Packcloth SeaSocks and SpraySkirts lifespan

I would like to briefly speak about the debate surrounding single coated and double coated fabrics and how they specifically impact Feathercrafters.

Our kayaks in the past have used single coated nylon in most applications, this being the most widely available and price effective method of  waterproofing nylon. The industry standard of single coated nylon packcloth and linebacker, (etc) is and has been widely used by feathercraft and other foldables for a long time. There is an inherent issue with this cloth however; although it is cost effective, comfortable against your body and aesthetically pleasing, its lifespan is not as long as the rest of the materials in our Kayaks.

The fabric used on the sea socks, spray skirts, hatch tunnels & covers has been a single coated nylon.  With a single coated fabric, water can migrate through from the top side and will eventually push the urethane coating off the fabric.  So far, there are no after-market products that will coat it like new.  Depending on the amount of use and humidity, estimated shortest wear can be between three to five years.  In prolonged tropical use, it will be on the shorter side of this scale, in colder climes the coating may last far longer, 10 years or more. This is mostly an issue with the seasocks. Hatch covers and tunnels seem to last a lot longer than the seasock, perhaps due to the lower amount of use and abrasion.

For some people this is not an issue; it is simple to replace your seasock every 5 years or so. For the rest, we have started to make our premium boats (Wisper Xp, K1, Heron, Khats, K2, Klondike) with a double coated nylon, same base denier as the previous fabric, but with a urethane coating on both sides of the fabric. The result is that the core fabric is never exposed to water saturation and cannot press on the coating and de-laminate it. It is a much stiffer fabric (not as supple as the single coated fabric), a much more durable coating, and a higher cost.

You can request replacing the single coated fabric on any boat with the double coated fabric.

The increased cost and weight also needs to be considered.


3 thoughts on “Packcloth SeaSocks and SpraySkirts lifespan

  1. My kayak (a Wisper) has had very light use, but the spray deck, hatch tunnels and hatch covers are delaminating after 7 or 8 years, seemingly rapidly in the last year. I was wondering if this could be because I store them in the pack, somewhat crumpled and because my cellar experiences a temperature range betzween sub 0 celsius and about 30 C over the year. I plan to replace the spray deck, and later the sea-sock (which oddly seems to be in slightly better condition, maybe because it is not as often wet) but I was wondering if there is a service to replace the hatch tunnels? (I am in Switzerland).

    • Thanks for the note!

      This is such an annoying problem…. fabric manufacturing being what it is (profit orientated, quality be damned), we are finding problems far more often than we would like. If you would like to replace your seasock and sprayskirt, you should expect a similar lifespan (probably longer than 8 years though). We shy away from replacing the hatch tunnels as that can (will?) cause damage to the skin. The hatch covers can easily be replace however.

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