P&H Corelite

this is the material:


it’s been used for recreational vehicle interiors and other construction purposes.

for the last few years, starting IIRC w. the non-composite Capella series and now w. the newly introducted Scorpios, P&H is building boats w. it.

Seeking advice and recommendations on this material from paddlers who have had a Corelite Capella for awhile (not newly purchased).

Are you satisfied w. the performance of the material?

Does it hold up to some weight, esp. on the decks?

Does it deform under normal storage and use (e.g. not strapped down to strangle and bake). Would you buy it all over again if you had a choice?

Read the one review up for the Scorpio LV prototype and, while the reviewer really liked the boat, there

is mention at the end of a sagging rear hull and deformed rear hatch. It’s not crystal clear what went on so this is definitely not a P&H bash. They are a fine company. Just trying to gather more experienced opinions on this relatively new kayak material.


FF add how repairable is it?
FF. I am also interested in what folks have experienced and know about it.

It would be nice to know what happens when heavily impacted, i.e., does it crack, hole, splinter, etc.

And what does it take to repair it, and how durable and permanent are the repairs, can it be undertaken in the field, etc.

good question
I’d like to know that too… am hoping some experienced Capella owners will chime in.

The Scorpio (both sizes) is the latest hot P&H model

to debut in Corelite. The Cetus-like design is earning scorching reviews, but being such a new model (2008 release) there’s no data on durability. At $2K MSRP for a plastic boat, however well designed,it would be nice to know…


– Last Updated: Jun-03-09 9:20 AM EST –

OK, I am not an engineer not chemist, but basically we have two polyethylene sheets with a foam core. This makes it a tensioned composite. Depending on the properties, i.e., the tear strength, puncture resistance, and rigidity of this composite, it could be fairly resistant to the types of things that kayaks are subjected to banging into sharp rocks, impacted by breaking waves, etc.

But, is it superior to other plastic constructions? And once compromised, then what? This is a tensioned composite, i.e., the strength derives from the outer and inner skin being intact. The foam core by itself is not much.

But, I would like to see what P & H say about field testing they have done and what they say about it's limits. Yes, their claims may not be what I would rely on, but it would be nice to see what they claim and what they say about it's limits.

Here is what they say:

The Capella's construction uses a triple layer 'Corelite' material with superior buoyancy, strength and rigidity when compared to single polyethylene kayaks. This extra rigidity keeps the hull shape from flexing in rough seas maintaining performance.

Valley has been using a similar triple layer polyethylene sandwich construction since at least the 2006 model year (maybe 2005, but not in 2004). IMO, these boats are significanly stiffer than earlier models and are much more resistant to the denting common to roto-molded kayaks when left on a rack on a hot day.

P&H Corelite
I know the OP wanted to hear from owners who have had the corelite for awhile but I fiqured I would chime in. I bought a 06 Capella several months back. Before I bought I verified with P & H that the 06 models had the corelite material. I have taken this on several trips. I have dragged my boat across rocks, slammed into logs, launched it off of a gravel bank and left it sitting on top of the car strapped down on an 85 degree day in North Carolina. So far the yak seems industructable. No warping or dents at all. The material seems rock solid which was the reason I bought it. It’s not fancy or pretty like glass but it’s great for someone who does not want to worry about damage to the boat.

Capella RM 166

– Last Updated: Jun-03-09 1:30 PM EST –

The material used by P&H is very tough. The fit and finish of the material is spotless. The boat does not feel as heavy as the listed weight when I carry it at the cockpit by myself. Have had the boat packed down with gear and it is still easy to paddle. The material could handle anything you stack on top of it. I have stood on the back deck and it feels solid.

As for paddling the boat vs. glass boats. There is nothing like paddling glass or C/K in my opinion. The Capella however does paddle better then a standard RM boat. The boat is very buoyant due to the inner layer foam core. It actually feels more stable as the waves get bigger.

This is a very good material. Bottom line if you have the money get a glass or K/V. Corelite is your next best option and will get you on the water sooner. Which is a good thing.

This is a second boat for me to play around with and I paddle a Valley glass boat for touring.

I would purchase this boat again !

tx to you 2 Capella owners
this is the kind of user experience I was looking for.

Puncture resistance
This is helpfull. Thanks. The nature of the material lends itself to flexing instead of cracking dlaminating or shattering when hitting a wide blunt object.

I wonder has anyone experience with sharp object puncture resistance like a large dumping wave driving it against a sharp rock??

'08 Capella 160 here…

– Last Updated: Jun-03-09 4:05 PM EST –

... I've owned it almost a year and do the usual stuff with it. It's been dragged on the ground and hit rocks, etc. Last October I took it down the Delaware River and the water level was a bit low and there were a lot of rocks. The boat was loaded up with gear and weighted down. As I was bring it into shore it got pressed up against a sharp rock and I could see the bottom of the boat bulging in from the outside. No problem..didn't leave a mark. I have small little dent on the bottom (probably from a rock). Other than that and the usual scratches it's flawless. I regularly sit on the rear deck to get in and out. Again, no problem. I guess my only complaint is that the plastic material shows scatches and dirt a bit more than other poly kayaks but the quality and fit and finish is great.

Only quality issue I'm not happy with is when I'm doing wet exit/self rescue and getting the boat submerged the hatches leak and water from the cockpit comes in though the holes where the cords attached to the hatches run though the bulkheads. A bad design IMO but I'll be fixing that soon enough.

Can't recommend the Capella enough. It's a pleasure to paddle. Very stable but fun and easily controlled. It tracks extremely well. I rarely have to drop the skeg. It's a nice looking poly boat and put together very well. I'd buy another one without hesitation..If not a Capella then definitely the new Scorpio.

I was considering buying a used Capella last fall and sent P&H an email about the durability/life of the plastic. Based on the information they provided me, I decided to pass on the Capella since it was already 8 years old and P&H estimated the lifetime of the plastic to be about 15 years if stored properly. The boat I was looking at had been stored outdoors.

P&H was very helpful, and here is what they told me:

"Yes the kayak you are looking at is a thiple layer model. The way to tell

this is that the inside of the kayak will be grey, not the same colour as

the outside (unless of course the outside is also Grey). I believe the

kayak you are looking at is Red on the outside. It was made in

January/February 2000 and was sent to Pro Canoe in February, 2000. The

type of plastic used on these kayaks should be OK for about 15 years if it

has been taken care off and stored out of direct sunlight, if this is so we

do not think you should have any concerns about this unless you intend to

keep the kayak for the next 7 or 8 years. The hatch coves are not expected

to last as long as the kayak as they are made of a different material.

"Yes there are differences between the old model and the newer 166 model.

The hull of the 166 has a deeper V and the latest model has a different skeg

system. The alterations to the deck you can easily see, three hatches

instead of two, round and oval hatches instead of square. The cockpit is

about the same size and the two kayaks are about the same size.

“I hope this will help you, if you have any further queries please contact us


I had a RM166 that…
I bought and sold over the course of a few months. Not because I didn’t like the boat but as an intentional resell boat. It was an 05 model and the bottom of the hull was just slightly oil-canned. Very slightly. This was from the way the previous owner stored the boat and it may have restored to the original shape had I left it in the sun upside down. Anyway, the boat was still very solid and paddled well.

FWIW, I bought the new Scorpio for nowhere near $2000 and I love the way this boat handles. Very maneuverable while still easy enough to maintain a straight course with the skeg up under reasonable conditions. I gave $1400 for the boat which I thought was more in line with what the boat was worth.


I’ve had an RM Capella for 3 years and I treat it terrible. I don’t even pretend that I take care of it. It is my rock boat. I really beat the heck out of it on the water, mostly surfing and rock gardening. I’ve dragged it over miles of rocky beach. I even do seal launches with it. It seems pretty close to bombproof. The surface (bottom) is covered with scratches and some pretty deep gouges but none of that affects performance. It does feel lighter than it advertised weight, though not as light as some other RM boats. Sitting on the deck has caused temporary oil canning but this does not happen over a bulkhead. I store it on the ground in full sun, the color has faded a little but not much, it was on top of a truck yesterday alongside a brand new Scorpio of the same color and mine was only faded a little. Once in a while I can feel some minor flex (really nothing disconcerting)in the hull when in big seas but I think that is normal in a plastic boat(correct me if that is wrong). I paddle with several people who have Scorpios and they all rave about it’s performance. I would buy a p&h RM boat again in a heartbeat. Having said all that I can also say that my main paddling partner has an even older Valley plastic boat that is treated even worse than mine and it too is still working perfect.

I don’t think the Mapes Corelite linked in your OP is the same material as the Corelite developed by P&H and used in their boats. P&H boats are roto-molded polyethylene and I don’t think the Mapes panels are of a roto-molded construction. Looks to me to be quite different. Valley’s triple layer roto-molded polyethylene process looks to be very similar to what P&H uses.

http://www.valleyseakayaks.com/avocetpoly.htm - click on the Triple-layer Polyethylene under features.




it is possible

It is quite possible you are right that they are using a different version or their own. We should email them and ask. Credit where it is due. They are likely to email us back.

Possible that John Carmody might know also???

Their own corelite
Got an email back from P&H. They said it is their material not this other company. They feel it is very rugged and durable.

I will follow up with asking them about how they say to repair it if punctured by sharp rocks etc. This is Not a criticism. Just my interest in seeing how potentially good this product is!!

I myself am really profiting this season from knowledgable folks sharing about how important both materials and construction are.

friend of mine has an avocet
made in 3 ply, its a very rigid boat.

She made some decent contact with a rock while on/in front of a wave and it left a “dent” about 3 inches long (a 1/16th of an inch deep or so), as well as some scrapes. The dent is only on the outside of the boat (can’t see it from the inside).

p&h capella
I just bought a new P&H Capella 166 RM after looking for a used one for a while. One reason I wanted a Capella is that a lot of flatwater paddlers in this area use them, and one of the main outfitters in NC sells them, so they are readily available. I have heard nothing but good things from other Capella owners as well as the local dealer (which also sells a lot of other brands). I started out looking for a used one but only seemed to find older models with the two hatches. So I ended up buying one of the newer models on sale after demo’ing it over a weekend.

Compared to other RM sea kayaks I’ve seen, the Capellas are lighter than most. I like the way they look – the colors as well as the lines. They just look good in the water. They are very well outfitted in terms of hatches, bulkheads, riggings and seat.

The only downside I have observed is that the plastic does seem to discolor easily when paddling in really murky or dirty water, and it’s hard to clean off. Maybe I just haven’t figured the best way to clean it yet.

Ideally I would have bought the new P&H Scorpio, which is the nicest handling/equipped RM sea kayak I have seen or paddled. However, my Capella has nearly 50% less money, so I “settled” for that.

MSRP $2000
not implying that is what you or anyone else paid, or should pay.