Choosing a material is always a crucial step in selecting your model, whether you’re looking to buy your first canoe or extend your collection.
Canoes are made in various materials, each with advantages and limitations that make them better suited to various paddling methods.
Although there may not be a single material for every paddling you intend to do, you can narrow your search to find the best canoe material for your paddling needs by comparing the weight, impact resistance, efficiency, speed, and price of your options to the type of paddling you intend to do the most.
To survive any bumps or hits, whitewater canoes must be made of more flexible, durable materials. Lightweight flat-water canoes can be made of stiffer, lighter materials that allow them to offer fast glide performance across the water while also being lightweight, easy to pack and carry.
When looking at the utilization of aluminum vs. fiberglass canoe, which one is best for you is determined by your needs. (Read What Is The Main Advantage Of A Type IV PFD)
You can learn about the pros and cons of these two canoe styles in our guide. So, when it’s time to buy a canoe, you’ll know what to look for. By the end, you’ll be well-informed, so you’ll be able to make a great choice about the type of canoe to buy.
Are Aluminum Canoes Lighter Than Fiberglass?
Canoes made of aluminum are lighter than those made of wood but heavier than those made of fiberglass. Aluminum canoes have the advantage of being extremely durable. They’re slow yet tough, and they require little upkeep.
The hull of a fiberglass canoe is made of a sheeted material where manufacturers place these in a mold and bond the fibers with resins.
Aluminum canoes are made from two sheets of aluminum that are formed and pushed together, and riveted.
Most aluminum canoe designs are inferior to fiberglass canoes, and many canoe manufacturers no longer make aluminum canoes. Here you can find an overview of canoe materials advantages, disadvantages.
Fiberglass canoes are light, rigid, durable, and long-lasting. They can be shaped to make a craft that rides more smoothly. They aren’t as good for lengthy trips as aluminum canoes, which used to be the preferred option. (Read Will A Kayak Fit Inside My Car)
However, to get a similar durable and stable hull that fiberglass canoes have, aluminum canoes require intricate curves in the metal, which are difficult to achieve with aluminum. It’s rare to come across an aluminum canoe with a complex or sophisticated design.
Aluminum canoes do not corrode or deteriorate when exposed to direct sunlight. You can leave one outside all winter with few adverse effects and little maintenance.
Aluminum canoes, unlike fiberglass, may dent or scratch when they collide with rocks or other hard objects, and unlike fiberglass, they don’t return to their previous shape.
Aluminum canoes or another aluminum water vessel have the benefits of extreme durability. They’re slow yet tough and need little maintenance.
Typically, an aluminum canoes repair will be to weld a patch in place, leaving repair scars on your canoe.
For fiberglass canoe repairs, a patch is frequently used, and when put on properly, it is virtually undetectable.
Aluminum heats considerably in the sun and is freezing in lower temperatures. The glare from the sun reflects off the metal, which can cause issues in use.
Aluminum canoes are heavier than fiberglass canoes and are noisy in the water. Also, they tend to stick to underwater rocks since they are soft metal, making them unsuitable for rocky waterways.
Lightweight fiberglass canoes come in a wide range of qualities, from excellent to poor. The difference is in the way the fiberglass canoe materials are manufactured.
If the canoe is made from fiberglass composite or fiberglass strips, the buyer should know this. Fiberglass composite will describe high-quality canoes made of fiberglass material with many layers of woven fabrics, fiberglass, and handcrafted resin. (Find the Best Kayak Lights For Night Fishing)
Canoes made of fiberglass sheet fibers using no composite material can be brittle and offer little resistance against rocks when canoeing on a shallow river. Chopped pieces of fiberglass canoe material are used rather than more expensive fiberglass cloth for low-quality fiberglass canoes.
Are Aluminum Canoes Heavier than Fiberglass?
Between 60 and 75 pounds is usual for aluminum canoe weight. Compared to wooden canoes, they are often lighter. Kevlar and other light composite materials weigh around 20% less than canoes made of fiberglass or aluminum. Several factors determine the actual weight of a boat.
A typical 16-foot-long 2-person aluminum canoe can hold a maximum weight of roughly 940 pounds. A typical 14-foot canoe that can transport two people and paddle with all their gear with a tool of roughly 700 pounds.
While known for being strong and silent, aluminum canoes have a history of being capable water vessel. An aluminum canoe manufacturer can make their vessel stronger by using aluminum mixed with silicon nickel and magnesium when hot and soft.
Aluminum is a wonderful boat material because it requires very little maintenance; however, modern boats come with complex curves, which are hard to achieve with canoe aluminum.
Aluminum canoes are typically lighter than wooden canoes, although they can be heavier when compared to other materials like Kevlar.
When the weather is cold, you’ll find the aluminum cold on the body, and when the weather is sunny, the aluminum can get hot to the touch when canoeing on open water.
For decades, Royalex has been available to the most casual boat buyers. Royalex isn’t as dense as polyethylene and offers lighter design options than aluminum or wood.
It’s essentially a plastic sandwich of stiff foam and vinyl plastic. Canoes made this way are exceedingly tough, sturdy, quiet, and lighter than aluminum or plastic.
However, all Royalex production was discontinued when PolyOne purchased the manufacturer Uniroyal.
The production procedure for a fiberglass canoe could vary depending on the material quality. Fiberglass canoes are designed using sheets of other materials besides fiberglass.
Kevlar is used to increase resistance and reinforce impact locations, where a stronger Vinyl Ester is used rather than Polyester resin.
This canoe offers the most stiffness and thus offering the best paddle and water performance. Some manufacturers bulk up their canoes using more fiberglass than resin, thus resulting in canoes or kayaks that offer a poorer and floppier paddling experience.
Molds are used to make fiberglass crafts, which may be molded into any shape. On the water, many fiberglass crafts are designed for speed and efficiency.
The pointier shape of the bow and stern entry lines is a design element of fiberglass canoes and kayaks.
For stability, a blunter entry line can be preferable. This implies that fiberglass boat structures are frequently built for various applications, including whitewater and flat water, and are frequently built for efficiency and speed.
One of the most common materials used in canoe building is fiberglass.
A Canoe hull will be made of layers of cloth infused with a resin such as epoxy, or Vinyl Ester, known as ‘composite’ canoes.
You’ll find an exterior gel coat applied to fiberglass composite models to boost their performance, strength, hull durability, and resistance.
Canoes can be made in any shape, although often made by hand using a mold. Like most concrete canoes, Fiberglass canoes are known for their rigidity and well-defined exit and entry lines, which ensure high speed and energy.
Fiberglass models deliver the best speed, efficiency, and quality of the boat’s entry line, besides high rigidity.
Aluminum canoes offer some advantages over canoes made of other materials since they are light and durable.
Pros of Aluminum Canoe Models
- On wilderness camping trips, you can use aluminum as a source of distraction for bears and other wildlife.
- Aluminum is a material that may be recycled and is safe for the environment.
- They are long-lasting and last a lifetime with little maintenance.
- Aluminum offers rust resistance.
- Once on the water, aluminum canoes offer lots of stability.
- An aluminum canoe can be left out in the sun and snow, not like fiberglass that needs covering to preserve hull durability.
- They can carry a heavier weight without affecting maneuverability.
- Most hull repairs can be fixed with little cost and using a rubber mallet.
- Flat bottoms can be used as tables on the campground.
- You can use the aluminum to reflect heat from a campfire.
Cons of Aluminum Canoes
- They are not as lightweight as canoes made from composite materials.
- Aluminum canoes have a slower speed and performance compared to other canoes made of other materials.
- Aluminum is a noisy metal.
- Aluminum metal can be cold to the touch.
- The cost or price of aluminum is higher.
Aluminum canoe types tend to suit a family that occasionally hits the water and doesn’t want too much maintenance of their vessel. They are resistant to bangs and related kids playing and could last for years.