(Other kayak modification links at bottom of page.)
Folbot probably makes
the fastest boats to assemble in the folding kayak market. I own two and
have found them to be very easy to assemble and re-pack, but I've developed
a few tricks over the years that speeds the process even more. I show these
only as examples of things that have worked for me, and in no way suggest,
or imply, that you should try them on your boat.
One more thing, don't make the mistake thinking that speeding assembly is more important than packing. It isn't. You are more liable to do your boat damage through sloppy repacking than during transportation. After a long paddle you tend to be tired, in a hurry, and somewhat unfocused Anything that makes re-packing easier helps protect your boat, and makes it easier to assemble next time.
Photos copyright: William H. Longyard
Upper Left: I use 1 1/2" long (36mm) pieces of automotive heater hose to cover all the stainless steel frame tangs. This prevents any possibility of chaffing when packed inside the hull skin. Also, I used a file to round over all the edges of the tangs, and left them very smooth. Agressive sanding with 150grit paper would have also worked.
Upper Right: Though you can barely see it, the bungee chord holding the two blue bag ends on is a REAL time saver. Without this aid, which puts tension on the two bags, I had found it a small struggle to guide everything back into the long bag when repacking. To make this modification, first I cut two 1"x1" (24mm x 24mm) pieces of webbing material. I used a cigarette lighter to melt the cut edges to prevent fraying. I sewed these pieces near the edges of each bag. Next, I inserted bronze ring grommets. (Without the webbing the grommets would pull through.) Next, I took a bungee chord that came with my boat, cut off one end, used a cigarette lighter to melt its exposed end, and then tied that end to one of the grommets. I then cut off the spring tang from inside the remaining plastic hook. I use the hook to catch the other grommet. Final tensioning is done at the first grommet. My goal is to have a slight positive tension on the bags, but not too tight. This technique really is worth the time.
Bottom: Tube Cuffs. These tube cuffs took me about 20 minutes to make, but they have saved me so much time, and frustration, that I consider them to be the best modification I've made. Folding up the frame ends to stuff back in the blue bags often left me flustered, so I devised these cuffs to put an end to it. They work great. First, I took an @ 3" x 9" (72mm x 216mm) piece of stiff material and hemmed the edges. Next, I sewed "female" velcro to one edge of the material, and "male" velcro to the other side's back edge. (Sticky velcro won't hold to the material.) Next, I used 1/8" (3mm) ALUMINUM pop-rivets and riveted through the female velcro into the deck tubes as shown in the photos (the little silver dots are the rivets.) Whenever I need to fold the frame now, I have simply to gather the ends, and wrap with the cuff. DOES THIS EVER SAVE HASSLE!
Another great modification I did was to flatten the last few threads of
the bronze "T" bolts so that the black plastic knobs CANNOT be completely
backed out. This keeps them in the washboards, and eliminates any worry
over losing them. I did this by assembling the bolts and knobs into the
washboards, and then backing off on the knobs until about 3 threads were
left exposed inside the head of the knob. I used the edge of my vise's
jaws to "squish" the bronze, thus deforming the threads so the knob can't
back out further. I might have also been able to use a metal punch and
hammer to "peen" the threads to achieve the same thing.
Pictures of my modified Aleut PAM in action in Europe.
Modifications Page II: (Here)
Any questions or comments, send them to: