Loading and securing canoe gear

I am trying to figure out where I want to attach the D-ring tie-downs in my Argosy.

Does any-one have pictures of how their gear is loaded in a solo canoe (paddled fron center) and/or where they placed their tie-down points? I am interested in seeing what kinds of bags/packs others use as well as the tie-down points.

I am not going to use a white-water air-bag lacing system. Just looking for tie-down spots for using cam straps to tie gear bags down.


Hey Mark
Sent some pics, then went back and reread your post.

Oops, should have read all the way thru (my bad)


Hey Mark…

– Last Updated: Aug-03-08 12:31 PM EST –

If you send me your email address, I will make an effort to send you a photo or two of some of the different types of waterproof buckets/containers/bags I use to protect my gear.

None of my canoes have D rings mounted in them for gear tie downs.
The only gear I tie in are those items which will "sink like a rock" if I capsize. A good example is a military ammo box I carry that is filled with misc. gee gaws, and gear.

I am typically paddling on moving water rivers.........
If I capsize, I would prefer to round up my gear downstream(where it has floated too), than to have to try to free a loaded canoe from a strainer, or a boulder. In that situation you would probably have to remove all the gear before you attempted to retreive the canoe. Swimming a loaded canoe, as opposed to an empty canoe to shore is not that much fun either. I am of the opinion that a loaded canoe is more likely to get jammed on an obstacle,as they will typically be floating lower in the water after a capsize than one whose gear has floated free.

If I were going to be doing a lot of solo, lake paddling, I would be more likely to consider tying gear into my canoe.

Some suggest attaching a long piece of tie in rope/cordage to all items in your canoe, and to the canoe. That way if you capsize, the items will float out of the canoe, but still be attached for easy retrieval. I totally oppose that idea. I think that presents a great opportunity for entanglement/entrapment.
Getting dragged downstream on a moving water river by a capsized canoe full of water & gear, with a piece of rope wrapped around my ankle, or neck, is not my idea of fun.

Just my opinion; I am sure others will disagree.


Wouldn’t say that I disagree. There
are situations where I would do the same. One situation where I went with everything tied in was a solo run of class 1-2 Slickrock Canyon on the Dolores in western Colorado. I did not have anyone to pick up after me, and, based on what I knew of the river, I decided that I would rather deal with a loaded boat if a spill occurred than chase gear up and down the river. And, key gear was packed in inflating waterproof bags, so with those tied in, the boat actually had a little more flotation than otherwise. But if I had been with a party, on a class 1-2 run, I might have packed “loose.”

One problem we have is that it is difficult to find people who have done multiple overnights on whitewater rivers with large numbers of runs carrying gear tied in and carrying gear mostly loose.

I suspect that if people copied Bob and had nearly all essentials packed in bags that were watertight, floated well, and were NOT tied in, that individual results might be pretty good. And, even after 35 odd years of paddling, I honestly don’t have the experience of swamping and recovering a canoe that had everything tied in. Well, wait, maybe once, and though the ledge broke the gunwales and the hole swamped the boat, I was very familiar with the rapid and was able to recover on my own.


– Last Updated: Aug-03-08 2:17 PM EST –

Fortunately, you & I are literally "in the same boat".

I have never had one of my canoes jammed on a strainer, boulder, bridge support, root wad,
log jam, etc.

However I have led/assisted in at least a hundred boat retrievals. A lot of experience can be gained leading teenagers in tandem canoes, on several hundred, multi day river outings, for 20 years.

The last 2 retrievals I was involved in occured this past May. One boat was empty except for paddlers.
The more difficult one was loaded with gear......

Most of the gear for a multi overnight was tied into a brand new Swift Raven. The canoe ended up sideways on 2 sturdy tree limbs(about 4 feet apart), which were attached to a large submerged log. The open side of the canoe was upstream. The entrapment was slightly downstream of an approximate 70 degree bend(to the right) in the river. The river was well above normal flow, and traveling at approx. 7 to 8 mph at that location.
The gear loaded canoe was under water; only the gunwales on one left side of the canoe was visible.

First thing done was have the paddler jettoson the gear; much of which was tied into the canoe. Other paddlers (myself included) in the party simply retreived the gear downstream. Note: A fully loaded Hemlock SRT is a great boat to use when you are retreiving a "large", fully loaded, soft sided cooler, that has the additional weight of about 4 or 5 gallons of river water.

To make a long story short; it was a fairly easy job to retrieve the boat, after the gear was removed. The canoe suffered an approximate 2 foot long crease in the area where the hull pivoted on one of the tree limbs. A solo paddler would never have gotten the canoe loose, whether the canoe was loaded or empty.

A lot depends on......... the situation.
No simple plan fits...... every scenario.
Adaptability........ is a great skill to possess.

One thing I can say with 100% assurance. It is better to let the river eat your canoe & your gear, than it is to let the river eat your canoe, your gear, and you.


If I were traveling the Dolores with my
new, very light, Millwood Big Boy, I think I would NOT tie overnight gear in the boat, because even with float bags plus the bottom of the boat braced by a long saddle and thwarts, I would NOT want to have that boat swamp and then smash against rocks with a bunch of gear tied inside.