floation bags

Who uses floation bags in their sole canoe to minimize the amount of water in the canoe when you swamp the boat. What size? I see 32" 48" 60" long ones. I have a 15ft bell sole.

I am thinking this would save my bailing time !!!


Folding bucket
will save your bailing time. No kidding. 2 galon folding bucket by Coghlan, $5.

I doubt they’d save bailing time, but
They are a good idea if you’re paddlig white water. They help your boat float higher in the water, making it much easier to recover in a swim. They also help protect your boat from serious damage from broaching on something. But you’re still going to have to bail the same amount, or pull over and dump.

good idea
If you are paddling in conditions in which your canoe is regularly getting “swamped” you probably should have flotation in it. How much is up to you.

Whitewater boaters often use the biggest bags that the boat can hold and sometimes apply minicell foam to the sides of the cockpit area (where there are no bags) for additional flotation. This will limit the amount of water that is left in the boat after rolling it, or after it has been completely soused. But there will still be plenty of water in the boat and it will be difficult to manage until emptied.

The other reason bags are used is so that a swamped canoe floats high if you take a swim. Canoes often have just enough positive flotation to barely float when completely flooded. If you tried to sit in on in this condition, it would probably be completely underwater with just an inch or so of the stem sticking out at each end, and it would be impossible to paddle.

Without flotation, a canoe is much more likely to hang and wrap on a rock in a river, will be extremely difficult to bring to shore, and will make any attempt at reentry pointless.

If you just want enough flotation to keep the canoe reasonably safe, you can probably get by with relatively short bags like 36" or 48". For a 15’ boat, if you wanted as much flotation as possible you would probably want 60" bags. The bag length shortens up from 4-8" when inflated.

I have 36" bags for my 14’ WenVag KUL
for choppy days when I might dump in deep water and find the capsized boat floats nearly on top of the water, can be easily flipped up almost dry, and remounted using a paddle float. Experimented with it during winter pool practices. R

in my 15-footer
I have a 15-foot solo, and I use a 48 in the front and a 60 in the back. That leaves enough room behind the seat for a dayback, and it leaves a lot of room in the front. If I were doing whitewater, I would use bigger bags in both ends. I think of the 32s as being for the ends of tandem boats, where there’s a paddler nearby who takes up room that should be filled by bags :slight_smile:

To be sure you know what you’re getting into: you need a pretty extensive system of cord, straps, and mount points in order to secure the bags in the boat, so as to keep them from popping out at the critical moment. It’s not necessarily enough to tie the bags in with the little tabs at the corners.


60s in me canoos…

– Last Updated: Jun-11-11 9:14 PM EST –