View topic - Hellman Duralite / Duratuff vs Esquife T-formex on rivers

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PostPosted: April 21st, 2020, 6:43 pm 
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Joined: April 21st, 2020, 2:09 am
Posts: 24
Location: British Columbia
T-formex vs Duralite vs Duratuff?
I know what abuse t-formex can take from working at a shop that rented them and using them on trips. I have a duralite boat now that I’ve been kinda babying but have heard lots of good things about it springing back and taking big hits. Does anyone have anything to say about abrasion tolerance of Duralite or Duratuff? I'm pretty good at not hitting stuff but sometimes the rock isn't as deep at it looked. Sometimes you load your boat and by the end it’s sunk enough and is stuck on a rock. Sometimes you need to drag your boat on the portage. Sometimes you grind over rocks. I know t-formex can take this by leaving plastic behind but how does duralite or Duratuff fair? I take pretty good care of my gear but don’t want to have to baby it.

Our prospector is Duralite and seems so thin. But there have been no issues and I’ve heard lots of good things about how durable the Duralite is. On a weekend trip I wouldn’t be too worried about it but it’s the times the boat is loaded for a couple weeks that I wonder about all that weight running the Duralite over a rock.

Bob Hellman says he uses duralite on WW all the time. But he also has a shop to fix anything and is definitely a better paddler than I am.

PostPosted: April 22nd, 2020, 12:56 pm 
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Joined: October 16th, 2008, 9:20 am
Posts: 1407
Location: Oshawa
I have a duratuff Hellman Scout. Unfortunately I haven’t used it much and can’t say how “good” it is. I can say I’ve knocked it around enough to feel comfortable in whitewater but I just can’t say how well the material holds up after many repeated uses. I have to put new gunnels on it which Bob provided free of charge because they warped to form a diamond shape as opposed to a thin oval (how most canoes look).

"It's healthy to be dirty" - Lars Monsen

PostPosted: April 25th, 2020, 7:09 pm 

Joined: September 8th, 2006, 7:11 pm
Posts: 921
Location: winnipeg
I also cannot comment on the ultimate toughness (not willing to toss mine off a roof or hit it with a sledge-hammer, the two common tests it seems). I've used mine (Slocan Duratuff) on trips and have taken some pretty big hits with no damage. I'm sure if I wrapped it there would be issues, though even broken in half a composite canoe can be fixed. Epoxy is good stuff and Hellman's stiffening methods make a canoe both stiff and very durable. The flexible gel-coat will really help with abrasion resistance (sacrificial, but can be repaired if you like, unlike the plastics which eventually will be nothing but scratches).

I will say it paddles much better than any royalex or poly boat I have used, and is considerably lighter. To clarify that, I had a Trailhead by Mad River 17' Prospector that was 94lbs. It was reasonably stiff and paddled well, though obviously wasn't great on the portage. Any royalex/poly canoe I have used that is closer in weight to the Duratuff has been much more flexible/floppy.

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