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Fiberglass, Kevlar or Aluminum Canoe?
I am planning to buy a canoe maybe next year but I don't know which is best. The fiberglass, Kevlar, or aluminum canoe?
I am really a novice when it comes to canoe and I would like to ask for some of your opinions guys.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the three?
Which is more durable and could last for several years?
Which is easy to maintain?
If you are on my situation, what will you choose?
Thank you in advance for any reply.
This sounds like a good excuse to write a book, but briefly. If you would rather build things than couch potato, dooing a stripper will get you a winterís entertainment as well as a light, attention getting canoe. Strippers are tough and will take moderate abuse but not recommended for white water. Your average el cheapo fibreglass will take about the same abuse as a stripper but are usually ugly and heavy. Kevlar is light and tough, usually recommended for white water and along with strippers the choice of serious trippers. Donít know a lot about aluminum, but they are heavy and prone to leaks around the rivets if knocked about. Royalex/Polyethylene are similar to fibreglass, ugly and heavy, but they bounce off rocks better.
Yeah, good excuse to write a book.
Anyway, Kevlar is probably the best balance of of what you are looking for. Some of the hulls are quite stable, well suited to a new paddler. Easy to maintain (under cover, don't let UV light get at them.) Light to carry.
The plastic boats rule on whitewater, with reason. They are tough and rugged and really easy to maintain. But, once they wear out, they don't like to be repaired. Easier to replace them....
Aluminum takes a pounding...it also dents and looks like hell...and performs as well. Aluminum "sticks" to the water, so, avoid that if possible. As Noah says, rivits can loosen. Good for liveries, not too good for your boat.
Kevlar/fiberglass are nearly identical, except that fiberglass is generally heavier and has better resiliency. Kevlar punctures a bit easier. The trade off in weight is considerable. Kevlar offers excelent weight reduction. Fiberglass is generally heavier than a stripper for the same model. Unless ultralight cores are used, fiberglass is usally considerably heavier than Kevlar.
Carbon is similar to Kevlar. Boat builders usually add an extra layer to make the paddler more comfortable. No one likes to see boat flex 2 miles from shore. Soo, they are generally lighter, but not as light as they could be. Also not good for really inexperienced paddlers, generally...this is changing as the cost comes down. Very light in weight, they are prone to puncture damage, though not necessarily through the hull. 4-15 pounds weight savings over Kevlar, generally speaking.
Building your own stripper will let you play with hull designs a bit. But, canoes are old...mostly, it has been done before. The wood will act as a stiffener between glass layers, giving you a stiff boat with good handling characteristics, but not as heavy as a full fiberglass boat. This also offers some savings over a kevlar or carbon boat. The last one I built weighed in at 48# and 15'9". A comparable kevlar hull was 36#. But, you cannot beat the beauty of a good stripper. It cost me about $600, a comparable kevlar was about $2000. Soo, a trade off...weight for dollars. A stripper has the highest maintenence of all.