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Many questions about Oru kayaks and the differences between models.

I have always wanted to get a kayak, but live in a city apartment and have never had a place to store one.  I am very interested in the Oru kayak options, and have read/watched many reviews (along with their pros/cons) online.  I have many questions though, and am hoping someone at REI or another member can answer some of them:

1. Does REI have any option to rent an Oru kayak in/near Philadelphia?

2. The Oru Bay ST seems like the best option for me, but many have mentioned issues with parts that are attached to the kayak tearing/coming off, and that Oru company doesn't offer free repairs despite the major expense of their kayaks. I've read that the newest version of their Oru Coast XT model has upgrades that are more solid and don't have as many issues. Does anyone know if the same upgrades have been made for their Oru Bay ST model?  I'd consider getting the Coast XT for the upgrades in quality, but I have no idea if the Coast XT model is "too much kayak" for a novice kayaker or if it requires too much skill for a novice kayaker. Does anyone have any insight about this?

Thanks, in advance!

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1 Reply

@jlt3b2 Thanks for bringing your questions to the community!

While I don't own an Oru Kayak, it is definitely on my 'someday' list, particularly with some of the upgrades they have made recently. I've paddled the Oru Beach LT and I was surprised with it's stability and performance in the water. They are an amazing way to get out on the water almost anywhere.

1) REI does not rent Oru kayaks at this time.

2) The Oru Bay ST kayak is a pretty awesome kayak. In talking with customers about their Oru kayaks, one of the main issues I have seen is with the grommets that attach the buckles to the kayak. The Oru Bay ST does not have these, as it has followed the upgrades to the Oru Coast XT kayak and now features their 'zipper' system. From what I can see, this is a stronger (and easier to use) upgrade from their original system, which could be challenging to slide all of the way on. Often people broke pieces by trying to force this part of the kayak into place. The new 'zipper' system looks stronger and more user friendly. It is used on both the Coast XT and the Bay ST.

Depending on the kind of paddling you are looking to do, I would recommend going with the Oru Bay ST kayak. It is long enough to track well and to store gear if you want to go on a longer tour or overnight, but small enough to be nimble and fun in the water. At 16 feet, the Coast XT is a lot to handle in the water. While it will track well, it will be significantly to turn. Unless you are planning on paddling in choppy waves or going on extended length tours, the Bay ST will be a better fit for you.

Hope this helps!

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