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 Post subject: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 21st, 2020, 7:35 pm 
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Location: British Columbia
Has anyone made float bags before? What material did you use? They would be so easy to make if with the right material...but that's always the hard part


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 Post subject: Re: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 22nd, 2020, 8:35 am 
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Back in the day we used inner tubes (do they even still exist?), then blocks of home insulation foam. Never heard of someone actually making their own bags.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 22nd, 2020, 9:49 am 
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I remember something about air bags that are used in the shipping business to fill voids in loads. People who were able to source those had adapted them for canoe bags.

P.

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 Post subject: Re: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 22nd, 2020, 2:23 pm 
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Location: Kemble, Ontario Canada
I have made bags that float. If you are meaning bags that fill the space of a white water canoe. I have only made bags that float with a small camera or phone. The material is heat sealable with a household iron. I live just north of Owen Sound. Shipping has never been a problem but only used USPS. I have bought from these people for over 20 years. Excellent Product and service. I would phone her. She is very knowledgeable and has been a big help to me. Good Luck and please post your results on CCR.
dave

https://www.questoutfitters.com/HEAT SEALABLE -OXFORD

Phone (inside the U.S.) 1-800-359-6931 or 941-923-5006
Phone (outside the U.S.) 1-941-923-5006
Fax 1-941-923-5006

Address: 4919 Hubner Circle
Sarasota, FL 34241

E-mail: info@questoutfitters.com

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 Post subject: Re: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 22nd, 2020, 3:31 pm 
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Location: British Columbia
Peter K. wrote:
...then blocks of home insulation foam. Never heard of someone actually making their own bags.

Right I've seen foam blocks caved out before - that's another good option.

Oldand Fat wrote:
If you are meaning bags that fill the space of a white water canoe. I have only made bags that float with a small camera or phone. The material is heat sealable with a household iron. I live just north of Owen Sound. Shipping has never been a problem but only used USPS. I have bought from these people for over 20 years. Excellent Product and service. I would phone her. She is very knowledgeable and has been a big help to me. Good Luck and please post your results on CCR.
dave

http://www.questoutfitters.com

Cool thanks! I'll look into them. The bags in the store are so expensive for what they are and often not too durable. From just a quick look that heat sealable fabric seems economical.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 23rd, 2020, 1:23 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1813
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Oldand Fat wrote:
I have made bags that float. If you are meaning bags that fill the space of a white water canoe. I have only made bags that float with a small camera or phone. The material is heat sealable with a household iron.


Hey, I’m old and fat too, I just use a different posting name.

I have made dozens of custom dry bags using heat sealable material. Cylindrical dry bags for sleeping pads and camp chairs.

ImageP7301070 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageP7301069 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Custom dry bags for guitars, banjos and mandolins. Flat little “envelope” bags for books and journal.

Custom size/shape tapered dry bags for decked canoes, and even bigger tapers for open canoe stems; both of which fill the ends much like a floatation bag. Those are essentially “stow-float” bags; they would undoubtedly leak in a pin of any duration (most roll top dry bags do), but occlude a lot of water from the hull if tied in, and would be sufficient with a quick recovery or simple bailing.

ImageP8071122 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageP8111157 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

One thing about those custom tapered bags, I was amazed at how much better a triangular bag fit in a triangular space, as opposed to putting a round peg (standard cylindrical dry bag) in a “square” hole (ie tapered boat stem). I wouldn’t make them too big, they are awkward to carry, or fill them with heavy items weighing down the stems, but the increased storage efficiency is astonishing.

I no longer paddle tandem in a canoe, but if I did one of the first things I’d make would be a custom tapered bag to fit behind the stern seat.

Lots of info and process photos here:

http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/for ... y-dry-bags

Yostwerks has instructions for making DIY floatation using PVC material and adhesives. Click “next page” to see the entire process and how-to.

http://www.yostwerks.org/FloatbagA.html

Those require more parts and pieces than a heat sealable stowfloat, but would be better as pure floatation. Price out the materials and availability of a PVC float bag vs a stowfloat made with heat sealable fabric, webbing & buckles and an iron. Kinda depends on your needs, reliable floatation or efficient storage.

Brappinburro, if you go the heat sealable route a cheap household iron runs USD $8 at big box stores. Don’t use the missus’ iron, it will inevitably get heat seal smutch on the bottom.

A couple yards of heat sealable will get you started. Making cylindrical dry bags is heat sealable material efficient, tapers use more material and leave more waste. Not really “waste”, red heat sealable scrap is handy for making canoe rood rack overhang flags and different colored scraps made multicolor tarp flags.

ImageP9131222 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

If you try making heat sealable DIY dry bags you will continue to discover sizes and shapes that would be beneficial, and I bet you will reorder more fabric when you find new needs.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 23rd, 2020, 3:01 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1954
Location: Manitoba
Fall line canoes has the best reputation for air bags.

http://www.falllinecanoes.com/air-bags.html

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 Post subject: Re: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 23rd, 2020, 4:55 pm 
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Mmmm . . . Fall Line bags -- definitely the best reputation, but also a Cadillac price. The smallest bags will set you back at least $375 Cdn, plus shipping, etc. I have Voyageur nylon bags that have lasted over 20 years without a lot of coddling. My Mohawk bags got UV'ed to death after 7-8 years -- but they were relatively inexpensive and I don't mind that the vinyl bags are heavier than nylon. I also like the colours!


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 Post subject: Re: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 24th, 2020, 10:56 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Peter K. wrote:
Mmmm . . . Fall Line bags -- definitely the best reputation, but also a Cadillac price. The smallest bags will set you back at least $375 Cdn, plus shipping, etc. I have Voyageur nylon bags that have lasted over 20 years without a lot of coddling. My Mohawk bags got UV'ed to death after 7-8 years -- but they were relatively inexpensive and I don't mind that the vinyl bags are heavier than nylon. I also like the colours!


We have Mohawk and NRS Voyageur floatation bags, in different sizes for different canoes, from little stem bags to full flotation.

I usually don’t leave the bags in our canoes, and am very careful to partially deflate them when I do, so they don’t over expand in heat/sun. I do leave the bags in one WW canoe almost year round, those are Mohawk bags that came in a used Mohawk canoe; the bags are at least 15 years old and except for being dirty are still going strong.

The NRS Voyageur bags are newer, and are stored in a climate controlled gear room. For some reason the (dark vinyl?) tubes on the Robertson valves degraded to crumbly dust while in storage. The stored away (clear) tubes on the Mohawk bags did not suffer the same fate.

NRS sent me four float bag inflation tubes with Roberts valves already attached.

ImagePC260232 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The part that worried me was getting the old glued on tubes off the bags. I did not trust myself with a razor blade slicing old tube remains that close to the float bag, hence the block of wood underneath. Not to worry, the old tubing sliced easily and peeled off cleanly.

ImagePC260235 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The tubing NRS provided is twice the length of the tubing that was originally on the bags, so I cut three of them in half. Three because I found some of the Roberts valves that fell off the crumbly original tubing. And there must be another one around somewhere.

ImagePC260236 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

A little Gflex around the inside of the tubing and tubing slid onto the bag stems. Seriously easy, as in a few minutes start to finish.

ImagePC270237 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

FWIW the interior diameter of the tubing is seven sixteenths inch. I should have taken the old Roberts valve to the hardware store to see if I could find tubing that size.

I mentioned using G/flex when I spoke with NRS Customer Service and they did not recoil in horror. I doubt the tubing is ever coming off the bag stems now, so I really hope this replacement tubing has better longevity.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 25th, 2020, 7:30 am 
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Location: HFX, Nova Scotia canada
That is strange that the tubes let go that way. We have NRS bags of the same vintage and have had no issues with them. Very durable and not crazy expensive.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY float bags
PostPosted: April 25th, 2020, 9:23 am 
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scoops wrote:
That is strange that the tubes let go that way. We have NRS bags of the same vintage and have had no issues with them. Very durable and not crazy expensive.


Scoops, I wish I knew exactly how old those NRS bags were at the time. No more than a couple years old when the tubes fell apart; they are the newest bags we own. And the least frequently used, note how clean they are in the photo.

As before, those bags along with our others are stored in a cool, dark, climate controlled 50% humidity room. I went to fetch a piece of gear a couple years ago and, what the hell, why is there a Robertson valve on the floor?

I looked at the float bags, and the tubes on every one of that vintage NRS bags had decayed to crumbles. When I so much as touched them they simply fell apart. The bags were fine, the valves were fine, the tubes were dust, as in the photo above.

My older, some ancient, NRS bags with clear tubes were fine. My older, some ancient, Mohawk bags with clear tubes were fine. Our not-so-old Seattle Sports bags with clear tubes were fine. (Yes, we have a lot of bags; family of four paddlers, and each of us has a couple or three different boats for different purposes)

My guess is that NRS got a bad batch of tubes from their supplier, or changed suppliers at some point. The good news is that the replacement tubes, which “appear” identical, have been stored in the same place in the same conditions for a year or two now, and the replacement tubing seems fine so far. “Hopefully” good news; I’ll keep an eye on them.

I suspect that NRS went to those dark, nearly opaque tubes so that bacteria from inflating bags by mouth would not be a disgustingly apparent. Maybe I got the first failed batch, but that bacteria load was unlikely to have been the issue.

90% of the time, or at least for 90% of the air, I inflate my bags using a pump; a 110V pump at home or a 12V pump from the truck. Or, if the bag has a large purge valve, I use a leaf blower or shop vac run backwards; those inflate a bag in seconds. Seriously seconds, the sudden whoomph to bulging with a leaf blower is kinda comical

But I slightly deflate a bag or release air on hot sunny days, so nothing pops (or rips off a D-ring). On a trip, in the morning cool when the bags have returned to saggy state, I do open the Robertson valve, purse my lips and blow. The clear vinyl tubes on our Mohawk bags, and the Seattle Sports bags we use in kayaks and decked canoes, are a petri dish of bacteria and visually disgusting. “You want me to put my lips on that. Yuck!”

If there is a way to keep those tubes cleaner I’d like to know it. Maybe if I swallowed some bleach first ;-)


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