Help on outfitting Prospector

Hopsing and I will be paddling our (royalex) Nova Craft Prospector 16 tandem on Pine Creek, and maybe other moving water creeks in future. Not sure exactly which direction we’re headed with the tandem paddling; we’ll see.

But, do I need to start thinking about bagging the boat out? If yes - and I assume someday I’ll need them – what kind do I get, and what rigging to install them?

Advice? Suggestions? Tried-n-true? What does anyone recommend?

Thanks for any help.

Good advice so far
My method for melting holes is to use a 25 watt soldering iron. Makes great holes, can enlarge the holes if needed, does not involve open flames. Great if you have one.

If you happen to have a Weller wood-burning iron, you can use the sharp chisel point to cut and sear the webbing in one operation. It also comes with a point similar to a soldering iron, so if you are inclined to invest in one it will serve double duty.

Webbing that color is not available in WV.


My suggestion is
Don’t do anything (like gluing things in and drilling holes all over) that would devalue the boat until you are sure that you like paddling tandem…you may need to resell it soon! I can just hear Dave now thinking “Yeah there seems to be one to many BAGS in the boat”

You are right N.T.
A new one that floats & a old one that sinks.

Dave W.

Ok, I can’t find my pics

– Last Updated: Mar-18-08 10:02 AM EST –

I know I took some and sent them to Nightswimmer but who knows where they are now.

I used the webbing loop method all the way down both sides. But I kept them in up under the gunnels and then ran 1/4" cord through them and down the whole lenghth of the boat. I have probably 10 lightweight Northwater patches to allow for multiple bag set ups for different uses and gear and kid loads. I'll try to find my pics or maybe dig the boat out and take some more.

One thing to keep in mind Ness is that Dave is a fisherman. Nylon webbing loops are absolute trebble hook magnets. If you go with webbing loops, I would keep them tucked under the gunnels. The only reason I went with them and cord was to allow maximum bag options. But, using webbing loops is a definate trade-off if you fish.

Here is a rather "jolly" set of pictures of my Prospector in one of the possible bag configurations (fully bagged). But, you can't see the anchor patches much. The "garden variety" kneeling pads were temporarily installed with 2 sided carpet tape, and the makeshift saddle was two old PFDS strapped in.

Jesus Brian!
That color combo would give me a headache! Very metrosexual though!


Dunno, mate. Rather looks like a…
…Carmen Miranda Fruity Horn-A-Plenty-N-Personal-Pleasurercraft, if ya like that sorta thing.

Frightenin’? Ya oughta see a Mike McCrea seat-webbin’ job! Looks like Jackson Pollock tried to straighten up for a moment and go Paul Klee on us, only to suffer a terrible hiccup!

Pad Eyes & End Bags
Pad eye is the name of those u-shaped gizmos with a flange on each side of the top of the u, through which you screw or pop-rivet the pad eye to the underside of the gunwale. A pad eye looks like a minature pull handle, the kind you see on gates.

Much more fun to make stuff yourself, but pad eyes are readily available, don’t attract treble hooks, and work real fine to hold in air bags, or if you are camping, to lace over your gear bags. The webbing loops are a easier to see, and thus easier to thread your lacing through. They might also be stronger, but I’ve had the pad eyes in my Tripper for 8 years and they have always been strong enough. So, if you don’t have the time or inclination to make webbing loops, pad eyes are quick n easy, up to the job, and you can get them at that Bell site somebody posted above.

I made an unplanned whitewater run in the Tripper one day when I only had end-bags available. That’s the day I drove the Tripper over that five foot waterfall, swimming immediately thereafter. Ness, you commented on the picture so you may remember. I found the end bags did a real good job of floating the canoe. In a capsize, more bags are better. You not only want the boat to float, you prefer the boat be full of floatation rather than full of water, because rescues are easier, and you may still be in the boat and trying to paddle. The more water in the boat, the harder it is to paddle. So, more bags = better. But how you gonna pole that boat when it is filled with airbags? And perhaps the more important question for duckheads, where are you gonna put the cooler? End bags, held in by pad eyes (in my case), will keep your boat afloat if you want to keep the middle of your boat open.

So, you might consider going with end-bags vs. center bags. Like all things canoeing, there are trade offs. If you run something hairy, end bags and center bags are appropriate.


How about some bag sources for Ness?
What are people using and what do you like and dislike about them.

I’ve only really got experience with Mohawk and Bell bags. I have no complaints with either. But I’m not even sure of their continued viability as bag and outfitting sources after their sales.

NRS has some interesting looking bags now. Anyone using them? How about others?

Bag reviews
Bags I have either owned or borrowed:

Mohawk nylon bags - hold their shape fairly well, seem well built, have the standard blow tube and Roberts fill/dump valve. Somewhat heavy, compared to other nylon bags. Reasonably priced. Have not owned mine long enough to comment on long term durability.

NRS nylon bags - very light, but don’t hold air very well. Not sure if NRS even makes these any more.

NRS Infinity urethane bags - extremely light, air tight, and appear to be quite durable. Like my Mohawks, I haven’t owned these long enough to have a long term durability opinion. Down sides - no Roberts valve, which can make for very slow inflation/deflation if you don’t leave your bags in your boat all the time, and the material is very ‘squirmy,’ so it tends to protrude out from under lacing more so than the less flexible nylon or heavy vinyl bags. The squirminess isn’t really a functional issue, though. It just looks a little odd, especially combined with the duct tape colored fabric :).

Headwaters nylon bags - came with my used boat, survived probably 15 years being left in boat all the time. Material was delaminating when I got them, but both held up for several years that included lots of roll practice. One finally failed this past season. Discontinued brand, I’m pretty sure.

Voyageur vinyl bags - heavy, inflexible, and prone to cracking/leaks. Newer versions seem to be made of better vinyl. Those are still fairly heavy but more flexible.

interesting input on the NRS bags
Don’t have a dump valve, eh? Wow, that’s kind of a deal killer for me.

are also lifetime warranteed. I’ve got 4 of them, generally in the OC-1’s, but sometimes swapped over to the tandems for poling. 2 seasons so far, from 0 degrees to 95, no problems.

Gee thanks guys (nm)

Lots of info here. Thank you.

I’m glad this column is archived. I’m going to have to refer back in future, as I go. One step at a time. I have never outfitted anything in my canoe. The only messing around with boats I ever did was to install a rear bulkhead on my rotomolded kayak.

We’re headed out on our first overnight camper tandem river trip in a few weeks (no ww, just some riffles, maybe). Lots to think about.

Hopefully only my info-laden, thinking-about-all-this head will be swimming.

dump valve
Yep, no dump valve. If I didn’t have one of those little battery operated blowers, the bags wouldn’t be worth the trouble, especially since they are for a boat that gets used without bags as often as with.

With the blower, using the tube is tolerable but not ideal.