Bell Morningstar Flotation Bags??

I want to put some flotation bags into the bow and stern of my MS. Anyone have any suggestions on sizes? I was probably going to order some standard ones from Gaia. Also, any suggestions or warnings on drilling, or attaching clips to make my cage, or any links that you could point me to that outlines the process? I haven’t outfitted a canoe before.

Standard Gia bow bags
I have pair of those that I use in various boats for various reasons.

They are pretty nice bags.

But they are small. I consider them minimal flotation. I would not want to rely on them alone in any whitewater. In the Morningstar paddled tandem I would combine those with a good sized center bag.

What type of water are you
Intending to paddle?

Was just curious
if anyone had a suggestion on the size of end bags to get. Not intending to go too big with this boat. I have an OC1 for that. The rivers that I’m looking at running in MN are mostly pool-drop class 1-2 with the occasional 3 mixed in. With considerable amounts of flats in between. I’m also planning on trying poling, which makes me want to get the float bags even more. Trying to avoid a pinned canoe. Bigger bags for when I’m soloing would be nice, but I can’t afford to buy 2 sets. When I’m going tandem I’ll also have a dog and most likely gear on board, so I’m going to skip the center bag.


– Last Updated: Jun-20-12 2:49 PM EST –

The Mohawk Canoes website has some good information/illustrations about outfitting canoes with airbags.

Yes, they are showing how to outfit whitewater canoes with air bags, but the technique is applicable to non whitewater canoes.

Size/make of air bags is the decision of the paddler, based on proposed usage of canoe.
Drilling holes, as opposed to mounting eyelets on the underside of the gunwales, is also a paddler decision. Either method will work fine.

If I am running class II or under, and the volume of water is not very high; I don't use air bags in any of my solo canoes.

In my whitewater canoes; I drilled holes for mounting the lace kit. Never been a problem on any of the 6 or 7 whitewater solo canoes that I've owned/outfitted.

I've used Mohawk, NRS, and Perception air bags, without any major problems.
I am of the opinion that air bag's longevity is based on how well the paddler takes care of the matter what the brand.
Different paddlers swear by different brands, for several different reasons.


NRS Bags
Various sizes available

General bag affixing. NRS.
This is the NRS page for canoe bags:

There two methods to affix canoe bags.

The standard way is to glue a D-ring on the bottom of the hull where your bag length will end. Then put attachment points along the top by screwing inchworms or eye screws into the gunwales or by drilling holes in the hull under the gunwales. You than use cord to make a bag cage. Use poly cord, which doesn’t stretch when wet, rather than nylon, which does. You don’t need a keeper strap or fancy shroud. You can string the end of the cage simply with knots and loops in the cord to make a spiderweb barrier.

The quick and sloppy method of attachment for mild water depends on the bag having grommets or attachment loops at or near the bottom three corners. (WW boaters should stop reading now to preserve your sanity and mine.) Glue down D-rings in a triangle – one in the nose of the boat and two at the end corners of the bag. Then just tie the bags tightly to the D-rings with cord or snap hooks. No cage at all on top or at the end. This method will result in squirmy and wiggly bags, but they should float the boat in mild water. You can store the inflated bags in the boat at home with this method, but take the inflated bags out when driving and toss them in the back seat.