Water bottle in canoe

Now that I’m thinking about getting my first canoe, I’m wondering about how folks carry a water bottle, camera, other small items that are handy to have within reach. Thwart bags, hydration bladders, somehow secured elsewhere? How easy is it to reach for small items in a bag attached to the seat back?

Thwart bag
In front of you is the best option .

Cooke Custom sewing and Granite Gear both make them.

Anything requiring turning your head around so it drops over the side is riskier in a solo so I don’t want day gear in back of me

Many of my canoes have anchors bonded to the hull bottom so that water bottles, dry bags, and the like can easily be secured there with carabiners.

Thwart bags are OK for small items. I am not crazy about attaching bags at thwart or gunwale level it there is much possibility of a capsize. If the boat is inverted, these items will hang down into the water and tend to get stuck and hang the boat up in moving water.

In flat water, stuff that hangs out of the inverted boat can preclude a boat-over-boat rescue, or at least make it more difficult, and that is often the best option if there is a second canoe and you are some distance from shore.

Make two assumptions: first, that anything you take with you will get wet. If you take a camera, make it a waterproof one, or keep it in a dry box like a Pelican and only take it out on shore.

Second, do not assume any dry bag to be totally dry. There are some exceptions but they are quite pricey. A cell phone or other non-waterproof electronic should by in a ziplock bag or waterproof box even inside a dry bag.

It is surprisingly easy to fall out of a canoe when reaching behind you for an object. I have certainly done so.

Instead Of Round Bottles
Use flat ones instead, like Hershey syrup containers. They may slide a little, but not roll around, out of reach all the time, like the round ones.

don’t ask about food trays
just a friendly warning

yeah those damn things

– Last Updated: Sep-19-16 4:19 PM EST –

Sometimes I have to swerve across both lanes to get my DietMountainDewCoke to roll back from under the seat!

I have a water bottle with a loop
and put a cheap fake carabiner through that. Around the thwart is an electrical cable tie… Carabiner around the tie too

Pblanc and I travel different waters so choose what is most comfortable for you. He does rivers and moving water. I do rivers seldom and portaging lake lake is a major factor in my trips. I don’t like lots of things on the bottom where my head has to be near the hull as I wear the canoe as a hat while walking. For portage reasons I seldom tie in my gear… Dumps happen mostly when I get in and out ( in deep water) in calm water.

You are seeing two different methods of securing gear while seeking advice on a piddley water bottle… but pick what is right for you… The only caveat is that it not be allowed to roll loose…

And I solo a lot so I don’t much get involved in anything involving boat over boat. I’m missing a boat. thwart bags are not coolers and most are small though the Granite Gear Small is a bit large for what I need to carry ( lunch,sunscreen,map)

I’ve got a Camelbak antidote bladder that holds about 1.5 liters that I can comfortably attach to the back of my pfd. I route the sipping tube through the shoulder adjustment retention straps, and I simply tuck the mouthpiece between my chest and the pfd. So far it works great and is pretty secure. My pfd does have an attachment loop on the back that I can fairly securely hook it too.

Here is a 2L one.


on the floor
unless I’m in whitewater, I just leave my water bottle on the floor of the canoe, within easy reach - I use mouthwash bottles, which are flat (as someone else suggested) so they don’t roll around - I suppose you could tape or glue some sort of stops to a round bottle. In a couple of boats, I just set the bottle atop the knee pad which holds it in place

otherwise, I have smallish single pouch fanny pack (the cheap kind you get free with a subscription) that will hold a quart bottle and lunch - I just attach with the strap around the seat (or seat and thwart depending on the boat) and place it on top, so I can get to it easily - my camera bag is similar and goes on the opposite side of the seat - they stay that way for portages too, with no problems

I was pretty sure that reaching behind for something was a no-no, but you folks have confirmed that. I will be using the canoe for lakes and easy rivers. I was wondering about attachment points on the floor of the canoe for gear in general. I have seen stuff about attaching D-ring pads to canoes. Since I’m coming to paddling from whitewater rafting, I live by the “rig to flip, dress to swim” mantra. The hydration pack seems like the less problematic approach, and it might encourage me to drink more than I do now with a water bottle.

I have a total of 6 Watershed brand dry duffels, so I’m covered for dry gear storage. My Watersheds have survived upside down adventures in whitewater with all my gear dry as a bone. I have a waterproof point & shoot camera, and I also have a couple Pelican cases for gear that needs crushproof & waterproof protection. The simple placement of the water bottle/hydration and maps & snacks was the thing that was puzzling me. On my SOT, I have a bungee bottle holder spot, plus a bungee spot for my camera. Within easy reach, I have a deck bag for other small stuff.

Mother of Invention
All the suggestions above are fine - perhaps even better than mine - but since my teen years I’ve fallen into a habit.

I paddle in water shoes, or canvas tennys back in the day. But just in case I always like to have a pair of decent shoes along that I could use to walk out of a place in should something really dire happen that might require miles of hiking over rocks, roots, swamp, and such. We do paddle in some pretty remote places, after all. So I tie the shoe strings of a pair of work boots or hiking boots together and wrap them once around the thwart in front of where I’m sitting.

And they hold a water bottle nicely. Its fine for a water proof camera also. Like to keep a little baggie of gorp handy? A lighter? It works.

Its not a first choice for a whitewater situation, of course. True enough, it might slightly complicate being saved by a boat over boat rescue, but I really try to avoid those situations anyhow. Been successful thus far.

It’ll work till you find a thwart bag you like.

RG, which canoes are you considering?

Short list
Placid Boatworks - Spitfire or Rapidfire

Swift - Adirondack 13.6

Slipstream Impulse 13

Keep it simple
Water bottle has a loop and a carbiner – if I have a place to attach it I do, other wise it just sits on the bottom in easy reach. Not an issue on lakes, but I have had a few float away on the river. Camera is in my PFD pocket for quick pictures. After a few lost cameras I finally attached it with a lanyard. If lunch is involved, I’ll put it in a drybag with a towel, paddle jacket and first aid kit.

A bottle cage
that hooks over the gunwale is commercially available for about five bucks. They are made from light plastic and accept the same size water bottle as my bike cage does. I hang the thing forward over the paddle station and opposite the side I usually paddle on. Don’t use it in rough conditions.


…and what mothers they are!

Proud to say
they don’t look at all like any paddlers I know. (Though Zappa certainly did put out some remarkable music both with the Mothers and also through the bands he produced - Little Feat for example.)

Those boots he’s holding look like they’d hold a goodly sized water bottle though…

By the way, out west they often use slings to hold water bottles for desert hiking - a bag that holds the water bottle with a sling that goes over the shoulder and a small biner to clip to a belt loop and keep the rig from flopping around while climbing or hiking. For canoeing purposes, that sling can be wrapped around a thwart with the bottle passed through the loop. So there’s another secure way of carrying a water bottle in a canoe.

I can recommend the Rapidfire.

We use bladders
In my ww canoe, I tuck a water bladder under the airbag and thread the hose under the thwart in front of me. To drink, I just lean forward and put the bite valve in my mouth. So far, the bladder has not come out when I have dumped and the hose and bite valve have not interfered with canoe-over-canoe rescues.

In my flatwater canoe, I put the bladder on the floor of the canoe behind me and thread the hose along the underside of the gunwale.

This system allows me to drink much more often.

waist pack
I have a small waterproof waist pack that I use for my camera, cell phone,car keys, etc. It’s supposed to be a fanny pack, but I spin it around and wear it on the front. Quick, easy access for the camera.

The water bottle usually just rolls around the bottom of the boat. If I remember to bring it, I have a Camelbak Unbottle that I lay on the floor behind and I run the hose through my belt. I once used an MSR Dromedary Bag for the same thing, but it was black and the water got hot real fast. The Unbottle has a little insulation at least.