I’m planning on putting floatation in a couple of canoes in time for whitewater season this spring. Floatation bags come in both nylon and vinyl. Does anyone have any comments regarding the pros and cons of bags made from each material? Best manufacturers/sources - particularly in Canada?
re float bags
I got mine from Mohawk canoe in Florida. They were the cheapest nylon I could find. The quality is good and they were helpful. I think the nylon is lighter and stronger than the vinyl, but more expensive. There are also a number of canadian firms that I saw when I was researching them. I did a Google search for “outfitting a whitewater canoe” and found many sites. Good luck.
I have Voyageur Nylon in several boats.
Very light and lasts well if you don’t abuse it. However, whether it is lighter when wet is open to question. The Nylon suface will absorb water, thus holding weight. Voyageur’s vinyl bags have been reported reliable at NOC for some years. The vinyl surface does not hold water. The vinyl stretches and relaxes in such a way that you might not have to worry about adjusting the amount of air in them while travelling. (I don’t remove bags while traveling, have been on trips to Ontario, Oregon, and Colorado with the same bags, now five years old.)
One thing to respect is the power of expanding air. I drove from cloudy Atlanta (1000 ft altitude) to the sunny top of the Blue Ridge Parkway (6000 ft) and suddenly noticed that the entire front of my Mad River Synergy was pooched upward as the car sat in the sun. The float bag was drum tight against the laces. Fortunately, quick valve work restored things to normal. But perhaps these bags need a functional automatic pressure relief valve.
I’ve always been taught
that vinyl bags, while more expensive, are easier to work with and are more durable. That said, I buy my bags (nylon) through Mohawk because they are so affordable.
You mean Nylon are more durable?
Actually it depends on customer handling. Vinyl is quite sun resistant, and if the customer keeps pointy or abrasive crap from under the bags, then they are probably good for five years at least. (Spraying on 303 is good, but it may not stick well— and vinyl is more UV resistant than other common plastics.)
Nylon bags by Voyageur use a urethane bonding agent rather than vinyl. Light and strong. I have some 20 year old Voyageur bags in my oldest C-1, and two of them still hold air well. The others have slow leaks from places where the fabric got “worked” at a wrinkle point.