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11/13/2017 8:58 am  #1

Kevlar Fusion vs Carbon Fusion

Hey Everyone,

I’m contemplating adding another flatwater boat to the fleet. Sold on a Swift Keewaydin 16 I think and really hadn’t considered going with Carbon Fusion but now that I’m in the buying process the 3 extra lbs of weight savings is attractive.

I asked Swift how much durabilty I would be giving up and was told this:

“Both materials are more than capable of withstanding anything you'd encounter doing flatwater trips. The difference is that carbon isn't as flexible as Kevlar is. So if you have an 'accident' (drop the boat off the car, paddle at 20mph into a rock, etc) a carbon boat will show damage more likely than a Kevlar boat. Kevlar will flex farther and return to form, whereas carbon fiber won't flex as far and therefore can cause paint damage, patches, etc. They're not brittle and they're backcountry proven, you just may have to do some repair work over the years if you're hard on your equipment.”

So good explanation but I’m still interested in hearing from anyone with experience in a carbon fusion boat. Do you wish you had gone with something stronger or has it held up well? Have you used both KF and CF boats? Your opinion going with one over the other?

Both my canoes are KF right now. I wouldn’t say I’m hard on my canoes but not super gentle either. 

Thx !



11/13/2017 4:46 pm  #2

Re: Kevlar Fusion vs Carbon Fusion

3 lbs! Go to the gym Shawn!! Hah just kidding.

If you were ordering new I guess it's not that much of a price difference between KF and CF ($300/tempting). But if you are buying something already made then there could be a more significant price jump as most CF boats also have the Carbon Tech package installed (another $300). At least that is what I saw when I was shopping this year.

I bought a Kevlar Fusion Kee16 from Swift at Oxtongue Lake at the end of the season. It was a 2016 build at a significant discount over new. $700 cheaper than the CF demo they were also selling at a discounted price. Price aside I don't think I would buy a Carbon Fusion boat for tripping. I don't think the Kevlar Fusion Layup is all that durable. Stiff, sure! Light, definitely!! Durable... I've owned tougher. Going to a rigid and less forgiving layup would be a no go for me. I don't baby canoes at all. Running beaver dams, dragging up and down Canadian shield take outs and put-ins, running swifts and the odd rapid. I'd take a tougher boat before I'd take a lighter one.


11/13/2017 6:14 pm  #3

Re: Kevlar Fusion vs Carbon Fusion

MartinG wrote:

3 lbs! Go to the gym Shawn!! Hah just kidding.

LOL ok gram weenie, spreadsheet nerd!!

Honestly though I've been known to trip with people who keep themselves in fantastic physical condition and I need every advantage I can get 

I hear you and I will likely land on KF just thinking the CF seems to have made some advancements in recent years and if I'm not giving up much durability I'll take the 3 lbs. Must do my due diligence.

Congrats on the new Kee 16 by the way !! OOHH ! What colour? What Colour ?!!!
How many weeks did you have one empty spot in your garage from selling the Prospector??

Right now I'm leaning towards staying with the greater durability of the KF. I like the look and weight savings of the carbon though  so maybe all carbon components including the carbon innegra interior instead of Kevlar.


     Thread Starter

11/14/2017 8:05 am  #4

Re: Kevlar Fusion vs Carbon Fusion

" don't think the Kevlar Fusion Layup is all that durable." I hope you meant the Carbon fibre!
I've got a Kippawa in kevlar fusion and find it plenty tough for flatwater and even mildWW (and I've paddled some bony stuff!). In fact it 's tough enough that I used  six of them to teach wilderness tripping to scouts- as anyone knows, if you want to gear test stuff, hand it over to a bunch of competitive teens!

Last edited by scoutergriz (11/14/2017 8:07 am)


11/14/2017 5:45 pm  #5

Re: Kevlar Fusion vs Carbon Fusion

Nope I meant Kevlar Fusion. I don't think it is particularly durable. They are stiff and light but not tough. I know quite a few Swift owners who would agree with me on this. I'm not complaining. Heck I bought another! I think Swift prioritizes weight over durability. I have owned composite canoes by Swift, Souris River, Novacraft and Hemlock. Swift is by a good margin the least durable of the bunch. Still great canoes!


11/19/2017 9:34 am  #6

Re: Kevlar Fusion vs Carbon Fusion

I have both and I don't treat either one with kid gloves. The CF has more stress cracks from impacts than my KF for sure. But, I'm a bit soft myself so I really like the weight savings with carbon. If I had to choose just one, I think it would be Kevlar


12/08/2017 9:42 am  #7

Re: Kevlar Fusion vs Carbon Fusion

Thx everyone for your opinions. Shawn I've watched a few of your log cabin building videos. If you're soft I'm in big trouble.http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

I ended up going with Kevlar Fusion but got the carbon innegra interior to match the carbon components. I think that's the right call. Added durability with the look i was after.

I'll get my butt to the gym over the winter for the 3 extra lbs as Martin suggests. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

Thx !

     Thread Starter

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