roto-molded vs duralite

I am investigating getting a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145. I’ve gotten some info from various vendors about the difference between roto-molded plastic and the composite (duralite)…I’ve been told it is about 11 pounds lighter and that it doesn’t flex as much in the water, thus being more energy efficient.

Can any speak to this? I think the difference in cost is about $300 to $400.



Roto Vs. Duralite
Im not sure duralite and composite are referring to the same material. Duralite is rotomolded plastic.

I can tell you that the Composite Tsunami145 weighs about 45-48 lbs.

Yup, duralite is plastic.
In fact, it just feels like a thinner layer of the superlinear PE that Wildy has been using for the last few years. If anyone but a kid or small adult did a paddle float or cowboy re-entry, the rear deck would buckle. I’d guarantee buckling while cartopping too. Unless you really, really need to save weight, I think the standard PE is worth its weight.


I have a regular
Tsunami 120. When I purchased mine I looked at the Duralite, but decided that the excessive increase in price was not worth the weight savings to me. I also did not care for the foam pillar down the entire centerline of the boat in the Duralite version. That pillar is there to provide needed support to the hull because the of how the Duralite material doesn’t have the rigidity that the regular rotomolded PE has. That pillar makes the boat much more confined when you are in the cockpit, and harder to enter/exit. If I’m not mistaken the Duralite is more susceptible to scratches and gouging then standard PE as well.

I can tell you that so far I love my Tsunami, I don’t notice its 50+ weight in the water, and I’m able to car top it myself on my Ford Explorer, and get up into the rafters of my garage for storage by myself.

But definitely get a Tsunami, great boat, you’re gonna love it!!

Plastic, duralite, composite

– Last Updated: May-31-07 6:25 PM EST –

Plastic is polyethylene. It's been around for a long time and is a proven material. It's rotomolded or blown (rare).

Duralite is plastic too (fancier polyethylene). It's rotomolded or blown (rare).

Airlite is plastic too. More like ABS, I think. It's pressed (I think).

Composite is fabric (glass or kevlar) in an epoxy matrix. Composite has been around for a long time and is a proven material. There's more work involved in making a composite boat.

In my opinion, the purpose of Airlite [was: Duralite] is to give the look of composite without the weight or the cost.

[Post edited by me due to correction in following post.]

Thinking of Airalite/Carbonlite/Trylon?
They’re more like ABS and have the decks and hulls married by a seam like fiberglass/kevlar/carbonfiber. Duralite is still just PE plastic.

I have the Tsunami 120 in Duralite

– Last Updated: Jun-02-07 9:52 AM EST –

and I like it. Got a fairly good deal on it so I went with the Duralite to save some poundage since I load and unload by myself usually.

I can't speak to the issues of buckling, oilcanning, being more prone to scratching and gouging, etc. because I pretty much paddle small lakes or slow moving rivers so I'm pretty easy on it. Haven't noticed any problems, though.

Yes, the other ones

– Last Updated: May-31-07 6:24 PM EST –

Duralite is (better) PE.

"DuraLite recreational boats are produced using a premium grade metallocene polyethylene normally reserved for demanding whitewater applications. The extremely stiff and tough engineering material allows us to optimize the amount of plastic used, reducing the weight of a kayak by up to 20%."

The same manufacturing technics (rotomolded or blown) are used for plain-old polyethylene and Duralite. Neither of these is "composite".

Rotomolding process is fairly simple. Ive dealt with it a few times.

Basically you have a large mold. They put the correct amount of plastic pellets into said mold to give a desired overall thickness. The mold is then heat and “orbits” around every which way to spread said plastic.

With that being said, it isnt much to try other types of materials when making these. Its a matter of what chemicals are added to the plastics.

Sure you can make a stronger plastic, but at what price? It usually becomes brittle the harder it gets.

Making it lighter is easy, just use less plastic in the mold.

Hurricane Aquasports uses the Trilon…it seems to be a whole other plastic animal. Shinier and slicker than any other type of plastic I’ve encountered.

W.S. Duralite
methinks it’s a marketing decision to make more money on a rotomolded construction by offering a “premium” plastic and using less of it. If making thin plastic kayaks made sense more folks would be doing it.

duralite comments - thanks!
Thank you to all who responded to my inquiry about duralite. I think that from your comments, I will sticke with the regular old plastic…

Thanks again for all your quick responses!


good call
’most’ of the advice above is good. some is sorta lame.

the duralite is a more expensive resin which is stronger/ stiffer BUT we use less of it. It actually holds up better to scratches as it’s tougher/stiffer BUT there’s less of it.


it could be used for making light kick ass kayaks for small people and not floppy kayaks for big people.