Choosing a Polyethylene Canoe: Which Construction?
Introducing DuraTough, HydroLite, DuraCore+ and Hydrolite: canoe constructions pushing the limits of technical moulding

Materials and construction are not all that set the better Polyethylene canoes apart from the rest, but advanced polymers and industry-leading technical-moulding solutions are the basis of high-end manufacturing processes.


By pushing advanced technical moulding to its limits, canoe manufacturers have developed a whole range of different Polyethlene constructions, all suited to a distinctive niche in the market.

For example, Silverbirch Canoes manufactures canoes in Duratough, Hydrolite, Duracore+ and Duralite, with most available in more than one construction.

Every manufacturer offers different options, but the options covered here show what's possible by pushing the limits of materials and processes.

Please note: this guide introduces the range of constructions offered by Silverbirch Canoes, and the reasons for choosing each option over one of the alternatives. Constructions from other manufacturers may map to these in aspiration but will not be directly equivalent due to variations in polymer and moulding process.


Duratough is a thickness optimised single layer hull which is made of the toughest and most durable polymer the product-developers could find.

It is maximised for impact resistance and stiffness. This has been thoroughly checked out, both in the lab and by product testers around the world.

Silverbirch Canoes feeds all research findings back to the polymer company, which works to continually improve the polymer's resilience.

Silverbirch Canoes offer Duratough variants in the Agent 88, Covert 9.3, Covert 10.5 Solo, Covert 10.5 Tandem and Rebel 11.3.

At Silverbirch Canoes, every shell, in every construction, is manufactured within tightly controlled temperature windows using in-house, computer controlled ovens. Manufacturing cycles are constantly adapted to ensure hulls will withstand the rigours of real-world use. 


Hydrolite edition construction brings the pinnacle of advanced, lightweight, polyethylene, as developed in the Silverbirch Canoes factory for top-of-the-range Tootega Kayaks, to the company's flagship Covert 9.3 design.

Development of a thickness-optimised single layer focused on taking advantage of the rigidity provided by the minicell bulkhead to create a hull which handles better both on and off the water.

As a rule, Silverbirch Canoes restrict Hydrolite Construction to the Covert 9.3, offering a variant which comes in 17% lighter than the equivalent Duratough model.

All of the constructions offered by Silverbirch Canoes feature the highest quality of abrasion-resistant, UV stabilised high-density polyethylene as an outer skin. In Duratough and Hydrolite constructions, the outer skin is the only skin! 


Duracore Plus is a three-layer construction that is made to last. The finished hull combines a tough, high-density outer skin, a closed cell foam core, and a medium density inside skin to help dissipate the energy from impacts.

No canoe is truly made for abuse… but whether the fear is abrasion, impacts or neglect, a Silverbirch Canoe in Duracore+ is going to be more resilient than an equivalent in any other Silverbirch Canoes construction.

All Traditional Silverbirch Canoes are available in Duracore+, as is the SB 17.

Both Duracore+ and Duralight are easily repairable at home in the event of accidental damage.


DuraLite is an industry-leading three-layer construction which offers a noticeable weight saving over Duracore Plus, with a slight drop in abrasion-resistance but without any reduction in hull-stiffness.

The noticeable weight saving over any equivalent Duracore+ laminate puts many models made in Duralite into close competition with more expensive canoes made in ABS-based plastics.

All Traditional Silverbirch Canoes are available in Duralite, as is the Rebel 11.3.

Read up on Understandings Rotomoulded (Polyethylene) Canoes for further insight into how Tapered Foam Technology allows Duralite constructions to have greater wall thickness and less weight than a comparable Duracore+ boat.

Choosing a Polyethylene Canoe: Which Construction?
Consult Design Create, Greg Spencer 16 February, 2023
Share this post

Understanding Rotomoulded (Polyethylene) Canoes
Single and Three Layer construction, using HDPE and Tapered Foam Technology, and maximising sustainability

To install this Web App in your iPhone/iPad press and then Add to Home Screen.