BWCA Under seat / thwart / bow bag search Boundary Waters Gear Forum
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11/27/2023 08:01PM  
For many years I have used an under seat bag with quick release buckles, and often just buckle it to the front of the seat so it hangs like a thwart bag. It has a removable shoulder strap. I usually sit in the bow. I keep the usual in it - sunscreen, bug, binocs etc. It is no longer even slightly water resistant, so I am looking for a new bag.

What I like about an under seat bag - holds a lot, out of the way, quick release buckles, removable shoulder strap (I carry it in front with the food pack).

What I don’t like - sags, everything gathers in one spot, holds too much, not waterproof. Not the easiest to access / find items while sitting.

Thwart bags seem to have the same issues, but might be easier to access. Also sways if left in while portaging.

Bow bags - I like that it doesn’t sit in water at the bottom of the canoe. However, I can’t reach it while sitting!

What do other bow paddlers use? Is there a waterproof, perfect bag out there?
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11/27/2023 09:03PM  
Granite Gear Stowaway is excellent. Padded seat, water resistant material and zipper, ample space, removable plastic cutting board provides structure.

I’ve even clipped it to a pack to haul a stringer of fish across a long portage when my hands were full.
11/27/2023 09:16PM  
Check out the CCS padded seat with saddle bags. Doesn’t work with all seats and not waterproof but would check a lot of your boxes.
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11/28/2023 07:00AM  
+1 for the CCS padded seat with saddle bags. It is super easy to get things out of the bags while seated, and it stays on while portaging. Although it’s not waterproof, I have never had anything get wet inside the bags. They stay above the floor of the canoe and the material hasn’t soaked through while paddling in rain.
11/28/2023 11:28AM  
My bow-mate uses a Portage North (formerly Kondos) Guide Pack 25 which he places directly behind him or behind and to one side so he can access its contents by turning slightly on the seat. Although the pack is made of cordura nylon, the contents can be kept dry with a sturdy plastic liner bag.

I have used a CCS thwart bag with a map case when I paddle from the stern seat (and I still use it locally for day trips), but the past several years I've been using a small 20-liter daypack for canoe-camping. I also keep my camera gear in a waterproof Seal Line WideMouth duffle (small) stowed between my feet for rapid access.
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11/28/2023 12:08PM  
a few ideas...

1) I love my Mountainsmith Day Pack. They have every size day or fanny pack you could want and the quality is high and they have tons of pockets. They aren't waterproof so you need zip locks or a dry box for stuff that needs to stay dry.

2) I've also got the CCS seat pad with side pockets. I never use it because for me a day pack is far more useful and the side pockets don't hold much. But it could be a good option for you if your storage needs are modest.

3) If you could share a picture of your bow station, it might be easy to add a couple of attachment points on the gunwales right in front of you so you could hang a bag within reach.

4) Check out stuff made for fishermen. Plano is known for fishing tackle boxes and it looks like they make all kinds of "tackle bags" with waterproof bottoms that would be great for paddlers.

I think I may investigate one too!

Tackle Box/Bag
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