Searching Composite Kayaks On Our Website
35– Quality Composite Kayaks are grouped below in order of length (shortest to longest). Each kayak offers a precise ‘Frontenac Outfitters Review’, in-depth Boat Statistics, our own Performance Ratings, Kayak Video’s and Suggested Canadian Retail Prices.
Composite Kayaks ~ a Brief History
Composite Kayaks is an all-inclusive term used to describe Fiberglass Kayaks, Kevlar Kayaks & Carbon Kayaks, or combination of materials. Composite kayaks are made by hand fitting layers of fiberglass, Kevlar and Carbon cloths into a gel-coated mold. Stiffening materials are then added to high stress / impact areas. Lastly, polyester or vinylester resins are saturated throughout the materials in the mold .
One of 3- different composite kayak manufacturing processes is then used;
i) Hand laid Kayaks:
Workers use hand tools to saturate the resin consistently through the materials and to rid excess resin. The end result is a quality, rigid, glossy and aesthetically pleasing composite kayak.
ii) Vacuum-bagged Kayaks:
A more advanced aerospace pressure process in-which a Mylar bag surrounds the kayak and mold. Air is then sucked out of the bag using a vacuum-type process. In turn this pulls the materials together and maximizes cloth to resin ratio. The result is a lighter weight kayak with superior build quality.
iii) Infusion-made Kayaks:
The latest technology used to make composite kayaks. Similar to vacuum-bagging, except two-molds are used. Male & female molds spoon together under intense pressure to further maximize the cloth to resin ratio. This produces the most advanced lightweight kayaks.
Gel-coat provides the attractive, glossy finish yet performs two other critical functions. One, it provides a tough impact layer that protects the cloth. Two, gel-coats slippery surface enables the kayak to be relieved from the mold. Note: builders may spray a thin vinylester resin into the mold instead of gel-coat to relieve the kayak. Referred to as ‘clear-coats’ or ‘no-gels’ these kayaks are even lighter but not as impact resistant.
Quality fibreglass kayaks are tough and offer the greatest abrasion resistance. Kevlar kayaks weigh 5% less and cost $400 – $600 more. Carbon Kayaks provide the greatest tensile strength and efficiency and a further 2% weight savings and cost $600 or more than Kevlar.
Composite Kayaks I.E.: fibreglass Kayaks, Kevlar Kayaks and Carbon Kayaks are widely considered as the ‘Holy Grail’ choice as these materials produce the most lightest weight, most visually appealing and most efficient and… yes most expensive kayaks!
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