The short, simple answer is that generally hypalon is preferable to PVC. Where it gets difficult is in the thickness of the hypalon versus which PVC fabric
the dinghy in question happens to be constructed of.
We have an aluminum
, and it's original tubes were hypalon, a Gemini
dinghy. Previously, we had owned only hypalon dinghies, first, a very used 13 ft. Zodiac
, glued up by diligent French women
; then a DSB, a German one, which lasted a very long time... we've averaged roughly 10 yrs. per dinghy, but the Zodiac
was 10 yrs old when we got it! The dinghy was stolen and set afire, but we recovered the hull
, and had Gemini
replace the tubes. Those tubes were made from South African hypalon that was thinner than the hypalon we had had previously on other brands of dinghy, and did not last as well. Ironic, because they weighed less and we thought having the dinghy lighter would make it easier to handle, which it did, but we didn't realize the hidden cost of less longevity.
When those tubes wore out, after discussions with a reliable dinghy repair
shop, we settled for German PVC reputed to be very good quality, fabricated into tubes in China
by the source recommended by the shop. At that time, here, proper gauge hypalon was over twice as costly as the PVC. We are now into the PVC experiment
8 yrs. Where exposed to the elements, the white has little grey marks on it, so it does not look pristine; however, it looks and feels pretty much like new, the seams are still all good, still holds air well. The dinghy has worn chaps since 2 weeks after we bought it, and is on its second set of them. At 8 years, we're feeling it was probably the right move, but bear in mind, it is both intentionally very high quality PVC and construction, and you need both for good longevity. We were not game
to try it uncovered, so it has had the benefit of chaps the whole time. [And, we make our own chaps, so all it costs to have them is the purchase
of the Sunbrella, ptfe thread, our labour, and the SOLAS reflective tape I add so it shows up at night by flashlight.]