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Thread: air bags vs buoyancy blocks

  1. #1
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    Default air bags vs buoyancy blocks

    Air bags pros:
    light, easy to remove, can fit something above/beside.
    cons:
    fragile.

    blocks pros:
    cheaper?, more durable.
    cons: not versatile

    Have I missed anything out?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by French Erick View Post
    Have I missed anything out?
    Well, there's the whole crazy idea of not having either of 'em... (my personal favorite)......

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8r View Post
    Well, there's the whole crazy idea of not having either of 'em... (my personal favorite)......
    Yeah, but your canoe has buoyancy tanks glassed into it, sk8r
    Fran

    Photobucket stole my sig



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8r View Post
    Well, there's the whole crazy idea of not having either of 'em... (my personal favorite)......
    Would that be sensible with young kids? They have life jackets (not BAs). Quite happy to do that if is not a reckless thing. Also, all dry bags already strapped in boat may already act as flotation devices?
    Care to destroy my above theory?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fran View Post
    Yeah, but your canoe has buoyancy tanks glassed into it, sk8r
    Sorry but I do not understand that yet. In the triple skin-thingme, there is some air already trapped?

  6. #6
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    Having read your introduction post I think you are right about using dry bags strapped in for buoyancy on your camping trips. They will be more than adequate. However if you wish to add buoyancy for times when you are on a day trip or just pottering about, airbags are more versatile than blocks because they can be deflated a bit, re-strapped, when more space is needed.

    Buoyancy is peace of mind. It's your choice to use it or not.

    Opinions on a forum are all valid, but sometimes you need to know a little more about who is giving them and then you can understand better.

    Sk8r is right about not using any buoyancy. She is a very capable paddler paddling solo most times and can handle anything that's thrown at her. Plus she's from Canada (now) where attitudes to buoyancy are more relaxed than here.

    Fran is from UK and paddles a lot with kids so knows the peace of mind given by not having to worry about the canoe while she deals with potentially hypothermic children.

    (I hope I've got that right, I've potentially opened a can of worms, putting myself between the two ladies)
    Last edited by Big Al.; 29th-September-2018 at 07:24 AM.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by French Erick View Post
    Sorry but I do not understand that yet. In the triple skin-thingme, there is some air already trapped?
    I believe sk8r paddles composite boats which have no inherent buoyancy so tend to have small watertight compartments built into the structure of the boat. Forgive me if I have that wrong sk8r

    I think you put that very well Al
    Its personal choice but I will add the vast majority of UK paddlers will add buoyancy to their canoes. Yes your load will most likely add some additional buoyancy if properly secured.
    Buoyancy blocks are fit and forget, neat but heavy. A lot of them are polystyrene so environmentally iffy.
    Air bags lighter more adaptable but like everything else you get what you pay for. Try and avoid the ruk bags, Palm and Yak bags are ok, harmony bags very good and bomber bags excellent.
    edited to add there are other bags available but I've no experience of them so can't comment
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayobren View Post
    I believe sk8r paddles composite boats which have no inherent buoyancy so tend to have small watertight compartments built into the structure of the boat.
    Absolutely right. I hope everyone realizes that I do know that for some boats on some kinds of water, airbags or something are a really good idea..... I just wanted to poke the bear a bit.... even just watching Brit tv dramas & stuff, this obsession for what I think is called "elfin safety" fascinates me.....

    Anyway, I sure don't want to mislead the OP, so you folks should give her/him the proper advice.......seriously.

    In the meantime, I'm just off to my woods where I will spend the morning wandering around, with a gun, and a BIG knife (ordered over the internet ) , in the middle of nowhere, by myself, in total disregard for all principles of self-preservation, because it's a beautiful crisp Fall day, and I want a game pie for supper.....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8r View Post

    In the meantime, I'm just off to my woods where I will spend the morning wandering around, with a gun, and a BIG knife (ordered over the internet ) , in the middle of nowhere, by myself, in total disregard for all principles of self-preservation, because it's a beautiful crisp Fall day, and I want a game pie for supper.....
    Take me with you
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  10. #10

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    Are air bags fragile? I've had mine since early 2011 and have never had an issue, nor have they even been topped up with air and they are still up. Am sure they could have been put through more in that time, but they have certainly been exposed to sand / grit over that time. That said, they don't look the easiest thing to repair if they did get punctured.

  11. #11
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    Just a thought - before putting anything into a boat one should be clear about what one expects it to do for them, how it may be used and in what circumstances.

    Having something with you does not necessarily, in and of itself, add anything to one's safety.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
    Just a thought - before putting anything into a boat one should be clear about what one expects it to do for them, how it may be used and in what circumstances.
    You are right. I am about to purchase a boat of the big 15 to 16ft range. It'll already be set up for 3 or I will do that myself (I might even replace the stern seat with a comfy KT (as seen on the Apache Canoe website).

    The boat is intended to go on camping trips on lochs and easy rivers(max Gr2) with 2 children and a reasonable amount of comfort.
    Either the airbag and the blocks are taking precious space which I would rather fill with a big drybag lashed securely to the canoe with plenty of air inside.

    I am unlikely to tackle bigger water with it. I own a prelude OC1 for that purpose.

    Keep suggestions and thoughts coming folks. All knowledge is good to hear...I'll see what I want to keep/ discount myself

  13. #13
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    Hi Eric,
    Something to consider..air bags that double as storage. I have some seriously heavy duty with dry zips and inflation valve that were custom made . Drop me a pm if you want photos .
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

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    Quote Originally Posted by tenboats1 View Post
    Hi Eric,
    Something to consider..air bags that double as storage. I have some seriously heavy duty with dry zips and inflation valve that were custom made . Drop me a pm if you want photos .
    There might be a few of us interested in those. Could you post photos on this thread?
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenboats1 View Post
    Hi Eric,
    Something to consider..air bags that double as storage. I have some seriously heavy duty with dry zips and inflation valve that were custom made . Drop me a pm if you want photos .
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al. View Post
    There might be a few of us interested in those. Could you post photos on this thread?
    Yes, I'm interested in these too!
    Fran

    Photobucket stole my sig



  16. #16
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    Err, I've never been able to post photos here...….much too much IT effort for me !

    I could direct email one of you so that you could post the photos??
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenboats1 View Post
    Err, I've never been able to post photos here...….much too much IT effort for me !

    I could direct email one of you so that you could post the photos??
    Yes, please.
    Fran

    Photobucket stole my sig



  18. #18
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    Aye Tenboats (Tony wasn't it),
    Let me see those.
    I'll pm you my address.
    Erick

  19. #19
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    New generation airbags by Tribal Airbags or BPM white water are bombproof with raft valves and super durable material ..

    I believe Mat at BPM is making airbags with airtight zips and valves that double up as dry bags and floatation.

  20. #20
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    I think everything's been pretty much covered above, but your basics are correct.

    I choose airbags because they can be removed quickly and stored flat elsewhere, and ultimately mine are bigger and give more buoyancy than most blocks. They also, when strapped in properly, sit snugger against the hull and help the canoe sit higher when swamped.

    However, I often remove the front one on open water trips, replaced with dry bags with some of the (lighter) kit in, lashed in place at the bow. My main bags in the middle of the canoe tend to be on a leash so they can be removed if necessary.

    I'd also mention that a family of 4 in a 15' boat isn't really going to work, I'd say you need at least a 16', ideally maybe a 17'.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    I'd also mention that a family of 4 in a 15' boat isn't really going to work, I'd say you need at least a 16', ideally maybe a 17'.
    weeellll it does work, just not very well and reduces your kit well you have to try these things...but not on G2!!



    I like the blocks, 10 years, zero maintenance, told you I was lazy!
    Cheers,

    Alan


  22. #22
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    The missus isn't for it! It is me and the kids, then soon me and and the boy when my girl goes through the early woes of teenagehood. Then me on my own for a while, then....

  23. #23
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    Pretty much what happened with my lot, the kids may come back though. Still, wouldn't fancy solo'ing a 17 footer...
    Cheers,

    Alan


  24. #24
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    Bags can be fragile and expensive, I've a few bags with problems, split seams, split where the inflation valve goes in etc. I don't think I've yet burst one due to overinflation & warming although I have had a portage trolley tyre explode like a small bomb.
    Blocks are more fit and forget ... do I own any buoyancy blocks ... no.
    I quite like 20/25L cider bags (found inside the craft cider boxes, in pubs), double skinned include a fairly bombproof inflation valve (tap) and if you talk nicely with your local publican you might get them for free , use as many as you need either end of your canoe and cover with a nice length of camping mat ... for protection, 'cos it looks good and so that nobody knows you are a cheapskate (like me)
    These 105L neoprene dry bags, inc waterproof zip, also work pretty well and you can put stuff in them too ... https://www.ndiver.com/neoprene-dry-bag

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potty Paddler View Post
    These 105L neoprene dry bags, inc waterproof zip, also work pretty well and you can put stuff in them too ... https://www.ndiver.com/neoprene-dry-bag

    Ooh - I like the look of those.
    Fran

    Photobucket stole my sig



  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenboats1 View Post
    Hi Eric,
    Something to consider..air bags that double as storage. I have some seriously heavy duty with dry zips and inflation valve that were custom made . Drop me a pm if you want photos .
    Are they in the ends of boat? If so do you not get problems with trim?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by French Erick View Post
    Air bags pros:
    light, easy to remove, can fit something above/beside.
    cons:
    fragile.

    blocks pros:
    cheaper?, more durable.
    cons: not versatile

    Have I missed anything out?
    I think blocks are heavier and if you do take them out they take up quite a bit of storage space.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8r View Post
    In the meantime, I'm just off to my woods where I will spend the morning wandering around, with a gun, and a BIG knife (ordered over the internet ) , in the middle of nowhere, by myself, in total disregard for all principles of self-preservation, because it's a beautiful crisp Fall day, and I want a game pie for supper.....
    Take me toooo

    As for "Elfin safety" .... don't get me started
    Simms ..

  29. #29
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    The thing that hasn't been mentioned is the tendancy of "young kids" to climb up over everything. They can stand/sit/lean/play with plastic dinosaurs on a block without too much problem where it might damage a bag.

    I have some Lomo airbags in one of my boats. Much cheapness and seem fine. You have to like red.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  30. #30
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    The thing that hasn't been mentioned is the tendancy of "young kids" to climb up over everything
    As do dogs, etc, with claws. And even old goats.

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