I’ve noticed on the Pungo kayaks they offer an optional Duralite version, what exactly is this type of product? Is it a more rigid plastic or a hybrid product between glass and plastic.

Thank you.

I believe it is a more rigid plastic,
but not “between” glass and plastic because it is not reinforced with fibers. But let’s see if some owners of Duralite boats check in with experience.

What is Duralite…
Seems to be not a material but a name given to a finished product that would indicate lighter construction.

A quick search for “Duralite” turns up a variety of “Duralite” products ranging from kayaks to motor homes to batteries to cook sets and so on.

Looks like “Duralite” is nothing but a label attached to a product for marketing purposes…

Would they really do that?

Ever see Bob and Ray’s offer of
furniture in “Genuine Imitation Naugahyde”?

I don’t know exactly what the process is in making the duralite boats (from Wilderness) but it is some form of poly, just a little lighter than the standard. Duralite boats tend to be about 10-15% lighter than their standard poly counterparts. Unfortunately, they also seem to be softer or more flexible as well. Duralite boats have some extra reinforcing structures inside the hull to make them a little stiffer. In hot climates, such as where I live on the Gulf Coast, retailers discourage customers from buying them because they are even more flexible and prone to become mis-shapen in the heat. I’ve paddled one duralite boat(a Tsunami 145) and it seemed to paddle well but it was a comfortable fall day on a shady lake. Basically, you pay 10-15% more $$$ and you get 10-15% less boat weight. Depending on the climate in your area, you may have problems associated with the heat.

WS Tsunami 125 Duralite
I’ve owned a Tsunami 125 Duralite and it held up very well to pounding down the rivers here in Virginia that have lots and lots of rocks and sharp ledges. It scratches like poly but it is definitely stronger and weighs a lot less. I can’t speak to the Florida sun issue other than to say that sun will ruin just about any boat in one or two seasons if you leave it out to weather and don’t care for it properly but I wouldn’t think the Duralite would fare any more poorly than cheaper polyethylene.

Here’s link to pictures and description of how Englightened Kayaks builds their Duralite kayaks


Here’s a quote from Enlightened Kayaks Materials page, (quote) Our material, DuraLight™, combines an outer layer of high-impact acrylic (which provides superior UV protection, scratch-resistance, length of life, and high gloss) with a base of super high-impact ABS (great impact strength and stiffness). The result is a kayak that looks, weighs, and performs like fiberglass boats that cost twice as much. (end quote)

There was also a magazine article a while back in either C&K or Paddler that had some good photos and description of the process.

AH, but that’s DuraLight, not Duralite!
So DuraLight is NOT poly, but Duralite is like light beer…less taste, less filling.

Oil canning, other
I’ve been told that the Duralite boats tend to oilcan more than standard poly and they don’t always return to their original shape. It’s not necessarily the sun but the heat (or ambient air temperature) that causes this. As I mentioned, it was some retailers/outfitters who told me this…seems like they would love to sell more Duralite boats as they are more expensive but I found the exact opposite was true…they shy away from selling them based on bad history. As I mentioned before, I demoed one Duralite boat and I saw no problems first hand.