We are headed up to paddle the Nahanni River in Canada's Northwest
Territories. The sources that I have found are consistent in
recommending a spray cover for the canoes on the Nahanni.
The boat belongs to my partner, but she doesn't want to spend the money
for a commercial spray cover, so I was going to make one.
Jacobsen in his book, Expedition Canoing, has plans for spray covers,
including a couple of variations. I was going to follow his
instructions, with some minor variations.
The issue at hand is how to fasten the spray cover to the canoe. As far
as I can tell, most of the commercial spray covers use snaps. Jacobsen
says snaps. However, a friend of my partner has told her that snaps are
awful and should be avoided.
Anyone with experience with canoe spray covers? How was your cover
attached to your boat? How did it work out? Anything else I should know?
-First, check with soume of the outfitters and guides in that region
first - see if you can hire a canoe for your trip. Might be cheaper
than bringing one up, at least according to friends who got there regularly.
Beyond that, snaps. And if she just can't handle snaps, velcro. The
adhesive backed stuff is OK, contact cementing it on is better. Make
sure the cover is in sections so that you can escape the cover if you
flip. Full covers - even sectioned ones are *dangerous* if you go
swimming. First rule - don't panic. When you exit the boat, make sure
the cover is completely disengaged from you.
- Our Canadian neighbors seem to like spray covers a lot. The name
may be unfortunate. The canoe cover has benefit in keeping you warm
and reducing wind, but very little benefit in keeping you afloat, and
perhaps an added hazard if you go swimming.
I sewed a 3 piece cover from urethane-coated tent-bottom fabric
for a 17 foot Blue Hole essentially by Jacobsen's instructions. I
used automotive-type nickel plated snap fasteners, and they work.
Sew the entire cover, then stretch it over the canoe and make the
places the snaps go. Drill holes and put the male end on the hull.
Use the anvil and set the female end in the cover. Check your fit
every 2 or 3 snaps, and make sure it is tight.
Still have the boat and the cover in the basement though I have
done a dozen trips more recently without it. If I do a barren
grounds trip, I'll have a cover, but not on a whitewater river trip.
This advise is worth what you paid for it.
-If you're paddling from Moose Ponds, then get a cover. From Honeymoon
Lake/ Island Lakes, it's not necessary. There are some fair sized
rollers in the lower canyons, but they were easily avoided when we were
Building your own is fairly easy. Denver Fabric has a good selection of
nylons. I actually built mine out of remnant Gore-Tex that was dirt
cheap. Tandy Leather has the snaps. You can make sprayskirt coamings
with PVC pipe. The materials cost was less than $50 for a two piece
skirt on a Rendezvous. It took an afternoon to build and install.
If it's the trip Bonnie was talking about, you'll be putting in below
the serious whitewater, and I wouldn't bother with a spray cover.