Originally Posted by mcfarrel
so i'm not very savvy on materials used for making rafts but i would like to know the advantage of neoprene vs hypalon and pvc?
Is it just more cost effective or are there performance characteristics that make it favorable?
I have read that the pvc material is harder to roll up and stiffer as opposed to hypalon but haven't read anything about neoprene.
Great question! Both Neoprene and Hypalon are synthetic rubber coatings. Neoprene was the first of the two and it's widely been used since WWII as a very durable coating for pontoon bridges, life rafts, tank carriers and you've probably seen the Neoprene J-rigs/snout tubes floating down the Grand Canyon.
Hypalon is basically a newer technology and has a few key differences that make it somewhat more desirable by boaters. The main one being color options. Neoprene cannot hold a pigment, so "you can have any color you want, as long as it's black".
The only other differences are better chemical resistance (not relevant, unless boating in acid) and UV resistance (but we're talking DECADES...refer to old snout tubes still on the river).
Most any Hypalon boat manufacturer, to some degree, has Neoprene in their Hypalon coating. It adheres well to the base fabric and is often the first coating applied to the base fabric.
I guess the best analogy to differentiate the two is like Diesel vs. Unleaded. Diesel is cheaper (should be anyway
) because it takes less of a process to produce it. Same with Neoprene..no pigments, less processes to produce, equals less cost. So hence the discount we can offer for the NEO line, yet still offering a durable rubber boat.
Without inevitably getting into a heated debate over rubber vs. plastic, here are some great characteristics of Neoprene and Hypalon:
Hypalon/Neoprene is easy to roll, store and is very durable in transit.
Hypalon/Neoprene is a cured fabric, meaning it is vulcanized and stable PRIOR to fabrication. It has outstanding UV and abrasion resistance.