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Klepper Double wood framed folding kayak

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3.00 / 5 (2 reviews)


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b d
( bdavis )

Locale:
Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Klepper Double wood framed folding kayak on 11/30/2006 14:46:45 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

:single on the water

This is the Mercedes of folding kayaks, in my mind ... which isn't necessarily saying all that much. (They are made in Germany, in any case. The picture is from the Klepper web site of a single even though this is about the double, but I just love the picture because it captures what it is like to be off shore in one of these beauties.)

Here is a graphic from the Klepper site of the non-expedition double:

Klepper double

The double, w/ a few modifications, is used by the militaries of the world for their commando stuff -- like it can be dropped from a helicopter, loaded with gear and not break up.

Again, it is not true UL gear, but it gets the job done if you transport it to water's edge -- like some crazy predecessor of the UL crowd actually sailed one across the Atlantic in the 1950s. And, they are an expedition boat used all over the world.

The double holds two people and up to 250 lbs. of gear, I think more, when you know what you are doing.

It is beautiful. One guy I heard of liked the wooden frame (like the idea of an eskimo frame) that he hung it in his living room. Here is picture of the frame in black and white, the frame is really a golden wood color:

Klepper frame

The top is an Egyptian cotton material, treated for waterproofing. There are "hulls" that are 100 years old at this point still working.

The hull is a specialized rubberized fabric. It comes in an expedition black type and a grey recreational type. The recreational is all anyone needs, unless you are getting really serious or like the black hull.

It can be put together in a few minutes once you learn how and practice.

This kayak carries a full and regular "marconi" upwing sailing rig and is a dream to sail -- if you don't spill from too much wind. Here is another pic from the Klepper site:

Klepper under sail.

So, since I posted a review of the Aluet I had to mention the Klepper out of loyalty and fear of the Klepper gods.

You can learn all about them at the Klepper site at:

http://www.klepper.com/en/index.php

Edited by bdavis on 11/30/2006 14:47:59 MST.

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Dean F.
( acrosome )

Locale:
Back in the Front Range
Not Ultralight on 03/27/2012 13:18:30 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 1 / 5

I own a Long Haul Mark 2, which is a copy of the Klepper Double. Though the fasteners vary very slightly the Klepper frame can use the Long Haul hull-skins and vice versa. The guy who builds the Long Hauls is a distributor for Klepper as well, and got his start making custom hull-skins for them. (My upper hull is SeaMark instead of cotton. The bottom is still Hypalon.) All Klepper accessories also work on the Long Haul. The Long Haul Mark 2 has been adopted by several special operations groups if that is any indication of its durability.

This is decidedly an EXPEDITION kayak. One of it's greatest assets is the ease with which any third-world carpenter can fix the frame if needed. Heck, parts of the frame could probably be replaced by broomstick in a pinch. It is comfortable to ride, carries a TON of cargo, is nigh-impossible to flip over (or, conversely, to roll), and is generally simply HUGE as such things go.

But I had to rate a 1 because this is backpackingLIGHT, after all. This is likely the HEAVIEST double folding kayak you could find- well over 80 lbs. Folbot and Feathercraft both make lighter folding kayaks from more modern materials- still heavy, but not AS heavy. There are no folding skin-on-frame kayaks that I would consider truly backpackable in the way that a packraft is. Feathercraft makes high-end boats that I would trust with my life even if I were kayaking the Aleutians or South Georgia or something similarly extreme, but Folbot is definitely the lower end in this category (albeit with LEGENDARY customer service) and I wouldn't trust one as far. Yes, the Klepper and Long Haul are indeed works of art, and that plus their classic expedition character is why I bought one. Well, that and also I didn't have $6k to blow on a Feathercraft... But they aren't light, even when compared to their peers.

Maybe I could have given it a 2 just for durability and functionality...

So, this is possibly the ultimate expedition kayak- and Lord knows I love mine- but not meant to be carried any farther than across a parking lot. And, yes, I would take it to the Aleutians. But, since things like packrafts are now widely available it just doesn't deserve consideration for "ultralight" purposes.

If I were rating this on a sea kayaking website I'd probably give it 4.5 stars among the expedition class (losing half a point for a relatively low hull speed compared to a more "shippy" boat). The people who like to poo-poo folding boats would still poo-poo it, but that's just the way it is. Among kayakers the folding boat people are sort of a lunatic fringe in the same way that ultralighters are among backpackers.

Absolutely an outstanding boat- just not light any way you slice it.

Edited by acrosome on 03/27/2012 13:25:55 MDT.

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