How well do polyethylene(type of plastic) kayaks hold up over time ?
Depends on how you treat them
or don’t…keep them out of the sun, they’ll last a long time…provided you don’t drag a hole in them or otherwise abuse them.
…I’ve have two plastic white water kayaks
that have arguably been through hell. One since
1999, one is 3.5 years old.
Still have lots of life in them.
Dented, scratched, their bottoms aren’t as smooth
as they used to be, but then I am too and neither
Can last a really long time. I inherited one from my mom over 20 years ago and just sold it to a friend. It was a little scratched on the bottom (nothing deep) and a little faded. It was stored indoors when it was not being used. That probably made the most difference in its appearance. I don’t see any reason it would not last another 20 years.
Poly kayaks will get more brittle with
time. Back in the 80s, after one of mine started cracking, Perception told me they expected an average hard life of about 5 years, maybe more if kept out of the sun. I would say from personal experience and casual observation that expected life is up to 10 years by now. But I question whether poly kayaks will last longer under hard whitewater hammering. An old poly kayak is best consigned to lighter duty.
We have two little plastc
Perception plastic Keowees that are twelve years old and have a zillion battle scars on them, but the plastic seems to be just as pliable as it was when they were new.
I keep them stored out of the sun.
along with care in use and storage will allow you to use it for way longer than you need. I don’t expect to ever replace my poly boats unless I get tired of them.
keep them waxed with 303 a product that waxes and ads uv protection. G
Our old boats
The quite used and abused older WW boats we have picked up are still fine for our lower class use, hit plenty of rocks I failed to avoid and the boats are fine. And our first year DS Necky Elaho is in great shape too. But these boats have all been stored under cover, mostly inside. You may want to be cautious about a particularly old boat that looks like it just got its color renewed with a very fresh and recent coat of 303 or wax - it may have gotten some major UV exposure.
Poly will change even if out of the sun
and never used. Plastics tend to get less ductile, more brittle with time. This may be of no consequence for “recreational” boats, but is a significant consideration for whitewater boats. I often use 25 year old composite whitewater boats, but I would not use a 25 year old poly boat for routine paddling in serious whitewater. Maybe for an “old timers” ender demo for a crowd, but not to get down entire rivers. It is important for buyers of used poly boats to keep in mind that boats over a dozen years old have changed irrevocably for the worse, regardless of 303 use and storage considerations.
What boat did you get?
Between this and the washing thing it seems that you got a boat over the last couple of days. What did you get and what shape was it in? And how old? When I as talking really old, I meant 10 yrs for the Piedra and tops 7 for the Inazone. The conversation has drifted to considerably older boats than that.