Wenoah vs Bell black gold

Wenoah says to use their kevlar/carbon only when the lightest weight is a priority,but Bell says their Black Gold is the toughest thing going.

Are they that different?


Look at the weights of the cloth used and how many layers. Bell’s boats are heavier but stronger while Wenonah’s layup is all about a stiff, light weight boat, but very fragile.

No, not fragile
I have had several We-no-nah kevlar and carbon boats and they are not very fragile. They are not for rock gardens, but I have banged and scraped them and they are not damaged only scratched. I would not hesitate to recomend even the lightweight skin coat kevlar for everything except paddling rocky fast rivers. I would then go to the flex type kevlar. If you are running ashore with them like a friend of mine does, they can be ordered with skid plates built in so that they don’t show. They can also be made with extra layers of kevlar.

Nothing beats a lightweight kevlar boat for portaging and lifting on and off a vehicle.


Carbon not Kevlar
We are comparing Wenonoah’s Graphite Ultralite layup which is mostly carbonfibre based to Bell’s Blackgold which is a Carbon/Kevlar composite.

Kevlar is not fragile, I agree, Wenonah’s Carbon boats are. They are very brittle, best suited for racing, and deep water paddling with soft shorelines.

Yes, in the Bell canoes, the Kevlar
layers inside are tough enough to usually keep the hull from being pushed in enough to split the carbon. The carbon itself has considerable compression strength, decent strength in tension, but when used alone, may be pushed in beyond its splitting point.

It is clear from their own marketing that Wenonah offers carbon layups for people who need super light weight and are prepared to be careful, or racers who want light weight and stiffness and know how to miss obstacles.

Carbon is great
in the we-no-nah boats. I have a pro boat and have used a Voyager for years. What I said above goes for the carbon boats as well. They are actually less affected by scratcing than the Kevlar boats. I would not use them for rocky rapids though, but for all lake and general river paddling. I think a lot of canoes are over built.


Yeah, skin coat Kevlar will really show
scratches. Remember, though, that carbon on the outside is soft, unlike glass. Still best not to cause scratches.

Carbon Kevlar Hulls
The concept is that compression resistant carbon keeps the hull stiff anf fast in the water, high tensile strength Kevlar keeps the carbon from breaking. While an all carbon hull would be stiff but fragile and an all kevlar hull would oil can, the hybrid yields the best of both.

WeNoNah has a history of race and fast touring hulls. They mount their seats low. They seem to use a blanket each of carbon and Kevlar, with enought partials to reinforce their low seat placement and protect the foam core.

Bell mounts their cane kneeling seats from the rails, so they need stronger sidewalls to carry the paddlers weight. Bell used to make all fabric solo hulls and foam core their tandems.

Hold both brands up to sunlight and identify the partial schedule[s]. I believe both manufacturers wet bag.

We also offer a carbon kev hybrid, but the infusion process, where the layers are compressed dry, results in decreased thickness, which also decreases hull stiffness. The solution is more layers of thicker fabric, [10oz Kev instead of 5oz, or 12oz carbon instead of 6oz.]

Hulls are still lighter and much stronger dur to improved fiber percentage, ~56%; the downside is carbon and Kevlar are purchesed by the pound.