Tents up, it's time to put the boats together. Much as I love my own fiberglass kayak, it would be tough to bring her here via float plane, so we're using a backpackers version, frame and skin kayaks that fold right up into manageable packages. To give appropriate credit to an amazing original design, let's start with the tried and true, if slightly cumbersome Klepper.
"Alongside the VW Beetle, the jukebox and Vespa now there is presented another design icon of the 1950s: Klepper Wandereiner. The archetype of the Klepper folding kayak was invented around 1900 by a Munich architecture student. In the 1920s it was refined to become a very early example of system design, which did not become widely accepted until the 1950s and 1960s. Its easy handling, great flexibility, diversity and reasonable price made the elegant ash wood boat a popular choice, and in the decades after World War II it was used the world over. For many nature enthusiasts and sports fans it became a symbol of regained freedom."
So here we are in 2014, using the same (or a very similar) design. Truth be told kayak crafting is really much older than that and credit goes where "necessity is the mother" and the inventive genius of the Aleut people and their elegant Baidarka and the Inuit, Greenland style skin boats. Made of driftwood and sea mammal skins, these were effective vessels in treacherous waters. Personally, I am ok with some of the modern improvements! The next post will show you more recent modifications to the "state of the art" according to Feathercraft, another folding boat manufacturer.