“Out of adversity comes opportunity” – good ol’ Ben Franklin gave us that gem, and it’s more true here than ever we’ve seen. Otto Van de Steene learnt that particular truth after returning from a photography trip to Norway and losing his cameras in a freak accident. Making little origami canoes was his way of distracting himself from the loss, until it struck him – why not make life-sized foldable versions? Back in Ghent, Belgium, he took to developing origami prototypes with ONAK co-founder and engineer Thomas Weyn until they’d perfected the design – and ‘perfect’ pretty much sums it up.

The patent-pending honeycomb structure that forms the canoe is wrapped in a composite material similar to anti-ballistic shielding used in tanks. What’s even more remarkable is that it folds down into a suitcase-sized carrier with wheels, compact and lightweight enough for public transport. And what that means is it can be used anywhere, from urban canals to coastal rivers – it opens the flood gates to an endless stream of adventuring possibilities. Creativity and collaboration are at the heart of everything that ONAK does. It’s why they opted for a multi-person canoe design over a kayak, and why anyone who buys one of their products can become a brand ambassador. Frankly, we’re glad that Otto lost his cameras – if only for the stroke of genius that it inspired.