Just the name of Kevlar makes you think of bulletproof vests and gives you the feeling of invincibility. In recent years, canoe technology has advanced so much that now people have canoes made straight out of Kevlar! It looks fashionable and has immense durability. Its steel-like strength and endurance makes it a superior choice for canoeing. With toughness comes rigidity, but Kevlar canoes are just as flexible as any other canoe. This is because Kevlar material is surprisingly lightweight.
With flexible control over the canoe, you can paddle over any class of water without having to worry about wear and tear. With the kevlar canoe you can feel invincibility easily, but this comes with a price! Kevlar is twenty fold more expensive than traditional aluminium canoes and wooden canoes, but half as much as lighter. Kevlar canoes may sound too pricey for your taste, but you can take it as a one-time investment! Start saving and bring home a kevlar canoe to have unlimited moments of canoe fun.
Kevlar canoe maintenance
Kevlar canoes require very little maintenance, but being a bit precautious does not hurt. In fact, it can actually save you a lot of money from repairs and fixing damages.
- Do not weigh it down near ground level. Kevlar canoes are only strong when they are afloat on water! Only put weights on your canoe if you think that your canoe is properly floating on water. Near ground levels, these canoes are a bit fragile to hold weights.
- Do not forget to do parallel parking. Just like your car, your canoe has to be properly parked as well, so that your canoe does not accidentally bump into rocks. Even if it is a beach or open land, you should always park your canoe in parallel direction to the coastline. Take one foot out and then the other. If there are two people on the canoe, the front paddler should go out first and then the other paddler at the back. After parking ensure that you are taking off weights from your canoe while it is still floating.
- Lift it up! Once the Kevlar canoe is unloaded, you should carefully lift it up over your head. Beware of the water and slippery surfaces while moving out of the water. It is good etiquette to park and keep your canoe away way off the coast for the ease of other travellers. If you want to use your canoe again, throw it gently on the water. You should do this without spillage into the canoe and not do it on land. Start loading the canoe for your next adventure once it is completely afloat.
- Do not drag your canoe around. Dragging the canoe may cause abrasions and rough surfaces underneath. A good way to move the canoe across land is using canoe carts. If you do not have one, then you can simply ask your partner to carry it around with you. It is extremely lightweight so you do not need to worry about sore shoulders.
- Load gently over shallow rocky waters. Shallow waters may contain rocks underneath that can damage your smooth Kevlar material.
- You should store the canoe upside down. Store it in a place free from wind. Tie the canoe down and relax!
Even after so much care, your Kevlar is simply not rough and tough anymore like it used to me. Prolonged use has caused damage and now you want to repair it. Since these are so expensive, buying another Kevlar canoe may not be an option. What you can do is be able to repair a few minor damages so that you don’t have to spend even more money behind a professional.
If there is a hole in the canoe, use sand blast over that region. The sand blast does not create abrasions but also ensures that the surface is prepared for patching. You should sand blast both the inside and outside of the canoe around that damaged region, preferably one or two inches.
Use epoxy on the sand blasted region and then cover that surface with glass cloth. The glass cloth should be soaked in resin mix properly. Cover the area with a piece of clear plastic that is stretched over straight. Seal the plastic with masking tape and ensure there are no trapped air bubbles inside. You should wait for one day, for the epoxy to properly fix. Now sandblast to get it smooth. Do not use gel coat for finishing, rather use paint.
For the inside of the canoe you should follow the same steps, but instead of glass cloth you should use kevlar cloth. If the canoe is majorly damaged, such as large splits or wrecks, it is best to let the professionals handle it.
Buying Kevlar might not be your cup of tea, so you could try canoes based on other materials and composites. Aluminium and wooden canoes are the most affordable canoes out there. Knowing about them will you help you decide what canoe you want.
Aluminium and wooden canoes: Cheaper alternatives
Aluminium canoes started off as canoes used in war tactics, around the end of World War II. Although they are not as widespread as fibreglass canoes now, they are still around. Aluminium canoes are affordable, provides enough strength and are quite light. It is also unaffected by weather conditions. Dragging aluminium canoes around does not create abrasion marks, unlike Kevlar and other canoes. However, aluminium can have dents and may need repairs more often. Aluminium canoes can get stuck to objects under water.
Wooden canoes have a much longer and ancient history. Many Hawaiians and Polynesians believe in legends involving how wooden canoes were offerings to gods! If you are someone into aesthetics, the wooden canoe is better for you because you get to carve and craft it however you want. These canoes also have proper finishing details such as gunwales and deck plates. Wooden canoes are definitely the more eco-friendly choice.
Canoes have histories that go back thousands of years ago. Unlike other sports and transport modes, canoes have survived the testament of time due to its sleek and streamlined design, ease of paddling and portability. With technological improvements, there are now unlimited varieties of canoes to choose from. It really depends on your needs. If you are the constant adventurer type, you will need a very durable canoe that can withstand all conditions (including bullets flying around!). Kevlar is the right choice in this case. For small-scale recreational events, traditions and transport, wooden canoes are the most reliable ones. Aluminium canoes are not as aesthetic, but are affordable and resilient. The choice is ultimately on you.