Where to tie my bags in my canoe

I am taking my first overnight canoe trip with my son down the Pere Marquette river in northwest Michigan. I have packed like I do when I am backpacking just to keep things simple. I was able to get most everything into three medium to large float bags. I am taking my Wenonah Spirit 17’ foot canoe. Where do I tie my float bags? Do I tie my float bags? How do I tie my float bags?



You could tie (or use a carbiner around the twarts and through any straps on the bags) them to the twarts. Some don’t tie because the bags will probably float and if not tied they will not be in your way if the canoe tips over when trying to grab onto the canoe. Regardless, make sure the bags are centerd well for balance and are placed in the canoe so the canoe rides right (as in - front not sticking up).

different schools on this

– Last Updated: Jul-19-07 10:34 AM EST –

Some don't tie because the bags will float into an eddie somewhere. And, by not being attached to the boat, they don't hinder rescues, self or assisted.

Some tie everything in tightly so they don't have to chase it down or possibly lose it.

Some tie in with maybe three feet of extra line so they can right the boat without gear and then put it back in after the boat is back up.

Some choose a middle path and multiple variations of the above.

What I do on a trip with kids is tie everything into the boat. But, it's tied in from tie down points on/near the floor so that it doesn't "half fall out" if the boat goes over.

I do it this way for a couple of reasons. If we go over, the kids will be a little unsettled. And I don't want them to be even more so watching our gear float away. I also have dry clothes and first aid that I want to have immediate access to, not chase downriver while leaving the kids. Finally, I want the kids to get into the automatic habit of tying things into the boat. As they mature and grow, they can learn to make considered judgments about these things.

But most important, figure out your trim first. That's what primarily determines bag placement.

That's my too cents worth.

Be careful about the use of carbiners
that are not locking type.

Non locking carbiners present a drowning hazard if someone gets hooked into one. It is suggested if used they not be used near anyone in the boat. Nor near where you might be handling a submerged hull.

Your painters should not be too long and should be secured for the same ensnarement precautions. Normally a few feet past the center of the boat is more than enough painter length. If you need to use a longer line, like for lining, tie it on when needed and remove when not.

Have a good trip!



But if they ARE the locking type, they
take precious time to release when necessary. I would not recommend having a non-locking carabiner on a PFD, but I keep a large-gate non-locker on a thwart so I can slap it onto loose boats and gear.

I wonder if there have been enough carabiner incidents to justify giving up the benefits of non-locking carabiners.

Don’t know. Do know I was snagged

– Last Updated: Jul-19-07 2:21 PM EST –

getting out the back of my van by a carabiner. I was jerked hard, spun around, and turned over. I was disoriented for a short bit. My feet were off the ground. Had to pull myself back up and deal with a stubborn snag.

I would not have wanted to be dealing with this in the water, hooked to a boat full of water, going down river!

Do I use non locking carabiners? Sure, I use them, but I use them knowingly. I try to keep them far enough away and orientated properly to hopefully avoid being snagged.

I Did not say do not use carabiners. I only said be careful, to be aware of the potential hazard. Since the poster is "taking my first overnight canoe trip with my son" I thought best to mention a potential hazard another poster suggested he include in his trip.



I’ve never tied anything an a canoe
Try pulling out a canoe lodged under a log or rock with the current rushing at it with the gear tied inside. Your gear and canoe will be a bastard and potentially dangerous to retrieve. Your gear won’t go far at all before it gets stuck or can be retrieved by someone in your group.

Used to tie stuff to thwarts
That seemed t o work well for me, but it never got tested because I’ve never (I am knocking on wood) had an unfortunate episode involving possible loss of gear. I tend to paddle conservatively on multi-day trips.

But, I just installed some D-rings on the floor of my canoe as tie-down points, because I think it will be more seccure, and easier to manage in a capsize. In the event this system gets tested, I’ll fill you in. Or, you can just read the trip report. :wink: Leaving for the NFCT on Saturday.


What’s the water like?

– Last Updated: Jul-19-07 8:31 PM EST –

Since I don't know that river, I can't be sure what to tell you. Not all the answers I've seen so far may be applicable, depending on your situation.

In whitewater, I tie everything in tightly. I use glued-in D-rings to tie in packs and the like, so they are anchored right to the floor. Tightly tied-in packs actually add to the boat's floatation, and it will ride higher and be easier to handle when swamped, and will be easier to bail. That's not to say you must tie stuff in in whitewater, but it will make life easier for you if you flip.

If you are out in less threataning water conditions, there's less need for good tie-down points, so you may opt to tie stuff to the thrwarts so it doesn't drift away, or not tie stuff in at all. In flat water, sometimes I tie things in, and sometimes I don't. Usually I don't (except for things that sink, like a camera tripod. That stuff gets tied every time).

Tieing in gear
If your dry bags are the parachute clip closing type, just clip them around a thwart or seat frame. The Pere Marquette is a pretty tame river so you really shouldn’t have much trouble. Just lash them in so you don’t lose them if you dump, but not long enough to be an entrapment issue. Depending on which stretch you are paddling, it’s not very deep except at some corners.

Have a great trip. I bet your son will have a blast and make some good memories.


I tie everything in

– Last Updated: Jul-19-07 8:30 PM EST –

Including significant flotation.
I've seen too much gear lost, both temporarily and permanently to do anything but tie every thing in.
When my boat dumps I don't want to worry about what went where.
I use the thwarts, seats and D-rings or webbing glued to the bottom of the boat.