After we decided that carbon fibre was the right material to make our frame, we turned to the task of finding the right material for the skin of the kayak. We knew that the material needed to be incredibly strong, lightweight, easy to manipulate, and easy to fit over an irregular form (like a kayak).
When we were testing the frame with the skin on it, we used a biodegradable film to make sure that the frame held up in water. Testing the frame with this biodegradable skin allowed us the time to do some valuable tests to make sure that we were using the best methods and materials to make the Justin Case Kayak a reality.
With the biodegradable skin, we were allowed the time to safely and efficiently test the frame and they kayak concept while being environmentally responsible. After we perfected the frame, we turned to the task of finding the perfect skin for the kayak. The biodegradable film worked, but we wanted something a little sturdier.
After a few trial and error tests, we found ripstop fabrics. Ripstop fabrics are unique in that they are woven using a special reinforcing technique that makes them resistant to ripping and tearing. This is an especially important quality when it comes the Justin Case Kayak. Because the kayak is going to be exposed in the water to sticks, rocks, and more, the skin needs to be strong enough to take the stress of that environment. This is why we chose ripstop nylon.
Ripstop nylon has thick reinforcement threads interwoven at regular intervals in a crosshatch pattern. This crosshatch pattern and the regular placement of the reinforcing threads makes ripstop an incredibly strong fabric with a slightly three dimensional structure. Additionally, the crosshatch pattern also means that small tears in the fabric cannot spread and create long tears in the fabric.
Ripstop nylon is similar to carbon fibre in that it is incredibly lightweight in addition to being incredibly strong. The strength to weight ratio is another reason we chose ripstop for our Justin Case Kayak skin. We wanted to make sure we found a material that kept the Justin Case Kayak light, portable, and easy to store.
As we continue to build the Justin Case Kayak and find the materials to make this portable and accessible kayak a reality, we will keep you updated so you know the second it’s available to you. Until then, happy adventuring!