Anyone have experience with thermofoam?
I was looking into getting another double and appreciate the durability afforded by plastic as every time I go out and come back in I drag it over rocks. I had a brief stint with composite but the combination of fragility and price, how careful you have to be, and the need for maintenance doesn’t work for me. I like the “fire and forget”, carefree nature of rotomolded but was curious to get more info on thermofoam designs. Do they hold up just as well to abuse as regular old plastic?
I think maybe you mean thermoform. I have paddled Eddyline thermoform boats for years. They are substantially lighter than equivalent rotomolded boats and many heavy duty composite boats. They are nearly indestructible. The one exception I have seen is when they are very cold as in below freezing where they tend to be a bit brittle. The two I have seen damaged blew off of cars in below zero temperatures and bot were cracks that penetrated the plastic. Thermoform boats are relatively easy to repair unlike rotomold boats. They scratch about as easily as rotomold boats but the wounds are seldom as deep. I have a 10 year old Eddyline Fathom that has been banged off of a lot of rocks and dragged over plenty of oyster beds. It is scratched up but still as solid as new.
Agree with David that Eddyline thermoform boats are tough. I have two; bounced my Fathom LV off the rocks a few times with just minor hull scratches. Pretty sure had I done that with my composite boat, I’d have gelcoat cracks.
On the other hand, I don’t drag my kayaks over rocks on land. They’re light enough to carry.
Sorry about the mis-spelling.
99.99% of my Kayaking is done from where I live because we are on the water, and have sort of what you could call a beach behind our back yard and some slight cliff, but it’s mostly a collection of rocks. I am in good shape but very tall at over 6’4" and my legs have a hard time squeezing into the cockpit so in the end I can’t get into the Kayak without tipping it unless I am on land. So to launch off this beach I have to launch over a bunch of rocks, and again to get out I paddle at full speed and beach it as far inland as possible for the same purpose. I simply couldn’t get in and out of it without it being on land if my life depended on it. And this land is very harsh!
The lighter weight might make it nicer to carry around but most of the time it’s just a backyard thing but since the thermoform is so much ligher and costs about the same I got curious.
So what’s the downside?
For me, there is no downside. My composite boat is in winter storage while my Fathom sits in my back porch, next to the firewood. I live on the water as well (also have a steep bluff down to the water and the access road isn’t plowed) and while there’s a foot of snow on the ground, am thinking of attaching my tow rope to the boat so I can slide it down to the water and then pull it back up over the snow (and some rough terrain) with the rope when I’m done paddling. I wouldn’t do that with the composite boat.
Also, Devcon Plastic Welder is about $6. That’s what’s needed for thermoform repair, plus some glass tape and sandpaper. You can fix a hole in thermoform. Not sure if you can with plastic.
I will disagree about thermoform boats being as tough or even near as tough as roto mold. I have seen TWO eddylines split right down the middle om rivers with rocks. They took on so much water that could no longer be used. Were the boats come to a vee shape on bottom in the middle is there weak point. The boat went up onto a submerged rock putting pressure right on that center vee spot and cracked open nicely. I have seen this happen twice on different occasions. it was in the summer not cold at all 75 to 80F. No roto mold would do that. Local shop that sells eddyline even warns about this when they have these for rentals. Don’t set boat down on pavement and sit inside it could crack in the middle is what I have heard him say to renters. They have that weak spot. Now I like thermo form. Not eddyline though, had one design I liked then discontinued it. (raven) .
It’s a question of ABS vs. PE plastic more than boat design, though material disadvantages can be designed around to some extent.
ABS is much more rigid but also brittle under certain conditions (cold, impact). PE is durable but more flexible.
There’s a reason the vast majority of WW boats are PE.
I get it. It’ s not for everyone but I think I’m a rotomolded kind of guy, even at close to parity of price (which many are) I think I’d hate to stray from that durability. Thanks for your replies!