Well, I don't qualify as one of the smarter people
But part of my strategy for MAINTAINING balance, is to put my cooler and water on opposite sides (fore/aft) of the center line, they tend to lose weight at the same speed, and keep me balanced. ( I do the same thing with my beer, half in each end of the boat).
My setup has the entire front of the boat filled with rockets and water jugs, with a table and Paco pad covering them, my passenger rides on top of this deck, making it very easy for me to move weight forward to stay level.
Dry bags and ammo cans on the forward part of the side boards( or on the tubes, if no side boards) is another good way to help make up for the stern gear pile, or not being a scrappy little bastard.
Ya, I would go 5 bay to, if I had a 16', easier to rig more shit, or even the same amount of shit.