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Rockpool Taran 18 Travel Bags

I spent some time thinking how I might do to travel to far away places with my Taran beyond the reach of a long drive. I've concluded that the best way to get the kayak to where I want to be is to package it in a way that to ship it either in a plane or via Fedex/UPS. I thought that maybe I could bubble wrap the 3 sections, however, that not only takes effort and time to do it properly, but I would also need to repeat the process to ship it back home for the return journey. 

My conclusion was that the most practical way to ship a sectional kayak would be to have a padded bag for each section, similar to a bicycle bag. That way each section would be protected from banging around, would fit inside a plane, or a shipping truck, and wouldn't take me a whole day's worth of work to bubble wrap to the point that I would be sufficiently confident that my kayak would survive being dropped from a conveyor belt. Unfortunately, I did not know of any company that makes bags for sectional kayaks. It would be a very niche market. 

Therefore,  I decided to make my own kayak bag especially designed for the Taran 18. It took a few iterations, but I think I finally have a reasonable product. I thought of making a single large bag with compartments for all 3 pieces, however, that would have been too large to ship on a plane, let alone to fit in a reasonably sized vehicle, or even pass it through my front door. Therefore, making a customized bag for each section was the better choice.  

I took rough measurements of each section to size each bag and gave a couple few inches all around for some margin of error. After talking with Watts Bags on the different choices of materials and construction schemes, I decided to use a moderately hard , one 1-inch foam, coupled with an inner hard plastic plate for rigidity. I did not leave a lot of slack for storing things inside the bag, as I concluded that any gear can go inside the kayak hatches. The only area with some extra room is behind the bow and seat sections to accommodate the section clamps. Also, for the stern section I had to remove the rudder blade to close the bag. The bags have handles straps for lifting, and a shoulder strap, however, the seat section is a bit too big for one person to shoulder it. 

The assembly process is a little complicated, and took some sweat to bend all the pieces into shape and into the compartment walls, but once it was done the end product is quite satisfying to look at. Watts Bags made a video for how the bow section is assembled, but unfortunately not for the other two sections. However, the process is not too different. The stern section is exactly the same, and the seat section, which is rectangular, rather than a triangle just has an extra side wall. The bag fabric has internal "pockets" for the corners of the plastic plates to keep them in place. 

Below are PDFs for each section, which you can download to give to a bag seamstress or ask Watts Bags to make a bag set for you (The bags did not come cheap, but they are well made, and now that the first one is done, there can be some economies of scale). If you want to make a bag for the Taran 16, then you would have to cut back on the dimensions accordingly.

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