Addressing a canoe puncture in the field

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Hello all,

I have never had this happen, but I was curious at to how you fix a flat in the field. There are many scenario's I am sure.

If I am using duct tape to get myself home, do I ;place strips fore/aft, gunnel/gunnel or both?

Also, how many layers of tape do you use? This could tie into distance to travel, size of puncture I suppose.

Any juicy stories you have about field repairs always appreciated!

Thank you.
 
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Hard to say because, like you mention, it will depend on the size and location of the puncture and whether it's a hole, split, or nasty gash.

I usually carry some epoxy and cloth so would likely use that to repair a small crack/hole below the waterline. I also carry some small diameter wire so if it was a bigger gash I'd hope to be able to stitch it up a little and then seal as good as I could with duct tape.

I realize that with the amount of materials I carry I likely wouldn't be able to seal up anything other than pretty minor damage but considering how few stories there are of broken canoes in the bush it seems a pretty unlikely scenario, especially if whitewater isn't involved.

The worse I've had happen was wearing the stems of a cedar strip down to bare wood 3 weeks into a 4 week trip. I took a day off and patched them with fiberglass although duct tape probably would have gotten to the finish line just fine.

If I was placing duct tape it would be in an overlapping shingle pattern "with the grain", so to speak, during forward travel, with the strips running transverse to the hull length so that it would be less likely to peel off if scraped with a rock.

Alan
 
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Not Juicy ! A friend tried to use Hot melt glue that he had for rod tip repair, once. It might have worked if he'd
had enough.

I take along a dual tube 5 minute epoxy, but haven't used or needed it. It would be good to take some cloth. Even a handkerchief would work in conjunction with a 5 minute epoxy.
 
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Talking about 'punctures', I was hauling a canoe on my roof rack for a three hour trip. When I arrived I noticed two bullet holes. Someone shot through both sides of the canoe. I never heard a shot when I stopped for gas, so it must have happened while moving. The canoe was an Old Town with three layer PE layup. I repaired the holes with epoxy putty and the repair lasted at least for the tenure of my ownership. I sold it with full disclosure.
 
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Against my direction, my son tried to set the bow of a loaded SR Q17 into the water in Quetico. Rock punctured kevlar. Two short pieces of duct tape worked fine for a couple of days. No missing material, just an "L" shaped puncture.
 
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I carry the gorilla tape version of duck tape. I have used it to repair almost anything. I think you could consider it a permanent repair if you don't care how it looks. I dropped the side of one of my boats on a rock and put a nice 10" crack in the wood. I put one strip on the outside and left it like that for the remainder of the trip. I've had the same piece of gorilla tape on a 3" tear in a thermarest mattress now for 13 years and it shows no sign of failure. At first I thought it was temporary, but after this many years I don't intend on messing with it. I carry some baling wire too, and a few extra nuts and bolts and washers. I don't carry any epoxy or glass any more. I suppose if I was out for a month or longer I would add that.

Mark
 
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I carry gorilla tape, epoxy, piece of fiberglass cloth, and wire. I haven’t needed any yet, but the trip I don’t carry it I will.

Bullet holes!? Where you tripping Sweetfancymoses?

Bob
 
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Midway into a 70 mile Temagami trip I misread a map. It indicated a safe passage.. Too late I found myself in six inches of water headed for a two foot waterfall over sharp ledge. I jumped out but managed to dump the canoe which snagged on rock on its way over. It bent the gunwale and the fabric. I had a roll of plain old duct tape and duct taped every single crease and hoped it held. It did fine for the remainder of the wilderness trip.
 
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Kathleen and I have always taken Cold Cure, a two part epoxy, fibreglass cloth and duct tape. We have never needed to use it to repair any punctures in the canoe. However, on the 22nd day of our 1993 Thelon River trip, I mixed up the Cold Cure, to repair the bow cane seat, to re-attach the advance lever on the camera, and to glue my boot soles back on the boots, which all of a sudden decided to separate. I held them together with duct tape, and those boots lasted for nearly two more years.

Thelon080 resize.jpg
 
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In my day job, I use G Tape to seal window and door flanges in new construction. The stuff comes in 4", 6", 9", and 12" widths. Has a release paper backing, and the stuff seals.... forever! A 6' length of this stuff wrapped and temporarily taped around your spare paddle shaft (with the backing paper on still) will do the trick.

https://www.gtapeonline.com/product-page/3040bk-black-g-tape-4
 
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I rented a OT Disco canoe in Taumarunui, New Zealand. It wasn't in the best shape. The deck plate came off when we grabbed it from the rack. The livery lady taped it back on.

Soon after launching my solo, overnight trip on the Whanganui River, I was blaming myself for stepping into the canoe with wet shoes--there was a lot of water on the bottom of the boat. After paddling about ten minutes, I noticed the puddle on the bottom had deepened and there was a current, water was flowing! I found a place to pull out for a closer inspection and found the hull of the Disco had a rip on the bottom that was over a foot long. Some kind of black stuff had been smeared on it. I suspect it might have been ABS slurry, but whatever it was, it wasn't doing the job. I let the hull dry in the sun and then taped over the rip with layers of duct tape.

The boat stayed dry for the remainder of the two days I had it.

On another occasion I was kayaking with a group an one of the kayakers had a hole in her kayak. I don't know how the hole came about, but somebody had a tube of water-weld epoxy, which they applied to the hole in the kayak. Problem solved. I added a tube of this stuff to my first-aid/repair bag.
 
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I got some super tape sold just for that purpose from an outfitter.. Ill try to get the name.
 
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When we used f'glas canoes we could carry resin/hardener and cloth on trips which was used on several occasions for canoe and paddle.
 
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I carry duck tape for on the river repairs, but have a west system repair kit for use that night. Worst repair was a split stem on a F/G boat. We mixed up some wood ash, charcoal, bacon grease, resin from a spruce tree, and shredded grass into a gloopy mess reminiscent of the old birch bark canoes, and plastered it into the split and around the sides. as soon as it hit the water it went rock hard and has held for about 10 years....
 
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We have only had one boat crack on a trip, a friend’s aged glass & nylon hull. He bulled his way (almost) over a shallow speedbump log and put a 3” crack midships.

We pulled his boat ashore, dried it inside and out and let it sit in the sun for 30 minutes or so. This was pre-Gorilla tape, but I had some Nashua 357 with me, the older “nuclear grade” Nashua duct tape. That stuff was impregnated vinyl, and so tenacious that is was difficult to unspool a strip to lay patches. (The 357 is not the same stuff anymore)

Stuck pieces inside and out and he finished the trip dry. I paddled with him a couple years later; he hadn’t properly repaired the crack, still had the 357 on and holding firm.

Now I carry some glass and dual-syringe epoxy in my repairs kit, but good quality duct tape will probably handle most minor damage. I have both 1” and 2” Gorilla tape in the repairs kit, wrapped around a drilled dowel seat drop, with a machine screw, washer and Nylock through the dowel, as an emergency seat repair kit. Used that dowel drop and screw on a trip once; my companion was amazed with I pulled out the parts and pieces he needed.

FWIW I learned to “hide” the good duct tape. Someone to whom I happen to be wed used almost all of my remaining 357. . . . .to wrap up a pile of cardboard for the dump.

I have crappy “Duck” brand duct tape in the shop, in plain view, and actually use a lot of it for non-critical throw away applications. The good stuff is stored sight unseen in a cabinet.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I carry duct tape that will STICK ON WET SURFACES plus some epoxy putty.

Story: Trying to apply duct tape in the middle of a rapid or lake or in the rain, I found that my duct tape would not stick at all to a wet hull.

So, taping the hull when dry is highly recommended. However, to avoid my futile failures in unavoidably wet circumstances, the only thing I can recommend is to experiment with various tapes until you find one that will stick on wet surfaces. The epoxy putty can be squeezed into puncture holes.

Damage can happen in many Murphy moments. In the early 80's I had a Royalex canoe that was impervious to any sort of abusive gymnastics by my kids. Then, in 1984, I bought a black composite Lotus BJX from Mike Galt in Tampa and stored it upside down in my backyard in Woodstock, NY. My young son thought it would be fun to jump off the back deck of the house onto that hull, undoubtedly having Royalex experiences in mind.

CRACK!

Well, I put a strip of black tape on that crack and it's stayed that way, with replacements every five years or so, for the past 37 years.
 
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I listened to the WTIP Boundary Waters podcast on my way to work this morning. The hosts repaired a gash with peanut butter and moss and were able to complete their trip. Go figure.
 
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I duct taped the ends of a Merrimack canoe back together after the stems rotted out. I used surplus 100 mph tape which looked ok with all the ends rounded off like a bandaid. My cousins got another 3 summers out of it.
 
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