My wife, Kristen, and I are both avid outdoors people. Whenever we can, we like to canoe and hike and camp. In the summer of 2003, my wife expressed the desire for a lightweight kayak that she could take down the nearby river when I was at work during the day. I decided that a kayak would be her birthday gift that year, and set myself to finding one suited to the task.
The commercial designs I found were either too heavy for her to handle comfortably alone, or they were outrageously expensive. I then considered building one myself. I did some searching out on the web, and found designs for many collapsible kayaks. Most were skin-on-frame designs, and there was also the popular Boy Scout version made from canvas and plywood. When I saw the PakYak, though, I was sure that was the one for her.
The PakYak is a 12 foot skin-on-frame type kayak. The frame's 2 foot segments fold together flat enough to be put into a backpack along with the folded up skin. The backpack itself unfolds into a spray skirt. The whole package weighs about 30 pounds total. This is a very portable kayak!
The plans on the website are pretty good (incredible, considering that they are free), but I did end up making some changes. As I near completion of our first PakYak (yes, I already plan to make another), I will try to detail some of those changes here.