This canoe actually folds up and fits in a small carrying case.  Dan bought one similar to this at a Michigan garage sale.  (Photo submitted/"Mycanoe")
This canoe actually folds up and fits in a small carrying case. Dan bought one similar to this at a Michigan garage sale. (Photo submitted/"Mycanoe")

ADA / MECOSTA, MI -- I bet most of you don’t know there are actual “folding canoes.”

I didn’t.

Ada Flea Market store owner Dan McCory didn’t either. That is, until he was out on yet another ‘hunt,’ this time in Mecosta, Michigan (pop. 440, and in the south-central part of the state).

Dan had seen yet another “Garage Sale” sign, setting off his ‘flea market radar.’

Once at the garage sale, and amidst a plethora of stuff, the item that particularly stood out to him was a light-weight, canvass looking type canoe.

He asked.

The woman said that it was an actual, and somewhat rare, “folding canoe.” That is, for backpackers, bicyclists, and such, who are on things like camping expeditions by lakes and rivers, this thing actually folds up and fits in a relatively small carrying case.

Dan was intrigued, then asked the quintessential flea market guy/gal question: “How much?”

She responded: “20 bucks.”

Sold.

Once Dan got back to Ada after the trip, he did some research. He found the canoe (and there are also folding kayaks) material was custom polypropylene, often with a UV treatment so it doesn’t, like, fade, thin, or whatever the sun would do to it.

What’s more, while they make, say, 2022 models of the folding canoe, this one was actually manufactured in the 1960s by a company in Canada – and would be considered, in the right circles, a: collector’s item. And it turned out it was for a guy in Wisconsin.

Dan said he usually sells the items he gets in his store in downtown Ada. But in this case, he had a hunch. And he decided to put it on e-bay.

Shortly after, this man from Wisconsin, somewhat excitedly (Dan was to find) bid over $500 for the canoe. In addition, he was also willing to pay $120 in shipping to get it sent to Wisconsin. (Good thing it folded, or can you imagine THAT shipping cost?!)

Of his rare discovery in Michigan, Dan said with a smile: “Every once in awhile in this business, you find an ‘acorn.’”

Note: Shortly after interviewing Dan, I happened across Bluffton Bike Crazy Store owner Raymond Harner and was telling him about the folding canoe. He said, funny, he’d just heard about them himself. It seems a customer had recently come into his shop looking for a bike he could go camping with, carrying a number of things, like a tent, sleeping bag, and even: a folding canoe… Small (wet) world.