How to stretch a nylon canoe spray deck?

The canoe is a kevlar 1996 Sawyer Loon.

The spray deck is a snap on type of heavy duty nylon and I don’t know the manufacturer. It came with the boat and the original owner is dead. It is grey and has a nylon grab loops at each snap location. It also has a bungee around the outside. There is a dual zippered flap on the front of the paddler opening to open it wider to access gear or let the air flow. There is a velcro secured storm flap over each zipper. There is a bungee closure around the top of the tunnel.

The skirt is so tight that I have great difficulty getting the snaps to secure and the bungee alone won’t keep the skirt around the coaming. Acually, the first time I took it out was the only time that I was able to get all of the snaps secured. It got very wet that time and then dried (in my car) a little tighter/smaller than it started out. Now I can’t secure it with the snaps.

Any ideas for stretching it or loosening it so it’s easier to snap on again? The only idea I’ve come up with is to wet it down good to loosen the weave and then snap it on to the Loon and let it dry that way, maybe with a beach ball or something in the cockpit to keep the skirt from drying too tight again.

Is there any treatment for the material that would keep it from shrinking so much when drying?


It sounds like the skirt was fitted too
tightly in the first place. I doubt that the Nylon has shrunk much since '96. Nylon does not typically do that. Perhaps the Nylon was exposed to very high heat at one time, high enough that when it cooled, it did shrink a bit. But I have not noticed that with any of my Nylon garments.

I have a similar snap-on cover for my MR Guide, but have not used it. I will have to see if it is hard to get it on the boat.

In general, snaps are not a very good way to attach spray covers. They really need some sort of intervening bungee or tie system so that they can be snugged down without having to be fitted too tightly when made.

I was thinking of adding some 3M Dual
Lock to the underside of the grab loops that are at each snap location and to the deck directly under them and using the hook & loop fasteners instead of the snaps.

The snaps on the deck may not have been located ideally either. They are slichtly under the overhang of the cockpit coaming, which makes for a better seal, but also makes it more challenging to get my hands well positioned to make the snap connection. They’re a little more difficult to get to than on an open canoe. The snap connections are difficult to secure even when I do get them into position.

Hope this helps…

– Last Updated: Sep-13-07 2:22 PM EST –


The deformation and fracture behavior of partially oriented nylon 66 fibers with a diameter approximately 33 ìm exposed to uniaxial monotonic and cyclic loading was studied using a unique test technique. Prior cyclic deformation resulted in a ratchet strain as well as a decrease in residual strength and ductility of the fibers. A description of the fracture process is hypothesized and supported by critical flaw size and energy calculations. The critical flaw size at fracture did not depend on the prior cyclic loading history.

Keywords: A. Fibers; B. Fracture; C. Residual stress; D. Fractography

Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 4046443676.

Composites Science and Technology
Volume 66, Issues 11-12, September 2006, Pages 1671-1681

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try this
throughly soak the cover in water. Get it good and wet. Then try to install.

Thanks. I was planning to try that next
Do you know of any treatments or conditioners that would help it stay more relaxed after it dries? I’d prefer not to start every outing with a saturated and dripping spray cover.

Don’t kow if this helps
but if it’s anything like a Jeep soft top, they shrink when they get cold. Used to stuff it in a dryer on high for a few minutes just to warm it up. That’s a jeep top though - -

If this is a nylon, I would definitly try soaking it down first as Nylon has a tendancy to absorb water. If this helps a bit, try hot water. (like very hot)

Cooke Custom Sewing
In their canoe covers use Brass snaps also. The instructions for installing the cover have you filling up the stuff sack that the cover is stored in with water for a few minutes prior to install. I know my cover is nearly impossible to install unless I toss it in the water first. It only takes a getting the entire cover wet to make it easy. I can usually shake off all the water before snapping it on.

If it were me, I wouldn’t worry about treatments, I would just get teh cover wet prior to installing it each time.

simple as with all covers
What most manufacturers of covers forget to tell you…or that we fail to listen…

the obvious.

You lay it in the water for two seconds before you put it on…it naturally losens about 1/4 inch…I cannot even put mine on when its dry…it only takes a couple minutes when following the proper procedure.

It will natually tighten in a few minutes once its in place

Soaking the skirt first did the trick
today. Thanks for that suggestion.

Now if I could just get to snaps to fasten a little easier.