Another long weekend has come and gone away, leaving me anxious for the next three day weekend. Luckily, I thoroughly enjoyed how this year’s was spent: kayaking on the Catawba River.
You may remember me posting on Instagram that I got an Oru Kayak from Matt as a gift for delivering him a wonderful tiny human. After setting it up and leaving it assembled for a few days to break it in (and waiting on my paddle and life vest to arrive from REI). After giving it a few days, it was a lot easier to take it apart and put it together and I was able to master it in minutes.
Saturday morning we celebrated a friends birthday with an incredibly well organized round of Beer Golf in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood in Charlotte, and finished the afternoon with a 2.5 mile paddle down the river. We started at the Riverwalk in Rock Hill, which is right at the Pump House, a really delicious restaurant with good cocktails. I recommend stopping in for lunch or dinner along the way. We finished up at River Park.
Sunday we started early at the Fort Mill Dam and did a 6 mile paddle to River Park. This was really exciting because we brought Bear along for this! With safety at the forefront of our mind, we made sure he was in his lifevest the whole time, wearing a sun protection shirt and hat, and slathered down with sunscreen. I also teathered him to myself and we had an umbrella clipped over him. He slept for a bulk of the journey, proving that he can absolutely sleep anywhere.
Monday we headed to a new spot of the river and kayaked from Mt. Holly to Belmont, 4 miles long. I LOVED where we put in, a local spot known as Bobby’s Ramp. Bobby is an elderly gentleman who owns land right on the river. For $2, you can park your car and enter the water and he’ll make sure your vehicle isn’t messed with. He was probably the nicest person I talked to on Monday, taking the time to introduce himself to everyone. Hands down, best place to put in on the river.
We took out at the Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park in Belmont, which is a super nice park with an amazing play area for kids. The park even features a great handicap accessible entry for kayaking and canoes.
Since we had a traditional kayak and an Oru collapsible kayak, we were really able to compare the differences.
Pros about the Oru Beach LT:
- So lightweight. It’s only 26 lbs and super easy to carry around. The kayak matt was using was super heavy compared to this.
- Size is ideal for a smaller home or transporting in a vehicle. It folds down to a box not much taller than my thighs. It fit really easily in the back of our Volvo XC60 along with two paddles, 3 life jackets, coolers, dry bags, and everything else. The kayak Matt borrowed had to be strapped the the roof rack of our vehicle to transport.
- Easy to assemble. Obviously, not as easy as a traditional (since a traditional has no assembly, duh), but once I practiced at home twice, I was good to go. By Saturday afternoon, I wasn’t even looking at the instructions because it’s fairly intuitive.
- Wide open space inside. Plenty of room for carrying stuff, and as I was assembling it I threw our roof straps and the carrying straps inside the hull so it wouldn’t be in the way.
Cons about the Oru Beach LT:
- No cup holders. This was surprisingly an issue for me, as I love a cold beverage while I am cruising down the river.
- Seriously, so far that is the only thing I can complain about.
While I was out kayaking, I did get hung up on some rocks and it scraped my kayak up a little but there wasn’t really any damage. You’re supposed to treat an Oru like you would a fiberglass boat. I still rammed into Matt a few times, with no concerns. And if you get a scrape in it, you can just fix it with Gorilla Glue.
Got any questions about kayaking in Charlotte, or about the Oru? Let me know in the comments below!