royalex or tuff-weave

Any more opinions on Tuff-Weave? I’m planning to purchase a Wenonah prospector 16 with wood gunwales to replace my Discovery 169, and I’m weighing the relative advantages of Tuff-Weave and Royalex. I am an experienced paddler who is tired of paddling a heavy, floppy boat. I will be using this canoe for solo and family trips, on everything from small lakes, streams and coves to occasional class II-III whitewater.

Tuff-weave is a Wenonah material that
is a combination of fiberglass and polyester(I think).I have a Tuff-weave Voyager and it is just as rigid as any other composite boat.

composite vs. Royalex
Royalex has been the traditional favorite material for whitewater canoes, or canoes subjected to scraping down rocky rivers. Newer Royalex, however, may not be holding up as well as that made in the past, in the opinion of many WW boaters.

Royalex slides easily over rocks but is quite subject to abrasion, and the hull will wear through, over time. How much time depends on how you use it.

Royalex has quite a bit of “give” which is good and bad. The good is that it gives when it hits a rock and springs back (usually) and is thus less likely to crack. The bad is that the hull flexes quite a bit which diminishes efficiency. Royalex is also typically a bit heavier than fiberglass composites such as Tuf-weave, and it can’t be formed into as sharp an angle as composites.

Composite boats actually hold up quite well for most river use, and are clearly superior for lake travel. They are, however, more prone to crack if they hit an immovable object hard, but can generally be repaired by anyone with modest fiberglassing skills.

As far as whitewater is concerned, there is a vast difference between a bony, steep. low-volume, high-gradient Class III creek and a larger volume, lower gradient Class III river. If you anticipate a good deal of scraping, rock banging, and boofing off drops, you would probably want Royalex. For anything else, composite may serve very well, and probably better.

Nice explanation
I didn’t know that. Thought tuff-weave was like the cross-link material in Discos, i.e., heavy. Thanks.


Tuff Weave & Royalex

– Last Updated: Aug-13-09 5:09 AM EST –

Pblanc pretty much covered it.
I'd expect a Tuff Weave boat to be somewhat lighter than a similar hull in Royalex.
Royalex is stiffer and lighter than the poly in the Disco's. Tuff Weave is stiffer than Royalex.


I Really Like Wenonah’s Tuffweave
It’s a very well made layup. I’ve had 2 tuffweave Wenonah’s that held up very well on rocky Ozark streams. I’ve owned one royalex Wenonah and much preferred the tuffweave. The tuffweave is stiffer, and was faster and more responsive compared to the same model in royalex. If I was buying a Wenonah right now I myself would probably lean toward the tuffweave unless I was planning on running whitewater with it. WW

Good Input
Thanks for the great input. It’s still a tough call because I’d like to do occasional whitewater. I wish I could paddle both to weigh just how soft the royalex would feel, but I’m nowhere near a Wenonah dealer that keeps any stock. I did paddle a Royalex Penobscot and it felt pretty stiff, but the salesman suggested that Royalex would oilcan more with age. Any further thoughts on this topic would be appreciated.

Oil can more with age?.
If anything, I would think it would get stiffer. My old beater Penobscot is much stiffer than any of the newer royalex boats I’ve had or seen. Don’t know if that means it isn’t as resilient though.

My royalex (not royalite) Nova Craft Prospector does not oil can, but it’s a bit heavy (74lbs).

The newer a royalex boat is, the more easily it will dent as it is softer. It will harden with age, and I have heard some get brittle after 2-3 decades. Also, having owned a royalex Wenonah, Dagger, Mad River, Bell, and Mohawk, the Wenonah was the “Softest” royalex boat of them all. WW

oil canning
I have 8 royalex whitewater open boats of various vintages dating back to the 1980s all of which have seen whitewater use. None of them demonstrate oil canning. They all exhibit dents and creases of various sizes depending on past usage.

No doubt, these minor hull deformities diminish efficiency somewhat. That isn’t much of a drawback for whitewater usage, but it might be for flatwater use.

I have heard some claim that Royalex has a finite lifetime and becomes “brittle” after 20 years or so. All I can say is I haven’t personally observed it.

another for tuff-weave…
tuffweave is a given for ANYkind of flatwater (just my $.01). Ditto pblanc’s= Royalex or other plastics are good for dedicated WW. I have no experience with tuffweave but my $.01 would be a “GO” in mild WW as well…but I’d keep my “get to shore” skills sharp…and scout out anything, especially with lower, late-summer levels…


try to estimate
…how much of your time will be on Class II rivers, and how much time will be flatwater, lakes, and Class 1.

If the significant majority of your time is on flatwater to Class 1, go for the Tufweave. It’s stiffer, slightly lighter, and purely from an aesthetic standpoint, it gives you a much great range of colors and options than a Royalex boat.

On the other hand, if most of the time you use the boat it will be in shallow or rocky water, and you think it’s gonna smacked around, get the Royalex. The material will allow you to focus on paddling rather than worrying about repairing the gelcoat every time you hit something.

Wenonah’s Royalex Prospectors are relatively stiff on the bottom side in comparison to a lot of Royalex boats, as the amount of arch is enough to help the sheet out a little bit (any plastic can be stiffened by putting some curvature into it, and more is better).