Solo Canoe Float Bags????

The law according to g2d?
I thought the purpose of float bags was to displace water so a swamped boat floats higher, is less likely to get pinned, and is easier to recover. If a 30’ bag will do that fine, why won’t a 60” bag do it better? They are not significantly heavier (unless ounces make a difference) and they are no harder to install (involves drilling a couple more holes). They would probably produce higher pressure on the hull if over inflated, but a 30” or 48” bag could cause damage as well. In a 14’ boat, there is still plenty of room to move around, and for a days worth of gear. You call it overkill, and maybe it is. I say its no harm done, and better safe than sorry.

Live and let live.

Just to keep this going …
When I had my Supernova, I could re-enter the boat completely swamped with water because (and only because) it had 60" bags.

I used a method I called “the recliner.” It’s where you approach the swamped boat back first, push the near gunnel down, put your but in the bilge, throw your arms over the far gunnel and then simply lean back.

Anything less than 60s would not provide enough displacement to do this. I’m 99% sure it would work in a Freedom Solo also, maybe even better since it has slightly less overall volume.

More is Better, Except When it’s Not
I subscribe to the more is better School of Flotation myself. My OC1’s have as much as I can fit and I’m always looking for way’s to fit more. I limit my paddling to class III or under but I have managed to fill the boat on occaision. I feel that leaving less room for water makes a swamped boat more manageable while I’m paddling it. I’ll take any advantage I can get.

But I’m conflicted! I pinned my Explorer while poling and I’m sure that more flotation would have made the experience less traumatic. Aftrwards I installed a 48" bag in the stern and a 60" in the bow and was much happier. That was until I wanted to stand behind the bow seat(running the boat backwards) to get the bow up a little more.

These days I pole it without flotation so that I can stand wherever I choose.

Tripping will also force me to limit the flotation in a boat. Got to leave room for gear.


I’d like to see you do that between
Tablesaw and Diamond Splitter. Should be plenty of time.

Ounces?!? And someone running

– Last Updated: Apr-28-09 11:29 AM EST –

easy whitewater with 60" bags in a Freedom Solo will be justly regarded as a joke. Even 48" bags would look like overkill.

I wouldn't question anyone's decision to run 60" bags for New River Gorge or even the Ocoee, but when I see people with them on the Nantahala, I assume they needed them on some other river.

Sixty inch bags are not just a little heavier than 30" bags, especially once they're thoroughly wet.

What was that about just having to drill "a couple more holes" going from 30" to 60"? That's a lot more holes, a lot more lacing to manage.

How many of you load your boats on your own? How many carry them solo the quarter mile to the Chattooga?

I put some cheap 48's in my new Millbrook, but I'm going to replace them with lightweight Gaias as soon as I can afford it.

I repeat, seriously advising someone to put 60" bags in a Freedom Solo for easy whitewater makes no sense. More weight, less room, more lacing, more problems with pressure changes, more to inflate. A Freedom Solo (one of which I own) does not even belong on streams where 60" bags might have real utility.

I’d like to see someone do it in 30 mph
… winds too, but I kinda doubt that would happen either.

Not sure what the point is though …

So, if you fill your OC-1 on a class 3
river, but don’t plan to try to roll it, do you really expect a significant difference recovering it with 60" versus 48" bags?

I would not defend 30" bags on class 3 or heavy water. I’ve passed up an occasional run, such as the Elk near Steamboat Springs, because the class 3 was too continuous. But I wouldn’t bother horsing around 60" bags routinely for class 3. I ran the second section of the Kennebec at about 6k with my little 30" bags, and the only time I took water and had to dump a few gallons was when I mis-read converging wave lines.

Point is that re-entry may have limited
utility in most real-life situations. I think I could re-enter with 48" bags, and if I had a pump, the boat would soon be near empty. But experience shows that boat and body may be to shore and dumping out in comparable time.

actually, I only ever did it on lakes

– Last Updated: Apr-28-09 11:25 AM EST –

... (practice only) where getting to shore to dump wasn't really an option. And on lakes, the 60s acted like a spray cover for wind deflection too.

2 Feet between 60x2 and 48 x2
That’s the difference I expect. Maybe a couple or more gallons at 8 lbs a gallon that won’t be sloshing around my boat as I’m desperatly making for the nearest eddy where I can dump her out.

Yes to me that’s enough of a difference to be worthwhile.


I did the rough math
The difference is only a little more than 200 pounds …

I did more exacting math and its
likely around 300 pounds or more water displaced with 60" bags than 48" bags. This doesn’t factor the actual water that which can remain in the swamped boat. A floating object of 700 pounds is more manageable than one 1000 pounds. And its not only the water displacement that is a factor but also how much higher the swamped boat will float. 60" bags will provide about 360 pounds more in buoyant force than 48" bags. It will be much easier to maneuver the swamped canoe to shore to empty it and easier to empty with 60" bags than 48" bags. In addition, 60" bags can likely be limited to the area from the thwarts to the ends in a MD Freedom Solo, leaving a four and a half foot cockpit. Then once bowler1 is done “playing” in whitewater, the tripping gear that can’t fit in this area can be stowed inside the bag cages and the bags inflated to take up the remaining space. Makes no sense, I know. :wink:

I was only figuring
… one 48" vs. 60" bag’s worth of water, since that’s what I read into what Tommy wrote.

Water is heavy. And, the damned stuff just wants to go straight, even when you’d rather turn or eddy.

You’re deluding yourself with your
math. A boat 15’ or less with 48" bags is not going to fill all that empty space with water. The boat doesn’t ride hull down, it rides on one side or the other. A 13’ boat like my Millbrook, carrying 48" bags, will float like a cork. Putting 60" bags in it just adds weight, etc.

I’m beginning to wonder how many swamped boats you guys have fought with, or even watched.

I’ve noticed a little “spray cover"
effect after I put the 48” bags in my Millbrook, but not all that impressive. I wouldn’t expect 60s to add much, because there is already a gunwale height minicell panel, a foot plus wide, in front of me, for maps and such. The “spray cover” effect might appear more in my Freedom Solo, and I actually got a spray cover when I bought the boat used, but I don’t know if I’ll ever try it out. Like 60" bags, it just gets in the way of the utility of an OPEN canoe.

Oh, and eckilson, the “law” being
pushed here is “If some is good, more is better.” Several people who cancelled their open-boatedness with 60 or even 72 inch bags are pushing that argument. I’m only saying that argument is less than convincing and that with bigger bags come minuses as well as pluses.

I hear what you’re saying g2d
But I still don’t see how I’m “cancelling” anything with 60" bags. Just how much crap do you need to be able to access while underway?

For me, the items stowed under the bags (if any) are easily accessible upon landing. But I’ll grant you, it doesn’t “look” as open as it might be with shorter bags.

Well, those of us with larger bags
… probably haven’t fought with as many swamped boats as you have … :slight_smile:

the point being made about water weight
… assumes a paddler still occupying the cockpit, and not a boat floating like a cork, upside down.

I keep my Portugese Water Dogs
in that open space.