I am deciding on a Wenonah canoe. Kevlar Ultralight is 10 lb lighter and $300 more than Kevlar Flexcore, but which one is stronger?
Flexcore is stronger. The ultralight
layup is for situations where low portage weight is the main consideration.
Even the flexcore is not made for regular rock-bashing, but it needn’t be babied as much.
I will pick one up soon.
What he said…
The ultralight is really light, but much more fragile as far as scratches. The flex core is only available with a colored gel coat (which accounts for about half the weight difference) but the gel coat alone adds a lot of abrassion resistance.
I have an advantage in ultralight and a Voyager in Kevlar flex core. You do notice the weight difference, and the ultralight is really a nice boat (and still my choice for the way I use the canoes), but the flex core is holding up a lot better (and sees worse treatment).
Less is more?
It seems strange to me that Kevlar Flexcore with the additinal core and gelcoat plus more processing steps costs less than Kevlar Ultralight.
the ultralite core has a diamond shaped core (slightly thicker than the flexcore) as well as more ribs (coming up from the core to the gunwhales) to install in the building process, and once the resin is injected they have a short time to line everything up before things begin to ‘set up’ and they hit the vacuum to start the vacuum bagging process. The flexcore actually has a far less involved building process.
I have an Advantage as well as an Odyssey in ultalite foam core and both are at least 14 years old and have taken a lot of beating and are still going strong. I’ve hit submerged rocks in Ontario with the Odyssey fully loaded (hard enough to bring it to a stop) and come away with nothing more than scratches. I highly recommend the ultralite foam core for everything except moving water.
You wrote, “I highly recommend the ultralite foam core for everything except moving water.” Isn’t all water moving to some extent, except a dead pond maybe? Do you mean anything higher than class I?
The way I see it
lakes don’t move, rivers & streams & creeks usually do. Used on lakes you can usually avoid repeated hits with minimal work, moving H2o requires more work to avoid obsticles (in a minimal rockered boat such as my 18’6" Odyssey) and the likelyhood of repeated hits is more pronounced, so yes to your question about paddling beyond class 1. We have encountered bad lake days in Ontario with high winds and waves trying to land at portages etc., lined with rocks. Usually one of us holds the hull just off the rocks while the other unloads. Really, with over 12 years of trips on Ontario lakes, that Odyssey is still looking great, and is sure to offer me up many more years of use.
I have the Ultra light
and I would go with a flexcore. I love the weight and all that, but I want the inside to be smooth. I don’t baby it in the water, but i wouldn’t mind being a little more carefree in my attitude about it. I think it is worth the weight to bet the flexcore.
The reason the ultralight costs more is because it is a vacume bagged layup where the flex core is not.
I am of the same opinion as Stickman . I have an Advantage in Ultralight that is 12 years old and going strong ; a 4 year old Voyageur in the same layup as well . Exercising a little care and common sense are worth the weight trade offs IMO . I have taken some decent hits on both hulls and while not as tough as say Royalex, fragile seems to be a bit exagerrated when describing how durable they are for the weight.
I also agree on the ultralight
I have a Jensen 17 that is nine years old and we race it in three class I-II rivers every year.
It has been pulled over many a log.
At 39 pounds it is a delight to load and unload off the car.
If I ever have to replace it, it will probably be with the same.