Float bags for SOFs

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by Iwannapaddle, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Iwannapaddle

    Iwannapaddle Paddler

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    A question to all the experienced kayak builders out there - once again :oops:

    Where would one get material suitable to make one's own Float Bags?

    Or am I going to too much trouble with this and simply find some ready-made bags?

    Thanking you all in advance.
     
  2. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    heat seal nylon or the pvc used for yost folders would work.

    only you can answer the question for building or buying, heh heh - but i guess it depends on the relative costs and material,supplies availability.

    (buying is a lot quicker, heh heh)
     
  3. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Floatation bags are pretty inexpensive -- you can probably buy them cheaper than you can make them. I bought some a while back at MEC.

    http://www.mec.ca -- do a search for "floatation bag"

    You can also get them at Western Canoeing and Kayaking in Abbotsford -- they're a little pricier there, but they're better quality and they have a really good selection of different sizes.

    http://www.westerncanoekayak.com

    *****
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Buy 'em. I've done heat-seal dry bags and could not match the quality of seam work done at a factory. Flotation is a critical part of a SOF boat (no bulkheads). You want it to be reliable and tough.
     
  5. kayakwriter

    kayakwriter Paddler

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    May I suggest you get the Watershed bags?

    http://www.drybags.com/home.html

    Look for the tapered "Futa" bag. We're out of stock of it at MEC (I work there, as disclosure), but will have it again in Feb or March - our stock number 5021726. I've got a couple of these, though I paddle a sit-in-inside kayak, not a SOT. What I like about'em is they're way tougher than any of the vinyl/PU coated fabric drybags, plus you can store stuff inside. I use one in the bow of my boat for the tent, tent foot print, and hammock, and the other in the stern for my shore clothes and sleeping bag. Once they're in place, they also act as back-up bouyancy in case of leaking hatches, etc.
     
  6. Iwannapaddle

    Iwannapaddle Paddler

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    Thanks, thanks, thanks and thanks .... :)

    Looks like MEC have a fair range of float bags at reasonable prices - I'll have to do some measuring-up.....

    The "Futa" bag looks neat although I have limited space and don't want to be dragging bags in and out of the hull.

    The slimline Gaia bags look really usable....

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_deta ... 9774702777
     
  7. Stumpy

    Stumpy Paddler

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    Wow! MEC is pretty reasonable, compared to most of the outfitters in the states. Maybe I should look into them next time.

    One of the things I really like about sof kayaks is that they are translucent, and let the sun glow thru the skin, so I make my floatation bags out of 20 ga. vinyl, from any fabric store (Jo Ann, down here), 1/2" vinyl tube from home depot, valve from NRS, and HH66 adhesive. Cost around $7.50 US, and takes 45 minutes, each, and they''re custom made to fit the boat. If you figure labor at $25/hr, that's a final cost of $26.25... a bit more than MEC, but they are custom fit, and one bag per end is all you need... I've made them up to 6' long, for a Yost Sea Rover.
    One thing, I have my own method of attatching the hose to the bag, eliminating the PVC fittings Tom uses, and making a better seal between the two, but I have yet to document it.
     
  8. Day_Sailer

    Day_Sailer Paddler

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  9. Stumpy

    Stumpy Paddler

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    Sorry, I should have said "since sof's are translucent, I make my floatation bags out of 20 gauge clear vinyl. There's no edit option here :oops:
    Commercial float bags generally are:
    1. not clear
    2. not inexpensive- at least the ones I would trust to keep me from sinking when I'm miles from the nearest land...

    I water test the bags I make, then inflate them, and stand them in a corner for a few days, just to make sure of their integrity, as I'm building the kayak.
     
  10. rider

    rider Paddler

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  11. Redcedar

    Redcedar Paddler

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    I used styrofoam instead of float bags , nothing to deflate ever and adds very little weight. Free as well.
     
  12. rider

    rider Paddler

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    Except styrofoam absorbs water and crumbles.
     
  13. kayakwriter

    kayakwriter Paddler

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    I think I remember reading that Charles Lindbergh filled the empty spaces "The Spirit Of St Louis" with pingpong balls as floatation - a bit of space between the balls but highly redundant...
     
  14. Redcedar

    Redcedar Paddler

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    Not in my experience. I put some blue board foam in my old Aleut SOF , still pristine , only been in there for 12 years .

    Rider - What is your personal experience with styrofoam floatation in kayaks ?
     
  15. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    IIRC, that blue board foam is polyurethane, not polystyrene.

    My experience with polystyrene mirror's rider's: unless it is encapsulated with heavy duty plastic, it degrades readily from abrasion.
     
  16. Redcedar

    Redcedar Paddler

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    Blue styrofoam board is extruded and impervious to moisture and it doesn't abrade in a static environment after being fitted into the ends of a kayak.

    The white styrofoam is composed of tiny beads compressed together , it does absorb and hold moisture. It also abrades much easier than the blue or pink stuff.

    I assumed everyone that has a knowledge of styrofoam would know which one to use
     
  17. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Yeah, I was thinking of the white stuff, used often for floats around here, but only encapsulated. Doh! I've seen and used the blue version as insulation for construction projects, but never even looked at the label to see what it was.
     
  18. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Yup, the blue stuff, which normally comes in sheets is used in the construction industry and does not absorb water (it's primarily used as insulation in roofing construction). I'm not certain that the white stuff absorbs water but it definitely breaks into little chunks (which would be a nightmare to remove from a boat). I've seen the white stuff used in canoe bulkheads in the past and it doesn't work for very long before disintegrating. I suspect that you'd need to go to a building supply shop to get the blue stuff.

    *****
     
  19. Day_Sailer

    Day_Sailer Paddler

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    White styrofoam definately can and does absorb water...given enough time.
    In the Day Sailer class of sailboats built by O'Day, many are over 40 years old. When mine was about 25 I cut an inspection port on another's recommendation, and found the factory installed styrofoam competely waterlogged, and weighing over 50 lbs. Others have found the same thing. Keep in mind, this foam was basiclly sealed, except for a 1" drain plug, into the seating area and small bow tank. No circulation and constant condensation and water exposure.

    For kayak use with better ventilation and allowed to completely dry when not using your boat, the white foam will probably not absorb enough water to compromise its ability to provide safe floatation. Crumbling is another issue..

    In my first SOF I used empty boxed wine bladders stuffed into the bow and stern areas. I think I got that idea here on WCP.

    Whatever you use, I suggest that you dont let moisture sit and mildew between any kind of floatation and your hull.

    Hope this is worth at least .02
    ds
     
  20. Iwannapaddle

    Iwannapaddle Paddler

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    LOTS of wine-consumption eh? :roll: :lol:

    Now there's an idea and can be fairly easily formed into the shapes required - I'll have to get down to the building supply stores and price it out.

    Hopefully it's a lot easier to cut that up than the white stuff, of which I have found in the past the best and only way to cut THAT is with a hot-wire cutter.