Finding the right bow floats

I have an L.L. Bean Calypso 14’ and a Necky Manitou 10’. I’m trying to find split bow float bags for them and I’m quite confused. Info I’ve found says to find float bags slightly larger than the bow interior. I measured each from bow to where the foot rests start. The Calypso measures approx 34" and the Necky approx 28". However, the only split bow float bags I’ve found so far are 23" or 24". Is this the correct size I should be getting?

Probably close enough

– Last Updated: May-22-11 10:53 AM EST –

A friend of mine has the Manitou 13, and instead of using a split bow bag she uses a pair of singles, placed side by side. I think there's a good chance that if you inflate the the bag pretty full, it won't stuff in all the way to the tip of the bow anyway, so the 24-inch bag is probably okay for your larger boat if you can't find something longer, and it's probably perfect for the smaller boat.

It doesn’t matter much
The bag need not extend all the way into the interior stem of the boat. In fact, with many bags, you will be able to more fully inflate the bag, thus providing more floatation, if the bag is slid back a few inches from the interior stem of the boat.

In most kayaks, the amount of flotation provided by bow bags is pretty limited, but it can be helpful to have some to keep the swamped boat from wallowing nose down after a wet exit. It doesn’t require a huge amount of flotation to accomplish this, though.

If you really want to get the maximum amount of flotation in the bow, just use a set of small stern bags such as:

No need for “perfect” fit
All you want is something that fills up most of the

space with some type of an air bladder.

web links for bags…