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Wilderness Tripping - BWCA & Beyond New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  None of the above
  Posted by: pblanc on Jul-23-13 5:40 PM (EST)
 

How strong or fragile a canoe is depends not only on the materials but the layup schedule. You can't really make sweeping generalizations. Canoes made of all fiberglass tend to be somewhat brittle compared to those made using composite fabrics.

Relatively few canoes are made using only aramid (Kevlar) these days. Mad River made some all Kevlar gel-coated boats back in the 1980s. I own two and they have proven to be quite strong indeed.

A better choice is to use a combination of materials. Aramid is generally used on the interior of canoes and it is quite puncture resistant. In fact, with boats that have fiberglass on the exterior and aramid on the interior the fiberglass will often crack or tear and the aramid remain intact (but delaminated from the 'glass layers. The best boats combine aramid for the interior layers along with either S fiberglass or carbon fiber fabric on the exterior.

"Fiberglass" boats often incorporate other fabrics into the layup schedule like polyester or nylon. Spectra (a fabric made out of polyethylene fibers) and Dynel are also sometimes used. Incorporating these fabrics into a canoe made primarily of fiberglass can reduce brittleness.

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