Flotation bags, general + T180

First a general question. I’ve read that one should tie down their flotation bags and dry bags. I don’t see anything inside the kayak compartments to tie to. What do you tie to? This is probably a personal choice, but what do you tie with (nylon rope, straps, bungee, other)?

Second question, which flotation bags fit best in the Tempest 180? So far in my search, Gaia is a little bigger than NRS, so going with Gaia.

** Gaia bags:

Bow: 24 x 10 x 7

Stern: 36x11x10 (not available at overstock.com)

Rodeo stern: 30 x 13 x 10.5

Large Stern: 43 x 14 x 10

** Tempest 180

Bow: 60 x 16 x 10

Stern: 32 x 17 x 8 (starting from skeg box)

I’m thinking of putting the Gaia large stern in the bow, and the rodeo stern in the stern. I just wouldn’t be able to inflate the rodeo stern all the way.

If I’m carrying a couple dry bags as well, I just put the flotation bags in as best I can and inflate them as much as I can to fill the rest of the space, is that right?

Paul S.

Flotation Bags May Be Overkill
in your boat, especially if there isn’t any major leakage happening. The bulkheads and hatches provide the flotaton already. However, if you like playing rock gardens where you can puncture the hull, floatation bags provide redundancy by displacing water that may enter through a crack/hole and will allow you to get home even with a crack or hole in the bulkhead areas.

I use float bags in my plastic Mystic. This short long-boat is great for playing rough water and surf. However, the cheap plastic hatch covers leak like a sieve. So, the (DIY) float bags fill much of the two compartments. Some water will get in but not enough to affect the boat much.

I don’t use float bags in any of my other long boats.


One reason
I want a float bag in the stern is so I don’t cave in the hatch cover if I put a knee on it. That thing is huge, and I’m heavy. May not need one in the bow. They’re cheap though.

Paul S.

I just realized
the comments about tying down bags might relate to kayaks without bulkheads. Maybe not needed with bulkheads. Looking forward to reading your thoughts though.

Paul S.

That Only Would Happen
if you do that on land. On the water, there is give. But why would you be putting your knee and weight on the hatch cover? If you do an assisted rescue and slide up on the back deck, it would be near the rear of the coaming and supported by the bulkhead wall.

To answer your question below, you don’t need to attach float bags inside a bulkhead where the bags are encapsulated. They can’t go anywhere or pop out as with bulkhead-less boats.


Here’s how I did it.
During a raftup rescue practice with one of the protype T180s, climbed up from the side, between the cockpit and back hatch, I think. Then planted my knee on the hatch cover to get myself up and it caved into the boat. I’ll know to avoid that next time, but still, stuff happens in the heat of rescue. Also, I read in the book Deep Trouble, about a breaking wave poping a back hatch cover off. I think it was an 8 footer though.

Don’t get me wrong, Sing, I definitely appreciate the discussion on wheather I need float bags or not. Thanks also for the answer on tying down for bulkheadless boats.

Paul S.

YES, use floatation bags!

It’s been a long time since we communicated, so first off, congrats on your T180. I

I agree with what others have said that in most cases float bags is redundant BUT (there’s always a but), I would recommend them anyway.

  1. if you loose a hatch over while playing in rough stuff (and you might if you paddle with Flatpick, hehe) you will be glad you had them.

  2. any punctures/breaks in your boat (I was paddling with Flatpick and others in the old “Cut and Paste” T180 and the bow split open). We were near the Columbia River Bar (Washington coast). Had I not had floatation bags it would have been a problem.

  3. they serve to secure gear in place (blow them up after you stow gear) and they keep gear from moving around in your hatches.

  4. The large bag I have in front (don’t remember the brand right now, but I’ll find it for you) is large enough for the T180 and includes stowage for emergency clothing. I keep a spare set of fleece (pants, jacket and beenie) in there.

    Good luck!


    PS: I bought my float bags at Alder Creek. Living in Chicago now and you can’t imagine how much we miss Alder Creek. We don’t have any paddle shops near by, even close.

Thanks Wade
Sounds like you are talking about dry bags. I’m talking about inflatable air bags, for when I don’t have much volue of dry bag int the boat. I was thinking just this afternoon though, that I may always keep a marine sailing coat (big, very water proof, very warm), dry clothes, first aid, fire starting stuff, in dry bags. So maybe my air bags don’t need to be the whole lenght of the compartments anyway.

Interested to hear what you have and use though. That’s the thing. This part isn’t exactly rocket science. But no experience at all with gear like dry bags and air bags, I’m looking to learn from other people’s points of view and expderiences.

Thanks again,

Paul S.

You May Want To Check Your
reentry technique with someone. If your knee ends up on top of the rear hatch, something is off there.

With a rescuer holding your boat (on the other side of you), you should “swim” onto the the deck and then swing one leg and then other into the cockpit. Staying low, turn over on the side facing your rescuer (if you lose your balance, you can reach over to his boat for support). Once your belly is facing up, slide yourself into the cockpit.

If you do a reentry from in between the boats, you should be slightly behind your cockpit. Facing your rescuer who should be on the front end of your cockpit, you brace one arm on top of your back deck (and grab a farside deckline if you can) and the other arm on the rescuer’s front deck. You lift your legs out of the water (as in doing a crunch) and get them into your cockpit. Your belly should be facing sky. With your body out of the water, the two boats should close against each other. From here, you just slide into the cockpit.

Either way you do an assisted rescue, there should be no point where your knees/legs come on top of your reach hatch cover. Only way for your weight to come on top of the hatch cover is in doing a cowboy scramble.

In terms of hatch covers blowing off on waves, I like adding nylon straps and buckles right over the hatch cover to eliminate that from happening. I heard said that Valley and Kajak Sport hatch covers don’t blow off in condition. I can’t say since I don’t have kayaks with those hatch covers.


No it IS a floatation bag
I have a large taper shape floatation bag that has a drybag closer on the big end. It serves as both a drybag (emergency fleece) and a floatation bag.

I love it. They are in the front hatch of the boats and the boats are on the car. We’re paddling in Lake Michigan today so I will take a look at the brand and get back to you tonight.


WXTEX Float Bags - seabag #SB1657

The URL above shows the bag. I use the LARGE version in the T180. The part number is:

WXTex #SB1657 Seabag

Good luck!