Some of the world’s most ingenious creations have been thought up and made right here in the USA, such as Harley Davidson Bikes, cheese burgers, and 3D printing. Did you know the bellyak joins this prestigious list too? In fact, we are 100% made in the USA. The handles, hatch, and pad all come from North Carolina, and graphics from Arizona. They are expertly molded at BIG Adventures in Fletcher, NC, who are also the molders behind Liquid Logic and Native Watercraft. Sure, we could have our boats made in China for a lot cheaper thus sell our boats for less, but there are loads of reasons why we don’t want to do that – and neither do you! Here’s our top 3:
1. Quality Control
Not many people know what goes into making a plastic boat and the quality control measures necessary to make an excellent product. Let us walk you through it! Almost all plastic kayaks on the market are rotationally molded. Think of rotational molding this way: Imagine a glass jar. Now imagine taking a candle and shaving small bits of wax into this jar. Then imagine the jar being heated over a candle while being rotated and rocked back and forth. The wax melts and coats the inside of the jar. Now imagine breaking this jar, and inside you have a mold of the jar. This is rotomolding in a nutshell (or in a jar…). To make a kayak, polyethylene powder is placed in an aluminum mold (instead of wax shavings in a jar), and then cooked at approximately 600 degrees while rotating in two directions. What comes out is a tough and durable plastic boat.
As simple as it sounds, this process requires regular checks to make sure the quality is at it’s peak. Avoiding thin spots, making sure there are no pinholes, making sure graphics are applied correctly all require a keen eye and pride of workmanship, which is why we partner with the guys who mold the boats for LiquidLogic. As a result, our watercraft are built to exacting standards, ensuring you years of enjoyment.
2. Made in USA is Good for our Economy
By keeping our bellyaks made down the road, we’re helping add and sustain jobs into our local economy. Not only that, but the money we pay to have them built also gets pumped back into manufacturing American-Made goods. So, every time you buy a bellyak, you’re helping the cogs turn in a large way both in Western North Carolina and the country. We are also proud to be part of the Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC, a group of companies dedicated to the manufacture of outdoor goods based around Asheville NC.
3. It’s Good for the Planet
A carbon footprint is the sum of all emissions from activities over a given time. The smaller your carbon footprint, the nicer you’re being to the world. By having our boats made in USA – within 20 miles in fact of Bellyak HQ – we can help reduce our carbon footprint. We’re removing extra transportation – trains, planes, and automobiles – and have better control over our inventory. Also, the incredible durability of the boats means they’ll last you season after season…great for you, not so great for us!
So there you have it! 3 – of about 3,498 reasons – why Made in USA isn’t just a nice thing to say. Wondering how the idea of the bellyak came to be? Check out the History of Bellyak: Part I for all the answers!