The Future of Float

A new material that's light, strong, and affordable could revolutionize the next generation of kayaks

May 16, 2007
Outside Magazine

TOPDOG Illustration

1.) Weight
Manufacturers expect MFT boats to weigh a third less than similar models made with traditional thermo-formed plastic. No MFT boats were available for testing at press time, but the material shouldn't diminish paddling performance. Legacy Paddlesports will introduce an MFT boat later this year (price TBD).

2.) Strength
Until now the material was seen chiefly in personal body armor, military vehicles, and race cars. How tough is it? A quarter-inch-thick MFT panel will stop a bullet traveling at 1,200 feet per second. So it should hold up to hucking off waterfalls and bumping through rapids.

3.) Construction
Polypropylene MFT (derived from the same stuff used to make long underwear) is made into a yarn that's triple-layered, heat-bonded, and pressure-molded. MFT's density is less than one, which means that unlike carbon fiber or fiberglass, it floats. And it's both durable and repairable. MFT won't shatter in the cold—in fact it gets stronger. Frayed or scratched MFT can be repaired with a little heat. Hold a lighter up to a flaw and it instantly melts back into the fabric matrix.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Need a Gear Fix?

Open email. Get latest gear. Repeat.

Thank you!