best paddle float and bilge pump?

-- Last Updated: Jun-28-06 11:41 AM EST --

well, as you can see, i still need a couple of things.

up 'til now i've jusgt gone down to the local boat store and bought the stuff. but, since i want lots of stuff, and i now have a better idea of what kind of stuff that is, i've started researching and comparison shopping online.

does anyone have some recommendations about what kind of paddle float and bilge pump i should get, and why? what would be the best overall bang for the buck, etc.?

thanks! :-)


*updating to fix typos, sheesh...*

I like…
Aquabound Bilgemaster hand pump. Stainless steel handle and they make great bouys to practice your backward figure 8’s. Pull out the handle and toss over board. They stick straight up out of the water and the yellow is very visible.

For inflatable floats you can’t beat a Gaia. Two chambers, two valves and they are bite (push/pull) valves rather than threaded screw on types which means you can inflate them hands free.

For foam floats the Northwater works well.


I second the Gaia and the Northwater

If they still make Harmony…
that is the one to get.

Whatever one you get make sure you get the large discharge(1-1/2"). It will pump out a cockpit twice as fast as the smaller discharge.

Don’t let a store salesman tell you that the model they carry is the best.

My son and law just got into kayaking and his wife gave him a bilge pump for fathers day.

she went to The Great Outdoor Provision Co. and they had the one with the small discharge, and the salesman told her that it was the best one on the market. I used to think they were a quality store, but after that I am putting them in the same class as Dicks.

My padle float is also a Harmony and it is ten years old now and still is as good as when I got it except for the faded color.

Make sure you get a two chamber one where the blade goes in the middle beween the chambers.



Good Advice
a two chambered float and a large 1.5" discharge. Hey, this might be a nice opportunity to throw somee business to NRS, they are talked about on another thread and seem to deserve consideration.

Have you installed your bulkhead?


Gaia & Wildy
The Gaia float is durabel, has easy to operate valves. The Wilderness Systems pump moves MUCH water quickly - but I have had it less than one season, so I cannot speak to it’s durability.


Beckson kayak pump

foam arond the barrel so you can hold it between your knees if you want and it floats. large tube and discharge capacity. I have 3 and my original is 17 yrs old - still works perfectly. Don’t buy those newer ones with the small throat.

paddle float
I like the ones that have separate strap to wrap around paddle. When the strap is built in ( or sewn to the float ) wrapping and fastening gets a little tricky.

Pump Servicability
Found with my Harmony pump (still lives!) that it has a tendency to hold onto gravel and grit that gets pulled in during use and is a bear to get out. Doesn’t seem to phase it except for the rattling of the now pump/marracca (sp?). A pump that you can unscrew the end(s) and remove for service has resolved that. (Wildwasser Bilge Pump for one example)

See you on the water (paddling more than pumping I hope)


The one you have
and carry, always :slight_smile:

indeed about nrs…
i went there directly after reading the other posts precisely to give them some business.

when i saw the float was $40 i thought it best to look into what i was buying, and check comparable pricing. so i did a web search and that is whey all the different kinds came up.

no on the bulkhead yet, mainly because i have to go back and find out which adhesive i am supposed to get. plus, it’s been pretty humid and rainy here. i’ve mostly been inside working on the library stacks and trying to get the studio set up. how’s your little project coming along?

(did i just hijack the thread?)

I have gone through several pumps, all of which I have disassembled and cleaned:

Beckson - the red end cap can be pried off, more easily if soaked in hot (not boiling) water first. Cleaned it up, and it now is my spare/loaner pump.

Aquaterra - this pump worked admirably, and threw a 1" diameter stream of water over 20’. But after a day of abuse and water fights on a Yough raft trip it siezed up. I disassembled it (easy with this pump) cleaned it and lubed the SS shaft with silicone grease, but it just ain’t right anymore. Smooth action is a thing of the past.

Wildermes Systems - moves a lot of water, but is no good for water battles. Because of this it will probably lead a long life. I have not needed to or tried to disassemble it.


Good info and good points - Pumps are for more than pumping water. Waterfightability should be a good category for the Consumer Reports index of Bilge Pump.

See you on the water,


call me the scrooge
but I find paddle floats not to be that useful except as an occasional pillow and mine usually stays at home. I found when I started paddling that its a good way to get back into the boat in calm water and fun to practice but it is a difficult way to get back into the boat in anything that will dump you over in the first place. There are much better methods to get back in the boat especially if you have a partner with you. I also found it useful when I was learning to roll in that it allowed me to roll and learn the proper technique and corrected my early mistakes. I would recommend borrowing someones and practicing paddle float rescues first in calm water and then in more challenging water to see if you would honestly use it. I have actually never seen someone that was paddling in a group use it to get back in their boat after falling out though almost everyone brings one. IMHO, You would be better off practicing other rescues with a partner. As for pumps, I agree with JackL and Jsualts on there recommendations. I always bring my pump.

Rec boat re-entry
Looking at Michelle’s profile, it looks like she’s paddleing a Pungo. Anyway, some type of large cockpit rec boat. Will a paddle float and pump even do any good on a large cockpit kayak? I thought that was one of the dis-advantages of these types of rec kayaks, that being that re-entry was much more problematic and attempting to pump such a large volume wasn’t possible.

it is a pungo, 140 in fact…

– Last Updated: Jun-28-06 10:15 PM EST –

with a front bulkhead (soon to be) installed.

i actually have the part, i just need to get the adhesive and do the deed.

but, how would re-entry be more problematic? it's a bigger hole to fall....errr, climb back into!

*says the one who has yet to even try reentry*

Paddle floats aren’t just for re-entry
Among a host of other things they can be used as an outrigger to help stabilize a sick paddler who is being towed, etc.

I carry one because you never know when it will come in handy for something, plus it doesn’t take up much space.


Bilge pump info.

– Last Updated: Jun-29-06 12:18 AM EST –

Grab the handle of the bilge pump and pump it up and down, some have a plastic rod going into the body and some have a stainless steel rod. I bought the plastic, then saw a stainless one later and bought that one for 25 bucks at Rutabaga in Madison, Wisconsin. I use that in my kayak.
The stainless is far better. Although I keep the cheapo in the family canoe to pump slosh in water and rain. Oh, and dont forget a good sponge as well.

no posts since June 28 and it shows up today the first with no history or post. hmmm


posts removed
There were several (4 or 5) topics removed today. This probably caused this older post to move back to the first page. A couple of others did as well (GP … and Hemlocks …).