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   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      Paddling Without Gear     

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SourisMan
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07/18/2018 09:42AM  
I solo in a 16 ft. Souris River, and paddle "backwards" from the bow seat. I always feel pretty stable with my pack in front of me, but not so much when I go out fishing in an empty canoe. It feels like the bow catches too much wind. If I slide forwards and kneel, the canoe feels better, but my knees don't.

Does anyone have a good solution for this, short of buying another canoe? I've tried placing a drybag filled with water in the bow. That helped some, but didn't feel like a great solution. Thanks.
 
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07/18/2018 10:16AM  
An empty canoe is less stable then loaded. And the smaller the boat, the more this effect is felt. No real way around it other then stabilizing it with a load or lowering your center of gravity, like you tried.

Sorry that's not a solution.

Rocks for weight work but don't capsize with'em in there!! Then you might really need a new solo canoe.
 
07/18/2018 10:20AM  
During a trip I will just put my food pack in the bow while fishing. Or if one of my gamma-lid 5 gal buckets is empty I'll fill it with water and put in the bow. You will have the same problem with any tandem used for soloing, unless you rig a center seat.
 
07/18/2018 02:15PM  
Before I bit the bullet and bought a dedicated solo canoe, I soloed in a 15 ft. Nova Craft Bob's Special. Seated in the bow facing the stern, if I didn't have my packs for ballast I would use a cheap waterproof gear bag filled with water. It was the type of bag where you rolled up the open end and then snapped it shut with a plastic buckle. That makes a sort of handle, which I would loop over the the canoe carrying handle to keep in place.

By attaching the bag to the carry handle, I was able to keep the bag vertical and as far towards the end as possible. That maximized the effect.

Something filled with water is much safer to use as ballast than rocks or other weights due to the fact that it is not going to sink your boat if you capsize.



 
tonyyarusso
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07/18/2018 03:05PM  
I use the dry bag full of water approach in my Wenonah Wilderness. Actually I use two, one in the bow and one in the stern. They're apparently not made anymore, but I have the 35L tapered bags from Sea to Summit that work great for this.
 
OCDave
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07/18/2018 06:08PM  
SourisMan: "...


...I've tried placing a drybag filled with water in the bow. That helped some, but didn't feel like a great solution. Thanks."


Two dry bags filled with water? If it feels good with your gear, that is the amount of weight you need to replace.

Alternate idea, kneeling pad. Mine is a larger peice of gym rubber. Weighty when portaging but, well worth the weight when I am back on the water. Got mine here: https://www.foambymail.com/GR-_BLACK/gym-rubber-black.html

I ordered my piece fairly large then trimmed it to fit tight to the gunnels and exceed the length from my knees to extended toes. With practice I can kneel for about 45 minutes to 1 hours before my feet fall asleep. Knees feel great though.
 
billconner
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07/18/2018 06:45PM  
Help me out. Like these Sealine drybags

Recommended size? Just fill them with water and lay them in the canoe?
 
07/18/2018 08:26PM  
Size would depend on weight you want; a liter weighs 1 kilogram or 2.2 lbs., so the 20 liter size would be 44 lbs. I think you'd want them pretty full to keep any sloshing around to a minimum, and maybe 2 smaller ones would be better than 1 larger one.
 
07/18/2018 11:53PM  
I tend to use rocks to add weight to the bow....It's not hard to find them. :)

I also have used a collapsible five gallon jug, which I use on group trips to hold water from the gravity filter. Just my .02.
 
billconner
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07/19/2018 07:33AM  
I like the collapsible water jug. 5 gal = 40 pounds - about pack weight. One front and one rear.

Since my soloing while without packs is planned locally, not on a trip, packing them is not an issue.

Thanks!!
 
jdddl8
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07/20/2018 07:01PM  
Nothing new here. I use my food pack, my day pack or rocks for fishing and day trips. The rougher the water or the bigger the lake results in more weight.
 
mastertangler
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07/20/2018 07:18PM  
I use a shopping bag which is supposed to straddle a shopping cart. Sturdy yet light. I place a few rocks inside. I find the handle on the bag very helpful in lifting the rocks.

It has been suggested the rocks could sink the canoe. Wouldn't they have to hang up on something first? I am trying to envision the physics of the rocks sinking a solo and I cannot quite grab hold of the scenario.
 
Banksiana
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07/20/2018 07:32PM  
mastertangler: "It has been suggested the rocks could sink the canoe. Wouldn't they have to hang up on something first? I am trying to envision the physics of the rocks sinking a solo and I cannot quite grab hold of the scenario. "

If you manage to fill the canoe without the rocks coming out then they could sink the boat. Not as unlikely as it seems- the one time I flipped my canoe with gear (involved a 15# northern and a 70# dog), the boat (an Advantage a fairly lively hull) filled with water to close to the gunwale level (I was jettisoned immediately) but the fish, rod, reel and tackle box were still in the boat.
 
jhb8426
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07/22/2018 12:36AM  
billconner: "I like the collapsible water jug. 5 gal = 40 pounds - about pack weight. One front and one rear. "

How do you fill it? I've tried those but submerging them to fill doesn't work as the water pressure just causes them to collapse as you dunk them. Do you pour water in from another container?
 
billconner
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07/22/2018 06:52AM  
For local paddling, I'd fill them at home from a hose. From a lake, I guess I'd have to use a "dipper" of some sort.
 
billconner
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07/22/2018 06:52AM  
For local paddling, I'd fill them at home from a hose. From a lake, I guess I'd have to use a "dipper" of some sort.
 
SourisMan
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07/22/2018 07:40AM  
I've seen a foam seat, kind of saddle shaped, that whitewater canoeists put on the canoe floor. The seat is placed where you would typically kneel. It's an interesting way to get your weight forward in the canoe, but the seat itself is too bulky/heavy for tripping. I haven't found a light weight version.
 
07/22/2018 09:21AM  
mastertangler: "I use a shopping bag which is supposed to straddle a shopping cart. Sturdy yet light. I place a few rocks inside. I find the handle on the bag very helpful in lifting the rocks.


It has been suggested the rocks could sink the canoe. Wouldn't they have to hang up on something first? I am trying to envision the physics of the rocks sinking a solo and I cannot quite grab hold of the scenario. "


When you get dumped, the canoe rarely flips over. The gunwale goes under, the canoe fills with water and most everything the won't float stays in the canoe. Most canoes have minimal floatation so the rocks would easily sink it.
 
mastertangler
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07/22/2018 10:36AM  
Thank you awbrown and bankslana for the responses. Your replies have opened my eyes a bit. The one time I did capsize I rolled the boat completely over but thanks to your educating me I can clearly picture a person being ejected while the boat fills but remains upright. Of course that could happen!

I suppose a collapsible bucket that one could fill with water would be the only safe and practical solution.



 
mastertangler
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07/22/2018 10:58AM  
There are cheaper options but I have always liked sea to summit stuff. The 20 liter version should put about 5 gallons of water in. That would be helpful in my bow, plus a good option come clean up time. I like that it has a grab handle at the base to aid in filling.

2 day shipping with Prime. I will have my gal order it tomorrow and I should have it in time for my trip.

Anybody interested in a grocery bag which stretches across a shopping cart? Could be very handy. Good price ;-)

Sea to summit folding bucket

I can't help but wonder if the bucket will stand on its own in a canoe? I will need to test it out. Maybe if it is unsteady perhaps the handles could aid in supporting the bucket via being attached to a stick across the gunnels? Maybe some wire coated tie wraps would secure the handles excesses. I suppose I will soon find out.

Another option would be to pile a bunch of big fish in the bottom of the boat to add some much needed weight. Decisions, decisions!
 
Banksiana
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07/22/2018 01:19PM  
I think the dry bags (like the sealine or the Sea to Summit) will work better than the bucket. Once the top is rolled closed they won't leak even if they fall over. The bucket is prone to collapse if the side is bumped or if a shift in momentum causes it to cave and then your ballast will be free-range ballast in your canoe. I do love the sea to summit bucket for camp as a source for wash and rinse water.
 
billconner
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07/22/2018 02:34PM  
I would not rely on a collapsible bucket for ballast. The dry bags are clearly the best choice if for use on a longer trip.
 
pswith5
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07/22/2018 06:43PM  
SourisMan: "I solo in a 16 ft. Souris River, and paddle "backwards" from the bow seat. " I recommend you "sit" backwards and paddle forward! Much easier :)
 
mastertangler
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07/23/2018 08:46AM  
billconner: "I would not rely on a collapsible bucket for ballast. The dry bags are clearly the best choice if for use on a longer trip. "

Rats, perhaps you are right. I either sold the ones I could use or they are back in Florida. i prefer that it can lay flat. Hmmmmm. Thanks Bill, good critique.
 
SourisMan
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07/23/2018 09:54AM  
pswith5: "SourisMan: "I solo in a 16 ft. Souris River, and paddle "backwards" from the bow seat. " I recommend you "sit" backwards and paddle forward! Much easier :)"

Hmm..I'll try that. Maybe then I can ditch the rearview mirrors?
 
mastertangler
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07/23/2018 05:16PM  
No time wasted......I picked up 2 35 liter seal line bags of the UL variety. Should put a decent amount of weight in the boat, easy to fill and lift and I don't have to worry about a collapsible bucket.....collapsing! (What was I thinking!)
 
sedges
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07/29/2018 01:59PM  
If you travel solo regularly it would be worthwhile to make a seat for solo that you can install when you need it. Although the Souris River seats are placed on brackets riveted to the hull, you can hang seats from the gunnels if you wish. It only takes a few minutes to install the seat after the initial build and installation. The seat could be a bit further forward, as close to the yoke as is comfortable for getting in and out.

After traveling solo in a 16' Chestnut Pal and Prospector I really celebrated when I built my first dedicated solo. It made solo paddling so much more fun! Since, I have picked up two ready-mades, Dagger and Mad River(30 pounds). I takes a bit of patient searching, but good deals on used boats are out there.

Just came back from a 10 day solo. Paddling a tandem would have left me windbound at least two of those days.
 
SourisMan
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07/30/2018 10:08AM  
sedges: "If you travel solo regularly it would be worthwhile to make a seat for solo that you can install when you need it. Although the Souris River seats are placed on brackets riveted to the hull, you can hang seats from the gunnels if you wish. It only takes a few minutes to install the seat after the initial build and installation. The seat could be a bit further forward, as close to the yoke as is comfortable for getting in and out.


After traveling solo in a 16' Chestnut Pal and Prospector I really celebrated when I built my first dedicated solo. It made solo paddling so much more fun! Since, I have picked up two ready-mades, Dagger and Mad River(30 pounds). I takes a bit of patient searching, but good deals on used boats are out there.


Just came back from a 10 day solo. Paddling a tandem would have left me windbound at least two of those days."


Good point about a drop in seat! I see that Mohawk Canoes has one for $80. The seat is sent overly long so that it can be trimmed to fit your canoe. I might give it a try.
 
07/31/2018 07:22PM  
Rocks work for me..
 
jcavenagh
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08/07/2018 09:36AM  
Even in my Prism I use balast to get a good trim when empty.
 
SinglePortage
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08/07/2018 09:38PM  
mastertangler: "No time wasted......I picked up 2 35 liter seal line bags of the UL variety. Should put a decent amount of weight in the boat, easy to fill and lift and I don't have to worry about a collapsible bucket.....collapsing! (What was I thinking!)"

I was actually hoping you would give the COLLAPSIBLE bucket a try. Would have been a great story. Trust me, the dry bags will work much better. Let us know how the UL dry bags work out. I went with 20L bags because I did not think that the UL bags would handle 70-80 pounds very well.
 
ozarkpaddler
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08/08/2018 03:35PM  
Back when I had my Q-16, it was before I began kneeling and I would also put ballast in the front (well, in front of me, in the stern). AW Brown's idea is a really good one too.

But, if you get a decent kneeling pad and get used to kneeling, you really appreciate the improved control you have of the canoe and how paddling feels more "Natural," IMHO? You can get the cheap closed cell foam pads and use them or get a nice pad like this: Kneeling Pad

 
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