John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Navigate city canals in a vessel that goes from box to personal transport in less than 10 minutes.
Exploring the water in your personal canoe typically requires a car and a roof rack. But for city dwellers who might not own these things, there’s an “origami foldable canoe” that packs down into wheeled case, suitable for transport on buses, subways, and even cargo bikes.
The collapsing vessel is an in-production project from Belgian company ONAK, which plans to deliver it to the world market by March 2017. It weighs 37 pounds, can support more than 440 pounds, and takes about 10 minutes to assemble. When folded it measures about 47x15x10 inches, about the size of a small bookcase.
Despite the fragile-sounding “origami” nomenclature the canoe is reportedly tough, being made from “thermo‐formable honeycomb‐curv™ composite.” Who knows what that is, but the company says it floats even when full of water and can be paddled through 1-inch-thick ice. Whether it can survive the erosive acids of the Gowanus Canal is up to New Yorkers to test.
For bit more money, the canoe ships with a pair of adjustable paddles. All that’s missing is a life jacket, beer cooler, and fishing pole, so you can get out and see what sea monsters are lurking in your local canals and storm sewers.
Folding canoe with two paddles, €1,295 ($1,440) preorder at ONAK Canoes