Wood Canoes: (high cost, high maintenance)
For many of us a beautiful wood canvas or cedar strip canoe is not only a cherished memory; but part of our Canadian heritage. Recent innovations such as watertight epoxy coatings, improved varnishes and modern production methods have made these canoes lighter, faster, and most importantly more durable than ever before.
Paddlers who value aesthetics but will not compromise care, often choose wood canoes.
Aluminum Canoes: (moderate cost, no care)
Aluminum canoes are corrosion-proof, sturdy, require little maintenance, and do not deteriorate when exposed to sunlight. They are the only canoes that can be left outside and ignored all winter. The disadvantages as well as being heavy, aluminum canoes heat up quickly in the sun and cool off in the cold. They are noisy and glare can be a problem. However, the most serious disadvantage of aluminum is the tendency of the soft metal to stick to submerged rocks. Paddlers looking for a tough, maintenance free choice, may choose aluminum.
Fibreglass Canoes: (low to moderate cost, minor care)
Fibreglass is the most common material used in manufacturing canoes. The quality of fibreglass canoes can vary widely from excellent too poor. The major difference is; good quality fibreglass canoes are made by laying strips of fibreglass cloth into a mold saturated with resin. Poor quality fibreglass canoes are made using small independent pieces of fibreglass called "chopped fibre" in place of the stronger, more expensive fibreglass cloth. A quality Fibreglass canoe provides great value to day paddlers, cottagers, fisherman, where moderate carry weight is a minimal concern.
Kevlar Canoes: (High cost, moderate care)
Kevlar canoes are rapidly becoming more popular each year for due to Kevlar great strength to light weight ratio. Kevlar a Dupont (TM) product produces a lightweight canoe with minimal compromise to strength and durability. With a strength per weight ratio marketed as being "stronger than steel" making boats of this material very impact resistant. "But don't take these beautiful boats down that whitewater river, they should be for flatwater only!" Paddlers looking for a strong boat, which is light often choose Kevlar. The very best Kevlar and/ or carbon canoes are made using a funny term called "Vacuum Bagging" or an "infusion" process, ask us to explain this high-tech process to you!
Carbon & Carbon/Kevlar Canoes: (highest cost, high care)
Carbon is the latest advancement in canoe building technology. Carbon is slightly lighter, stiffer, and is less flexible than Kevlar. When bonded with Kevlar, carbon tends to hold its shape better than other materials - keeping lightweight boats from flexing out of shape. Its primary use is in building the lightest possible performance oriented performance and racing boats. Carbon canoes are lighter but are not as strong as kevlar canoes... so buyer beware as they're often NOT worth the additional cost... how's that for blunt honesty? Those requiring the lightest boats possible for carrying, portaging and paddling often choose Carbon.
Polyethylene & ABS Canoes (low cost, low care)
"Plastic, Tupperware and Poly" are just some of the confusing terms used to describe Polyethylene canoes. Polyethylene is extremely tough, but as a soft material is not very rigid. Manufacturers have overcome the stiffness problem in different ways. Some companies brace their canoe interior with aluminum tubes and struts. This makes a heavy, clunky but acceptable cottage canoe. Other companies continue to produce canoes from single layer polyethylene by adding a keel in a largely unsuccessful attempt to stiffen. Single layer poly canoe hulls tend to "oil-can" and lose shape quickly when paddled. The most successful solution is a patented multi-layer "sandwich approach". A thick foam core is sandwiched between an outer and inner layer of polyethylene to provide stiffness at moderate cost. Polyethylene canoes slide off submerged rocks, and pop into shape better than aluminum canoes. Those requiring toughness or serious whitewater paddlers may choose a quality polyethylene canoe.
Royalex & Royalite Canoes: (moderately high cost, minimal care)
These canoes are manufactured in a similar fashion to a quality polyethylene canoe using the "sandwich method". A lighter form core is sandwiched first by thin multiple layers of ABS substrate for stiffness, then finished by adding a vinyl inner and outer skin. Royalex canoes weigh less, are more expensive, but are not as strong as a "sandwich" method polyethylene canoe. Royalex canoes with vinyl gunnels are very difficult to damage as they tend to "pop back into shape" better than other materials. Serious whitewater paddlers requiring a canoe, which is lighter than Polyethylene, often choose Royalex. Royalite is simply a thinner, lighter, but more fragile version of Royalex.
THE BEST MATERIAL FOR YOU will be a compromise of strength, weight, cost and your paddling needs! Frontenac Outfitters Canoe & Kayak Centre simply makes your adventure a fun on water experience... besides nobody beats our low prices & expertise!
We hope you enjoyed our Canoe Materials article. Please call us @ 1.613.376.6220 should you have further questions or suggestions.
Larry & Christine Showler, Owners
Frontenac Outfitters On-Water Canoe & Kayak Centre
Created By Paddlers For Paddlers!
Frontenac Outfitters was created way back in 1984. Our vision rewards visitors with a vastly superior level of customer service, paddling expertise and an exhilarating 'on-water' experience.
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