Despite sounding like a shaggy-haired ox spouting incessant chitchat, the Backyak is a really rather ingenious piece of kit. In a nutshell it’s five sports equipment configurations named “kayak”, “fun”, “relax”, “sail” and “snow”, all wrapped up in two backpacks – backpacks that themselves form part of the boat. It’s neat, it’s relatively cheap and it’s got hours of fun written all over it.
Incredibly the story goes back over one hundred years to 1907 when a young Johann Klepper from Rosenheim, Germany, purchased the original folding kayak licence and immediately created a “boat in a bag” to take with you wherever you wanted to go. Sales were brisk and by the 1930s Klepper was manufacturing a colossal 90 kayaks a day and was the largest employer in Rosenheim. Becoming a symbol of freedom and mobility, Klepper continued to invest in new designs and technologies.
Fast forward a century and in 2007 a young professor from the University of Munich, Walter Klasz, visited the Klepper manufacturing facility in Rosenheim together with his students. During light conversation with the current owners, Walter and two of his best undergraduates sketched out ideas for a totally new interpretation of the folding kayak. After intense product development and testing, the Backyak was born – a multifunctional hyper-modern carbon take on the traditional folding kayak.
Robust and lightweight, easy to set up and easy to carry, the Backyak forms a comfortable stable “kayak” for two adults and one child plus space for equipment. It can then be split into two and with the addition of end caps (the backpack tops) be converted into two “fun” boats. Then, with the addition of a “trampoline” become a “relax” raft which can even be powered by a small motor. A mast and sail transforms it in ten minutes to a “sail” catamaran (no sailing licence required) and then, in winter, it can be stripped down to a “snow” toboggan.
Versatile and spontaneous, the Backyak is full of surprises and, with prices from 3,990 euros for the base kayak, it won’t break the bank. Visit www.backyak.de