Ease of repair, Fiberglass vs Royalex

I have been looking for a cheap used canoe for river paddling flatwater to class II rapids. I don’t love the rapids but they are there so I paddle them. For what I am willing to pay most of the boats need some maintenance work on the bow and stern (fabric and epoxy guard). As I paddle this potential boat with my kids, which one is going to be more carefree or easier to patch and fix at the end of the season? Lastly does the age of the material affect its durability/ resilience? How can I check for this?

Many thanks!!

Composite canoes (fiberglass and others) are generally easier to repair than Royalex, and much easier to repair than three-layer, rotomolded polyethylene canoes.

Pblanc, thanks…Would you have any issues paddling a 20 year old fiberglass canoe (bought for $200-300) down a river knowing you’ll scrape a rock 2 or 3 times? Not sure if fiberglass was meant for likes only?

Very much depends on the canoe & how it was made. Really just touching or scraping a rock isn’t like to be an issue for w decent hull & age doesn’t have to matter. I took a 1991 Tuffweave Wenonah Rendezvous that has spent its life outside down the Lower Missinaibi in low water two years ago. Touched lots of rocks and ran a few rapids.

Can you give us any further info on your canoe? And, maybe the rivers you are thinking about.

In general composite canoes do just fine on rivers if they are reasonably well-constructed. They sometimes make horrible noises when they hit a rock with little or no visible damage afterwards. They will get scratched like any canoe.

Resins used to construct composite boats can deteriorate over time but there are many composite boats that are decades old that are going strong. I own some of them. The problem with Royalex is that with hard use the material abrades and is gone. Repairing a Royalex boat after the abrasion has extended into the foam core can be done but is generally a more involved process than patching a crack on a composite boat. And plastic boats seem somewhat more prone to deformation than composite boats.

Fiberglass is easier to repair.
Royalex needs to get repaired less.

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I hopefully attached a picture of it 16’ fiberglass Mohawk flat water type canoe. Aluminum gunwhales seats and supports. It is hard to see the bottom in detail but looks pretty smooth. However after reading a bunch on here I suspect it is a chopper gun fiberglass job. So I’m not thinking it is a deal at $250 anymore. I have the serial number (MMN46371M83G) and it looks to be an '83 model, I’d guess a Blazer?

I am paddling the upper Potomac around Brunswick/ Point of Rocks and the smaller Monocay river. I’ll be paddling with my kids so I can’t be OCD about missing rocks and perfect care. Thanks again.

Your canoe is nearly 40 years old. It could be a chopper gun boat, and it has only one thwart. I would not trust it on rivers if I were you.

Hey, I have been the happy owner of a Royalex 16 foot Mad River since 1982 and I have it for sale on this site, so at 70 I am ready for a kayak (easier to manage). You should read what I have on my classified as I found LOADS of info on Mad River Royalex’s. They are not made anymore as Royalex became unavailable in 2013 But check out our photos. My husband has restored the MR but it has never been injured. It is carefree, and I have had it nearly 40 years. It is not cheap as my delving into its history showed that it is the best when it comes to rocks, in fact ours was never hurt on Class I-III. But we mainly used it for canoe camping in wilderness areas.
Use “Mad River” as a filter and you can see our canoe, which I believe is worth the price, considering you will never have to have it repaired (my opinion and the one also of the Gent I quoted at the beginning of my description. Since you are looking for something cheaper, you may be able to find one that is not restored, but truthfully Royalex owners know their value!!

I paddle a 45 year old canoe all the time down rivers, with my kids and solo on multi-day trips.

Other than the weight it does great.

In those 45 years, it has not needed any repairs and I can assure you that it has not been babied in the 10 years that I have owned it

Thanks Mike!