How delicate is Bell's Kev Crystal ?

If I had a boat in this layup how cautious would I need to be?

If I scraped over a partialy submerged rock at a moderate speed would I wreck it?

Last year I had only had
my QCC Kevlar kayak out a couple of times and as I rounded one side of the island I felt my kayak “move” over a round boulder. I realized that I ran over that boulder. I checked the hull later and had a scratch where I ran over that thing.Thank God it wasn’t a sharp rock! I think it would have torn the hull. It taught me a lesson right then and there that Chromey is only meant to paddle deep, larger bodies of water. I won’t use her in a narrow, twisty unknown river ever to avoid possible damage-she’s a laker!

No, you would not.

Kev Crystal is Kevlar and fiberglass encased in a tough resin. Treat it just as you would any fiberglass or Kevlar hull. In other words feel free to use and abuse it to death!

I use all of my hulls up through their stated design limits almost to the limit of the unstated safety design limits!

I do class II rapids with my Kevlar hulled Flashfire. Without the fiberglass in it like yours it is more susceptible to damage and it is doing just fine bouncing off rocks and doing three foot drops. Of course I do not get overly paranoid about dings, scrapes, chips, small gouges, etc as some seem to. I bought it to use and I do.

Happy Paddl’n!



Bell Kevcrystal
I tend to be in the middle of the range from paranoia to what the hell go for it. I have a new Bell Morningstar in kevcrystal. A great little all round boat. Also a paddling status symbol. Bells have a cachet to them!

Anywho, I try to take it easy with it. I paddle lakes and slow moving rivers like the upper Cuyahoga east of Cleveland. I have still marked it up some and just consider that to be life. However you do not use a knife to dish up pasta sauce, so if you are going to be banging around on a rocky river a lot I would go for Royalex. I frequently take trips with the Cleveland Metroparks on the Allegheny and Clarion rivers in Pennsylvania. I know people who take their kevlars on these and are not traumatized by the experience so it all boils down to a judgement call. I don’t take my Bell on these rivers, primarily because my wife would kill me if I did. The metroparks use Old Town Royalex Penobscots. Nothing exiciting about them, but they are never say die work horses.


are using the kevcrystal layup in the Boundary Waters. If it wouldn’t reliably pass the “submerged rock at moderate speed” test, I don’t think they could afford to use that layup.

We rented a Northwind in Kevcrystal lightening tech this spring for a week in the BWCAW. We worked at taking care of it as though we’d borrowed it from a friend, probably much better care than the average renters take. Nevertheless, we did run over a submerged rock as we were leaving a portage landing and the resulting scratch to the boats finnish looked no different than the other minor surface scratches the boat picked up (It was a brand new boat when we loaded it up).

I’d sure talk to some Bell reps, and maybe Piragis (Ely, MN outfitter,) or other outfitters. They could give you a good feel for durability and the tradeoffs with various layups.

Mick, none of the Bell layups I know of
are all Kevlar. All have either glass or carbon for the outer layer(s). As they should, because all-Kevlar layups don’t work as well. A little glass or carbon on the outside means a stiffer hull, better resistance to compression blows, and no fuzzing from dragging over rocks. So, what layup is your Flashfire? White Gold? Black Gold? Kevlar Crystal?

But Mick, your skill level
is such that you can avoid obstacles that some of us seem to run into. You could take my kevlar Bell Rob Roy in places undamaged where I would probably bonk a chunk of gel coat off…ummmmm…wait a minute…I already HAVE done that! LOL!


My Flashfire is old, real old!
I do not know what the layup is. Do not know what layups they were making back then. Mine is lighter than the current posted specs say it should be. So who knows. I just know I was told Kevlar, but really do not care. I do know that it is one heck of a lot of fun!!!

Happy Paddl’n!


It was too long of a run for the shape I

– Last Updated: Jul-24-04 10:26 PM EST –

I was in. Definitely was NOT in good enough shape for the day! Came a lot closer to a few real bad situations than I ever admitted to. By the end I was just surviving and should not have been on the water that last mile!!!

Oh well, survived. Be more sensible next time? Hopefully.

Happy Paddl'n!