One time canoe spray cover?

Here’s my story and question. I am looking at a homemade canoe spray cover option for my 14’ solo canoe. It’s only to help against the wind on occasion, this is assuming that it will help, any thoughts there? Why couldn’t I cut up some cardboard and wrap it with some of my countless tarps I have lying around and then duct tape it to the hull (royalex)? I know this sounds like it would look pretty lame, but would it improve the performance of the paddling if I covered the front 1/3 and back 1/3 of the canoe with it? This would be easy to install and remove. What do you think?

until it gets wet.
Even wrapped in tape, Cardboard is a paper product and will absorb water. Then you will have soggy, droopy deck covers. Will cheap ghetto-rigged covers work? Sure.

Wouldn’t it be nicer to have something that is a perfect fit and packs away into a small stuff sack?

Yup, would do the basic job.


until it gets wet…

– Last Updated: Jun-20-07 1:37 PM EST –

As my post suggests, water isn't a concern. My only concern is wind. Sure it's possible it might get wet, but if that happens it won't be a big deal. I'm just looking for an inexpensive way of cutting down the wind effect on those days I get out on "windy" days. Of course I would love to have a more expensive rig, but right now I am looking for cheap but effective homemade spray cover concepts. This isn't for whitewater canoeing, just windy days on the water. Any other suggestions out there?

Try it out with just the cardboard, and
report back with the results. There are “plastic” forms of cardboars, a plastic corrugate used to make signs. You could make something that you could re use after pulling off the duct tape.

But I wonder whether you won’t find the effect on wind and paddling ease not enough to make it worth the trouble. The main reason for spray covers is to keep water from gradually swamping the boat. The supposed aerodynamic effect is, at most, a side benefit.


– Last Updated: Jun-20-07 3:04 PM EST –

I'll check out the office supply store to see what they have, thanks. I'm no expert, but I have seen photos of canoes that have spray covers that they use to reduce wind effect during long distance races. Since I'm not out any $ using cardboard, tarps and duct tape, I will be happy to report back if I gained anything and the weather conditions present. After all, it doesn't take much wind to effect a canoe, and I find the Vagabond can handle the wind reasonably well, I just want to cut down the wind effect cheaply if I can. Any other homemade remedies out there?

Pre-cut tarp with velcro edge
Grey woven tarp can be cut to fit over the gunwale attaching to strips of velcro hook material. This way, you attach your cover after transport (high wind stress) … and your cover rolls up easily and compactly when not in use. Velco tape is pretty cheap … as are the small tarps. If you want the covers to be tighter, slide a large stuffed sleeping bag underneath them so that they present a stiff and convex surface to the wind (no flapping). I think you can feel the difference a cover makes on windy days … and if rigged correctly ( with air bags underneath them), they can make a low-profile boat much more secure for use in rough conditions.

Try Tyvek Housewrap…
Tyvek housewrap is waterproof and windproof. It’s easy to work with; just cut and tape with tyvek tape. I’ve used it for inexpansive ground cloths, tarps, and even a small sail. By folding over the edges 3 or 4 times you can add grommets or snaps, too.

Sure, it’ll work just fine. I like the tarp or tyvek and velcro better. I must be a fashion snob :slight_smile:

The front and back thirds will help noticeably. mcwood4 told me about the benefits of partial decking/covers several years ago. I’ve since had partial covers (homemade) on two boats and a full commercially-made cover on a third. There have been plenty of windy days when I’ve appreciated that bit of advice, and others who have paddled my boats have said they have noticed the difference in performance in the wind as well.

BTW, if your boat is anything remotely close to seaworthy, about all the water you’ll get on the spraycover is, well, some spray. I get more on it from paddle drips when I sit-and-switch than I do from the wind and waves.

Here are links to photos of a couple of homemade covers. Nothing fancy, but they get the job done:

Those looks pretty good to me. n/m

hate to say it
but it kinda looks like a kayak

Run a small cord or bunji in the sleeve
to keep snug. You might try super lightweight ripstop and sew it …

Cheaper and real nice is 1.8 ounce peel ply cloth. …

Or cheeeeeper still, scrim reinforced 6 mil plastic …

Interesting …
photos and ideas. I was working on mine last night and it really looks like a Sanford and Sons homemade spray cover (sorry, I’m dating myself!) compared to your Osprey spray cover C2G. This project is bringing back old memories of art class, which wasn’t my cup of tea. That said, it’s fun trying to build something useful out of one’s own garage leftovers. I am most curious to see how much I can reduce the windy day effect out on the water, and if it is noticeably beneficial, I will look into making something out of better fabric. Any other ideas out there?

Thanks for the input everyone!

old style
long before anyone ever heard of royalex, people ran whitewater in tandem grummans. One type of homemade sprayskirt that they used was sorta like a big stuffbag with a drawstring - cut to the right shape of course. They used stainless cable with a turnbuckle to tighten it just below the gunnels. Full cover with “tunnel” style openings for the paddlers. Seems like you could easily do something similar with any type of nylon cloth. Waterproofed, it should shed rain and spray, and since you aren’t planning on whitewater, you could just use a big string drawcord to cinch the cover tight, up under the gunnel. Kinda need access to a sewing machine, of course.

You can buy
plastic called storm windows. With heat it is tigthned. It will be very smooth. You attach it with duct tape.


Keep fresh foods fresher
As a test, just use Saran Wrap. As you’re installing it, it will stick to the canoe by itself. Starting from amidships, it can be “shingled” as you mve toward the bow. When you are done, seal the edges with duc(k)t tape.

Best of all, you’ll be able to see everything in your canoe!

Temp cover
One yr in the Clinton race some friends fashioned a wind/spray cover for the center section of their tandem from some heavier than normal Cling wrap type material. It survived race just fine & accomplished what they’d hoped.

Cling wrap … thats cool !!!

I like it…
cling wrap comes in different colors too! This is going to be fun and inexpensive. How come I haven’t seen anyone out there paddling around with evidence of their kitchen supplies on their bow? Believe me, I will be happy to report back my findings and many thanks to you all. Any other good ideas out there?

Field Test…
Well, I took out the canoe this morning and taped on my homemade spray cover. Talk about an ugly duckling, man… this is one beast of a spray cover. The good news is I really felt that the canoe handled the wind better. Since I was on a lake there was plenty of opportunities to catch a gust or two.

My actual “spray cover” was cut out from some “cardboard” you can buy from Walmart that was in the school supplies dept. I then covered it on one side with tarp. I secured all the edges with duct tape and that was it. I was able to easily remove the duct tape that secured the spray cover to the gunnels and yoke. No damage to the cover resulted and it’s ready for round two. There wasn’t any water damage from the kayak paddle drippings that resulted from my paddling. This covers about 2/3 of my canoe and weighs 1 1/2 lbs.

I like some of the ideas posted but I will continue to field test my prototype! I plan on paddling this Saturday for most of the day and this will be a much more conclusive experiment on the effectiveness of my cover. More later.