Buying used kevlar - what to inspect for?

I’m likely going to check out a used kevlar canoe listed online by a private seller. It’s a Rainbow Boatworks canoe so it must be 30-40 yrs old. I’ve never owned or paddled a kevlar boat and likely won’t have a chance to put it in the water before buying. I don’t care much about looks, I just want a lighter boat to solo than my current royalex tandems (which this boat may not be, at 17ft of kevlar vs 15 ft of royalex, but I read on this forum that Rainbows had very lightweight construction). Supposedly it was stored in a garage - I’m not sure if well-stored but decades-old kevlar is likely to have issues from age alone.

When it comes to kevlar, what’s a cosmetic problem (fine) and what’s a structural or functional problem (I’m not looking to get into repairing kevlar)? What should I be looking for as I check out this boat?

First UV damage. A garage stored boat should have none.
Signs of damage, cracks, previous repairs.
Brittleness. Turn the boat over and press on it, especially on the chine and the bottom. The kevlar is old but should still have some life in it.

I have a kevlar OT from 1986 that still has lots of life in it.

I have had one kevlar boat a Sawyer from 1978 that received some rough treatment. I took on several river trips, but then it started to fall apart.

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Thanks @ppine. How would UV damage appear - chalkiness? roughness?

When pressing on the chine and bottom, should I expect some springiness, or just firm solid resistance from kevlar? Again, I’m used to oil-can royalex, so I don’t have a good feel for how kevlar should, well, feel. How might brittle feel compared to structurally sound?

If it is dark brown or the gunwales ( I understand Rainbow used just thin ones) are rotted that is an indicator its lived outside.

There probably will be springiness on the hull as Rainbow may have not used many layers of fabric to save weight. There should be stiffness at the bilge curve however. Its not only the fabric, its the number of full and partial layers. Glass is often used to reinforce the stems.

If you can see through the hull , its probably too lighweight for rough use. Rainbow used to build racing canoes.

Thanks, @kayamedic, that’s helpful, particularly the part about stiffness at the curve. I’m on the hunt for a lightweight boat on a budget, so I realize I’m going to get what I pay for. I’d read this thread indicating I should expect a very light build with fewer layers and thin gunnels. Intended use is flatwater, understanding I’m sacrificing durability for cost & weight; I’m still keeping the royalex for bump-and-scrap territory.

Flex but no brittleness.
Faded decals, chalky exterior, faded paint.
Ask the owner. Look at how he stored it.

One other thing. The kevlar should be bright gold in color. My first kevlar boat was sort of a dull beige on the inside. It had been stored face up. It actually started to fall apart one day while I was paddling it. I had taken it on some 5 day remote trips.

Thanks, @ppine, all helpful tips! From the blurry pics, it’s been stored properly hanging from garage rafters for a while, but it could well have been stored in the sun for the first 15 yrs of it’s life and in a garage for the last 15. I can’t tell condition from the pics, but there are definitely wooden gunnels, decks, and seats, which I can use to judge condition along with the kevlar. At least I know what rotten wood looks like.

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