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  • Custom Splash Cover for canoe?

    Hey paddling buddies! SO, going through the Grumman getting ready for summer. (The early onset of nice weather snuck up on me.)

    One thing that has crossed my mind, and I wanted to get other opinions on, is the idea of going over to AK Tent and Tarp and inquiring about sewing up a custom fit cover (waterproof-ish) that would snap to the top of the gunwales, very similar to a soft-sided "tonneau" over for a pick up truck bed. When in use, on the water, it would create, essentially, a "decked canoe." This would keep rain and waves from entering the canoe (except for an area near where you sit). It might also be useful as a trailering cover. (I towed mine the length of the Denali Hwy last fall, and had 5 lbs of gravel in the bottom of it when I came out the other side, which, I'm sure, contributed to stripping paint off the floor.)

    I'm sure such a project would be pricey; I wonder if it would be worth the expense, or even terribly practical.

  • #2
    I thought about something like that for my last boat when we were on the Tanana in it.

    If I had a way to fasten it down I was thinking just a tarp and some bungee cords. Going out I could have a big pleat in it. Coming home with a caribou (Unit 20, area 2, 40-mile herd) I could hopefully still rig the tarp over the quarters.

    The trick is getting the edge of the tarp or whatever to come out over the edge of the gunwale so water on the tarp leaves the boat.

    I'll have to look at my gunwales again, this is a good idea.

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    • #3


      typically the tie in splash cover is better than snaps. As said before it should come over the outside rail by an inch or two to keep water from migrating in.

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      • #4
        I had one made years ago by AT&T.......used it mostly for storage and transport.

        My buddy, Reb, had AT&T make one with man ports for travel on big rivers etc.

        Both were for HBs.........and kinda spendy!

        North 61 has the correct fastening technique.......snaps suck IMO!

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        • #5
          What are you using for tie downs along the side of the canoe?

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          • #6
            One thing we have done with our Grummans is to use a long, skinny tarp and long bungy cords. The advantage is that the tarp and cords can be easily stuffed somewhere out of the way when needed and you can use only as much as you need for a particular situation. Sometimes you might want to cover almost the entire boat, others you might just want to cover one section in the middle. The tarp is sized so it can fit over gear piled in the middle and still have enough to extend beyond the gunnel on each side a few inches. The bungy cords really are just a couple long cords with aluminum "clips" spread out along it. Picture them in an exaggerated "s" shape with one end of the "s" hooked over the bungy cord and clamped down so they won't fall off the cord but can slide along it to be positioned wherever you want it. The other end of the "s" is bent in a 180 degree bend and hooks under the splash guard (can't think of what that is actually called) near the waterline of the canoe. The advantage of this is that you can position the cover anywhere you want and you can secure it with the cord/clips anywhere along the side so you can customize the "fit" to whatever your load may be. It also doesn't require any modifications to the boat or anything that you will have to work around in the boat. The bungy cord just crisscrosses across the top of your load, holding down the tarp.

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            • #7
              Splash Guard is the term that Grumman uses for the...splash guard...on their boats =) and that's a great idea t use that as a tie-down point. As per nomral, I am probably over thinking/engineering a complex solution when the KISS principle will cover the bases.

              The only issue I see with your idea is that, on all the tarps I've seen, once you fold them, you lose the use of the tie down grommets, and it is always impossible to find an appropriately sized tarp for my application. Then again, if I just lay the tarp over the canoe, and use the bungees to "pin down" the tarp to the gear (i.e. don't even use the eyelets) then your idea may totally eliminate that age old problem of wrong sized tarp.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post

                The only issue I see with your idea is that, on all the tarps I've seen, once you fold them, you lose the use of the tie down grommets, and it is always impossible to find an appropriately sized tarp for my application. Then again, if I just lay the tarp over the canoe, and use the bungees to "pin down" the tarp to the gear (i.e. don't even use the eyelets) then your idea may totally eliminate that age old problem of wrong sized tarp.
                Yeah, with this method, there is no need for the eyelets in the tarp. I you just fold over a larger tarp to fit the size you need, you will then still have the larger tarp available if needed in camp at your destination (2 birds with one stone type thing).

                For things like this, I always look for ways to accomplish my goal without physical modifications to the boat itself. In most cases, what I am trying to address is only for a portion of the time we use the boat. In this case, the tarps are really only for the long run in/out of our hunting/camping area. Once there, we don't use them again until the trip out and want easier, quicker access to all sections of the boat and the tarp/cover would just get in the way. I find it best to keep as few things as possible sticking up from the gunnel of the boat. Anything sticking up there just catches on boots, game bags, gear bags, etc... as they slide across the gunnel getting in/out. No fun when you rip a hole in a game bag or watertight bag just sliding it over the side of the boat.

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                • #9
                  http://www.canoeing.com/gear/canoegear/sprayskirts/
                  This will give you design ideas and price range comparos. I am sure AK T and T can make any of them.

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                  • #10
                    If you fold a pleat into the center of a tarp - like a "kick pleat" on a ladies miniskirt - then your tarp will stall have grommets running down both edges.

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                    • #11
                      BTW,

                      Not to hijack the thread but There's a 19' Grumman with lift for sale here in Delta.......I saw no dents or dings.....painted OD.

                      I think the sign said $1500.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by swmn View Post
                        If you fold a pleat into the center of a tarp - like a "kick pleat" on a ladies miniskirt - then your tarp will stall have grommets running down both edges.
                        I'm mot really sure what a "kick pleat" is or looks like, but it seems to me...well how would you kep the seam in the pleat, at the center of the canoe, from opening up? Seems to me that if I fold a tarp over in the center (like 1/4 of the tarp back on itself so the grommets are still on the edge) as soon as you tie down the grommets, the pleat will unfold.

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                        • #13
                          I am thinking bungie cords over the top of the tarp, and one on each side between grommets and splash guard.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by swmn View Post
                            I am thinking bungie cords over the top of the tarp, and one on each side between grommets and splash guard.
                            Ohhhhhhhh. Okay. A little redundancy never hurt, and that would let me adjust "size" of the tarp to the size or volume of the load covered. The only time that wouldn't work is in the case of a nearly empty boat (e.g. when duck hunting).

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                            • #15
                              I got a preliminary solution in the backyard last night. Never been on the water with it, but it is what I will try next. I had the boat right side up on a pair of sawhorses. I loaded two (empty) 30 gallon trash cans, and an empty 30 gallon trash can. Then I draped a tarp over all that and got it done.

                              One thing I noticed is hooking bungee cords into the splash guard on my Grummans is the bungee hook needs to go pretty much straight up, perpendicular to the splash guard. A little angle and it will slide, a lot of angle it will pop out.

                              The simplest solution I found was to lay the tarp so it barely reached the splash guard on one side. Slip the hook of a bungee through the tarp eyelet or grommet, then hook the bungee into the splash guard. Thus the tarp grommet is trapped between the splash guard and the wire coil gripping the stretch cord of the bungee. Lay the free end of the bungee up over the load, and then repeat down the one side where the tarp is lined up with the splash guard.

                              Coming around the other side of the boat, fold the excess tarp up under itself so it looks vaguely like two shingles. find a bungee cord the right length to hook into the one from the other side at the top, and reach the splash guard on this side with the tension you want.

                              I fooled a little bit with tarp clamps and tarp grabbers (one each from Fred's and Safeway) but I think just juggling bungee length is the more elegant, more durable solution. Fewer doo-hickeys to stock in the boat.

                              Dunno if it works on the water, but it sure looked good in the back yard.

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