Advice, common knowledge, hearsay, fish tales, experiences of this blogger.
Inflatable boat blog
Aluminum Hull vs Fiberglass rib
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Hypalon vs PVC for your inflatable boat
This is not meant to be a technical article on the differences but a functional description of the two types of fabrics for inflatable boats. Hypalon fabric originally created by Dupont company is the fabric of choice for boaters buying inflatable boats. It provides very good UV resistance, and is a tough coating that holds up in the marine environment. PVC is the most popular of the two fabrics as it offers some UV resistance, it is also is a tough material. Both these materials can be hand glued by the manufacturers and PVC can also be "welded" which may offer a somewhat better bonding. So why pick one over the other. The two main reason are price and UV resistance. PVC boats typically are a third of the price of the same hypalon boat. However hypalon delivers a 3 to 5 times longer life when the boat is exposed to UV. I recommend PVC boats to customers that are going to be rolling up the boat when it is not in use. The customers that are leaving the boat outside for the summer or all the time we would be recommending the hypalon boat. If you are buying a RIB hull boat we always recommend hypalon.
Aluminum hull RIBS are becoming more popular than ever due to the light weight and strength of the hull. If you plan on doing any long distance cruising or beaching of your dinghy the aluminum hull RIB might be the better selection. Fiberglass hull dinghys can be light weight too. We have them at weights as low as 68lbs.The heavier fiberglass hull boats with the double hulls and bow lockers offer a more comfortable layout and a nicer finish than the aluminum hull. Whichever hull you select you are sure to get an excellent ride compared to a roll up or soft bottom boat.