Hi, I am looking to buy a new canoe and am not sure if the price difference between kevlar and fg is wor th it. Does a kevlar canoe paddle easier ? I have had a fibreglass canoe for years and it was getting too heavy to paddle and carry,it was a kawartha 75lb and 16’long.Can anyone please give me some advice,Thank you,rck
Naturally, everything depends. But, a good layup in fiberglass can paddle well and be fairly light. However, impacts against rocks and docks will take its toll. A kevlar boat for the same weight and shape will be tougher, but paddle about the same. If you push the weight limits to the minimum possible, kevlar will be lighter. Look for a quality 45 lb boat with nice lines that paddles well.
Design vs. Material
We have two canoes - a 75lb. fiberglass Oneida 18, and a 45 lb. kevlar Bluewater Prospector. The Oneida paddles beautifully - tracks like it’s on rails, feels solid as a rock in the water, and goes like a scalded cat. It has low topsides, so it handles really well in crosswinds.
The Prospector, given the much more pronounced hull rocker, the higher freeboard and its light weight, tends to not track as well, and will blow around in the wind to a much greater degree if lightly loaded. Putting a bunch of gear aboard settles it right down.
I’ve also noticed that the Bluewater is much less abrasion resistant than the fiberglass boat - I’m just doing some major touchup on the bottom, as we tend to do a lot of going that involves floating the canoe thru very small rocky creeks; it is showing signs of wear across the centre rib and along a grid of ‘dots’ that create hard spots where the foam insert that stiffens the bottom is glued to the hull interior during construction.
So which is better? Darned if I know; the Oneida is, for my money, a nicer design for our flatwater paddling, but the Prospector usually gets the nod because of the weight difference. Now if I could just get the Oneida in kevlar…
kavlar vs fg
I’m in the market for a new boat and have talked to a number of company reps about the various layups. Most of them are recommending a FG/kevlar layup over a kevlar layup as far as durability goes. Then consider the cost. If you look at the various boats marketed now you can get say a 16 ft canoe in kevlar at 50 lbs (for example) and a FG/kevlar at maybe 55 lbs. The FG/kevlar layup is on average about $500-$600 cheaper. that’s around a $100/lb premium to pay for a boat that won’t take the same abuse. One of the reps strongly recommended against the kevlar layup unless weight was a very important factor.
A pure Kevlar layup is not a good idea.
Kevlar excells for the inner layers of a boat, because of its resistance to tearing or splitting. But it is mediocre as the outside layer because it lacks compression strength and fuzzes when it wears. S-glass is the preferred outside layer for WW slalom boats. Carbon is OK, stiffer and lighter than S-glass, but more brittle. E-glass is cheap and OK also as an outer layer if saving some bucks is an object. These materials, used as the outer layer, contribute more stiffness to the boat than Kevlar. And they don’t fuzz.
depends on the canoe
I just bought a new Clipper Jensen 17 in fibreglass reinforced with kevlar (bow and stern) and it weighs about 58 pounds. So, it’s not much heavier than some kevlar layups and arguably less fragile and easier to repair. Then again you can buy a Wenonah Jensen 17 in kevlar that only weighs about 36 pounds. In the end, it depends on the canoe. Some canoes in fibreglass can be pretty heavy.
kev vs fbrgls
Both kevlar and fiberglass are cloths that are embedded in the same polyester or epoxy resin. The real difference is weight. Construction design is equally important. Take a cross section of fiberglass canoes by different manufacturers and you will see big differences in weight. Same with Kevlar. If you use the canoe often, kevlar is the way to go as the heavier the boat the less it is used. I went from an 80 pound Old Town wood/canvas/fiberglass to a 63# fbrgls Malecite…that Malecite felt like a feather. Lifted a fibgls Independence at 46#s and forgot to put it down. Now I am on a quest for a kevlar Indy.
A well constructed fiberglass boat would be a good choice. Kevlar would be the better choice if you have to load the boat yourself, carry it any distance, have any physical maladies or use it several times a month. Energy saver as it takes less muscle to move the boat on the water…assuming a decent hull design.
If you live to canoe, kevlar is the only way to go. If canoeing is a seasonal diversion any boat will do.
Great prices on used boats out there.
Love my Wenonah Jensen 17
… and especially when there are on lookers at the put-in and this old man heaves that 39 pound canoe over his head like doing a push up and casually walks down the ramp with it.
Yes it is pretty rugged also. We have used it in class I rivers many times.
Yes, weight is a factor but hull type and design coupled with your particular paddling skill are also key elements.
A thirty pound boat with high sides can be a dragster in the calms but may be designed for a load and behave better that way.
A fifty pound royalex may be a good compromise boat but not as fast as a kevlar boat. A fiberglass hull may be a spine-cracker to unload but paddle like a charm.
I suggest you consider what you want to do with the boat, what your budget can afford, review the boats within those parameters on the internet, shops and at demos etc. and then post your next questions.
Use of SOME Kevlar, for the inner layers
with fiberglass, preferably S-glass, for the outer layers, will result in a lighter AND stronger boat than a pure S-glass boat. All Kevlar boats are tough but not as rigid as the combination of S-glass out and Kevlar inside, and using Kevlar outside results in bad fuzzing with wear.