MATERIALS AND CONSTRUCTION
All KEVLAR® canoes are not created equal.
KEVLAR® is a synthetic woven fabric famous for its toughness and durability. It is best known for its applications within the aerospace industry and its bullet-stopping characteristics in police and military protective vests. KEVLAR® is surprisingly light-weight compared to fibreglass and several other similar fabrics. What most people don’t realize is that the toughness of a canoe made with KEVLAR® depends critically on the type of resin used in the hull construction.
Virtually all other manufacturers use polyester or vinylester-based resins. Souris River Canoes uses epoxy, by far the strongest of all resins, in all of our canoe hulls.
Epoxy is more expensive than the other two, but the real reason so few manufacturers use it is that it is very temperamental and difficult to work with. It requires more time and care to produce an epoxy hull but the result is truly worth the effort. Souris River Canoes builds a KEVLAR®/epoxy canoe that, pound for pound, is the toughest KEVLAR® canoe on the market today.
Flexible Rib System
Souris River Canoes spent several years experimenting with various ways to stiffen the bottom of our canoe hulls. Conventional wisdom suggested a highly rigid structure as demanded by most elite canoe racers. Under their paddling conditions this was an important feature.We wisely decided we would not build canoes for racing, but preferred addressing the needs of the canoe tripping and recreational paddling community.
As this type of paddling often encounters submerged rocks and logs, a rigid canoe bottom is no longer an advantage - quite the contrary as a matter of fact. A bottom with no give to it tends to crack or puncture when bridged or impacted. The obvious solution to this problem was to construct a hull that had just enough flex to eliminate the above hazards yet still be stiff enough to prevent unwanted flexing under even the most severe wave action one might encounter in flat water paddling.
Souris River Canoes has evolved a flexible rib system that has revolutionized the design of wilderness tripping canoes.
To the great surprise of the critics who steadfastly held to their racing design concepts of canoe hull construction, the flexible rib system has been a huge success. The frequency of crack or puncture repair to the bottom of Souris River Canoes is but a fraction of what you will find on the market’s rigid bottom designs. Our Flexible Rib System isn’t by any means indestructible, but it’s
about as good as it gets!
“Rocker” refers to the hull profile from end-to-end,
whether straight or curved. It affects turning and
tracking. Hull shape affects stability. A flat bottom is
stable in calm water, while a rounded hull sacrifices
initial stability to improve wave handling qualities.
Click to enlarge.
One of Souris River’s alternative options to regular
KEVLAR® construction is our carbon fibre canoe. If you
are looking for a canoe with a stunningly rich, charcoal
finish that weighs even less than pure KEVLAR®, this may
be your ride.
Carbon (graphite) fibre is only marginally less durable than KEVLAR® and creates a hull that’s a little stiffer than KEVLAR®. While there are some concerns with our competitors’ carbon hulls being a little on the brittle side, ours is not. Epoxy resin makes our canoes significantly tougher, and having KEVLAR® backing up our carbon outer fabric ensures that you needn’t be concerned about durability. Carbon fibre fabrics are more expensive than KEVLAR® but, if you want the ultimate in lightweight strength, the additional cost is well worth it.