I have an Esquif Presage (15’ 11" tandem canoe) that I bought for my wife and me to do camping float trips, mostly on the James River in VA, with class I and II water. I will also be paddling it solo… maybe even more than tandem, on day trips in Class I and II.
Last week I went with some friends on a day trip on a smaller local river where the water was high and fast. I got dumped out once and capsized once, from poor paddling technique (not avoiding branches on the banks) and not leaning into the branches. I was fine in the rapids though.
The second time I dumped, the boat also capsized and was almost full of water. It was not a submarine though, it still maintained some buoyancy, and I was able to swim alongside and guide it to a bunch of small trees downriver where I jammed it in and then had a stable little work area to pivot the stern on a submerged log and just swivel the canoe upright to dump it out. I was pretty lucky there.
But that experience made me think that I should get float bags. Not just for my solo trips, but also for our camping trips. So now I am looking at NRS and Harmony, and now I come to the questions:
Is there a preference for one brand over the other? The Harmony bags look like the attachment points are grommets while the NRS bags look like they have D-rings sewn in. Is one method better? Are one vendor’s bags more robust than the other’s?
I am looking at Harmony lashing kit with pop rivets and plastic clips or semi-circles, that you thread the lashing cord through to make a lacing system which keeps the float bags secure. Will I also need to get some glue-on D-rings so I can double-up the lashing with straps? (I’m going to get some anyway just to have near the seats so I can clip a small dry bag, pelican case, spare paddle, milk-jug bailer etc).
If I will need D-rings in addition to lacing for the bags, how do I rig them? Two on the deck at the paddler-facing end of the bags, and another at each end of the canoe, under the bags? Or do the bow and stern ends of the straps just attach to the carry handles?
I hope these questions make sense.
Also, are there other recommended sources for these supplies than Harmony or NRS?
Thanks in advance for your time and advice.