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Thread: Towing an inflated/loaded kayak or raft (or hardshell kayak) with a sq stern w/ OB

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    Default Towing an inflated/loaded kayak or raft (or hardshell kayak) with a sq stern w/ OB

    I've been reading old discussions in the canoeing section as I start the early stage of planning a float hunt next year. I found some comments by Mainer and others about carrying and towing an inflatable raft or canoe or something. I've also had some limited discussions on and off the web about carrying capacity. The general consensus is w/ my 15' Sport Boat I will likely have to make a second trip, if I'm successful, which isn't the end of the world.

    But I wonder about the usefulness of carrying an inflatable, packed in the canoe, and then inflating and loading either meat or gear into the inflatable to tow back downstream and upriver. This comes to mind as I have (my girlfriend's actually) an inflatable Sevylor 2 person kayak. The seats are removable, so I would have what amounts to a floating bathtub. It's one of those cheaper ($200-ish) recreational types that SW sells. (Bought it at SW about 10 yrs ago.)

    Would that be stable enough to haul any amount of load (300-400 lbs-I'm not sure what the wt rating is for it,but at 2 person, it must be at least 300.)? Or would I be better off buying a similar, recreational type raft? Keeping in mind that I'm starting to buy a lot of gear and need to keep the budget down. (I can try to find a used one obviously.) I can't go out and buy an expensive raft like one would take as a primary craft on a fly in trip. If it has to come to that, I'll just be making multiple trips.

    On a related note: has anyone towed a kayak with a person in it? What was that experience like? My son (12 yrs old) has a hard shell kayak, but we may need to tow it or him in it back upstream. Looking for ideas on that. (That's for camping this summer.)

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    cheep inflatable the skin of the inflatable is thin [ poke hole easy ] will it work yes , not easy an it depends on type of river an water , fast , slow rocks, logs, beaver dams, an how far of a trip , lots of questions , how bid is your motor , an that is a lot boat to tow up a fast river with rocks an gravel bars an the fact that it will be a soft bottom [ harder to pull ] my 2 CTS SID

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    guys used to barge things on river with low horespower "gas boats" all the time. was mostly slack or slow water though. I met one fella on the 2011 hunt that came up creek in a michicraft 15 footer. The two hunters got two bull caribou, too much weight with two hunters. They put both caribou in the inflatable, and made head-way with a 5 hp honda outboard. I bet the going was slow, but they never came back to my camp for the help that I offered.

    Doing two loads aint the end of the world. If you leave meat past two days, that's when the bears get curious.

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    Towed a whole lot of stuff, including rafts, canoes and kayaks. Gotta steer you away from towing a cheap Sevylor. You'll pull it apart sooner or later.

    Best strategy for towing is to watch where you position whatever your towing on the standing wave that forms behind your boat. Best is on the back side of the standing wave, and better yet on the second or third standing waves if your hull configuration and speed form them. Motor up for me on square sterns and anything else with a motor. Gotta watch quick stops with towed canoes and kayaks if you have them only on the back of the first standing wave. They'll spear you for sure.

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    I would recommend a quick release line between your craft and that of the one being towed. If things get hairy scary you can pull "the rip cord" to free yourself. Loss of a load sucks but far better than being dragged in to trouble.

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    You may want to consider a Sevylor Colorado inflatable canoe. they have a tougher tube material than the raft you mention and a nylon denier cover making it much more resistant to punctures and abrasions, they are much more stable than the "canoe" implies, has a very low center of gravity and a 500lb capacity. I bought one for packing back to sloughs in search moose to hunt, it has been used for various prurposes from fishing and hunting to paddling about. Best propelled with a kayak paddle when solo. Weight is 30lbs if I remember correctly and cost much less than a purpose built raft.

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    You may want to consider a Sevylor Colorado inflatable canoe. they have a tougher tube material than the raft you mention and a nylon denier cover making it much more resistant to punctures and abrasions, they are much more stable than the "canoe" implies, has a very low center of gravity and a 500lb capacity. I bought one for packing back to sloughs in search moose to hunt, it has been used for various prurposes from fishing and hunting to paddling about. Best propelled with a kayak paddle when solo. Weight is 30lbs if I remember correctly and cost much less than a purpose built raft.
    Thanks all for the thoughts. Thanks for the idea here, 338. Yeah guys, I had the same concern from the beginning as you all have had-not durable enough. (Not only that, but I've always disliked inflatable boats, but, the times they are changing.)

    Anyway, can someone define for me how the gauge rating works for these PVC boats? It looks like the smaller gauge is a thicker material; is that correct?

    I guess I'll just have to scout the areas I'm planning really well this summer (part of the plan anyway) and maybe experiment some prior to season.

    I did see on the sevylour site that the inflatable we have is the yellow Tahiti. (Well, same as, looks like they spruced up what we have and call it the Tahti.) So mine will carry 400 lbs, but I have no tie downs and no secure way to attach a tow line. REI sells adhesive D rings. May try that.

    That is a foot shorter than the Colorado, but yeah that Colorado looks a bit better. (The Rio (ft shorter than the Coloado) might be the better option-smaller, lighter, still carries 350lbs.

    Guess I'll use the one we have as a test bed this summer.

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    We've done some canoe trips (19' freighters running 15ph outboards) where we towed various other boats. The best results have been when towning other freighter canoes with weight loaded towards the rear to keep it's bow up a bit. Last year, I towed a smooth bottom 17' double ender as a "freight" boat just in case we loaded up. Didn't end up needing it for meat, but still used it to haul some light, bulky items. It barely added any drag to my boat allowing me to match the speed of others in the group. Only problem with that was that the boat was not as stable as one with a keel and better weighting. Even going up river, when turning a corner you naturall slow down a bit. At one point, I turned left into some faster water, it kept going straight and beached itself in the brush. Bad part was that I was still attached and in the deep, fast water, yet tied to the beached boat behind me. Luckily I was able to throttle back and slowly back down to it and pull it back off the shore while not getting crossed up myself. Quick release or very hand knife is definitely recommended. I would be leary of using anything soft sided as a towed boat just because you don't really have a lot of control at times as to what it is going to run into and you are adding more forces to it if it hits something and you are still pulling it. If you are on pretty open water (lakes, slower rivers without sticks/rocks, etc...) it woudn't matter much.

    I would not suggest towing a boat with a passenger in it. Things go wrong fast with towed boats and someone in the boat isn't going to be able to do much. Have the person in your boat. Whatever you plan to tow, I suggest practicing on a lake. Take some turns, speed up, slow down, etc... just to see how it handles. Remember that even if you get it set on the right spot on your stern wake, that won't always be constant if you aren't always going the same speed. In my example from last year, I ended up tying it right up against the stern of my boat where I had full control of it so it acted almost as if it was part of my boat while in the river. Once in slower, easier water where I didn't have to worry about tight corners, I set it further back.

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    I towed my 2 teenage boys around in my Saturn Fishing Kayak, pulling it with my Saturn Kaboat 4 of us total could not quite get the boat on step with a 9.8 HP 4 stroke. It towed quite well the high pressure floor makes a huge difference.

    Saw 2 canoes being towed in tandem at speed on Kenai lake they did surprisingly well, the second canoe acted like a rudder.

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    when you tow an inflatable boat / canoe they are not made to tow , as you are pulling on the skin not pushing from the transom , the skin is not made for it . going across a pond / lake slow is one thing [ very slow] when you try to pull fast it is different a lot of pressure on the glued seams when towed at any speed SID

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    I pull a double end 16' Old Town with my Esquif Cargo and a 9.9 merc. I have put 3 full grown (read big) folks in the 16' and it pulls just fine but I installed a pull point about half way down the bow which keeps it up in the air a bit and allows the canoe to follow nicely. I wouldn't do that in a swift river but in open water it does just fine. Max speed is less that 10 mph.

    I tried to pull 2 empty hard shell kayaks tied side by side once...bad idea. One behind the other worked fine...again in open water.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    Pulling a canoe is not the problem , it is pullung a soft raft . when you do pull a raft with a load you put a lot of stress on the skin / ring an the soft
    soft rafts are not designed for that , if you just putt putt that is one thing but if you are going to travel at any speed you will have problems . the cheep rafts just won't take it they will ake a small motor to push them but even at that, cheep rafts transoms want to catch uo with it's bow , the bettet quality ones with a metal / wooden floor will take it a lot better, the hard body canoe / kayak no problem just weight to over come an they have a '' D "" ring or a metal ring into the canoe / katak , that will hold for the most part , as long as it is "" METAL / FIBER GLASS "" the ring is think of it this way have you ever had a cleat pull out of a boat if so why did it happen ???? SID

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    Well I think it's probably worth experimenting with, on a familiar lake, but not with people in the towed raft or kayak.

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    I would try tieing in to the side it would create less drag be more secure and the motor woyukld still be pushing rather than pulling

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    Quote Originally Posted by FloorGuy View Post
    I would try tieing in to the side it would create less drag be more secure and the motor woyukld still be pushing rather than pulling
    That is a way to get into a lot of trouble really fast. You have far less control of both boats that way and waves make the tandem setup very unstable. Might work at very low speeds, but wouldn't go over an idle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    That is a way to get into a lot of trouble really fast. You have far less control of both boats that way and waves make the tandem setup very unstable. Might work at very low speeds, but wouldn't go over an idle.
    Doesn't tandem mean one in front of the other?

    Google alongside tow

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    Quote Originally Posted by FloorGuy View Post
    Doesn't tandem mean one in front of the other?

    Google alongside tow
    Could be right. I meant side by side as the post I was responding to was suggesting.

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    So I FINALLY go out on the water this past weekend. Sheesh.

    Put a 9.9 2 stroke on my Sport Boat and towed my son's 8 ft river kayak (hardsided kayak) with a 15 ft line. Worked great! We went all over that lake. Into some coves, around an island, made a bunch of turns, changed speeds a lot. Eventually, I just forgot the kayak was back there. (No really..i FORGOT it was there) It just towed along nicely...like a puppy with a kid.

    We're planning a trip to Kenai Lake soon, and I think we'll take his kayak with us as a tow behind. Sadly, we didn't have our other kayak, a 10 ft hardside). I would have liked to have tried towing them in tandem as a pair. I'm seriously thinking about just taking them both to Kenai and trying it. I'm not sure of the best line length to use for towing. 15 ft put the kayak back behind the boat, but it kept the kayak's bow up a little bit. (At "high" speed-10 mph-it kept the bow WAY up. I figure to use a 5 ft line to attach the second kayak. I wonder if it makes a difference if I put the longer one in front or in back.

    Come to think of it. That might have been a 25 ft line.

    First image is at 10-11 mph. Second image is at...something like 4-6 mph, I forget exactly. At least for next week's Kenai trip, I'll be towing slow, 4-6 mph, because the 4hp is the only 4 stroke I have and it don't go too fast.
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    it will tow for you in good water, an big water is you try small streams you will have some problems , an if loaded you have to be carfull when you slow down or stop the kayak, it will hit you in the butt, some times, just be carfull SID

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    So I took the boat out to Big Lake with both kayaks (an 8 footer and a 10 footer) and towed them both around Big Lake for a while today. It worked pretty well for the most part. I towed the two kayaks in tandem. I didn't even try to tow them side-by-side; I expect they will bang into each other, so I skipped it. I towed the 8 ft boat ahead of the 10 ft boat. The first boat rode on the back of the first standing wave from the outboard. The 10 ft boat rode on the wake of the 8 ft boat. I used approx 10 ft of rope to tie the two kayaks together. At low speeds (under about 5-6 mph), I noticed the aft kayak fish-tailing. The bow of the aft kayak would dodge side to side by about a foot. That was the only "problem" I noticed. Even at that, it tracked behind the front kayak. At high speeds (about 10 mph), the two kayaks' bows rose up out of the water slightly (as I expected), and they towed/tracked straight.

    The wind wasn't bad today; Going directly into the wind, I got a slight bounce with my son up in the bow seat. I towed into, across, and with the wind. No problem with any of it, but I think Sid is on to something: I think if the wind and fetch is right on a big lake, and the waves get up to 2 ft or so, and I try towing across the wind (which is probably unwise in any event), I think there is a real possibility of the waves rolling those kayaks over. I don't think speed, or the lack thereof, will have much effect on that. Traveling with the wind to my back didn't seem to do much. The tow line stayed tight throughout, but I think with a LOT of wind (maybe over 15 mph) I might see the wind pushing the boats toward me-mostly because the boat won't go faster than that. I also crossed my own wake with them. That didn't seem to be much of an issue, either. Each kayak just took its turn jumping the wake, like a kid on a bicycle jumps a curb.

    The one thing that most surprised me is how dry the kayaks were inside. I mean...REALLY dry. I'm still going to make cockpit covers for them out of visqueen and secure them with bungee, but they took on almost no water. I didn't even bother with pulling the drain plugs when we were done.

    So I'm going to take this set-up down to Kenai Lake and Porcupine Island when we go down there to camp and see what happens. I think at this point, I'm giving up the idea of towing an inflatable for hunting purposes, as was the original intent of this discussion. From my little experience on open lakes, I can tell that towing down narrow water, through oxbows on a meandering creek or river, will be very problematic. Additionally, from what I've read here and elsewhere on the web, unless you have a high dollar inflatable, towing just causes the PVC to tear. However, I can still use this on our father/son camp/boat trips.
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