How are the materials(skin ) of SOF yaks as far as durability, normanl wear, sun rot ect? Is there a limited life to em?
I don’t have any examples but they
should last many years. A frame might go through a couple of skins if you use it a lot but other than that the framework is protected from the elements by the skin.
Going On 3 Years For My SOF
I dropped my SOF in gust and, as my luck would have it, it landed on a boulder and busted a couple of ribs. My ribs are particularly robust, around 1/4" thick x 5/8" wide. Most folks use 3/4" wide. To get at the two cracked ribs near the bow, I changed the skin and in the process put in more rocker and deadrise by adding a 6' long, tapered strip to keel. This made the boat a little more playful and increased the secondary stability. So the skin changing for motivated by two things rib replacement (which I could have just left and accepted the gurgling sound) and changing the characteristics of the boat.
The last skin has been on for well over a year. I have put pinhole punctures in it twice by running it aground on a barely submerged boulder and shells on a beach. Both pinholes were patched with a dap of epoxy. I have a 9/10 oz dracon. I am sure 12 oz cordura nylon would be more durable.
Other than this the SOF has been fine. I actually have the thing stored outside. It's on rack under another rack with a couple of plastic boats and a tarp so it didn't take much snow on top of it. Have been out it since early winter. I probably need to give it a quick going over but I don't expect to fine anything.
I think the whole skin on frame thing is pretty resilient. I think it can probably take running into sticks and rocks and such. The skin and the frame will flex and absorb a bit. Running into shells with very sharp edges is perhaps a bit much.
It varies with the material
Kayak skin fabrics range from the relatively fragile 3.7 oz. polyester up to 26 oz. Nylon that’s nearly bulletproof. Nylon and polyester fabrics in the 8-10 oz. range are the most popular and provide a good balance of light weight and durability. Fabrics in the 12-13 oz. ranger are considerably tougher for relatively little weight gain. Those from 15-16 are very tough, but quite heavy.
Synthetics hold up well to sun exposure, with polyester being more resistant than Nylon. The most commonly used coatings on synthetic fabrics, outdoor polyurethane varnishes, contain UV inhibitors which help protect the fabric from the sun, making it even more durable. Realistically, you’ll wear out the skin long before sun damage becomes a problem. If you’re concerned, just store you kayak under cover.