All royalex equal?

I am currently shopping for a 17’ royalex boat to mainly use on rivers. I have seen some references here as a lurker about how some royalex layups are sturdier or more durable than others. In your opinion, which manufacturers use sturdier layups? What manufacturers’ royalex boats have you had durability issues with under normal use? Thanks.

All Royalex not equal.

– Last Updated: Sep-17-06 5:15 PM EST –

In order to make the bends necessary, keep the weight down, and make the hull thicker where needed for strength and wear the sheets of Royalex used to form the hulls are not uniform. Each boat manufacturer specifies the how thick, how thin, and where for each sheet they order.

The stronger hulls will of course be the ones made for WW, and the ones of the manufacturers with the better reputations. I have been told some of the hulls of cheaper makes are not varied in thickness and as a result have strength, weight, and wear issues. Their sharper bends can also suffer.

I would stick to the better hulls such as: Mohawk, Blue Hole, We-NO-nah, Bell, Olde Towne, Dagger, Mad River, etc.

Avoid "box store" hulls such as Coleman, etc unless money is a real issue, and then be aware of the faults.



My Novacraft Prospector 16 is a pretty heavy royalex. I can’t imagine that there would be any durability issues with it.

OT Penobscot
My OT Penobscot 17, in Royalex, has seen a fair amount of shoreline and rock garden abuse in the last 4 years. All of the scratches are on the surface. None has penetrated through to core material.

George in Cody

I have had really good experiences with Old town, Mad River, and Nova Craft. All make heavy boats suitable for moving water.

I suspect that some manufacturers use lighter Royalex, but that it will still be very tough. I know the we-noh-nah prospector and Bell prospector are not nearly as heavy as a Nova Craft, for instance, but unless you want the very “sturdiest” boat, I suspect they would be tough enough for personal use. Outfitters tend to go with the heavier lay-ups, but those boats need to take a lot of abuse.

I am actually leaning toward R-84 for my next boat. Royalex is just so tough, and for a personal boat, I don’t know that I really need it. However, I like the slippery nature of plastics in shallow rapids.