I impulsively bought a kayak...any good?

I never pass up the opportunity
to grab a buck or two.

jack L

Float Bags - keep water out

– Last Updated: Mar-12-13 8:09 PM EST –

Invest some NRS float bags so you'll have
a chance of recovering the boat in a capsize scenario.

Mountain/Road bikers fall off their bikes.
Skiers are known to fall in the snow.
Kayakers get wet, it happens to all of us, eventually.

That style of boat will "bob" around in waves/wind.
The big ol' smooth bottom will take wave energy and
pitch about, to and fro, instead of slicing cleanly thru wave trains.
It is also exactly what makes it highly maneuverable,
turning easily, and easily getting parallel to a wave.

Make sure the PFD is made for

I visited one of the ‘big box’ stores last night with a grand daughter and they only had the type of life jackets made for pulling water skiers and boarders. Not one of them had waist cinches which IMO helps keep your PFD from slipping up over your head should you go over, not to mention the bulkiness they have on the sides which can cause a rash on an arm as it passes by with each stroke.

This is one area of the sport where quality is very important.

Good buy!
The paddling purists are hung up on the limitations of the kayak and failed to take into account the awesome Moosehead logo on the deck. For $150 I’d hang that puppy from the front porch rafters and let the neighbors cry with envy.

You can make your own flotation bags
See Tom Yost’s site at http://yostwerks.com/AccessoriesMenu.html for instructions on making flotation bags.

If you’re as cheap\broke as I am, you can also cut and glue a plastic air mattress into the right shape and then add a flotation bag valve from NRS (http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=3875&pdeptid=1030), or roll a Thermarest camping pad into the right shape and put it into a compactor or contractor’s bag.

The bladders from box wine can be filled with air and crammed into smaller spaces, provided that there is something to prevent them from just floating away if the boat capsizes.

Depends what’s in the house

– Last Updated: Mar-13-13 5:06 PM EST –

By the time you buy the materials and the heat gun
- its already shipped to your house.


How many college students got a heat gun
just floating around in the closet ....

there’s a definate shortage
of blow up toys sold at my local gas station nowadays. They sure were handy for last minute flotation. Now if I’m lucky (depending on the time of year) I might find inflatable beach balls at Wally World or the Dollar Store, and partially inflate them and cram them in with my feet.

Don’t use sheets of styrofoam. It absorbs water and becomes heavy. I helped a buddy of mine chop it out with an axe after he filled his canoe with it. We couldn’t even lift up the boat after it got wet!

I like your boat and paddle combo, hopefully you’ll have a lot of fun in it.

Dunnage bags
Vinyl inflatable dunnage bags used to pad shipping are a ready made and relatively low cost alternative to custom designed float bags. They can be found on ebay pretty cheaply.

They are generally not the right shape and lack lash tabs or grommets to secure them in the boat, but if you can restrain them in something like a mesh bag they might work for you.

Water absorption problem?

– Last Updated: Mar-14-13 12:19 AM EST –

Nearly all aluminum rowboats and canoes have blocks of compressed polystrene beads (the same stuff they make those cheap white picnic coolers from) as floatation, and I've yet to see one where the material was the slightest bit waterlogged. My only gripe with that material is that it's an attractive nest site for carpenter ants, and boats left unused for long periods sometimes get colonized that way. Granted, that's not the same stuff as the closed-cell material called Styrofoam, but I've never seen Styrofoam absorb a noticeable amount of water either. However, I did just read that in long-term exposure to water, water vapor can enter the material and condense. Clearly this doesn't happen to the compressed-bead material used in commercially made small boats, so maybe that's a better material for flotation than Styrofoam.

I HAVE heard stories of some types of expanding foam, such as those which are produced from two-part mixtures or as ready-to-use compounds sprayed from a can, absorbing water quite readily. My dad once had a tiny catamaran with such material molded within the hulls, and that stuff was badly waterlogged.

I wonder if your friend had some kind of expanding foam in his canoe rather than Styrofoam cut from sheets. Otherwise, why chop it out with an axe when it would be so much easier to simply remove the individual pieces? The removal method sure smacks of expanded-in-place material.

All that aside, I don't imagine any kind of foam blocks would be good flotation in a kayak. Only if enclosed within a secure container would it do a good job. Otherwise, how do you keep such a fragile material in the boat so that it doesn't simply break loose, and how do you prevent it from being abraded by contact with gear, the paddler's feet, etc.?

Oh by the way, where I work we have sheets of Styrofoam (the real stuff, not compressed beads) covering some large tanks of water. The bottom sides of the sheets are continuously soaking wet from condensation for about 7 months out of the year (when the heated water in the tanks is warmer than the air in the lab), and this has been the case for about 17 years running. The material still shows no indication that water has soaked in, though I suppose some has. The covers are about 8 feet long, 3.5 feet wide and one inch thick, yet they can be held by one edge, extending horizontally in the short dimension, or cantilevered in the long dimension if gripped with a foot or so of overlap, and they won't break. If they had absorbed even a couple of pounds of water, such fragile material couldn't be handled that way without breaking. A week ago, a piece broke off the corner of one cover and when it fell in the tank, it floated higher than balsa, just like brand-new material would do, yet that material has been continuously wet since last October.

Blow up toys = Blown Life

– Last Updated: Mar-14-13 4:34 PM EST –

To each their own, but my life is worth more than,
expendable throw-a-way dunnage and $0.99 beach balls !

Best of Luck when Mother Nature comes a reapin'

NRS has treated me well over the years
---guaranteed for life to the original purchaser---

ThermoPlastic Urethane (TPU) is not cheap beach ball stuff like PVC

MANY kayakers use Closed Cell High Density Foam.