Float Bag Attachment in a Pungo

I am going to take my kayak on a multi day trip down a moderately fast river in May. I want to add flotation to my Pungo 100. How do most of these bags attach? I don’t really have much in the front to attach to. Does anybody have any recommendations for a particular bag for these boats. I know they probably weren’t ever meant for them but it just seems like a good idea. I will also be using a skirt. I just want to be as safe as possible.


– Last Updated: Mar-18-08 10:07 AM EST –

Assuming you are taking your gear in the kayak:

Your firt problem is getting all your gear in the Pungo 100 for a nulti-day trip.

Packing the gear in a dry bag that will go in the bow will help but the loaded dry storage will hold it stern down but may not sink it.

I swamped a loaded Kestrel 120 that I had taken the (grey thing) bow flotation out of, didn't use dry bags in the bow and the kayak didn't sink below water level.

Re-entering would have been impossible because of the weight even with the assistance of another boat or 2 but I was on a river.

If you are not carrying your gear I don't think the Pungo 100 will sink to the bottom. Have you tried it?

If you just want to hold an air bag in you could glue some "D" rings in.

Because you asked the question I feel some other advice may be helpful. Either way if the kayak fills with water you are in for a ride until you get to a recovery pond or eddy. When in the water stay behind the kayak and hold to handle. Pungos are tough to flip and get the water out. Tilt it with your legs and knees, not your back.

Make sure you have a 25+ foot bow line attached which will help when you get to a place to take the kayak out.

Good Luck

Paddlin' on

Maybe this

Intended for Swift boats but NRS says it’ll fit a lot of rec boats. The size looks likely, and if the bag is big enough you might be able to anchor it by lashing off the footpegs. Anything that’s skinny, you’ll probably have to affix some D rings inside the boat.

There is another option that you may want to consider, a combo float bag/dry bag. They have one at NRS in their “Kayak Flotation” page. It is also pricier than the above, and you may need to get a couple of them to properly stuff the front of the Pungo. Then again, if they do double duty… you can figure it out.

Richard, I know that you go gear-light but there are pumps that can empty out a boat on the water as long as you can at least get into an eddy. And if the boat has float bags or dry bags to displace water, even in a Pungo it’s not an impossible chore.

As to the boat sinking to a point that can make it almost impossible for one person to retrieve it, I have seen that happen when there wasn’t flotation in each end. If anything, a boat loaded with drybags has a better chance because of the bit of air that will still be in the dry bags.

True but

– Last Updated: Mar-18-08 11:14 AM EST –

Paddling a river is much different than paddling a lake or the ocean. His mention of a fastmoving river wearing a skirt made me think he wouldn't be far from shore. Few recreational river kayakers use float bags. Here in Atlanta I don't now anyone who does.

The Pungo design makes it tough to pump out in any moving water. As a river paddler I don't own a pump and although several times one would have been nice, patience and a sponge did the trick with out flipping the kayak.

Many people don't understand river paddling as I don't understand problems with open water.

Me travel lite? You must have me confused with someone else. I may take less gear than many but on my trips the kayak is loaded beyond the max.

I use float bags in my Phoenix Isere
now after filling it up with water once on shallow but twisty river. I failed to clear the end of a large downed tree when the current pushed me into one of the branches which tipped the boat up just enough to put the opposite coaming under water (I wasn’t wearing a skirt) and the boat filled over half full of water. I didn’t have a pump, so I had to get out of the boat and wait for my partner to paddle back up stream to help me dump it.

An Isere is very heavy when over half full of water and it’s very slippery and difficult to get hold of, so I now use float bags.

To me, I think it’s a very good idea to use float bags in rec yaks that don’t have bulkheads.

tie the float bags to the foot peg track
I don’t use them when camping because the dry bag with my sleeping bag is in the bow but on day trips in my Blackwater 11.5 I have threaded loops of thin cord through the tracks for my foot pegs (in front of where I stop the foot braces). It took a bit of contortion to get the loops tied in and it ain’t pretty when I have to clip in the float bags but it can be done.

The stern has a bulkhead.

dual duty float bags
Wildwasser also makes some, called Overnighters, and they are sweet. They come in two sizes - large and small. I have these, the small ones:


and I didn’t pay anywhere near $53 for them :wink:

I use them as stern floatation for easy duty in my 11’6" Pirouette S Supersport and also in the nose and stern of my 16 foot seakayak which has sealed bulkheads for a little redundant floatation when I’m just dayboating…

You may like that they are cleated and offer an easier attachment point. I like carrying them out of the boat like a drybag.

However you do decide to attach them, do it so it doesn’t entangle your feet and become an entrapment issue.

Floation Very Important on Rivers

– Last Updated: Mar-18-08 11:58 PM EST –

A swamped boat with float bags floats high enough to be easy to drag out, and that's a huge advantage. A swamped boat with no floatation is not only harder to recover, it's much more likely to get pinned. It doesn't take much current to severely pin a swamped boat. In strong current, floatation is even more important because in that situation the boat might wrap around a rock and be ruined unless it has float bags to keep it from settling so deep in the water in the first place. I think the original poster is being very smart to think about how to add float bags.

More on Dual-Purpose Bags

– Last Updated: Mar-18-08 11:47 PM EST –

A friend of mine uses bags which are designed to be either float bags or dry storage bags. Most people grossly underestimate how effective fully-packed dry bags are as floatation - they are great for that purpose (throw a loaded dry bag in the water and see how high it floats. If you doubt this right now, you will be amazed when you try it). She doesn't tie them in, but honestly, that isn't such a bad thing. They don't come out of the boat all that easily (the inside of the boat is pretty sheltered so you don't get current flowing through there when the boat gets swamped), so even if you don't come up with a good attachement method, use 'em anyway. Chances are they'll still do what they have to do.

here’s a stupid question
I need to put my sleeping pad up front anyway, it’s one of those self inflating ones…would that be adequate flotation if I got into trouble? I could just tie that in.

I wouldn’t trust it
It’s just not what they are intended to do, work in that wet of an environment. Though if you put it into a dry bag that would hold some air.

I am not sure how white the water will be, but I find that even in an upright, no messing around run in class 2 some water finds its way into the boat. You have to remember that without a bulkhead it’ll get to your gear too. Since you want to sleep on the pad that night, you probably want it inside a dry bag. I’d also bag the stuff in the rear hatch - Pungo’s weren’t necessarily intended to do this kind of thing so the hatch seal may not be bone dry.

the hatch is pretty good!
I’ve had the pungo upside down lodged under a log in the river before with my digital camera in the hatch, it didn’t get wet…I’m pretty happy with the rear hatch.

I guess the sleeping pad getting wet wouldn’t be THAT horrible, but i don’t think i’m going to get a drybag just for that.

maybe I should just get a float bag…

just got back from that trip
The Pungo 100 worked beautifully. I probably could have done 5 days. I packed all of my gear in the Pungo and was completely self sufficient. had all of my gear in the rear hatch, had a 10L dry bag behind the seat with some clothing/food. Had a drybox behind the seat as well for cell phone, first aid, compass, flashlight, etc. I had my sleeping pad between my legs and I ended up rigging up some Hawaiian punch jugs for flotation in the front. I was the only self sufficient kayak in the group, everybody else had stuff in the canoes. I was pretty proud of my little Pungo!