Also keep in mind that fast currents, big waves and winds can grab hold of storage bags and carry them off very quickly. Unsecured bags can be miles down river or downwind before you have a chance to begin looking for them.
On short trips across calm, protected waters, paddlers typically secure their gear by either running pack and dry bag straps around their thwarts, or by tying short load lines from each storage bag to the thwarts. These techniques won't keep your gear bags in place in the event of a capsize. But they will keep your gear connected to the boat so it's easier to collect should your boat go over.
On longer, more challenging journeys (especially those which involve rough water or rapids), you'll need to make sure that your gear remains securely in place inside your canoe. This is important because:
The most common way to secure equipment loads in place is with a single tie-down line. This involves running the tie-down line from a secure anchor point (usually one of the thwarts) over, under and around your bags until they're lashed securely in place. This approach works best when bags are already wedged securely under your thwarts. A single-line tie-down may loosen up during travel if your bags start shifting around.
Since tying everything down with a single line can be cumbersome, many experienced canoe campers customize their boats to make securing equipment easier and faster. Common methods include:
It's a good idea to go on a short "shake down cruise" before any long canoe camping trip. Loading up your gear and paddling a local stream or lake will help you insure that everything fits and that your canoe handles well when fully loaded. You may even want to capsize your boat during your test run, to find out how effective your tie-down techniques are and whether or not any of your dry bags or boxes leak. Remember -- it pays to test your gear and your skills before you get too deep into the wilderness.
By REI Staff
Last updated: Mon Aug 06 13:20:49 PDT 2012
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