Inflatable Boats Accessories: Fabrics

Neoprene, PVC and Hypalon are coatings for inflatable boats for them to be air tight and waterproofed. These chemicals have nothing to do in strengthening the inflatable boat itself. What makes the boat is its strong base to which neoprene fabric, PVC and Hypalon are bonded. The traditional materials were cotton and silk. However, synthetic fabrics-polyester and nylon-have displaced the traditional materials of silk and cotton. The differences between polyester and nylon are not as diverse as that between PVC and Hypalon though. Seasoned sailors are familiar with the characteristics of nylon and polyester because both are used as cordage on boats.

Polyester is great for rigging where minimal stretch and durability even under the hot sun is needs. Nylon rope is favored as anchor rode, dinghy painter and as dock lines because it s very durable and have the ability to stretch to accommodate weight or absorb force. It can stretch to twice its normal length without losing its strength. Nylon is remove photo-degradable though. A new flexible and dinghy painter can turn stiff and hard to manage when exposed to the harsh sun and salty water. Nylon s ability to stretch and its sensitivity to the sun render it useless as a material for sails. Polyester is better as it does not stretch and is quite resistant to the ultraviolet rays.

A large percentage of inflatable boats out in the market today are built with Dacron, polyester fabric from DuPont. There are nylon-based inflatable boats too. Both fabrics have their pros and cons but it really does not matter what fabric is used except in the case of riverboats where the ability of nylon to stretch is highly favourable. What is important though is the weight of the fabric. What weight of the fabric? Fabrics are weighed in terms of denier or decitex is a current weight in grams of 9,000 get to 10,000 meter long yarn from which the fabric was woven.

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