The difference between Hypalon and PVC fabric

There are two main types of fabric of which most inflatable boats are made:

  1. PVC
  2. Hypalon.

Most Mercury, Sea Eagle and Zodiac inflatable boats are made of PVC. Caribe, AB and Achilles inflatable boats are made of Hypalon.



Significantly less expensive then Hypalon


Won’t last as long in the direct sunlight as Hypalon before it starts to fade out (if left unprotected). Does not tolerate sunscreen and insect repellent as well as Hypalon.



Will last significantly longer than PVC when exposed to prolonged periods of direct sunlight. Will tolerate fuel spills, sunscreen, insect repellent, and exhaust fumes better than PVC.


Significantly more expensive then PVC.

In general PVC fabric won’t last as long as Hypalon fabric if the boat is subjected to prolonged periods of direct sunlight and no measures have been taken to protect the PVC fabric from the sun (i.e. boat cover or UV protectant). After a number of years in direct sunlight the PVC fabric will become sticky and fade out.

Exposure of PVC inflatable boats to direct sunlight is not a problem unless your boat is going to be outside and unprotected for extended periods. If you only use the boat occasionally such as on weekends or while on vacation then it isn’t much of a factor. Even if you leave your boat outside, using a boat cover or piece of tarp when it is not in use can solve the issue.

All Escape inflatable products are made of 1,100 Dtex (0.9mm) new generation UV resistant PVC fabric with polyester support. This fabric has excellent resistance to tearing, tension and breaking.

Your Escape inflatable boat is hand-sealed at the seams for perfect, glue free seaming, the most expensive and reliable method used today. Each seam is strengthened with four layers of bonded fabric for maximum strength and durability. Escape seams are virtually indestructible and will not fall apart, even after many years of use in any weather. All seams are quadruple overlap for better protection as shown below:


FabricSeam Overlap

There are currently two major methods constructing an inflatable boat:

  1. Welded seam; and
  2. Glued seam.

Currently there is a lot of misunderstanding about “glued” PVC vs. “welded”. Firstly, “glued” PVC is actually solvent-welded, whereas “welded” PVC is heat-welded. This produces a result that is similar to fusing the membrane in both methods. Secondly, “welded” PVC may be more susceptible to damage from folding than “glued” PVC. Furthermore, the four layer bonding construction used by Escape actually provides more overlay and reinforcement of the seam than the simple overlap of welded construction of welding.

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