Kevlar Flex Core vs. Tuff Weave?

I have been in the market for a BIG family canoe, and a (three year old, used 4 times on a lake) Wenonah Itasca Kevlar-Flex Core came up for sale somewhat locally. I called the owner, and after talking to him put a deposit on the boat to be picked up this coming weekend.

This morning, the owner emailed and said that after he pulled the boat down and cleaned it up, he noticed that it is not Kevlar-Flex Core, but is Tuff Weave-Flex Core. I appreciate the owners honesty in contacting me before driving the 150 miles for pickup, but am dissapointed it is not Kevlar and weighs 10 lbs. more (71 instead of 61 lbs.)

Price is $1400 which I thought was a fair price for the Kevlar, but might be a bit high for Tuff-Weave as there is a `$700 difference in MSRP.

This will be my first composite canoe, so I know little about layups. Should I pass this canoe up and keep looking for a lighter Kevlar model, or is the Tuff-Weave also a good layup and will serve me well, perform well and last just as long?


Tuff-weave boats are seriously
tough. I had one for a few years and certainly didn’t have to worry about damaging it. I bored holes in it to put on a Cooke Custom Cover and it felt like drilling aluminum.

If you can stand the weight,it will be a great family boat.

Probably at least as tough, and
easier to repair. Their Tufweave layup makes more sense to me than their Kevlar layup. My beef with their Kevlar Flexcore is that it should have an outside S-glass layer for stiffness and wear. Tuffweave glass and polyester mix will wear well, and adhesion of the vinylester resin to the polyester is unusually good.

Bumping this to the top because it
deserves more input.

I’d sure like an Itasca, in any layup except ultralite.

had a tuffweave
Sundowner. Great boat, tough as nails . Heavy . If you aren’t planning any portages or can rent something lighter then I would say go for it, if it is sitting on the beach. Carrying it from the garage to the car might disincline you from using it…

Still, 71 pounds for a 19’ Itasca is
pretty reasonable. Our first tandem was a wonderful Moore Voyageur, 18.4’ and dry in whitecaps and whitewater, but it weighed 85 pounds in glass. I doubt that the hull could be brought down below 70 pounds in S-glass and Kevlar. Big boat, big weight. Big, light boat, floppy and fragile.

Price vs Weight
$1400 for a Tuffweave layup is steep. For Kevlar Flexcore it would have been fair.

The boat is a good boat and very durable in the Tuffweave layup. Negotiate lower on the price.

As always with canoes, you balance what your wallet can stand against what your back can stand. Most Wenonahs weigh less than the published weight and a flex-core Itasca could be in the mid to upper 60’s.


Can’t say about the price, but an Itasca
is a relatively rare boat, and I wouldn’t cut the offer too much or it will go to someone else.

Still lighter than my Explorer!
Sounds like TuffWeave is a great option. I was concerned it might be an inferior material designed to meet a price point, but it sounds like the only downside is additional weight, and might actually have some plusses over Kevlar. I will admit I was excited about the Kevlar and the 10 lbs less, but actually it is a 19’ boat that will still weigh less than my MR Explorer! Can’t complain about that too much.

After reading the good reviews of the material, I contacted the seller and made him an offer taking into consideration the different material, and he accepted!!! Still set to pick it up on saturday! Can’t wait to get it on the water!

Thanks for the advice!

Common mistake
There’s a fellow in my town advertising an Old Town Tripper in Kevlar. I suspect it isn’t!

Congrats on your Itasca, I’ve wanted one of those for a while.

If it is its a
first as far as I know. Otherwise youd think I would have seen one. Everyone I know has an OT Tripper and they all grumble about portages.

I think one might take ten pounds off
the Tripper by using lighter gunwales, seats, and endcaps. Mine started at the standard weight, but by the time I put in foam seats, it ended up close to 100.

“big family canoe” ???
I wouldn’t put a ultralight in a “family canoe catagory”

I have several of them, and wouldn’t have wanted rug rats jumping around in them.

Great boats for speed, portaging, and putting on the roof of you vehicle, but not for family boats.

just my 2 cents worth



Tuffweave Is Good Stuff
Have owned 2 Wenonah’s in Tuffweave. As g2d says, IMHO it’s better than the kevlar flex-core, just a bit heavier. The price, however, should be closer to 1K for a used boat, maybe $1200 if in primo condition. I recall Rutabagas had a Tuffweave Itasca for $15-1600 new a couple years ago. Almost pulled the trigger on it, but decided a Northwind was more versatile. If I had more than the 2 of us, the Itasca would have come home with us. I think you’ll be pleased with the boat AND the layup. BTW, when you are looking at a the inside of a WENONAH composite and unsure if it’s kevlar or Tuffweave, the kevlar is a lighter color, almost a butterscotch color. Wenonah colors the inside of it’s flexcore a dark tan to light brown on the inside and has somewhat more of a “Basket weave” appearance. WW

no kidding
considering that schlepping around 70lb plastic Perception Sea Lions was acceptable I’d think an Itasca would be luxurious for two strong folks and a big load in the middle. Looking at boat size over the millenia the Itasca is the kind that could move tribes long distances.