Why It's Coolt looks like a fiberglass-composite boatbut the price says plastic. It's cut-sheet plastic, thermoformed into a material Perception calls "Airalite." Deployed here in the Carolina 14.5, the company's quintessential day-touring boat, the material makes a formerly rotomolded craft stiffer, lighter, and sleeker. » While the gloss factor makes the boat look good on top of your car, Airalite really shines when you lift this relatively feathery 54-pounder up there in the first place. » The Carolina's comfortable backband is rigged with a ratchet system like those found in most whitewater boats. » Gear hounds and rainy-day paddlers will appreciate the neoprene-sealed hatch covers.Hmmm . . .The impact strength of Airalite is less than that of other types of plastic, and it can't be reshaped. Though this boat is durable over the long haul, don't let it fly off the roof rack in the carpool lane.