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Reviews for Aerius II Classic Kayak by Klepper Folding Kayaks


Rated: 9.53/10 Based On: 19 Reviews

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07-21-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The frame is circa 1955, the skin is 20 years newer, and with lots of TLC and $400 for hardware, everything goes together just fine....working with the sails in a strong wind I learned how to swim again, but it was all good.

Anybody can pull a boat off the top of the car, pack it and go....We start with 3 bags each and build them before we can go.....it's the best.

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06-30-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've used an Aerius II to kayak with the owner of Klepper Kayak company and several other persons in Alaska and off the coast of Yugoslavia. They performed great. I bought an Aerius II with a sail rig from that owner (Carl Walther) several years ago and used it only once (at Lake Tahoe). I have not used it since and would be willing to sell for a reasonable price my like-new Aerius II.
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08-03-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     My first kayak, I bought off of Craigslist for $300. The kayak has seen better days, but I found a lot of great things about it. As a tall person with big feet, I found the fabric deck to be a blessing. My feet can push against it and get the room they need without having to contort my legs in odd manners.

This kayak is very spartan. The seat isn't padded and neither is the backrest. This can make for uncomfortable paddling experiences if you don't buy your own padding.

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07-10-2012
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Our Klepper Classic Aerius is about as old as Moses. My wife and I bought this great Kayak back in 1966 when we did not have the space o keep a rigid boat. A lot of use for around 12 years and then to the closet. Last year 2011 we took it out, dusted it off, put it together and walla.... it worked. Pretty good for a boat 45 years old.
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06-14-2011
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My wife and I bought our Klepper Aerius II back in 1965. We did it since we were in an apartment at the time and it fit in one of the closets just fine. Over the years it has been on Lake Superior, The Bow River in Alberta, The Snake in Idaho and many more rivers, lakes, and streams.

As things got better space wise we seemed to acquire ever larger sail boats which went on for 12 or so years. On some outings the Klepper was towed along. It has spent many years in a closet upstairs and we decided to take it out of retirement. 15 minutes later it was back together and seemed to weather storage well. That was Saturday June 10, 2011.

This truly fine product is 45 years old. It is amazing how good of shape it is in after all those years. I don't think that many boats of any type can be as good and as durable as Klepper.

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05-27-2011
Submitted by: john conwaySend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The best made kayak in the world for sure. I went from a 2 person to a one person and am still in love with Klepper Kayaks. You become a cult member. Here are a few items to consider before buying. The skin never seems to dry. I have left it in hot, hot fl.sun for days. There always seems to be water hidden someplace. If space is an issue where you live this is a major consideration. Find a place where you can hang it to dry before you buy. The second thing you need to know about is that the seats are torture. As soon as you get the boat start your search for new seats or make your own. I ended up using a camp chair supported with webbing from an old life jacket. There are much better ideas on the net. Do not let the discomfort of the seat keep you from going out. Longhaul Kayaks has good seats and parts for your boat. You will get quicker at assembly the more you do it. Seems simple but the thought is lost in frustration in the initial assemblies. Welcome to the cult.
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01-28-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased my Aerius in 1969, the frame is still perfect, the skin also except for the bow [replaced] and the stern cover about to be replaced. A bit of sewing on the canvas top where it meets the gunwale [worn out] from many miles of paddling in rivers, lakes, oceans, many long journeys with wife and 2 kids + camping gear. It is THE Cadillac of all kayaks, it gets admiring comments everywhere I go, and the naysayers find out that indeed it is as fast as a hardshell in the long run.

I use my original paddles which have been re-worked with fibreglass where the dry rot has damaged them, tried many paddles, and wind up with the originals, try bracing with one of those fine composite things in a heavy sea, and you will see what I mean.

I have a Latin [triangle including the jib} sail for it [off a sportspal sailboat] works like a charm, designed and made oversize lee boards, which are attached at the back of the front seat, S hooks with twist tensioners secure the crossbar to the bottom of the rib, works great! with foot operated oversize rudder[also made for me by a friend machinist] from aluminum. It sails beautifully upwind with those leeboards, and all I have to hold is 1 rope. I enjoy the looks on the faces of the Other sailors as to what the hell is it!? how can it sail so fast and into the wind? I love my boat, would not part with it, and wouldn't go out in the oceans in anything else. As for putting it together in 15 minutes, after a few practices it's a Snap! and an Event when people see the bags and than a work of art of the frame emerges, and they scratch their heads! its fun! and then they all want a ride in it! It IS the best boat!

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07-30-2007
Submitted by: Peter VandivierSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I still have an Aerius II which I bought in 1985-86 after leaving the Marines. Having been a Marine reconnaissance diver I always wanted the kayak used by the famous British SAS.

I don't use the Klepper much anymore because of family life, but since I've seen so many people asking about sailing the Klepper, and so few who seem to have sailed the Aerius II with full upwind sailing rig (main sail and jib) I though I'd add my comments.

Learning to upwind sail the Klepper was a feat to say the least. But when I got the handle of it (after many calls to Dieter Klepper) I found it to be a hoot. The Klepper will indeed tack through the wind as long as there is sufficient weight in the bow and you don't turn too rapidly. Changing tack by turning away from the wind (can't remember the term for this at the moment) in a stiff wind will almost certainly result in capsizing unless you're experienced.

I have always wanted to sail the Klepper for 2-3 days down the Potomac River to the Chesapeake, but realized I would need to be able to drop sails while in the water. So I built a board with a number of cleats to attach to the cockpit rim just south of midships to which I can attach the various lines and sheets. This works but I've not tried it in a stiff wind or choppy seas. I sit just aft of the board, usually on the rim of the cockpit so I can hike out and reach the tiller. Sitting so far back virtually requires ballast in the bow. I have found that you can't solo sail the Klepper in wind without sitting on the rim. I've thought about building some sort of seat on both sides of the rim to make it more comfortable for longer journeys (such as when I eventually do go on my River adventure).

Capsizing in deep water can be somewhat disconcerting at first, but I found that it's not as catastrophic as you might think -- you will however need to have a method of removing water, sometimes while hanging onto the side of the boat. I used a plastic milk jug cut into a scoop.

As for speed, I know that while on the tack I'm not supposed to be moving that fast, but in a good wind it sure feels like I'm moving at a good clip. And like they say, the look on the faces of the less adventurous boaters as they wonder what the heck I'm riding is priceless!!

As others have noted, the one downside to the Klepper sailing experience is the time it takes to rig the full S4 sailing rig with lee boards etc. And having added a cockpit board and the various extra rigging required to sail and drop sails from the aft position, it takes even longer -- possibly an hour on top of the 15-20 minutes it takes to put the basic kayak together.

I've been looking into buying the Balogh Batwing for my river adventure. If anyone has experience sailing both the Klepper S4 rig and the Balogh, I'd be interested in knowing your views -- especially whether the Balogh is a faster rig. I'm not interested in the AMA rig -- reverting to my Marine psychology-- that's for woosies.

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03-12-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     An excellent boat in many ways, but it does have some faults. The most stable boat I've paddled. We once made a crossing in rough water when the boat felt sluggish. We soon discovered, halfway across, that our air sponsons were deflated. I,d opened up the valves at the last camp so they would not over inflate under a hot sun and forgot about it. We were a bit to busy to fill them now so we went on with a loose skin sliding around on the frame.Not to worry. Progress was slower and we wallowed around a bit, but we never felt like the boat was in any danger of capsize.

The single large cockpit is more practical as it allows better access to storage areas. Also allows some range in seating positions, which is very useful when paddling solo.

However, this cockpit is also my biggest complaint. The two seating positions are that close together that the stern paddler must be constantly focused on keeping time with his partner, or bang paddles. Read divorce boat. Get a single, or paddle this one solo. Or take you child, and give him/her a real short paddle

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12-27-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Update on earlier review: '65 Klepper AE II. When I made my prior review, I wasn't as connected to the folding community as I now am. Much of the following is based on personal experience, biographies, and paraphrase of Ralph Diaz' "Complete Folding Kayaker".(ISBN 0-07-140809-6)

Do folding boats lack the performance & efficiency of rigid kayaks?
In a nut shell, no. These observations are made by persons wishing to use defensive paddle strokes. Folding kayaks are so stable that normal defensive strokes are not needed. Several individuals have weathered hurricanes in Kleppers. Folders actually perform better than hardshells in saucy weather. Folders are generally only 2' wider at the water line than rigids, so in "glass" conditions these kayaks may be toward the back of a pack, but in real life, the rougher the weather, the further in front they are. I regularly "solo" my AE II ahead of hardshells, -even double. In open class races, folders are faster than 80% of hardshells.

Are foldables really sea kayaks?
It is probable that more long open sea expeditions have been completed in Kleppers than all other manufactured kayaks/canoes combined.

Do they accidentally fold up on the water?
This one is my favourite! No! There is so much redundancy in fasteners and design, that it's impossible to accidentally fold a folder in anything but conditions that would "fold" most other kayaks. The upside is that folders "unfold" and hardshells don't. Folders are 10 x easier to repair than rigids by my experience.

Do folders require lots of maintenance?
A folder that isn't maintained may only last 40 years instead of 80. My kayak is 40 years old now and if I continue to care for it in the minimal standard I do, I expect some distant descendent 200 years from now to still be able to use it! Replacing a broken or worn part doesn't take time, you just assemble the boat when you plan to use it, w/ the new part.

Are they pricey to purchase?
Folders are more expensive than plastics, but the prices are more on an even keel when comparing top-end kayaks. Also, foldables generally don't depreciate as fast due to life expectancy. In 5 years, a foldable may only depreciate 10 to 15% where as rigids generally depreciate 50%. I've seen 30 year old Kleppers in top condition regularly fetch 3 to 4 x their original purchase price. I have yet to see a Klepper 20+ years old in any condition go for less than its original purchase price on an informed open market.

Are foldables heavier than hardshells?
In general, when weighed by the foot, a single or double foldable weighs the same as a rigid, -plastic or fiberglass. Some foldables even weigh less. I have personally experienced plastic kayaks being heavier than my Klepper.

Do folding kayaks take long to assemble?
No. It typically takes me 15 minutes to assemble my Klepper, not including rigging the rudder which typically takes me another 5 min. It takes practice to get proficient, but I don't consider my assembly time a significant deterrent.

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08-05-2005
Submitted by: ScottSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased my first Klepper Aerius II, new, in 1970. I enjoyed it very much for the next 8 years before the responsibilities of raising a young family caused me to sell it. I used it confidently in both lakes and the ocean. I treated it with care and, in return, it gave me excellent performance. It was plenty tough.

I recently purchased my second Klepper, a 2005 model Aerius II Classic. I didn't see the need for the heavier duty (and much more expensive) Expedition model. The overall quality is on par with my first Klepper of 35 years ago. The new boat enjoys many subtle improvements over the old one. It is made with better quality materials and is more robust. Workmanship is equal to the older kayak. The seats have been improved upon; they're now more comfortable. It now has the ability to have the seat moved to the center of the cockpit for solo paddling. It handles beautifully and identically to the old boat. While not a part of the kayak, paddle designs are much better today than they were years ago. I'm enjoying my Werner Kalliste paddles much more than I did my old Klepper wooden paddles. Paddling the kayak is easier and it goes faster with the new paddles.

Great kayak, then and now! Expensive, but worth it. No regrets. (Consider buying the third bag for packing the ribs, etc.; it makes packing and hauling around the disassembled kayak much easier.)

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07-05-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am a 3rd generation Klepper owner. My fondest memories of my childhood revolve around our Arius II. My parents used to sea/river kayak with us small boys (4 total). We've had our kayak on all sorts of water (occasional class 2+ rivers), from Alaska to Chile. According to family legend my grandfather and my Dad sailed one of these up a river in Chile.

I can assemble this boat myself in 15 min. and find it very stable. One of the unexpected strengths I found with this boat, is its reparability. Recently a friend folded this boat around a rock. Though badly damaged, I was able to repair the boat by cannibalizing the various broken components and ordering a couple new parts from Klepper. Any rigid kayak or canoe would have been a complete basket case. I was able to repair the wood frame in ways that would have been impossible with aluminum.

These boats are expensive but the quality speaks for its self.

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06-16-2005
Submitted by: HeidiSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My dad has an old Klepper from the 1960s, brought over from Germany. Can also use for sailing. I used to ride with my parents in this one and even went on Lake Superior with it. It's the best kayak, doesn't tip and goes fast. The only issue is the time to put it together, and take it apart when done. But it sure is a fun kayak.
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05-31-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     If you've never seen one you might not recognize it as a 2 seat kayak, with its sloop rigged sailing option. Sail it, paddle it and store it in a closet. This boat does it all with room for 2 and plenty of gear!
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06-10-2002
Submitted by: peterSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased my Areius II (two-person) in the mid-'60s for around $450. I have gone kayak camping for up to two weeks, whitewatered on Category 2 streams (and less), and everything in between. It comfortably held myself, my wife and two children, 5 and 6... plus gear. Impossible to tip, fun to paddle (even all day), also great for just one person fishing. I'm 72 now, and will keep it forever!
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07-31-2000
Submitted by: Michael EdelmanSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is a probably the most versitile water craft ever made. You can paddle it, row it, sail it and motor it, and it fits in the back of just about any compact car. I've take mine out on the great lakes, and just paddled it on slow rivers. It's probably the most seaworthy boat ever made for its size- Hannes Lindemann sailed and paddled one accross the Atlantic in 1957, after all. Of all the kayaks I have owned (and will own) I suspect this is the one I'll never get rid of.
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07-30-2000
Submitted by: Jim BieleckiSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     A superb boat. Very stable without the tippiness you find in hardshells. The large open cockpit makes for easy entry and exit. Cavernous cargo hold. Great in big water (Lake Superior). A very durable boat that seems almost bullet-proof. Sailing option is great too. While not as fast as a hardshell it can scoot along with them when seas are rough. This boat's rich heritage and legacy add to the ownership experience too (Hannes Lindemann paddled one across the Atlantic in 1956). Definitely one of the best things I've ever bought.
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05-28-2000
Submitted by: Dave EvansSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Have had my Klepper since 1965. Lots of fun. It has been in misc lakes, rivers, Atlantic, Boundary Waters. Last week in Lake Michigan. Can be unloaded and into the water in 15 min.
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05-06-2000
Submitted by: michaelSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Many (most?) people consider Klepper as the Rolls Royce of folding Kayaks. I certainly do. In eleven years, I had only one unhappiness with the boat--one paddle blade delaminated, which I think was a defect. Otherwise, in sea conditions, she was superb. I did modify the rudder for sailing. I turned it over so that it bit deeper and rigged a kick up elastic for beaching. It helped steerage a lot in a chop. My only other commment is that my love of the design and handling caused me to make a kind of personal mistake in my choice. For the kind of usage I gave her (not really traveling a lot), there was too much assembly and care needed. I'm switching to a non-folding craft because the assembly became too much of a deterrent to going out in the boat.
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