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Paddling tips, tricks, news and gear reviews from an Unsponsored point of view

Tag: Air Bags

Kayak Outfitting Guide

From the very first moment you sit in a boat you start to get “a feel for it”, how it fits and possibly even how it may perform. As beginners we start off in boats that may be used by many different size paddlers, which results in cockpits being kept clutter free. Loose, comfortable boats feel good on flat water, but they can make leaning and bracing difficult. Once the boat is padded to provide a close, body-hugging fit that still allows for quick and easy water exits, performance can dramatically improve. This same rule applies to all levels of kayakers, whether they’re paddling easy whitewater, big water runs or creeks. Customised outfitting helps transfer every trace in the river’s current through the kayak’s hull to your body, helping you sense your surroundings, make critical maneuvers and maintain your balance, thus staying upright!

Kayak Outfitting Guide

Since paddlers press against their boat’s inner hull with the small of their backs, butts, hips, thighs, knees and feet, it is these key areas that should be customised to match the shape and size of the paddler. To make this as easy as possible I am going to break the cockpit into a handful of sections and tailor each one to help you get the best control possible from your boat. Many boat manufacturers have really stepped up their game and are providing some excellent outfitting as standard in their kayaks. However these systems still need adapting in some way to ensure that they fit YOU correctly.

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Airbags

I have always used airbags in my boats as they prevent part of the boat filling with water during a capsize. After a recent forced swim I was interested in how heavy my boat was when it was filled with water.

I currently have a couple of liquid logic boats – a Stomper 90 and a Biscuit 65. The Stomper has a volume of 90 gallons or approximately 341 litres. The Biscuit has a volume of 65 gallons or approximately 246 litres.

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Kayaking and Maths (or Math if you are from the USA)

I have always used airbags in my boats as they prevent part of the boat filling with water during a capsize. After a recent forced swim I was interested in how heavy my boat was when it was filled with water.

I currently have a couple of liquid logic boats – a Stomper 90 and a Biscuit 65. The Stomper has a volume of 90 gallons or approximately 341 litres. The Biscuit has a volume of 65 gallons or approximately 246 litres.

Here’s the maths –

1 Litre – The space occupied by 1 kg of pure water at the temperature of its maximum density (3.98 °C) under a pressure of 1 atmosphere.

Assuming that my Stomper (all fittings removed) is filled with pure water at 3.98 °C at 1 atmosphere then the mass of the water would be 341 kg! The fittings within the Stomper will of course reduce the volume of water able to occupy the space.

My current set of airbags within the Stomper have a total volume of 60 litres. Therefore they would prevent 60 litres or 60 kg of water to occupy an area within the boat.

So lets assume I have taken a swim and that my Stomper has filled with water (no air pockets left), and as an over estimate lets assume that all of the fittings and the airbags prevent half of the 341 litre volume being filled with water. Therefore the 170.5 litres of water in the boat has a mass of 170.5 kg. This gives a total mass including the actual boat (21 kg) of 191.5 kg. This by any measure is heavy and puts the importance of using airbags into perspective. It also explains why the boat was so heavy when I was hauling it out of the River Tees a few weeks ago!

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