MyCanoe’s folding recreational Plus model has the distinction of being the only boat reviewed by Paddling Magazine shipped with its own rubber mallet for assembly.

MyCanoe’s Plus Folding Canoe Specs
Length: 14 ft 8 in
Width: 35 in
Weight: 52 lbs
Capacity: 440 lbs
MSRP: $1,390 USD

I got my first, in-person look at the MyCanoe at last year’s Paddlesports Retailer in Oklahoma City. On the tradeshow floor, marketing manager Jay Lee offered a demonstration, making construction look fluid and easy.

He’d had some practice. Months later, in my backyard with an unfolded hull draped across my back deck, I picked up my mallet trying to remember back to his simple step-by-step instructions.

A durable and lightweight canoe that can travel anywhere

The hull of the MyCanoe is constructed of a five-millimeter, double-layer polypropylene. Lightweight and durable, it looks and feels a bit like plastic, corrugated cardboard.

The material is manufactured custom for MyCanoe at a factory in Korea. The material is then shipped to the company’s headquarters near Nashville, Tennessee.

I didn’t drag it to the shore or smash it into rocks, but I certainly didn’t need to baby it.

Once there the sheets get cut to size, folded and customized in-house. More than 60 pieces make up the MyCanoe Plus and its accessories. There are three models MyCanoe offers, Basic, 3.0 and Plus, which differ mostly based on the accessories offered.

Our Plus model loaner comes standard with an attachable rowing kit. The process to go from raw material to folding canoe takes between four to six hours, says Lee. Last year OriCanoe produced 1,000 canoes.

MyCanoe’s Plus is comparable to other top folding canoe models

Many similarities have been drawn between MyCanoe’s models and Oru Kayak, and for good reason.

Not only are both brands inspired by origami and boast a similar-looking hull material, but the two brands have been helping each other along the way, says Lee.

“Oru Kayak started at the same time as we developed, but they issued the patent first. We were thinking very similar things at the same time and exchanged a lot of ideas,” Lee adds. “We’re still helping each other—and also competing, of course.”

From concept to launch took Lee’s team two-and-a-half years. “Lots of trial and error,” is how he describes the effort. “But it’s fun for our team. We’re all 40 to 50 years old, we enjoy this, and a lot of us are doing it in our free time.”

Kaydi Pyette carrying MyCanoe's Plus Model folding canoe and a wooden paddle in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
When MyCanoe is folded up, the hull of the 14.5-foot canoe is the size of a large suitcase at 37 x 8 x 25 inches.
| Photo: Joel Clifton

Building MyCanoe’s folding canoe is easier the second time around

But back to the construction mallet. The MyCanoe Plus hull unfolds as one piece, so there’s really no chance of putting it together wrong.

Still, my first attempt took about 30 minutes, mostly because it seemed counter-intuitive and I was shy to use so much force to bend the stiff polypropylene into shape.

Red-faced and cursing, I looked back to consult the instructions multiple times. I must be doing something wrong. Nope—the first few times the MyCanoe is set up, you just need to use some muscle.

It’s especially suited to urbanites, and others who might not have a place to store a hardshell canoe or a way to transport it.

Some tasks, like sliding on the gunwales, which come in 12 pieces, are much easier with a friend—one set of hands can straighten angles, while the other can slip the gunwales on, piece by piece.

Once familiar with the process, construction should only take 10 minutes, according to Lee.

That’s an impressive time frame as some other folding canoes and folding kayaks we’ve reviewed here at Paddling Magazine take 30-plus minutes to set-up. Of course, like with any folding design, expect set-up time to double if you’re at a public beach—crowds of curious onlookers will pepper you with questions and slow you down.

Dismantling the MyCanoe and folding it back into its suitcase is simple after you’ve done it once. This is where the mallet comes in—a hearty tap with the mallet helps the canoe fold back along its crease lines.

The plastic hull retains some memory once you’ve set-up and dismantled it a few times, and the whole process speeds up as the folds break in and become more flexible.

MyCanoe’s Plus makes canoe storage simple

Refreshingly, the MyCanoe Plus isn’t trying to be a do-it-all design. With a 440-pound recommended maximum carrying capacity and no optional yoke on offer, few paddlers would make this their dedicated tripper.

However, for anyone who wants a unique boat to explore local waters—and as a shoreside conversation starter—it’s perfect. It’s especially suited to urbanites, and others who might not have a place to store a hardshell canoe or a way to transport it, confirms Lee.

A 14-foot two-person canoe

In terms of performance, this MyCanoe paddles like you’d expect from a recreational canoe of its 14.7-foot length and beamy 35-inch width.

It’s not the speediest boat, but it maneuvers well and is far more confidence-inspiring on the water than you’d imagine when you see its suitcase riding on public transit.

The shallow-V hull rolls a bit in chop, but the MyCanoe’s sharp chines provide excellent stability if you’re ever to edge it over that far.

Carry less, explore more.

The seats affix to the ribs of the canoe allowing for eight different tandem positions. However, the seats hover just a couple inches above the bottom of the hull, which means kneeling and tucking my feet under the seat aren’t an option.

As for durability, the special material is rated to withstand 20,000 folds. To put this in perspective I did some math.

I could hypothetically set it up and dismantle it once a day, every day, for more than 25 years. And by my mid-50s I may want a new canoe anyway. As for general paddling, basically, I’d treat it as I would a fiberglass canoe.

I didn’t drag it to the shore or smash it into rocks, but I certainly didn’t need to baby it.

Unfold this portable canoe for your next paddling adventure

The portability of the MyCanoe could lend itself to international travel—the slogan on the website is, “Carry less, explore more.”

Iced in all of February, I wanted to bring this boat on a family trip to Mexico to get some shots to accompany this review.

However, when the time came, I couldn’t wrap my head around traveling around with two additional pieces of luggage for a single, sun-kissed Instagram photo.

The MyCanoe’s hull folds up into a tidy 36-pound package, but the extra 16-pound duffel, containing seats, gunwales, ribs and more, cinched the decision to leave it behind.

To be fair, I didn’t take my 16-foot Prospector by Nova Craft Canoe to Cancun either.

Lee’s team plans to launch a third-generation version of the MyCanoe later this year, which I think may address portability.

Lee couldn’t say much yet, but he hinted the next generation is taking its inspiration from pop-up tent ingenuity. Lee’s goal is to create a canoe able to go from folded hull to full canoe in less than five minutes.

We can’t wait to test that one. In the meantime, the MyCanoe Plus is a fun, novel and innovative vessel for exploration for urban adventurers and it’s waiting in my front hall closet for my next waterfront day trip.

Some assembly required. Feature Photo: Joel Clifton

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