Anybody ever put float bags in a Kruger?

Actually, I have a Mad River Monarch…but so close in dimensions it probably doesn’t matter.

A paddler with a Sea Wind was practicing self rescue and discovered his boat would sink to the bottom when swamped.

I may have some big water paddling in my future and whether I do it or not depends on my ability to self rescue. Was thinking the less water I could get in the boat, the better, and was thinking about adding float bags. There is some foam flotation in both ends of my boat but plenty of room for a couple float bags…If anyone has done this, I would appreciate some advice on size/style/models that would work best, and how to keep them in place too.



On keeping them in place, you would
have to glue in some little strap segments or small D-ring patches. West G-flex would be a good glue. Where they need to go depends on where the grommets are on the float bags. Often only the back corner grommets need to be attached in a decked boat, which saves your having to install access to the front or nose grommet.

You don’t need it!

… but please make sure to send me the GPS coordinates in case I’m wrong … :wink:

stay tuned
I’ll get back to you after saturday when I get out there in some warm flooded backwaters of the Mississippi which would be great for this kind of practice. Soybean fields 0-6’ deep.

not sure what to expect, trying to do a cowboy re-entry. Might be so stable I don’t even need to do that…

Gaia Watersports, Mohawk Canoes, Harmony, and Northwest River Supplies all make good quality bags. You can easily determine the size you need by measuring your boat. For a 17’ 3" boat I’m pretty sure you would want a 60" bag in the back.

Note that 60" is the maximum length of the uninflated bag when flattened out. When inflated the bag shortens up to maybe 54" or so, but it depends on the shape of the boat. You also can use a bag bigger than the space you want to fill and inflate as much of it as needed.

In the front, see where the ends of your feet wind up and measure from that point to the stem to determine the bag size.

The partial decks will help to keep the bags in, but if the boat capsizes or swamps the water will want to float the bags right out of the stems of the boat and up out of the hull, so you need a “bag cage” to keep the bag stuffed into the stem and down into the hull. There are many ways to do this and they are all variations of the same basic system. Take a look at this picture:

You can see that the yellow float bag (partially covered by the deck plate) is held into the hull and into the end of the boat by a “cage” of 3mm nylon parachute cord lacing (black here) and a 1 inch wide purple nylon webbing “keeper strap”. There are 3 one inch D-rings mounted on blue vinyl bases glued to the hull bottom. The center one secures the keeper strap and the other two allow for a more elaborate bag end cage to keep the bag stuffed into the hull.

There is a Microsoft Word document describing how to make this here: Click on “End Bag Cage”.

I’m guessing you don’t want to drill small holes through your cockpit coaming to run the parachute cord lacing (which is one way to do it). You can buy small nylon loops or “inchworms” or padeyes like these: and glue them in under the deck just outboard of your cockpit coaming to run the lacing through. (G-Flex should work for these and the D-rings).

You will also need an anchor for the keeper strap in each end of the boat but since you have the decks the straps wouldn’t need to go all the way to the stems. You could glue a D-ring under each deck near the cockpit coaming, for example.

You will still want some sort of bilge pump to help bail out the water after you rescue. If you want to go whole hog, you could install a battery-powered electric pump, or just rough it with a manual pump.

thx for advice, results…
Okay…the Monarch will not sink. It floats upright with the cockpit above water level. However, the boat will hold an enormous amount of water! Courtesy of its huge cargo capacity.

With the typical amount of water in the boat due to a capsize, I was unable to re-enter the boat. When trying to do so, it just took on too much water and “sank”.

Displacing water through float bags would make reentry possible. In a worse case scenario, I could bail out the cockpit when I was in the water next to the boat. It would take awhile. I can get back into the boat if it is not too full of water.

So a couple float bags and/or a bilge pump would make it possible to self-rescue despite the huge cockpit volume of this boat. The problem is that there are rudder cables and pulleys under the bow and stern that limit the overall size of the bags unless measures are taken to protect them from abrasion.

thanks for the thoughts…


Can you roll it???
Since the decked canoes are really a lot like kayaks…can you roll them? I don’t know if there is any ability to engage with the knees and thighs…and don’t know if you would roll it like a kayak or like a canoe.

If you can roll it then a re-enter and roll would seem the best re-entry for a swamped boat.


No stock thigh braces in Loon or Monarch
or Sea Wind. You could probably install thigh braces or thigh straps. I would expect it to take a lot of effort to turn it over - it’s got pretty solid secondary stability.

They have been rolled
During the “Ultimate Canoe Challenge” Steve Landick rolled his Monarch during a media event to promote the trip. I have seen pictures of his Monarch and he had installed thighbraces that folded out from the cockpit combing.

You can see them here:

Scroll down the page for pictures of the thighbraces

no need
when I did take it out to practice re-entry, I had to lean my nose out to get it to flip. Keep my nose over my navel and this boat isn’t going to flip. On two long excurions on big rivers (MO and MISS), I almost flipped getting into the boat once near a steep rip rap shore, but that was as close as it got. I think I won’t worry about it…eventually I’ll figure out some float bags that fit well and devise a way to lash them in as described. Until then, I’ll just swim the boat to shore if I was ever to flip it. If I had assistance of a second boat, I could easily flip it back over and get in. Just not alone.

Zip Lock bags
Joe - Did you ever try a bunch of zip lock bags? That way you can also carry leftovers…

Egg rolls
I often carry egg rolls and cinnamon roll left-tovers in my ziplock bags, and I think they could carry eskimo rolls if needed. So rolls will not be a problem.

Space Bags are nothing other than big zip lock bags and you could carry a whole side of rib left-tovers in a space bag.

Large dry bags?
If you stow your gear in large dry bags you could then strap them in and while it won’t give you as much as an airbag, it will add a bunch to your buoyancy. I’m not sure about the fit, but you might even be lucky enough to find an airtight rigid container like a 30l barrel, olive barrels, or 5gallon pails that fit well. You could put smaller items in bags under the decks in the ends and block their escape with a barrel or large waterproof duffel.

I’ve heard you can cut styrofoam blocks with a hot knife, but haven’t tried it.

The easiest, as suggested, would likely be to by solo canoe end bags and glue of glass in a couple of d-rings.