How to tell Kevlar or Royalex or ???

Hi, I’m a newbie canoe owner, and I just bought an old Mad River 18 footer. I think it is from the seventies - it’s called the Voyageur. I found a site that said they made this canoe in Kevlar and Royalex. Can one tell which it is by looking?

Also, the previous owner took out a rotted yoke and replaced it with a flat steel strap that is about 1/8" thk by 1-1/4" wide. Then, he never took the canoe out… hmm. Is this thing gonna work? Will the pressure on the hull bend this thing?

Thanks for the help.

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Royalex, or Kevlar?
Look in the holes drilled in the ends for painter lines. These should be just under the deck plates. If the hull material in question is about 1/4" thick and has many layers of different colors, then I think it is Royalex. Often these were grey on the inside, and red (or other colors)on the outside. If the hull is thinner and sounds more stiff and britle when you whack it, it might be a composite (Kevlar/glass) hull. I would replace that steel right now, see

If the interior and exterior have a smooth vinyl surface, and the skin of the boat appears to be 1/4" thick, it’s Royalex. If it’s a harder, thinner skin, and the interior of the boat is yellow cloth set up with resin, it’s Kevlar.

Still not sure, go to and enter “kevlar canoe” as the search phrase, and you’ll see what the interior of a kevlar boat looks like.

You can replace the steel yoke with a wood one for 'bout $25, and I would. Order a stock replacement yoke and just cut it down to fit.

OK. Thanks guys - very helpful.

It must be Kevlar. Looks like someone has spray painted the inside gray - upon further inspection, in an area where the paint has chipped off, I see that resin color and fabric. Also there is no way this hull is 1/4" thick. Along the gunwales I see that it is about 1/16" thk.

What materials should be used for small patches?

There seems to be a lot of wear at the bow and the stern keel (if this is what it is called) - I’ve seen some canoes with black srips (protectors?) applied here - are those a good idea? - are they something someone can buy online somewhere?

Also, I think I’ll buy a wood yoke from edscanoe and fit it myself. I’ve seen those available in a lot of places online. Down here in NM, there are not a lot of lakes, thereby not a lot of canoes, thereby not a lot of canoe stores. sells Kevlar felt kits that
are designed for Kevlar and other composite boats. Should cost you about $100. It is possible to do a better job yourself, or it would be if I were there to show you how.

If the boat is Kevlar, the worn areas on the stems may be fuzzy. Kevlar does not sand easily, but you can cut the fuzz back some by sweeping a propane torch rapidly across the fuzzy surface. The burnt nubs are easier to scrape or razor off. If the fuzz is not thick, you may be able to apply the Kevlar felt skid plates without fuzz removal.

pick it up
if it’s heavy, it’s royalex. seriously, look for matting or in drilled holes or at the interior and you’ll be able to tell. if all are smooth and you don’t see a matting, it’s probably royalex.

kevlar patching
thanks for the tip on the repair patch (i wish you were here to help me do it.) $100?!? - that’s half what I paid for the canoe, 4 paddles and 2 vests. :wink:

I really can’t tell by lifting if this is 50 lbs or 70 lbs. I don’t see any fuzz, but the hull is thin, like 1/16".

I’ve heard RX is more like 1/4" thk. is that correct?

Curious as to why you have narrowed the choices to kevlar vs royalex. Lots of composite canoes are made of fiberglass as well. Except for the cloth used, glass and kevlar canoes use the same construction tehcniques.

Your estimate of the boats weight and the price you paid are both more likely fibeglass.

could be fiberglass
I think you are right. The reason I thought it was Kevlar or RX is because the seller told me it was 18’ and it is called the Voyageur. Mad river only made the 18’ footer in those two materials. Recently, I got suspicious and measured it myself - turns out is only 16’-7". So, I think you are right. It may be fiberglass, cuz it is heavy, but I can carry it with the yoke. (the price is not a good reason to think it is not Kevlar - most canoes are cheap down here because there is just not much demand. It is also very old with some poor maintenance.)

also, I odn’t see the fuzz that people associate with kevlar…

I’m gonna contact MR and just ask for the info with the hull i.d. - so that’ll settle this once and for all. thanks for the help.

serial #
“I’m gonna contact MR and just ask for the info with the hull i.d. - so that’ll settle this once and for all. thanks for the help.”

Tried that with Bell recently and suprisingly had no luck.

No Luck?
Do you mean they said they didn’t know; couldn’t help you; or never got back to you?