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Old 06-16-2009   #1
Chief Niwot's Avatar
West of Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 643
Kayak Plastic Life Span

I am curious how may paddling days you guys get out of a river runner and creek kayaks on average? I know you could have situations were you have damaged your boat, however I am interested in average/normal use. I also realize there is a big variance for normal use depending on the paddler and type of runs you paddle.

The reason I ask is my last canoe was made of thermal molded HDPE sheet matera l(not rotomolded). I am guessing it started out as 1/8" to 3/16" thick new and it lasted one season or approx 70 days. The bottom is in very good shape, but the chine has wore out faster then I would have expected as it sharp and there was not additional material thickness in the chine to support it.

With Canoes approaching $1,500.00, I would expect to get at least two seasons under normal class III/IV- use. Is this unreasonable to expect a kayak to last this long?

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Old 06-16-2009   #2
Snowhere's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 844
Well if you are the type that feels they need to leave plastic on every rock in the river, the kayak will not last long. If you prefer riding over the water rather then all rocks, the boat can last a long, long time. Even back when I had a lot more time to kayak (before kids) I would have a boat for 5+ years before finally selling them off for a newer design. When you have something that works and is comfortable, it is tough to be convinced you have to shell out big $ just to have the latest shell.

So it is all in how you treat the boats. I have a boat shed/house now. After I use whatever, one of 3 kayaks or the raft, I do not leave them outside in the sun. They all go back in the shed and I just stand them up on their tails, or suspend them from the ceiling in the case of the kayaks. No UV damage FTW!

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Old 06-16-2009   #3
Kendo's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 155
i would tend to agree with your thought- 2 years seems a bit short... I am guessing that you probably are not doing alot of boofing... I would change brands on your next purchase.. I have split plastic kayaks but generally its a flaw with the mold not due to actual wear...
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Old 06-16-2009   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 97
One boat = One season
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Old 06-16-2009   #5
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 114
Whatever it is, I am learning that the lifespan of a boat is shorter here in CO.
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Old 06-16-2009   #6
st2eelpot's Avatar
Professional Transient, See above.
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 310
boat life.

I've got about 400 days on my Jackson Rocker, and I do a lot of rocky creeking. Still going fine.
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Old 06-16-2009   #7
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Season 5 on my green Nomad 8.5. And since I just saw 2 broken green Nomads the other weekend on CC of the Ark, I'm not taking season 6 for granted. But I damn sure got my money's worth.
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Old 06-16-2009   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
5 seasons on a nomad? Holy cow! I've averaged about 40 days on a creekboat before cracking it on the front range mank. My low point was about 20 days, but I made the mistake of taking my boat down the source.

Colorado is the mank capital of the US. Get used to buying boats frequently, or get good at patching and welding.
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Old 06-16-2009   #9
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
I know. I was having second thoughts about even typing it, because the jinx factor is so high.

After at least 2-3 dozen Source runs I've sacrificed at least 3 paddles, but the boat is holding up better than I could have imagined. Now, given my sporadic seasons the last few seasons because of house moves and new babies, I sure don't have 400 days of on it. THAT'S impressive - as much from a boat durability standpoint as a sheer dedication to your sport. Figure a 3 year old model boat, 130 days a year? My god, man -do you work? (he says jealously).
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Old 06-16-2009   #10
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
For class III to IV- use I would expect a kayak to last a long time. For creek boating one season if you're lucky seems to be standard around here unless you're willing to boat an Eskimo or Prijon. I'm sure there are few anomalies out there, but someone getting 400 days of creek boating around here is like someone driving their Ford pickup for 400,000 miles on the original engine.

Anyway, III to IV- is another story and you should be getting many years. My EZG seems to just keep going despite abusing it whenever I take it out including low water black rock runs on clear creek. I think it's just that lower speed impacts aren't as big a deal. Also I think there's a conspiracy amongst creekboat manufacturers to force kayakers to constantly replace their boats.

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