Inflatable Boat Tube Fabric Guide

Inflatable Boat Tube Fabrics
Hypalon and Neoprene Coatings (Synthetic Rubber Coatings):
Hypalon is a synthetic rubber material patented by DuPont. Hypalon has many applications in many industries and it has proven itself as a material with excellent air holding capabilities and oil resistance. Hypalon coated onto polyester or nylon fabric with an interior coating of neoprene a very reliable and durable inflatable boat fabric and can last for more than a decade even in the harshest environments – which is the reason for warranties of five and 10 years.

Hypalon Construction:

The seams in Hypalon boats are either overlapped or butted, and then glued. Butted seams produce an aesthetic, flat, airtight seam, without the ridge or air gaps left by some overlapped seams. However, butted seams are more labor-intensive, thus the boats are usually more expensive. It is always wise to look for an inflatable boat with seams that are double-taped, and are glued on both sides. In stress tests, Hypalon and neoprene glued seams are so strong and reliable that the fabric will fail before the seams.

PVC (Plastic Coatings):
PVC is a vinyl polymer chemically known as polyvinyl chloride. It has several applications in the leisure and construction industries. In the inflatable boat industry it is used as a coating on polyester or nylon to increase the strength and tear resistance. Because it is a type of plastic, it can be thermobonded or glued. This allows the manufacturer to mass produce boats on a large scale with machines and unskilled labour. PVC coated fabrics come in a larger array of colours than Hypalon

PVC Construction:

The seams of PVC-coated inflatables can be fused together using several different welding techniques. Some manufacturers use either high heat pressure, radio frequencies (RF), or electronic welding. Large, specially developed welding machines must be used to fuse the fabric together. Again, this makes it easier and faster to produce PVC-coated boats, especially over handcrafted Hypalon boats.

Are your Tubes PVC or Hypalon?  click here to find out


  1. Hello Dave, I have double checked the facts on Hypatex Fabric used on Ribeye inflatable boats. Hypatex is in fact a form of PVC not Hypalon as the name might suggest, so “Polymarine 2 part PVC Adhesive” is the product for permanent repairs should the need arise, and the Polymarine Emergency Repair Kit for PVC inflatables would be ideal for quick repairs when you need it done fast.
    Regards, Bryan.

  2. Hi there, I have just bought a Ribeye rib which the manufacturers website says is made of Hypatex. Googling the material leaves me no wiser as there is conflicting info out there. Some say the name is a play on the word hypalon making people believe they are getting hypalon when it is in fact PVC. Another says it is a trilaminate hypalon material.

    I just want to get a repair kit in case it ever needs a repair. Hope you can help,



  3. Hi Paul, We do have Sealflex, a flexible latex sealant used internally for sealing porosity and minor leaks in Hypalon and PVC inflatables and many other structure made from these fabrics.

  4. Do you supply a “fluid” sealer that can be put inside the tubes to seal small punctures from the inside. I have heard of such a thing for wheelbarrow wheels.

  5. Hi Mike

    For your boat registration numbers – Polymarine Liquid Letters Hypalon Paint.

    Polymarine Sealflex is our product for sealing porosity and minor leaks in Hypalon.

    If your boat’s Hypalon fabric is beyond a good cleaning (Polymarine Inflatable Boat cleaner), then Polymarine Flexithane Paint is an excellent way to get a good finish on your inflatable, you can see restoration examples on the website, plus a great review by ‘Practical Sailor Magazine’.

    Best regards

  6. what options do i have as far as registration number/letters on my 2003 Avon Rover 340? Is there a paint that i can use or a specific decal/adhesive that i must use for Hypalon? the original numbers are fading (white boat with gray letters) and an “officer” suggested that i enusre that i make sure the numbers are more contrasting due to the fading…

    also, is Toob Seal the only product for an inside small leak repair or are there other brands that work just as well?

    sorry, one more…is painting the tubes really a good idea or does it just look like i painted the tubes (a lot of “ad type” before and after projects but not sure if thats just product sales-y stuff or the real deal.


  7. Most Seagos are PVC, it’s best to check using the suggested method above ( the Hypalon or PVC? test)

  8. my inflatable is a seago i think it is made of hypalon but not sure can you confirm

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