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Saddle & Knee Pads


Once the roar of the floatplane disappears, you and your team are left standing quietly on a remote shore after months of planning and endless details. No phone, no going back and no excuses. You may be days or weeks from outside help and you realize you are on your own.

From that point on every cloud in the sky and ripple on the water will mean something. This is when the equipment you choose needs to work. This is the reason North Water has been the spray deck of choice for almost every major canoe expedition over the last 15 years.

Paddling takes you to a broad range of amazing environments, yet though the beauty they also have the potential to be brutally unforgiving. Whether you are paddling across a windy lake or to the artic circle, the utility and flexibility of a North Water spray deck will play an important role in maintaining your safety and comfort.


Back in the 1980’s, our founder’s idea of a great canoe trip was to pick the most isolated area on the map, fly in by floatplane, then scratch and claw his way out. It often meant portaging from one watershed to another, traveling salmon runs with grizzlies, and descending from high alpine lakes to sea level. These trips lasted anywhere from a few days to two months. These early days formed the foundation on which every North Water Spray deck is built. Over the years we have continued to improve our decks based on thousands of miles of wilderness travel from all corners of the globe.


SAFETY AND COMFORT: It takes only five minutes for a calm lake to turn to whitecaps but twenty minutes to paddle across a two-mile lake.
During that crossing you may encounter wind or take on water over the gunwales, causing you to work much harder than is necessary. You drop into a kneeling position for more stability as the waves build and now have to fight the wind to keep your boat from crashing down waves.  It becomes more difficult to maintain your angle and causes more water to come over your gunwales. Your bow paddler is not used to a fully loaded boat in such conditions and implores you make for the shore. As you do, the wind turns your boat parallel to the waves and it hits a submerged rock, taking on enough water to make paddling nearly impossible. You and your partner jump out because you’re close to shore and now have to somehow drag a thousand pounds of water and soggy gear out of the crashing waves.

You get to shore wet and cold. The wind is still blowing, your gear is soaked, your spirits are dashed, and your partner is demoralized. Not a pretty situation, but one that can unfold very quickly.

Once one thing goes wrong in a wilderness setting, the chance of something else going wrong rises exponentially. This sets up a chain of events that can deteriorate your level of safety very quickly. When you are days away from help it is vital to stay in control and one step ahead of that first link in a potential chain of problems. A North Water spray deck can play a vital role in preventing these problems from arising in the first place.

Would the above-mentioned scenario be different with a spray deck?

The spray deck dramatically reduces the amount of water in your boat and the punishing effects of the wind. This allows you to obtain maximum effectiveness from your paddle strokes and maintain a correct angle. Simply put, you do not have to work as hard, you stay drier, and you are more likely to maintain your body temperature.  Heck, you may have even start to have fun trying to surf the waves as they carry you toward shore. Even if that that pesky submerged rock turns you sideways and a wave crashes over your boat, the spray deck sheds the water off the deck as you quickly brace and re-establish your angle and paddle to shore - Two different scenarios with two very different outcomes.

The use of a North Water spray deck is no substitute for experience and common sense, but it does give you a valuable tool to deal with a wide variety of elements that have the potential to affect the outcome of your trip.

Below are a few of the expeditions that have relied on North Water Spray Decks.


  • Finding Farley, a cross-Canada adventure to visit Canadian literary legend, Farley Mowat
  • 171-day, 8,000 km cross-Canada trip
  • 800-km, 26-day trip across Scandinavia
  • 3100 km, 75-day trip across the Boreal
  • 1,100 km, 25-day trip from Algonquin to Moosonee
  • World Record Longest Canoe Voyage from Western Canada to the Amazon
  • British Canoe Expedition

These decks are made one by one, to fit a wide variety of canoes, from a solo boat to a 22ft freighter.  The deck allows easy access to gear during the day and quick unloading of the boat at the campsite.

Great for…

  • Open water crossings
  • Whitewater
  • Rain
  • Reducing the effect of wind on a boat
  • Cold
  • Heat
  • Comfort
  • Security while sight seeing or replenishing supplies in populated areas
  • Protect gear from elements
  • Ability to press on in bad weather
  • Overnight gear storage
  • Emergency shelter
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