Kevlar and cold question

I have always cinched our kevlar kayaks down on the roof as tight as I can get them, but was very apprehensive to do it this morning.

The ambient temperature was 16 degrees F and the kayaks were the same since they were on the outside deck all night.

Does anyone know if the kevlar gets brittle and can crack in a condition like this?

I’ll give the manufacturer a call Monday, but I am curious if any of you boat builders know.

Thanks in advance,


Frigid Kevlar?
Been paddling Kev canoes and yaks for over 13 years, and all through the winter till the lakes get hard. Never had any issues with tiedown security or overtightening. Gone so far as to do the old icebreaker imitation in thin ice also, still no problems and a few of the hulls are 13+ years old and are showing no sign of stress cracking. Really do not believe there would be a problem… and I gotta believe we’d have heard some kinda statement from boatbuilders regarding the issue if it was an issue. Kinda like them stating you better back out screws on royalex boats with wood trim in cold, frigid climates while stored.

Cold Kevlar
Hi Jack,

I’ve never had any problems with kevlar boats in the cold. I’ve tied mine on at temperatures around minus 30 or below without incident…brrr…that is cold!

On roylaex canoes however, those with wooden gunnells, I’ve seem them break due to cold temps barely below freezing before. Seen a couple Mad Rivers do that and Mad River won;t warranty it!

Makes me glad I paddle composites.

Cheers…Joe O’

The resin will be somewhat more brittle.
All “plastic” materials, including Kevlar strands, glass strands, and resin, will be somewhat less flexible at lower temperatures. You could ease off a smidge on your ropes if you’re worried about it.

Are you using other means, such as cradles, to keep the boats in place? This reduces the amount of rope or strap pressure needed.

Agree w/ g2d … its the resin not the
kevlar. Still no worries, could get weird if you had them tight in the cold then drove through the desert or still had them strapped down overnight with warming temperatures. What is under them ? If its some foam the boats (straps) might get looser as the day warms up. I imagind if ice were thrown into the mix thinsgs could change too.

Thanks all
I am back and there evidently was no damage since the two yaks floated fine.

I have yakama saddles under them that I glued indoor outdoor carpet to.

It just was a little scary cinching them down tight at that temperature.



Why so tight?
I was thinking about this today as I cinched down my c/k Impexs in below freezing temps. Didn’t hear any scary noises so I think they are still pretty strong when cold. I’ve noticed that if my straps are wet when I tighten them up they loosen as they dry. So if you pull dry straps to their limits they may get even tighter if it rains.

My tie down points are fore and aft of the largest hull dimension so I don’t see the need to really crank down on the straps. There is no way the boats could slide through the straps in either direction. I just snug them down so there is no tendency for the boats to bounce on the cradles or cause jerk loads on the straps.

I also wonder how good it is to bring them into a 85+ degree pool house from 20 something outside temps. It’s interesting to watch the valley hatches bulge from the rapidly increasing air pressure in the compartments. I’m not really worried. I figure people have been doing this long enough to have discovered any problems. It’s just that the newness hasn’t quite worn off yet and I still treat them like they’re made outa porcelain. :slight_smile:


Your straps should not loosen,
or tighten from getting wet and drying out since they are or should be made out of synthetic material.

The quality ones like Yakama, Thule and NRS are.

“Why so tight?” : I like them being part of the vehicle, so I don’t have to worry about them.

For me; tightly sinched down has proven itself over the years with poly canoes and kayaks as well as composite ones.



My Kevlar Canoes & Kayaks CRUNCH!!!
I’ve had several “all” Kevlar canoes go CRUNCH when I tied them, sat on them, moved them, etc.

A couple times this happened when cold. Couldn’t believe there was NO VISIBLE damage, period!

I was showing my sister how to get in and out of an “all” Kevlar SEDA Vagabond. With my paddle under my ass and sitting on the rear deck, there was this AWFUL CRUNCH/CRACK/ERRT sound. ZERO damage.

I did see a guy break his Kevlar kayak by JUMPING out of his cockpit onto the rear deck. Still, it was repairable, but he broke it badly - crush lines about 10 inches long. Didn’t compromise the Kevlar’s integrity too much - just looked like hell…

I don’t know if you got your answer but
I just had a Kevlar kayak custom made for me. The builder told me NOT to cinch down tight. When I picked up the boat, he showed how much tension to use, which was not very much. I was used to tightening down quite a bit on my fiberglass boat so using a lighter touch was a switch for me. I drove 9 hours with it on my Jeep and everything was fine. It was around the same temperature you mention and snowing. Just a note: My boat is not gel-coated and weighs in at 32 pounds.

Thank you.
I can understand why the builder told you not to cinch it down overly tight.

Without the gel-coat I am sure it is pretty flexible, since I have three canoes that are ultalight kevlar without gel-coat and it is always a guessing game as to how tight to tighten them, but they are tucked away for the winter.

This kayak does have gelcoat and is pretty rigid even when not in the cold.

Congrats on your new kayak.

I hope you get lots of pleasure in it.

My wife is eagerly awaiting a new one right now.




Hey Jack, any further info on that
boat ? C/P size ? Expected ETA ? Final #s for size ? Just wondering.

Some info:
Shipping Jan 10 (was still on schedule as of last week)

  • 14’-9" long
  • 21" wide
  • cockpit slightly shorter than the 600

    Hey if you are still going to the B & B and can fit a couple of those smaller wing paddles in your vehicle, bring one that is around 207 or 209.

    She is using a 210 touring paddle, and I know if she is like me, I use a 220 touring and a 213 wing.

    If it is comfortable she will buy one. It has got to be a two piece one though.