Kayak Materials Pros Cons

Kayak construction materials are sturdy, durable, and affordable due to innovation, research, and technological advancement. However, kayak materials pros cons exist and differ depending on the material for manufacturing. Despite the challenges, the industries have seen tremendous growth since the emergence of composite materials. Further, new types of kayaks, such as inflatable and foldable, are inexpensive and available in major online stores. For example, intex challenger k2 kayak is a 2 person inflatable kayak which is available at the click of the mouse at Amazon online store and cost less $300. To help readers understand the definition and use, check out on what is a

Kayak Materials Pros Cons

The old age materials (drift woods and Seal skin)

The wood and seal skin have was favorite among the fanatic of kayaking in the Arctic region. These types of kayaks are produced and consumed by the paddlers to hunt animals. Initially, Kayaks were constructed by stitching seals and animals’ hides. For this to happen, the skin was stretched over the material, such as the driftwood and whalebone skeletons. Moreover, wood and animal skin kayak has several disadvantages. For example, to produce one kayak, its take energy and time searching for materials, these materials are more costly than the modern kayak materials. Besides, to sustain the boat, animal, such as seal are slaughtered for the skin and fat. The fat is for regular maintenance of the boat. However, the wooden and seal boats are a source of concern to nature lovers.

Endangering seals

The longevity of driftwood kayaks is a concern to many. The continuous killing of seals to provide oil for greasing the hunting kayaks put the population of the animal in danger. Naturally, seal skin canoes are contributing to the extinction of the wildlife that our fourth generation will read on books.

Wood and Plywood

The Plywood Kayaks for the paddler has basic similarities to the seal and driftwood kayaks but are not popular due to cost. Similarly, the wooden kayak is built using slender timbers with the edges stuck together using glue or sticky adhesive. Besides, decks and hulls are done separately and attached together. To date, a wooden kayak is covered with fiber glasses after construction.

Disadvantages of plywood kayaks

The drawback of the final product from the plywood is the bulky weight and high cost of construction. In addition, to construct a kayak, it takes time to assemble the required materials and accessories. Further, to repair a broken wood kayak take edges. Correspondingly, they have a shorter life span compared to the composite and plastic materials which are inexpensive and easily accessible. A typical wooden boat was made by John MacGregor, the father of recreational kayaks.

Fabric Skin Kayaks

The utilization of the fabric skin in manufacturing kayaks is an old method which enjoys support in the kayaking industries. Currently, inflatable and foldable kayaks are made of fabric materials, which are flexible, stable, lightweight, and inexpensive. Besides, the material is popular among manufacturers of recreational, whitewater, touring, fishing kayakers, and more. However, the fabric has a number of drawbacks, namely, poor speed, requires expertise to assemble, etc. Moreover, the rapidity of this kayak type is affected by wind and waves due to size and weight. The materials are preferred among designers and manufacturer, but cost implication is high both in construction and repair. In addition, the life span of the fabric is short-lived, and the value for money might is not realized. The different types of fabric materials for Kayaks are canvas etc. and are the original materials for developing kayaks.

Pros and Cons Plastic or Polyethylene kayaks

The most common and prevalent materials for constructing different types of recreational kayaks. Least inexpensive and readily available. Likewise, it is the most sought after resource for commercial kayak productions. To build a plastic kayak, pelletized is molded to a certain degree through roto-mold technique conforming to different shapes. For commercial production, this is the best material for the manufacturer to save on fabrication cost and time. For buyers, looking for good quality kayak materials, then polyethylene is robust and ideal for ocean, sea, river and whitewater kayaking. Furthermore, the UV inhibitors in the polythene prolong the life span and durability of the boat.


However, the materials have challenges, for example, when molding, the plastic boat can shrink and get distorted. In addition, the material is heavy, which limits the performance. The seats are non-movable and can cause a backbone health problem if not properly fitted. When selecting sea kayaks materials, Polyethylene is least suitable due to its bulkier status and lack of strength. Besides, they are too rigid and cannot withstand strong wind and waves.

Thermoform Materials

To have a kayak from a thermoformed material, plastic of different types and shapes are molded. The process results in durable and harder kayaks compared to plastic materials. Besides, thermoform products have a sleek design, only comparable to the fiberglass kayaks.  When comes to water performance, they are super than the wood and polyethylene. Has lightweight compared to fiberglass and plastic boats? However, they are more expensive to other brands. The pros are sturdy, stable, and durable kayaks, which save you money and time infrequent purchases.

Composite materials

These are the new innovation for stable and durable kayaks. The composite is a mixture of several materials, such as fiber glasses, Kevlar, carbon fiber, Innegra, Basalt, and more. To produce a kayak, the materials are held together using a resin. The Sheets are applied on the gel-coated mold and held in place using an Epoxy. However, to manufacture a durable water kayak, several coats are brought together to add rigidity, strength, puncture proof, and more. On the contrary, the end result produces a lightweight and hard kayak.

Sources: for more reading

2 thoughts on “Kayak Materials Pros Cons”

Leave a comment