Accessory questions

-- Last Updated: Feb-01-11 10:36 AM EST --

I am an occasional paddler, not usually for more than a few hours at a time. In the past I have taken a plastic water bottle and 2ce have capsized losing the bottle which is just awful from a littering/environment pov.
So I have bought a metal bottle and am looking for suggestions on how to connect it to the boat. Lanyard's sort of scare me because of possible entanglement after capsizing but I'm open to suggestions. Are there any of those bottle/can clip on holders that seem to work well?
Also I usually take car key, cell phone, and maybe extra glasses depending. I double zip lock and stuff in my bra:) Should I get a dry bag? What type of dry bag thing? Rigid? Soft? and I don't want to risk it floating away with the boat on a river, I want it on me. Ur. Guess that would be a flexible plastic bag:) I would like to add a whistle to what I carry as well.
Recommendations? I have some cheap meshy things that haven't been too bad but am thinking I would like something a little better quality. Good protection if clambering around in the kind of cluttered rivers of brown water I am typically on in the Midwest and good drainage. Any favorites?

P.S. I have an Old Town Loon

If a Loon

– Last Updated: Feb-01-11 6:17 PM EST –

Assuming you are using this boat on the quiet water recommended by the manufacturer, your best bet is probably a dry bag for extra dry clothes etc and installing a D-ring or similar to secure it behind your seat. You should be near enough shore in these boats to be able to land quickly if there is a significant weather change, and if a dry bag is secured behind your seat it shouldn't be an entanglement issue.

As to the water bottle... these boats are like 30 inches or so wide. You should be able to get it against the side between your seat and the outside of the boat, and perhaps glue a mount in there to hold it in case of a capsize.

By the way, where have you tended to capsize? The Loon is not supposed to be in moving water, so that shouldn't be it.

A couple of suggestions
1. for carrying the water bottle and miscellaneous other stuff, get a under deck bag.(4 pads that glue to under your deck in front of you, and then the bag has four clips that attach to the pads). It has a zipper closure.

2. for the car keys, put them in a small dry bag, and keep them in your PFD pocket

3. if the cell phone is small enough, that could go in the same bag. If not put it in a small one and then attach it to your PFD.

4. On the whistle: if you paddle in Coast Guard patrolled waters, or many inland lakes and ponds that are patrolled by other rangers, etc. It is the law to have a whistle or other suitable signaling device.

Get a whistle and keep it attached to your PFD.

Jack L

strorage options
I share Celia’s concern about your reports of capsizing and of fears of the boat getting away from you down the river. Your Loon is not the boat for fast running water. Also, how and where are you capsizing such a wide, stable boat? Out on the water or when entering it on shore? If you are on moving water you should probably have a spray skirt both for comfort and safety.

And your comments about storing small items “in my bra” and hanging things on yourself bring up the question of whether you are wearing a proper PFD – most have pockets and/or d-rings for accessory storage. What kind of PFD are you using?

Unless you have the economy model Loon, most of them have some deck rigging (the bungie cords). A deck bag is my choice for carrying water bottles and other stuff on day trips and that can be attached to the rigging. I use one of those small gasketed hard plastic cases on a lanyard that fits a cell phone, keys and some cash and attach it to a d-ring on the pack or the rigging itself. My signal whistle is in my PFD breast pocket. The typical round water bottle can be a pain to keep under rigging and they roll around in the cockpit. I found a one liter bottled water called “Fred” in a convenience store that comes in softer plastic bottles that are flat – looks like a gin or vodka flask. I saved the bottle for refills and it tucks handily under the bungies and even fits flat against my body in the large mesh lower pocket of my PFD. Another option is to get a bottle sleeve, a padded elasticized fabric holder that the water bottle slips into and can be fastened to the deck.

For shoes on a day trip in junky water, I prefer a cheap pair of Croc type shoes I got at a CVS drug store – they are slimmer and snugger than Crocs with a heel strap and are plastic with swiss cheese holes. I’ve got fancier and pricier footwear but these are the ones I grab for a warm day quick trip. Protect my feet from rocks and broken glass, cushion my heels while paddling and drain even silty or sandy water very well.

Ziplocks bags FAIL

– Last Updated: Feb-01-11 12:39 PM EST –

Protect you phone, keys and valuables - my choice

Bottle carriers come in a zillion styles are quite useful for insulating fluids from the hot sun.
Some may accommodate a chilled gel bag from the freezer allowing for a refreshing drink for hydration.

Mini-biner or flat-biners are great for paddlesports

Shoes are personal preference - my choice - NRS booties

Whistles simply won't work if the wind is blowing hard the other way !
Try it for yourself with a friend one day, they are highly directional.

Of course you have a PFD...right ? The whistle goes on the PFD
It's 2011 - gender specific, personal flotation devices, have been on the market for a few years

Water shoe
I recommend a water shoe with ankle protection such as the NRS Paddle Wetshoe. I had an incident last Summer when I was exiting the water with my Yak and I tripped on some unseen rocks under the water skinning my ankle pretty good which took months to heal. At the time I was wearing some basic water shoe’s from the Big box store.

'biners - not.
IMO, if entanglement is an issue, carabiner-clips and plain snap-hooks are not a good choice. There are better options for quick-release hardware. Such as a combination of web strap and fastex buckles. Another quick-clip fitting that isn’t “self-actuated” is the “trigger-clip” shown here…

Interesting, that whistle has a pea
I thought (the ominous) “they” said that whistles with peas were bad because the pea can freeze in place and become ineffective?

(Of course, this coming from someone who abhors cold.)

So many questions and assumptions.

Yes I have taken the Loon on mild rivers. The kind of rivers that liveries rent Loons on all the time. The Loon is a popular livery boat.

Yes I have tipped trying to get out. Someday I will tip trying to get in. In a rented Loon from a livery I got swept out by a downed tree. They make you sign a waiver about the Sturgeons high capsize rate. Nevertheless it is a popular large livery that many of the rank and file use. Some of us aren’t in the greatest shape, super experienced or maybe just will always be awful kayakers because we are clumsy dorks. Take your pick. And yes I have taken a basic pond kayak class and a beginning river class. But I expect I will still find ways to fall out of my kayak.

I have a MTI Cruiser PFD. It has no pockets and only 1 small bit of elastic near the top of the zipper for I’m assuming a whistle.

I thing the storus looks great but perhaps a bit bulky for a dabbler. I’ll give it some thought.

I would like my water bottle to be a little more accessible than the deck bungees as I am short and old and not that flexible anymore. The there are lots of ways to use drink holders comment. Do people…velcro standard car cup holders to the inside or? velcro some sort of ring to the inside and connect the water bottle to it with a carabiner? I’m googling but not finding too much so far.

Appreciate the whistle tip. No REI near me but I go by one in Michigan sometimes and am going to the DC area.

I’m thinking more of a draining shoe vs. a neoprene bootie

misc thoughts
The Winter 2010 issue of California Kayaker Magazine had an article talking about different forms of dry storage. Zip locks were not rated highly - might be worth investing in a dry bag or box if the stuff you put i it is expensive or important. The article can be read for free online at

On attachment, I would use a biner and stick the bottle under the bungees on the front deck with the biner as extra protection. It stays there, and there aren’t any lines that would get in the way to cause entanglement issues.

Though I do also wonder a bit about how you are using the boat if you flip often, and do it in such a way that you lose bottles. If flat water, and the bottle had even a little air in it, it should float, so be easy to grab.

behind seat
The cockpit of the loon is probably too big for you to be able to reach the bungies on the front deck. Instead try putting it behind your seat. I’ve seen semi-rigid foam water bottle holders for strollers or backpacks, that can be velcroed to a strap. You could attach that to the seat back, and it would hold a water bottle for you.

For dry storage that won’t get swept away with your boat, there are little dry bags made for cell phones, etc, that are about the size of a wallet. Clip it to your PFD, or get a pfd with a pocket.

gotta love the motherhood on this site sometimes… the Loon is the rental boat of choice on the Shenandoah, and other mild rivers I’ve seen. Beginner-friendly, easy to shoulder-carry or pull ashore, easy to empty, fun in little rapids, fish out of it, hop it over ledges/rocks/logs/beaver dams without much issue.

look for a dry bag with a strap to carry your personal items… it can be fastened to the seat frame then worn as a hip pack.

With more info…

– Last Updated: Feb-01-11 6:43 PM EST –

There are a variety of under-deck bags that could hold a drink bottle, or you could do what WW boaters do for the water bottle and have it between your legs just in front of the seat. It is unclear if you are visiting kayak gear sites for accessories - have you looked at for example? It's likely you'll have the best luck with whitewater boat stuff, since they are all plastic like your Loon.

I don't know that particular PFD, but if it is getting worn you may want to look for one with more pockets.

As to where you capsize, if it has been getting in and out I am guessing it is in no more than knee-high water. I suspect that you can safely get away with bit of cord if needed to handle things like a water bottle. If you do get biners, look for something in stainless steel or some high quality alloy. The basic aluminum ones tend to require constant maintenance to keep working when wet.

Re shoes, as much as draining ones are nice on a hot day, they are also not good at protecting your ankles from cuts. I'd suggest that you look at the basic Kickers from NRS and similar shoes like from Chota, for something that would protect you at least to the ankles if you step out into water with nasty things floating or mud. Your feet will be wet while you are paddling... but it is paddling.

Here is my suggestion
I carry a metal dual walled water bottle from Starbucks and it’s great at keeping my water cold (with ice)

I also didn’t want to lose it so I found a neoprene sleeve that it slips into (at a dollar store). It has cutout handles so I bought a carabiner (use them for lots of things) from Home Depot for around a dollar or 2 and clip it from the handle of the neoprene sleeve and to the straps of my seat just behind it. I can just pull it out or unsnap without having to go into a drybag which is a hassle.

I have an Old Town Otter that I use on mild rivers around here. It has no front deck rigging, so to keep my water bottle handy, I looped about 18 inches of 3/16 cord through the hardware on the side of the seat. I fasten my water bottle, the stainless steel variety with a carabiner in the lid (like what is available from LLBean, among others) to the loop. It rides right beside me, tucked between the seat and the side of the boat. My phone, etc., I keep in a dry bag attached via carabiner to the strap on the back of the seat. If I recall correctly, you have a Loon 111, so the seats should be similar.

It’s easy, cheap and foolproof. PM me if you’d like to see a photo.


Old model Teva Proton, or Keens sandals

– Last Updated: Feb-01-11 9:14 PM EST –

The old version of Teva Protons was great. They had lots of mesh but a more substantial sole than what's on the ubiquitous Warmers version (which is flimsy). When I saw that the new version of them ditched the mesh, I stocked up on close-outs of the old ones (have 2 new pairs ready). My first pair lasted 4 to 5 years--generally not much walking in them, but there were several gnarly rocky treks in that time.

Last year I actually saw ONE leftover pair of this discontinued style on a store shelf, heavily discounted. Might be worth doing some Internet shopping for a pair.

If you can't find those, try Keens sandals. Lots of variations on them so you can probably fine one you like. These have even better soles for walking, and they are grippy on rock.

For cold water, I have 2 pairs of NRS Rodeo shoes (not the Rodeo socks, which have thinner soles): one pair for use without socks and one larger pair for use with drysuit and liner socks. They're OK but they feel squirrely. I would not want to walk much in them. They have ankle *coverage* but NOT ankle support. They do not drain at all.

I have an Islander Swifty 9.5 which is similar to the Loon. I bought a small waterproof box from Walmart in the camping aisle. I has a flat plastic strap and a ring to attach a biner to it. I use it to hold my keys, cell, ID and some $. I attach it to a strap on the seat and tuck it behind the seat. I don’t think they still carry the small one, the next size up is about the size of a paperback. Water bottle I stick next to the seat, or use a camelback and store it behind the seat. There are yak clips you can get to click onto the cockpit rim. If you want you can use a small spring clamp or c clamp then hang the bottle off of them. Use your ingenuity.

PFD Hydrator
You might also consider a PFD hydrator instead of a water bottle. NRS makes a nice one that attaches around the shoulder straps of a PFD and has a long strap that goes down the inside back, around the bottom of the PFD, and then buckles to the bottom of the hydrator. These are nice because you are wearing your water, so it is handy in or out of the boat. This hydrator also comes with two shoulder straps that buckle to to the back of the hydrator so it can be used with or without the PFD. This is great if you like to take short hikes when out on paddling trips.



Water bottle = dry storage
If it keeps water IN it will keep water OUT.

I use a wide mouth nalgene bottle as a dry box, my spare keys, cell phone, a pen and a few sheets of paper, and maybe a breakfast bar in mine.

Ditto on the sleeves for the bottles…