URGENT graphite vs. Kevlar question....

I have a chance to get a graphite canoe in the model I want at a very good price, 5-6 lbs lighter than the Kevlar I’d been considering. It may not have builtin flotation, so I’d have to have airbags all the time.

I’ve also heard that graphite is more subject to abrasion than Kevlar. I need to decide in the next 24 hours, so I’d appreciate any quick opinions from those more knowledgeable than I. Thanks.

Positive: price, weight.

Negative: flotation,sturdiness

What is the intended use?
Flat water? Whitewater? Underwater?


I have
seen kevlar folded with crinkled gunwales. replace the gunwales and throw on a little epoxy and you are good to go. I have seen a Carbon boat that hit an embankment and shattered.( This was several years ago at the Clinton. I just saw the shards)

I think at your age tapelgan I would go for the wieght of Carbon just beeing careful. KYou can always float on some epoxy if it starts getting rough.

This is strictly my point of view.

Carbon will slide without grabbing, but
is somewhat more surface-soft than S-glass. It is hard to compare carbon to Kevlar, because Kevlar fibers grab when dragged, but are very tough and fuzz rather than wearing smooth. Pure carbon boats are not common. I have a racing slalom C-1 which has S-glass on the outer layer and carbon inside. It is very rigid and has not broken yet, but I know it is not as tough as an S-glass outside/ Kevlar inside boat would be.

When you understand how Kevlar works, and what its strengths and weaknesses are, it is clearly an INSIDE fiber, and NOT the fiber to use outside. Carbon makes a real good outside layer, although I am partial to S-glass because of its hardness and ability to take a shot without shattering.

Goog question…
…mostly flatwater, Class .5. Muddy banks primarily, some cement ramps.

I would not
Concern myself with floatation. excessively. The canunut and I used to deliberty swamp his Savage River Competition Cruiser and it would still float. It had no floation except the foamcore. I imaginge that the wenonah is the same way.If you are going into harms way then think about floatation, but I do not think you need worry about watching the boat sink if you get swamped by a passing bass boat.

Kevlar is stronger but
much depends on the fabric used and the thread count. As said pure carbon or kavlar is never used. Even more important strength wise is the resin used. Epoxy, Vinylester,or Polyester. Also is it a hand lay-up or vacuum bagged. While you can make canoes faster using the vacuum method

I like a hand made boat and the vacuum method is not perfect. What kind of boat is it? I’m sure no matter who made it it will be fine for your intended use. No one would waist there time laying up a carbon boat unless they knew what they were doing (I hop not).

Go for it! …
Carbon is more brittle than glass and Kevlar, and those black hulls show white scratches like crazy. Those that want a shrine instead of a boat to be used spend a lot of time worrying about and covering the scratches.

It sounds like you are a gentle paddler on gentle waters.

If you are not one of those that will worry yourself to death over the little white scratches go for it!

Happy Paddl’n!