If you are looking to buy the best inflatable kayak you no doubt have come across the term Denier weight in the descriptions of the boats. And if you are like I was when I first started out on my journey into the wonderful world of inflatable kayaks you have no idea what Denier weight is and why you should care.
This article will give you insight into this important metric that will allow you to better compare inflatable canoes and kayaks.
In the inflatable kayak industry; denier is the standard unit of measurement for the thickness/weight of the various fabrics and fibers used in the construction of the water crafts. Heavy duty inflatable kayaks used for whitewater and long range expeditions will have a denier in the 1 200 range or above.
However, depending on the fabric used, denier between 800 and 1 200 can also be considered heavy duty. Anything less then 800 should make you suspect. As a general rule as denier increases so does weight, resistance to tears and abrasions, increased durability and increased price.
So What Is Denier Weight?
All fabrics in the textile industry have various measurements associated with them. These measurements include fineness, yield, density, woolen count, cotton count, worsted count, number metric, among others.
Denier is one such measurement that is associated with the linear mass density (weight or thickness) of silk, rayon, nylon, and manmade fibers. It is a fixed length system that uses the weight of a given length (9,000 meters).
The linear mass density is the mass (weight) of the fiber in each unit length. It is represented as mass in grams per 9,000 meters. In other words, how much of the fibers can be found by mass (weight) in every 9,000 meters of the fabric.
Denier is an imperial measurement and its International System of Units (SI) counterpart is the Tex. Therefore, 1 denier = 1/9 Tex. The following equation is the mathematical representation of one denier: 1 denier = 1 gram per 9 000 meters. This equation further simplified is 1 denier = 0.111 milligrams per meter.
The general rule of thumb is the lower the denier measurement, the finer (sheerer) the fiber/fabric while the higher the denier; the coarser or thicker the fabric.
As you can see denier weight is a very good indicator of the quality of material used in the construction of inflatable canoes, kayaks and boats. The best inflatable kayaks will have sufficient denier weight for the purpose they are designed for.