Canoe balast

Forgive the simplicity of my question, but I’ve got a Nova Craft Bob Special I’m enjoying solo, and to this point have used large rocks as balast up front.

Problem with rocks being availability at some landings, and minor scratching. Is there some type of water container that people use ipo rocks? I have a feeling I’m overlooking a simple solution. Thanks.

Plastic gallon water jugs.
Drink the water and carry the jugs around empty in your car. When you need ballast, fill them up.

Have you thought about moving the seat so you don’t need ballast for solo paddling???

K.I.S.S. system; gallon milk jugs.

– Last Updated: Jul-22-07 8:07 PM EST –

Easy, quick, all you have to remember is the jugs cause if you have enough water to paddle you always have the ballast at hand.

OF course this is a rather advanced system to master. I told a couple of beginners about it and they are still back at rocks. ;^)



Quickly filling your water containers.
You can use your bailing scoop that is make by cutting out the bottom of a bleach or detergent bottle. Just remove the cap and it’s a very fast funneling transfer tool to fill large containers with the water onsite.

Paddle stern first and kneel in the bilge at the middle.

You could try sitting on the bow seat and paddling stern first too.

thanks, I’ve give the gallon jugs a try for now. A torn meniscus makes kneeling a problem. I’m on the bow seat already.

Ballast for a Bob

– Last Updated: Jul-23-07 8:22 AM EST –

We share four traits: we have a Bob Special, enjoy paddling it solo, cannot kneel and thus need to ballast. Here's my take: NOTHING works like a strong dry bag filled with water. Get a tough one (a 40 liter Baja Bag from Seal-Line was my solution), fill it about 3/4s full, close it up and put it in the stern (your new bow when paddling "backwards"), with the dry bag handle snapped around the canoe's carrying thwart. No rocks, no jugs, no wimpy bags just waiting to break. However, don't fill the bag up until you get it to the water; when I told a friend of mine about this he filled the bag at home and then complained to me about what a pain it was carrying the bag down to the put in! You'll really be pleased with how well the Bob handles with the bow firmly planted.

Dry bag
Thanks, I was planning on buying a dry bag for an upcoming trip anyhow, so that sounds like a winner.

Ballast vs balance
A couple of folks have recommended centering yourself in the boat rather than ballast.

Either will work to balance the canoe fore and aft.

Centering your self, either with a kneeling thwart or a third seat has the advantage of keeping the boat light, making it more responsive to your strokes, the water and (uh oh!) the wind.

Adding ballast has the advantage of making the boat less affected by the wind. I have not paddled a Bobs but my Explorer, unloaded is an absolute beast to handle in the wind. Even when I’m right in the center she’s skating sideways and bearing off unexpectedly. Too much boat in the breeze, not enough in the water. Add 50-100 lbs of gear or ballast and she calms right down.

I’ve always used water jugs but the drybag idea sounds interesting. It sure would be quicker to fill and empty. Depending on the water quality where you are paddling though you might want to use a dedicated bag for water and another for gear.



I’ve torn the meniscus in both knees,
and I’ve recovered the ability to kneel fairly low. Give yourself time. If you can learn to paddle from a moderate kneel close behind the center thwart, you can make the boat do some things it won’t do from other positions. You can also switch legs, kneeling on one knee and extending the other leg.

in wind you want to be
forward of center…kneeling Canadian Style makes doing this a breeze literally…just spin your self around…however thts not going to work for painful kneels…though you can get a strap that lessens the pain. Azland makes several. This allows you to be centered in the boat and not at one end. Boat control is less than optimum if you are far away from the center.

I am totally at a loss why you want to fill an expensive dry bag with water. They arent designed to keep water in…

Go to the wine store , buy a box of Almaden, invite several wine non connisseurs over for a party, drink the box wine and refill the bladder with water. These bags lie in one spot and wont roll over. You may find that you need a couple but if you can get that wine bladder way in the bow (where milk jugs wont fit) it will have maximum impact.

You need "The Perfect Rock"
I think you’ll enjoy this web site that I found the other day. It describes the options for ballasting for solo canoing: