What Kind Of Plastic Are Kayaks Made Of

In its origins in the Eskimo villages, few materials were known that could replace the lightness, flexibility, and resistance offered by wood. However, plastic material offers a diverse and versatile purposal and a variety of options based on plastic materials to build kayaks and canoes. Here is the description of what kind of plastic are kayaks made of.

What Kind Of Plastic Are Kayaks Made Of

Plastic kayaks are made of fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar-Carbon, Polyethylene PVC, plastic fabric for inflatable kayaks, and fiber, aluminum, or wood combined with plastic for detachable kayaks.

What Kind Of Plastic Are Kayaks Made Of: Fiber Kayaks

Fiber kayaks have great resistance and also are light-weight. They need a binder to give them shape: polyester resins.

The lightest is Kevlar, then carbon fiber, and finally fiberglass. Although the price of these decreases in this same order, the resistance is in reverse order with Kevlar-Carbon being more fragile than fiberglass.

Fiberglass Kayaks

This material similar to fabric, but plastic. Fiberglass kayaks are a resistant material for kayaks. For its manufacture, fiberglass fabrics are interwoven with polyester resin. They are used to shape the boat.

Although for tourist use they are very well accepted, for the competition the kayaks are too heavy compared to carbon and Kevlar kayaks.

It must also be said that, with little knowledge, they are easy to repair. The price of fiberglass kayaks is also cheaper than kevlar-carbon ones.

what kind of plastic are kayaks made of fiberglass

What Kind Of Plastic Are Kayaks Made Of: Kevlar-Carbon Kayaks

Kevlar-Carbon Kayaks are made with the combination of these two elements gives a lot of lightness and rigidity to the kayaks.

Carbon has a lot of longitudinal resistance but little transverse resistance. Mixing it with kevlar compensates for this weakness.

Kayaks made of this material are ideal for competition.

They are the “Ferrari” of kayaks (also because of their price).

kevlar carbon kayaks

Polyethylene Kayaks

Polyethylene kayaks are the most resistant and durable.

The kayak material is made entirely of polyethylene. It is made from polyethylene plastic granules mixed with dye.

Therefore these kayaks are very strong and durable. The disadvantage is their weight compared to those made of fiber. But it is compensated by their price, which is much cheaper.

The manufacture of kayaks made of polyethylene has allowed everyone to have access to the practice of canoeing. Thanks to the fact that they have been adapted to almost all types of canoeing, (except for their use for competitions) we can find all types of kayaks from all types of calm water kayaks to kayaks for all types of whitewater.

Also, this type of kayak material has allowed the irruption of the so-called “Sit on Top” or open kayaks. In these kayaks, we sit on top. The “Sit on Top” kayaks are self-emptying, that is to say if we tip them over we can unroll them and they empty automatically.

polyethylene kayaks

Manufacture Of Polyethylene Kayaks

First of all, the manufacture through modeling: the polyethylene is introduced into large cylindrical molds that rotate in all directions. This prevents air from getting into the molecular structure of the plastic.

They are also manufactured with the Extruded and Blow Molding technique: through pressurized air, the plastic is extruded and forced into a mold, resulting in a larger molecule. This gives the plastic greater longitudinal rigidity and greater torsion. Kayaks manufactured with this technique are more resistant and durable.

Another technique is Thermoforming: they are manufactured using plastic sheets of different densities in a mold. The hull and deck are manufactured separately and then glued together. These kayaks are the most economical. They are also the most resistant to abrasion. They are lighter and stiffer than Rotomolded ones, but they are heavier and very slow.

Thus, the great boom in this type of kayak material has led to great progress in the design and engineering of polyethylene kayaks. The manufacturing technique has led to companies patenting their formula and construction system.

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks facilitate storage and transport for users. They are very light once assembled and this represents a disadvantage when it is windy. They are available in all ranges. Due to the handcrafted nature of their manufacture, the most efficient and rigid ones have a very high price.

intex challenger k1

Other Types Of Kayak Material

Detachable Kayaks: a combination of materials 

Detachable kayaks are much more efficient than inflatable kayaks but more expensive. Their great advantage is the ease of transport and the small size when disassembled. Their skeleton can be made of fiber, aluminum, or wood. They are covered with a nylon canvas with rubber. They can be used for long crossings, even abroad. Advantage: we can take them with us on the plane.

detachable kayaks