Thwart Bags?

-- Last Updated: Apr-05-06 5:20 PM EST --

Waste of space/money or good investment? The impulse buyer in me wants one because of the pockets and convenience, but the realist in me thinks I'd never use it over my reliable dry bag.

Also, when I asked around about them at the recent NJ PaddleSport show, nobody even knew what a Thwart Bag was!?

I use two different ones

– Last Updated: Apr-05-06 6:02 PM EST –

The one I like most is from Cooke Custom Sewing and has a map case attached. It's a handy spot to put all the miscellaneous stuff that I use. Some doesn't need any dry storage (sunscreen, bug spray, water bottle) and some of it is stored in some water-resistant or water-proof bags (camera, guide books, binoculars). I find it easier to get into and find things in the shallow bag than a dry-bag.

I have another that I use to keep my fishing stuff in. It has room for 3 small Plano boxes plus needle-nosed pliers and some other small things. It originally had life as a fishing container designed to hang from bicycle handlebars, but it works great in the canoe too.

Sometimes I take both (a fishing trip with lots of canoeing distance too). They can both fit on the thwart. I can portage the canoe with them still hanging on the thwart without any problem and many of my trips requiring portaging. I hate loose stuff on the bottom of the canoe!


I use a 5 gal bucket with one of those watertight lids. I can store all sorts of things in there, use it as a seat, and in a pinch fill it with ice for those adult beverages! I’ve looked at thwart bags but decided against them over the bucket as it is much more versitaile IMO. I do paddle with a buddy who swears by them so I reckon it’s a personal choice kinda thing.


Ditto on the bucket
You can get them at pet shops or just order the screw lid online and get a 2.5 gal bucket. For camping I use it to store food so the racoons can’t get at it. For day trips I store fishing gear, first aid kit, flares, phone and rain gear.

I use one as my “glove compartment”…
and I’d be lost without it- it’s a Granite Gear small model. In addition to providing semi-dry easy access for stuff like sunscreen and bug repellent & headnets,a map case clips on, and the straps make a good anchor point for other accessories.



Ammo box

– Last Updated: Apr-05-06 7:02 PM EST –

That's what I use for gee gaw storage.
Rainproof, water proof, smash proof, UV proof, fold down carry handle, cheap. Secured to thwart with utility cord & a biner.

My wife prefers a small, waterproof bag, secured to thwart with utility cord & a biner.


I second the "glove compartment"
Mine is a small twart bag made by Cooke and I really depend on having it for small items that I want easily accessible and handy. Mine is by no means waterproof so in a capsize the gear inside gets wet. But mine is small enough it hangs above the canoe bilge and unless it rains or I take a lot of water over the bow or gunwale, things stay dry.

Here is a short list…
Cabela’s Thwart Bag $ 27

Granite Gear Wedge Thwart Bag $41 $49

Bell Thwart Bag $40

CCS Thwart Bag $29 $37

FR Canoe Thwart Bag $49

I have used the Granite Gear large, and own the Cabela’d bag. I borrowed and used the GG bag on an extended solo trip and LOVED it. It works great for items that you want close at hand: Bug dope, sunscreen, glasses, first aid, etc. It is not waterproof, but it stays pretty dry. It has a nice set of d-rings that allow the attachment of a map case. When I saw the Cabela’s bag, I immediately bought one. Basically it is identical to the Large GG bag (has all the same features), except it is made out of vinyl and had a waterproof zipper. I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, but I’m sure it is going to work as well as the GG bag and be waterproof to boot. I’ll write a review after my first paddle this year.

Hope this helps,


Thanks for the links and the great reviews! It sounds like the Cabellas bag is twice the bag for half the price of the Granite bag.

Last summer I was unemployed and had tons of time to go canoeing. I was a student employee who graduated and couldn’t be a student employee at the university I was at. A few weeks before I became unemployeed I bought my second canoe, a solo. Ah…it was great to be unemployeed in the spring and summer. I was averageing paddleing 5-6 times a week.

On topic, I also tried out my sewing skills. I made a thwart, bow, and 6-paddle bag. I must admit i did copy the wedge shape of the Granite Gear bag. I made them all for about $60

Thwart Bag:

Bow Bag:

Impressive Sewing Skills
Wow, those look professionally manufactured! Well done!

North Face
I used a Drybag/Fanny pack put out by North Face. When hung on the thwart it had a holder for my nalgene bottle and doubled well as my bailout bag…kim

Good job!
In the “ready-to-go/off-the-rack era” it’s refreshing to see someone take on the challenge of sewing things from scratch. Great work, thanks for posting. Randall


This works well for small items – keeps them up off the floor and in easy reach. I’m sure you could improvise something similar using small stuff sacks.

For a DIY thwart bag, you can add a couple of velcro or buckle straps to a fanny pack.

Grade VI thwart bag
My favorite thwart bag is made by Grade VI. I don’t know if they are still in business…could not find on the web.

Super tough and simple design and a bit bigger than the other ones…close to twice as big as the Granite Gear bag I think.

It’s big enough to carry everything I could need except a change of dry clothes in the winter.

Worth considering if you can find one.

I live pretty close to the big Cabelas and I’ve seen their bag and it looks very nice.

I’m getting one too.
After this weekend when my brother in law flipped, I decided I better get one to keep my cell phone in. Just in case.