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Complete Folding Kayaker, Second Edition Paperback – February 27, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Diaz's guide is sensibly divided into three parts, corresponding to the preliminaries, acquiring knowledge and skill, and actual practice and use. Besides all phases of kayak operation, Diaz discusses taking a folding kayak through customs, and considers such operational details as how to distribute equipment in the boat for best operation. He also includes a look at the history of sea kayaking, all the technical tips the novice kayaker is apt to need, tips for where and how to enjoy the freedom and excitement of kayaking, and even a bibliography, which is rare for a recreation book. Libraries with collections on either individual sports or water sports would do well to add this handy, clear, and entertaining guide. Mike Tribby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Ralph Diaz is still the best connected person in the industry, and the best source of information on folding boats." Michael Edelman An Introduction and Guide to the World of Folding Kayaks (2001)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 2 edition (February 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071408096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071408097
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,903,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By John Ellsworth on January 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you are about to buy a kayak, rigid or folding, you will benefit by reading this book, at least most of it. Each boat type has its virtues and drawbacks, but what are they? In a careful, comprehensive, and clear manner, Ralph Diaz sets forth the virtues of the folding kayak. In doing so, drawbacks of both designs surface. This book is invaluable in obtaining a perspective before you buy.
Diaz discusses the heritage of the folding kayak: a boat used by Eskimos to hunt at sea; a boat built of bones, driftwood, and animal hide. Diaz points out that although springing from an old design, the current "skin and frame" vessel is constructed of modern materials. This synthesis of old and new renders a craft that is strong, light, roomy, seaworthy, versatile, easily repaired, and portable. These features now compete winningly with the contemporary rigid design.
Diaz suggests criteria for selecting a particular model. These he puts into the category of "Sizing up your needs." Among the questions you need to ask are: Do you wish to kayak in a single or double? Will you need to assemble and disassemble it regularly? For instance, do you live in the city and keep the kayak in your closet? Also, where do you paddle? In protected waters or the open sea? What is your predominant launching area like? Shells, rocks, sand, a dock, debris? How will you use it? What are your skill levels? How strong are you? Answers to these questions will ultimately determine which of the varied designs will meet your needs. This chapter includes strategies for buying a new folding kayak as well as what to consider when buying used.
Diaz then compares the major folding kayaks made in the US, Canada, Germany, and France. Here he evaluates six double- and eight single-folding kayaks.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Edelman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 30, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Back in 1997 I wrote the first Amazon review of what was then the only book devoted entirely to folding kayaks.(You might want to scroll down and read it; everything I wrote still applies).With no competition you'd think Ralph would be content to rest on his laurels, but instead he's put a lot of effort into an extensive rewrite of the original book. All the new boats that have appeared on the market since the first edition have been included, and plenty of solid information from Ralph's invaluable Folding Kayak Newsletter has been integrated into the new edition.
If you have the slightest interest in folding kayaks, you certainly owe it to yourself to buy a copy of this book. And if you already own the first edition, you should absolutely get this one as well, for all the new material Ralph has included. It's still the bible of the sport.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bill Marsano on April 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Complete Folding Kayaker, 2d Edition
By Bill Marsano. The folding kayak or boat-in-a-bag is rare compared to rigid or hardshell kayaks--and a lot more expensive. But unlike those others, you <can> take it with you. You can break it down into component parts, stuff the bits into one or two bags or even, in the case of the Feathercraft, a specially designed backpack with padded shoulder straps and a hip belt, and take it wherevever you're bound. That's the whole point: No more hoping to find kayak rentals at your destimnation. No more settling for whatever beat-up barges the renters happen to have on hand.
If that tempts you, then you need this book to help sort out the facts and fiction (are folders fragile? less efficient than rigids? less stable? etc.) and get a handle on the numerous makes and models, which vary considerably in price, weight, size and design. Diaz, who is a good writer and an enthusiast (he publishes the Folding Kayak newsletter), has done his homework, updating his 1994 first edition to include and critique several kayaks that are new to the U.S, market
That's a critically important part of this book: So far as I know, this is the sole source of independent information covering the whole category. But Diaz offers a lot more. He goes beyond the hardware to presnt a very good course in basic kayaking: instruction and skill drills, safety, navigation. sailing rigs, kayak camping, and repairs and maintenance. The Resources chapter alone (on books, guidebooks, magazines and newsletters, websites, dealer access and much more) will keep you busy all by itself.
In short, if you've got an itch to paddle, this book will help you make an intelligent choice and teach you what you need to enjoy it when you get out on the water.--Bill Marsano owns a Feathercraft Kahuna and has unfolded it numerous times in the U.S., Italy and France.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stewart on August 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Ralph has written a concise handbook which is really essential for all folding kayakers. He covers a short history of foldables, how to select a foldable, details of the major (4) manufacturer's products and how-tos in paddling, traveling, rescue and reboard after the rare capsize. His style is friendly, compentent, and authorative. You will find yourself reading and re-reading this book. The only problem is he has not issued an update with the latest since 1994. You will still learn a ton! I will be surprised if you don't subscribe to his bi-monthly newsletter. Ralph writes like he has been there and he has. I am afraid I am going to have to get a second book since my copy is getting worn out from re-reads. You cannot go wrong unless you don't get this book.
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