repair/replace float bags

My NRS flotation bag (gray over black, coated nylon, 1.5 years old) has apparently developed a slow leak. Any recommendations on whether to repair or replace? I have a vague memory that some NRS flotation is known to fail earlier than one might hope, and I don’t want to spend time repairing something that is just going to fail repeatedly.

If repair: I guess I can submerge in water and look for bubbles to find the location of the leak. Better ideas? Suggestions for how to patch?

If replace: Has anyone used Wenonah flotation? They seem to have suitably sized bags. (This is for a RapidFire, a narrow solo canoe with flotation tanks in the ends. Bags for whitewater canoes are too large, and the largest bags for kayaks are too small.)

– Mark

I’d probably…

…get new ones AND repair the old ones to keep for


Repair and re-buy…?
What’s your reasoning for buying another plus also repairing? Gonna carry a spare?

A proper patch job will outlast the original material.

I’ve repaired lots 'oleaks in nylon bags
Here’s what I do:

  • Inflate

  • Brush with soapy water (it takes time to find 'em)

  • Circle leak with a pen or pencil

  • Find any other leaks and circle them too

  • Let bags dry

  • Cover holes with Aquaseal. I usually go about a half inch or so past the hole all around.

  • Position bag for repair(s) to dry, being careful the Aquaseal doesn’t run while wet

    (I’d tell you I’ve closed a blown seam due to heat and overinflation that has been holding now for 3 or 4 years and is probably the strongest part of the whole bag … but I don’t really want a lecture)

not to sound like a broken record
But if you have a problem with a product that doesn’t seem right (e.g. you haven’t abused or grossly neglected it), CONTACT THE COMPANY.

Paddlesports manufacturers depend on their reputations for safe, reliable products and they are usually happy to help identify and correct a problem. Contact NRS and see what they say. Their customer service people are great. I know they have had problems with leaks around their valves on paddle floats. It may be the same problem with their flotation bags.

Spare gear is…
…frequently useful.

things get lost, punctured, forgotten, and friends show up on trips without some of the damnedest things.