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What Are the Benefits of a Kevlar® Canoe?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Canoes can be made from a variety of materials; most traditional canoes were made from wood and animal skins, and full wood canoes have also been popular. More recently, fiberglass and aluminum canoes have become common, with each material presenting distinct advantages and disadvantages. The Kevlar® canoe is also a popular type of construction, though this material costs more than other materials used for canoe construction. The benefits of the Kevlar® canoe outweigh the high price for many canoeists, however, since this material is exceptionally durable and lightweight. Avid canoeists may prefer this material and consider it a long-term investment.

Kevlar® is a synthetic fiber that is often woven into sheets, and its construction tends to make it an exceptionally durable material that can withstand direct impacts and scrapes. This means the Kevlar® canoe will withstand impacts from river rocks, branches, logs, and other obstructions a canoe is likely to encounter. The durability of this type of canoe will reduce the likelihood of necessary repairs, as are common among canoes made from other, less durable materials. It also means the likelihood of incidental damage from storage or transportation is lower with a Kevlar® canoe than with other materials.

Kevlar® fabric.
Kevlar® fabric.

This material is also far lighter than most other materials. A canoeist who plans on doing a portage or many portages will benefit from this lighter canoe, since a portage requires the canoeist to carry the boat over land for any length of time. The lighter weight also means easier storage or transfer to and from a car top canoe rack.

More importantly, the light weight of a Kevlar® canoe means a faster boat on the water. The canoeist will have less weight to propel forward, which means each paddle stroke will transfer more power toward directional force. The canoe will be faster, more maneuverable, and generally easier to use while out on the water.

The high cost of Kevlar® tends to deter many canoeists from purchasing such a canoe, but since a Kevlar® boat is likely to last an exceptionally long time, the boater can consider the higher cost an investment in a boat that will save them money in the long run. Repairs to the boat can be performed fairly easily, though repairs are less likely to be necessary than with other boat materials. The most likely damage will be from scrapes along the hull, in which the epoxy layer that covers the Kevlar® is ripped away, directly exposing the Kevlar®.

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    • Kevlar® fabric.
      Kevlar® fabric.