Canoes and KayaksReviews

First Look: MyCanoe Review

MyCanoe after being built

The MyCanoe is a foldable, origami-style plastic canoe designed for easy storage and transport. This 14′ 6″ canoe folds up in a similar style to the more familiar Oru Kayak, and it packs down into two cases. The first case, created in part by parts of the canoe, measures approximately 37 inches wide by 25 inches high and 8 inches deep. The second case is soft sided. It measures about half the height of the other case. Both cases easily fit inside the trunk of a compact car such as a Toyota Corolla. The entire package weighs about 52 pounds and has a claimed capacity of 400 pounds. I had a chance to perform a first look review of the MyCanoe last fall.

MyCanoe folded into the case
MyCanoe folded up fits inside two cases that are small enough to fit into a trunk of a car.

The MyCanoe is constructed of a double-layer marine-grade polypropylene. To picture what it looks like, think plastic corrugated cardboard. Because the hull needs to fold to fit into the case, about every few feet there’s a crease in the plastic. While some of the creases were easy to fold others tended to require a bit of force. After I left it set up into the winter months, the creases were hard to bend back into the folded position. In the fall when the temps were normal it seemed to bend back into place just fine. The lesson is don’t leave it set up for a long period into the winter.

To make the canoe, you unclip two plastic side release buckles and then pull the canoe’s ends out from the folds. It’s hard to describe how this exactly works, because the engineering needed to get everything to fit is amazing. It becomes the shape of a hull in the minute it takes you to pull it apart. Just check out the picture to see it unfolded. To help form the shape, you pull several cam buckle straps until the hull firms up.

Unfolded MyCanoe
MyCanoe unfolded without the gunwales installed. Note the different creases and plastic panels they create.

After the rough shape of the hull takes shape, the sides of the carrying case becomes the canoe’s floor. Then you put in four metal ribs. We used the included rubber mallet to help hammer the ribs into place. A deck folds into place at each end and a stiffener is slotted on the deck.

Next, you need to assemble the gunwales. The gunwales are a thicker plastic connected together with a metal wire. You assemble them like you’d assemble tent poles. The gunwales snap into place of the edge of the hull and are held in place with velcro straps. As you work down the hull, you continue to assemble the gunwales. We tore a velcro strap off when assembling our demo unit by pulling on it to make the hull conform into shape. We later learned an easier method of assembly (watch the video first) and we learned that the velcro isn’t there to pull on.

The final step is creating the seats and clipping them into the ribs.

MyCanoe after being built
Full assembled. Just add water.

The setup process was straightforward, especially after watching the video. It took us about 45 minutes the first time. The next time was about 30 minutes. They claim 10 minute setup time and I could see achieving those numbers with practice. I took the canoe apart and packed it up without help and found that it was harder than setting up the canoe.

Due to a crazy busy travel schedule last fall, I wasn’t able to get the canoe on the water before the lakes froze up. I hope to get another demo unit in the spring to test out. The hull shape looks fine, but until I paddle it I won’t know.

As far as a first look, I liked the canoe. Thought it was an interesting concept and look forward to being able to paddle it. The biggest thought I kept having while assembling and disassembling the canoe was when are they going to launch a Yost-designed solo canoe?

Right now, MyCanoe is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign. After a few days, it’s close to fully funded. There are great prices available in the rewards, so if you think you might want to buy one make sure you consider the campaign.

Check it out here: MyCanoe Kickstarter

Disclosure of Material Connection: MyCanoe sent me a demo canoe for this review. They are also an advertiser on this website.

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