Solo Canoe Camper concept: one or two outriggers?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Steveca4, Jun 20, 2023.

  1. Steveca4
    Joined: May 2018
    Posts: 49
    Likes: 1, Points: 8
    Location: Ste Anne, Manitoba, Canada

    Steveca4 Junior Member

    I had considered building a barrel deck boat for summer fun and camping out on the lake but trailering a 8' x 16' deck boat would require a substantial trailer: and for only or one person.
    However I do have a small utility trailer and an old fiberglass 14' canoe. What if I build a one or two
    outriggers and configure a 4' x 8' deck between the canoe and outriggers.

    This canoe would not be sailed but would be paddled or powered with a 2.5 hp 4stroke outboard.

    Asking for suggestions and ideas. Particularly interested in which way to configure the one or two outriggers for my 4'x8' deck.

    If two 6' long x 6" wide floatation outriggers are made I could place the 4' x 8' deck across the center of the canoe with outriggers parallel to the canoe and attached to three beams which decking would cover.

    Alternatively I could make one 10' long x 6" wide outrigger that is centered on the canoe length with the deck and outrigger parallel to the canoe.

    I'm thinking a 4' x 8' would provide adequate space for one of those cot tents.
    Why do I need a tent? Here in central Canada from May to end of August is bug (numerous kinds) season which is also the time to be fishing and camping. Out on the water drastically reduces being
    bothered with bugs, plus these tents can pop up instantly and have bug screening.

    Am I crazy or is there merit in trying this. I have the time, materials and experience to build such a thing. The biggest lake I'm on might be 5klm long, most are smaller. Luck for me all are stocked and include and mix of Muskie, Northerns, Bass, Perch, Walleye, Splake, various kinds of Trout, plus Crayfish.

    Which way would you run the deck, across or parallel and why.

    thanks in advance everyone.
    Steve (67yrs) Manitoba.
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  2. Robert Biegler
    Joined: Jun 2017
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    Location: Trondheim

    Robert Biegler Senior Member

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  3. Steveca4
    Joined: May 2018
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    Location: Ste Anne, Manitoba, Canada

    Steveca4 Junior Member

    Yes, I've seen those but Shipping from Florida to Canada and kit costs make that approach unfeasible and out of my price range. Plus I can make my own hydrofoil pontoons quite inexpensively. If money was not object I would go with the Expandacraft.
  4. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Yup. Perfectly do-able.
    I would go for 2 outriggers, and just use aluminium section ( some old cheap mast sections) laid across the canoe.
    If you use old mast sections, then you already have a slot to run one edge of your "trampoline" in.
    But, I wouldn't try to fasten both outriggers to one beam. Use two offset beams, so that you have the ability to just rig one outrigger, or both. Sometimes you don't need the extra fuss, and width of the second outrigger. Also, storage of shorter sections is easier.

    The the essential thing is to make sure that you have enough buoyancy for two people to stand on the outrigger. The longer the outrigger the better for ease of the boat through the water.

    Making outriggers is fiddly. I have had success cutting a large diameter storm water pipe in half, gluing two flat sides about1 10" wide to the pipe, shaping expandable foam at the two ends, and then covering the whole lots with a layer of fibreglass.
    Polyester resin bonds strongly to PVC pipe.


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  5. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    I'd run the deck across to max out the width of the plywood deck to support the outriggers AND not cover too much of your canoe. Even covering 4' of the wide section of your canoe will have you wishing you'd cut a hatch in the deck, so figure on doing that such that it doesn't weaken the deck yet hatch is supported on ends by canoe gunnels.

    I'd go with 9' or even 4'x10' 3/4" plywood and some PVC pipe/PVC glue frames inside XL pool noodles. Cut the ends of noodles to sharpen their bows and sterns. I'd start with tw0 5" jumbo noodles but be ready to add additional noodles to make V shape. With a little calculation for displacement you could position the bottom single outrigger height so they are maybe only 1/4 submerged at rest and lightly loaded but if you are bit more loaded the two upper noodles of the V will be in contact with water. Assuming when boat camping you will have several plastic 1 gal fresh water jugs, tie through their handles and let them sit in the water such that they would serve as water ballast on the outriggers. It would require force to raise them out of the water.

    I'd put the deck centered on the hull and you might still be able to paddle, but I'd test your paddle swing and deck position on land prior to construction.

    But depending on what materials you have, you might make outriggers out of 1x8 planks pointed at both ends and puffed in the middle. Then place another over the () and draw line and cut the bottom. Then fill that shape with full and empty plastic water bottles.
  6. Manfred.pech
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    Location: EU

    Manfred.pech Senior Member

    Steve, you will find a lot of pics and description of experience when you google "viti proa"
  7. Steveca4
    Joined: May 2018
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    Location: Ste Anne, Manitoba, Canada

    Steveca4 Junior Member

    That’s it! At least very close to what I was envisioning. Thank you. Steve
    There never seems to be something you dream up that someone hadn’t already done eh!
  8. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    I've been up there fishing a lot and I'd rather not be on the water. I get the bug thing; maybe a crownland rule? But storms can make things very bad for boat on the water at nite and the first step out of the tent might be a cool dip.

    But. I do like outriggers. I built a set inspired by @garydierking . Really improves the safety; especially for cold water times.

    His book is really fun to have on the shelf. How to Build and Outrigger Canoe, from memory.
  9. Steveca4
    Joined: May 2018
    Posts: 49
    Likes: 1, Points: 8
    Location: Ste Anne, Manitoba, Canada

    Steveca4 Junior Member

    thank you I will definitely give approach more thought and what materials are available to me. Cheers Steve
  10. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    If you have the time, materials and experience, going through all that complication is crazy. It would be cheaper and easier to build a jon boat in plywood. Even easier may be to trade your old canoe for an old jon boat.

  11. mitchgrunes
    Joined: Jul 2020
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    Location: Maryland

    mitchgrunes Senior Member

    I like to ask dumb questions, but:

    1. Pop-up tents pop-up using springs, to make setup easy. They pop-down again under relatively little force, to make takedown easy. If the boat overturns, the weight of the boat could be on top of the tent, especially if you are in shallow water (and the top of the tent touches the bottom of the lake), or the tent holds in enough air to create some buoyancy. I wonder if that force could collapse the frame.

    Are you sure that if a storm overturns your craft at night, or the structure falls apart, you can safely exit your tent without drowning? I have this possibly crazy mental image of the tent frame collapsing on top of you. I imagine you would wake, but could you have trouble reaching the door zipper before running out of air?

    I could easily be wrong.

    2. BTW, it would be somewhat difficult to paddle & fish while fully sealed inside the bug-free interior of a tent. :)

    Have you ever seen the mosquito net jackets, hoods and pants? That would give you more freedom to move. I tried that a few times, in warm weather, and it was uncomfortably hot, especially around the head, but I don't know if that applies to your climate. (BTW, no-see-em netting keeps out the smaller bugs too.)

    But that way you don't need to camp out on the water - you could camp on dry land.

    Likewise, staying inside a tent (especially a dark colored tent) can be uncomfortable during the day in hot weather.

    3. Is it really less buggy out on the water where you are planning to go? Some places that I have paddled, biting insects fly over the water.
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