Origami Canoe

Thanks to critical innovations in material and design, the foldable onak canoe creates new opportunities for users to have new urban adventures as well as to explore the wild outdoors

Otto Van de Steene and Thomas Weyn, two passionate canoers, don’t let their city life disturb their quest for adventure. Every big city has a waterway that’s perfect for canoeing. A conventional canoe with its usual size, however, is not very useful in a city area. The people behind Onak invented a solution for this problem: a robust and foldable canoe. The lightweight canoe (17 kg) can easily carry 250 kg, is no bigger than 120 x 40 x 25 cm when folded and can be assembled in only 10 minutes. That’s good news for adventurers who want to move fast.


Onak managed to remove virtually the whole framework to keep the weight down as much as possible. The canoe is firm, yet easy to assemble and take it through the city. Thanks to the thermo‐formable honeycomb‐curv™ composite, the material is 10 times stronger than normal polypropylene. The Onak team even paddled it through a centimeter of ice.

“It all started back in 2013”, says Otto Van De Steene, Onak co‐founder and designer. “I had just come back from a photographing trip in Norway and lost my cameras in an accident. To clear my head, I started making little paper canoes. That’s when it struck me: what if I could make real‐sized origami foldable canoes? Hundreds of paper canoes and dozens of prototypes later, I’m proud we persisted with our idea.” According to co‐founder and engineer Thomas Weyn, canoeing is a relaxing way of spending time together. “We wanted people to be able to experience canoeing wherever they are, even in the city.


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