After moving into London in 2011, I decided that I would look into the options for buying another kayak. All of my recent previous kayaks had been plastic sea kayaks which would be difficult to store and transport (especially having given up my car). Taking into account my limitations and the fact that I wanted a vessel capable of extended sea trips, I did some research into folding kayaks. In the end I opted to purchase a Wayland Mk I Achilli 500XL which is manufactured by Wayland Folding Kayaks in Poland. The kayak is apparently supplied to NATO troops and is made of a wooden frame and canvas skin. The kayak packs into a large bag that can be placed on a small trolley and taken on a non-congested train where a cycle space is available.
The kayak takes at least 30 minutes to put together and to check everything is aligned and fixed correctly. It handles and tracks beautifully both on flat water or with a large ground swell although it feels very different to a plastic boat as the wave energy passes through the boat. The cockpit position is rather far back (I’m not sure if this is due to the design of the single seater model just being a modification of the double seater model) so it is very useful to have a rudder kit fitted.
There is more than enough room for kit for multiday excursions – see below for my standard trip inventory.
The two major limitations of the kayak are:
- It’s much more difficult than a plastic kayak to launch through surf from the beach, especially if you are alone or their is much wind.
- It’s essential that it is thoroughly cleaned and dried before packing away. The cleaning (washing all parts with fresh water to remove salt) and drying process has taken me a minimum of three hours on a sunny day.
Whilst not suitable for everyone, I love my folding kayak and have been very pleased with it. Please see below for a list of trips that I have undertaken.
As well as giving me an opportunity to do some trips here in the UK, the “dream” is to attempt to kayak from Penzance all the way to Cairo over the next few years in holiday sized trips. This would involve a journey along the south Coast of England before hopping across to the continent and making my way across France via the canals and rivers. The next leg would involve paddling down the coast of Spain and over to Morocco. I would then make my away right across the top of Africa before making the journey up the Nile to Cairo. Taking this idea further I’d also love to traverse the Suez canal and then continue down the Red Sea all the way to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
- Folding Kayak Adventures: Brighton to Eastbourne
- Folding Kayak Adventures: Penzance to Charmouth:
|Kayak||Wayland Mk I Achilli 500XL||Folding NATO specified kayak – Birch frame/canvas skin; 5.00m||32Kg|
|Spraydeck+Seasock||Compatablity with the above kayak.|
|Paddle||Werner Shuna 215cm||Strong, lightweight paddle; requires sufficient strength to be used as a launching aid!||755g||Excellent Paddle|
|PortageTrolley||Eckla Trolley||Small, lightweight, foldaway trolley; corrosion resistant||3 Kg||Wheels store in the Stern compartment. The body is stored on the deck.|
|Buoyancy Aid||Palm Symbiant Tour||Touring Buoyancy Aid. Size: M/L||Performed Satisfactorily. I found this to be a very comfortable Buoyancy Aid.|
|EPIRB||McMurdo Fastfind 210 PLB EPIRB With GPS – [Link to Manual]||Waterproof to IPX7; 5 Year Battery Life; Replacable Battery||150g|
|VHF Marine Radio||Cobra HH330 FLOATING Handheld VHF Marine Radio –||Waterproof to IPX7; Floating; Rechargable|
|First Aid Kit||Lifesystems Explorer First Aid Kit Code 1035|
|Sunscreen||Factor 50||Something that I have oten accidently forgotten in the past.|
|Global Positioning System||Garmin|
|Air Mattress||Thermarest Full Length Lite||910g||Performed Satisfactorily|
|Sleeping System||US Army Sleeping System (Cold Weather Bag plus Gore Tex Bivy)||1220g||This is stowed in the Bow section of the kayak – compressed inside an Drybag.|
|Stove||Trangia 27 Non-Stick Cookset With Kettle & Spirit Burner||860g||As usual the Trangia performed in all conditions. The only issue with these stoves can be getting fuel!|
|Fuel Bottle||Triangia Fuel Bottle (1 Litre) x 1||160g|
|(Lightweight Knife, Fork & Spoon)|
|Multitool||Leatherman Blast||(with Can opener)||Excellent Multitool|
|Dry Cag||Palm Alutian Dry Cag|
|Wet Weather Jacket||Royal Navy Issue Gortex Jacket||Goretex Material; Tough well made; Hood||Part of my “Dry Kit”|
|Swim Shorts (x2)||Addidas||Fast Drying|
|Rash Vests (x1)||Sola & Animal||Size: L||Excellent Performance|
|Trip T-Shirt (x1)||Part of my “Dry Kit”|
|Jumper (x1)||Part of my “Dry Kit”|
|Dry Bag||1 x Ortlieb – 59 Litre (Black)||Waterproof Drybag|
|Dry Bag||2 x Ortlieb – 22 Litre (Blue)||Waterproof Drybag|
|Map Case||Ortlieb – 27cm x 27cm Map Case||Waterproof Map Case|
|Dry Bags||Exped Assorted Sizes x 5|
|Batteries||Rechargable – 4xAA|
|Matches||Always have several boxes in various bags.|
|Mobile Telephone||(with charger)|
Permits and Licenses
|British Canoe Union Membership||Registered|
|British Waterways Kayak License||(Included with BCU membership)|
|Portable Marine Radio License||Available from the Ofcom website.||# = 1-149638863||Free|
|RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate||Passed on 12-06-2010||Cricklade Sea School|
|EPIRB License||Registered with the EPIRB Registry||UIN: 1D0E6410CAFFBFF||Free|