I have an older plastic Coleman canoe. It gets a lot of abuse I have noticed some weak spots that may be a problem in the future. I looked around online and seems that they are made of High-density polyethylene (HDPE) one of the first things I found was this welding video which seems like a pretty sweet solution. But I am also finding some references that suggest repairs to plastic canoes don't last long. I was not able to tell if welding as shown in the video was a long term or short term solution.

What if any solution is there for long term repairs to plastic canoes that will hold up as well as the original canoe materiel?

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    Note: the related question I put a big gouge in the bow of my canoe going across rocks. How can I fix it? is for a fiberglass canoe Aug 19, 2015 at 15:19
  • This question may not be a duplicate. It seems to refer to an open canoe with a plastic/foam sandwich construction which would dictate a different method of repair/different considerations to that of a blow-moulded PE solid PE kayak repair that the question now likes as duplicate to.
    – Niall
    Sep 6, 2015 at 19:56
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    @JamesJenkins While likely too late to help you: HDPE welding is standard practices, and about the only way to fix a PE hull. Practice on a PE barrel first. Like many things there is a knack to it. The torch is fairly cheap as I recall. That said, there is good reason that Colemans were referred to as Coleman Beer Coolers. They are not very good canoes. Dec 26, 2018 at 5:30

1 Answer 1


This style of welding is the standard method of repair for holes and splits in plastic hulled kayaks, though I've seen much neater jobs. Some manufacturers leave extra material around the cockpit so there's spare of the right colour for welding.

Welded plastic can never be as strong as the original hull. It's generally considered that once a boat has been repaired in this way it's no longer suitable for high grade rivers and will be sold off cheap to beginners.

I'm not aware that there is any plastic repair possible that maintains the original strength of the hull.

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