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At Rainforest Designs Ltd., we hand craft a wide variety of Nimbus® ocean touring kayaks, from our smallest single, the Cygnet, to our largest double, the Skana. Nimbus® kayaks are designed for functionality and manoeuvrability, while maintaining graceful lines, making them a pleasure to paddle and a treasure to own.

Steve's design objective is to produce kayaks that best suit the comfort and needs of paddlers, while maintaining the beauty of line and high quality of construction for which Nimbus® has become well known. To do this, he carefully designs each kayak himself and tests it in the development stages. When he is satisfied with the design, a mould is built and carefully finished. Then each kayak is hand crafted using the best materials and methods available today. However, the work doesn't stop there. Steve constantly strives for ways to improve his kayaks and construction techniques.

Vacuum bagging technology is the best process presently available to produce composite kayak hulls and decks. It results in a more homogeneous, tougher laminate than that which results from a hand lay-up. These superior laminates are produced by compressing the fibreglass/Kevlar®; by approximately seven pounds per square inch while laminating the hull or deck. This vacuum bagged laminate has a higher fibre content than a hand lay-up, which means that for equal weight, vacuum-bagged laminates are far stronger with more fibre and less resin (the weakest component in the laminate). The end result is stronger, better-built kayaks. The very nature of how vacuum-bagged laminates are made results in either very good laminates--or very bad ones, if things go wrong.

The other advantages of vacuum bagging are: the resin is fully-cured on the inside surface because the vacuum bag separates the surface from the air during the curing process (most fibreglass laminating resin is air-inhibited, which means that it never fully cures when left exposed to the air). The resulting glassy smooth inside surface of the kayak means gear, footwear and skin will not be exposed to the abrasion common in a kayak made by hand lay-up. The fully cured inside surface is also much easier to keep clean. Another plus for vacuum bagging is that the process is clean: resin is sealed under a nylon bag while the part is worked on, resulting in fewer volatile organic emissions (we wouldn't be building kayaks if we had to hand laminate them).

Quite simply, vacuum-bagging technology is superior--the only disadvantage is the extra cost. Additional equipment, materials and labour are required for this technique. We feel the benefit, in terms of value added to our kayaks as a result of this vacuum bagging procedure, far outweighs the drawback of the added cost.

We spend more time finishing our kayaks than do other manufacturers. For example, we take great care joining the decks and hulls of our kayaks. This is one of the most important steps in the construction of a kayak. Our boats are seamed inside and out, with extra time spent getting outside seams on smoothly. We prepare the surface where the outside seam is installed to ensure a good bond; laminate a layer of fibreglass tape in place; fill the weave in the tape and sand it smooth, taking care to feather the edges; then retape the seam and apply gelcoat to it. (Few, if any, manufacturers perform all these steps.)

All our touring kayaks come with our "Creature Comfort Seat" as standard equipment. These seats are very comfortable and are easy to modify to suit those with particular preferences. The seat is comprised of a contoured foam seat base, which is covered by a mesh sleeve to which an adjustable backrest is attached. You can change the length of the seat base by sliding the mesh cover around the foam seat and repositioning the backrest. You can also adjust the tilt of the seat base by changing the foam wedge under the front of the seat. (This ability is especially important for those paddlers who are prone to having their legs fall asleep.) The width of the seat is adjustable by a set of hip pads which clip in place and have several settings. The contoured foam seat can also be modified for a custom fit by simply trimming away excess foam with a razor knife. As a alternative, add a Thermarest Sport Seat™ between the foam pad and the mesh cover with the valve sticking out the side. Deflate until comfortable. Please note: care should be exercised to not significantly change the kayak's stability while doing this. One final unique adjustment of our seat system is the ability to change the position of the entire seat fore or aft in the cockpit. This allows paddlers of different sizes the ability to balance the kayak for their particular weight distribution.

Resin: We use a vinyl ester based resin that is tougher and absorbs less moisture than cheaper polyester resin. The vinyl ester we use for all our composite kayaks has a molecular backbone very similar to epoxy resin, resulting in a stronger, longer lasting boat.

Gelcoat: We use only more expensive NPG gelcoats, which are harder wearing, for our exterior finish on kayaks; so, as our boats get older, the finish looks better and lasts longer.

Cloth: We use woven or sewn materials wherever possible, resulting in a stronger, lighter kayak due to higher fibre content compared to one built with mat (CSM). We use a finely woven glass cloth against the gelcoat on all our boats. Our vacuum-bagging technique allows us to use this tightly woven fabric, which results in less material print-through than you would get using a heavy woven roving or coarsely woven material as the first layer.

Reinforcement: We use a variety of materials for specific reinforcement of stress points in our kayaks. We include extra glass material in the bow and stern for abrasion resistance and Kevlar®; to provide extra impact resistance. Additionally, all hulls and decks are reinforced with unidirectional glass to add extra strength and stiffness where needed.

Each Nimbus® touring kayak is expedition outfitted with foot controlled, flip up rudder (some exceptions), large hatches and watertight compartments, bow chart holders, stern storage lines, foredeck storage tray, quick release paddle float attachment straps, a perimeter or tow line, and outside seams, all as standard equipment.

® Kevlar is a registered trademark of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. DuPont Canada Inc. is a licensee.