallow waters, the low sides rock and lean towards your body as you try to clamber back onboard and let water back onboard with you. For this reason, it is best to pull the kayak to a bank or shore rather than attempt re-entry in the water.
The Tuckteck does not have a drainage hole, meaning that water which slops in over the low sides cannot escape unattended. Luckily the wide and open design of this kayak means that it is easy to bail water out with a bucket or even with your hands.
And as the Tucktec is so light you can lift it and tip the water out too. The best way to get water out of the Tucktec is to do so on land as this kayak is extremely difficult to re-enter when you are in the water.
Handling In The Water
The body of the Tucktec is made from high-density polyethylene plastic which is both lightweight and durable. The two stabilizing side rails are made from high-density, marine-grade closed-cell foam which is incredibly buoyant and resilient.
The long, sleek body of this kayak moves really well through calm waters so you will be able to enjoy a smooth and speedy ride. Better still, the Tucktec has a rear tracking fin, which is a fairly rare feature on a foldable kayak.
This fin is rigid and can be lifted out of the water, so it does a great job of keeping you travelling in the right direction and provides extra agility and control so you can navigate through narrow or crowded stretches of river easily.
The Tucktec’s padded seat provides plenty of cushioning for your bottom so you don’t get a numb bum 10 minutes into your expedition, and the backrest has just enough give so as to support your back whilst not digging into it.
The padded seat actually sits pretty high up in the kayak compared to many other models, which makes you feel nicely elevated and gives you a really good vantage point of the river as you paddle along.
The position of the seat itself cannot be adjusted, however the angle of the seat back can be altered to suit your personal needs and is connected by straps to the boat’s sides.
The wide belly of the kayak allows you plenty of room to twist and manoeuvre in your seat, and also makes mounting and dismounting at the shore pretty convenient. The only downside is that the Tucktec lacks any foot hold or knee brace, and this can become wearing on long trips.
A good idea is to allow your knees to drift outwards and assume a yoga inspired frog-position which will keep you upright and prevent your lower back from getting too tired.
Although the Tucktec is advertised as having a maximum weight capacity of 350 lbs and as being suitable for two people, the low sides mean that this kayak is definitely only suitable for one person at a time.
Perhaps an adult and child could share the space together, but as the seat is not adjustable, the second person would have to sit between your legs and there isn’t much width as the boat tapers to a point. It isn’t even recommendable to bring a dog onboard.
Perhaps a little dog who was very obedient and tranquil might be able to sit in the front between your legs, but the temptation for them to jump over the low sides is very high. However, as a single person vessel the Tucktec works nicely.
The hull of the Tucktec is made from high-density polyethylene plastic that can withstand being bent and folded thousands of times without weakening or snapping. This fantastic material manages to be both flexible and rigid at the same time and really does live up to its reputation.
However, other elements of the Tucktec are less reliable. The clips holding the bow and stern in place have a propensity to come undone when the kayak becomes waterlogged.
As a result, the boat becomes completely disassembled in the water and you need to return to dry land to reassemble it.
What is more, the Velcro strap that holds the disassembled kayak together can snap under the strain when you carry it to and from the car. Buying a second strap to aid the first is certainly a good idea.
Assembling And Taking Apart
The rigidity of the polyethylene plastic hull makes the Tucktec harder to assemble than you might imagine. There is a handy online tutorial on how the different elements fit together, and the design is very ingenious, yet it takes quite a few practices to get the assembly right.
What is more, the lack of clips on the bow and stern mean that they have a habit of popping open as you try to clip the sides into place. A top tip is to allow the Tucktec to warm up in the sun for a few minutes so that the plastic becomes more supple.
Taking the Tucktec apart and folding it away is delightfully easy and really will save you time, effort and space. The whole thing collapses in on itself to a compact package that weighs only 25 lbs.
This means that one person can easily lift and carry the kayak on their own, and that it won’t take up precious space on top of your car, in your trunk or in your garage. The only downside is that the padding on the shoulder strap is too rough to be worn against bare skin so be sure to wear a t-shirt.
Overall, the Tuckek foldable kayak is an excellent option for casual kayaking on smooth, calm waters. As a single vessel it is comfortable and spacious, and it tracks cleanly through the water giving you a pleasant ride.
Although unsuitable for choppy waters, and not great from dogs, this kayak assembles well (with practice) and takes down beautifully. Lightweight and portable, the Tucktec is a great, space-saving option that doesn’t save on quality.