Loading your sea kayak

I paddle a Valley Aquanaut HV on open water in Lake Erie and Georgian Bay. Thinking about making some sand bags for the bottom when I am not loaded for a trip. Any ideas on technique or ideal weight?? (Pictures would be great)

Valley specs
Valley lists the ideal load for the Aquanaut HV as about 250 pounds. http://www.valleyseakayaks.com/aquanauthv.htm

I bought a
bag of lead shot at a gun store. I put it capped PVC pipe. My Mariner did not have bulkheads so I tied a string to it and could actually move it once I started paddling to trim the kayak. (Note:The Elan does not have Mariner’s sliding seat so this was my imitation sliding seat.)

Whatever you use I would suggest having a good way to secure it to the bottom of the kayak so it will not shift suddenly or fall to the deck side when the kayak was upside down. In the Mariner I had air bags to slide it under.


I am 245 Lbs. I was looking for advise on the extra weight for stablity. Usually have about 60 Lbs of gear with me on camping trips. Need some ideas how to make some bags or something to make the boat more stable like it was intended to be paddled. Just don’t want the bags to shift when paddling. I like to keep the boat up right as much as possible. The boat with camping gear is very stable in big water.

2 Liter Pop Bottles
We’ve used these, filled with water, in the fore and aft compartments to add a little weight when needed…one or two in each section can make a noticeable difference. Nice thing is you can just dump the water when you don’t need or want it, and there’s nothing to take home but a handful of empty bottles…

Water bottles/bladders

– Last Updated: Oct-02-08 1:52 AM EST –

When I first got my Aquanaut and felt it needed more weight when out for a day paddle I used Platypus water bladders behind the seat (under the straps) and in the day compartment. This centered the weight and was easy to keep from shifting.

By my second season paddling the boat, I grew to appreciate the greater liveliness of the 'naut without the extra ballast ;-)

not sure if the Aquanaut requires
your suggestions (I have not paddled one long enough to notice that) but since you mention that you go camping I might suggest that MSR water bladders could be what you need.

You fill the bladders with water (there should be no shortage of that :slight_smile: and you place them in the kayak.

To make sure that the bladders stay put when you roll or in rough conditions, you can epoxy some little anchor points on the hull of the kayak.

Small sections of cord glassed in the desired locations on the hull will do the trick.

MSR bladders have a perimeter tape that will allow you to secure the bladders in several positions/locations.

Do not bother using the 2 min epoxy stuff that you buy in a syringe; get the real two component epoxy from a reputable brand.

Valley specs…
I would take the Valley weight specs with a grain of salt.

Peter Orton acknowledged that the Avocet ones are not accurate and I have my questions regarding the Nordkapp LV and the Aquanaut ‘ideal’ loads given. I own both a Nordkapp LV and an Aquanaut and have my own ideas regarding how they perform carrying certain weights.

Ive used my weight-set dumbell sections and place then inside dry bags. Being in a dry bag without letting most of the air out will help in stability if you flip since the air is trapped in the drybag etc. If you use someonething that doesnt trap air such as permiable sandbands…they will soak up water and you will end up on the bottom of the lake…most likey dead. Thes dumbells come in 5,10,25 lb incements and i take what feel i need to help with “ballast”.

One “day-paddles” from base camp where i leave my gear, ive used rocks from the beach and place them in dry bags too.

Water ballast
The advantage of using water is that it’s “weightless” if you swamp or capsize. Sand, shot, or anything denser than water will want to sink.

Drybags full of water works well, and you don’t have to transport any extra weight.

Not a good idea to use anything that can move for ballast that could potentially put a hole in your boat.

Just imagine that you are paddling along and suddenly are upside down, well the ballast has now moved from the bottom of your boat to the deck of your boat. This could potentially hole your boat from the inside out. Much better to use water bladders and air bags to keep from shifting.

Can’t imagine that at your weight you would need ballast for stability in that boat. Maybe just need some more time in the boat.


Third the float (air) bags
It really stinks if you take a big edge and something heavy shifts to “clunk” against the side… whatever you do or don’t do for ballast, get float bags in there to stabilize it. Load up whatever then inflate the float bags so it stays in place. Automatic insurance against Cleo’s needle if you do hole thru as well.

You can get float bags that also hold gear, but they are pricier than the regular just-air ones for the same size.

Water weight is easy to adjust up or down. But make sure it’s secured and cant shift. Keep it toward keel and cockpit, out of the ends where it can effect maneuvering.