Bailout/Ditch Bags

Looking for suggestions on where and how to carry a bailout kit.

I’ve been carrying mine on my rear deck, under a bungee, for easy access should I ever need to abandon ship. Besides cluttering up the deck a bit, making rescues more difficult, I’m also afraid this location contributes to weathercocking and to broaching in following seas.

There is not enough space behind my seat for such a bailout bag plus my paddle float and sponge, and I don’t like the idea of the kit flopping around between my feet.

I often wear a hydration pack with extra pockets that could contain maybe half of my emergency kit, but how to carry the rest? I like the idea of having as much of the emergency stuff attached to me, but most PFDs simply don’t have that much pocket space or lash points …

Looking for any suggestions!

The way I think about it, a bail-out bag isn’t really for when you decide to abandon your kayak (because you’d never do that!). It’s for when you are unintentionally separated from your kayak. For that reason, I’d say an effective bailout bag needs to be attached to you, not your boat.

What do you carry in your bag?


Neat Idea
Northwater is going to be making a Bail Out Kit carrying Solid Foam Paddle Float. Has two sleeves to hold a pair of wide mouth 32oz. Nalgene bottles to hold the bare essentials.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

I was thinking that it might be just the right size to hold about 4 Fosters Lager oil cans as well and keep them quite cold. Wait, you didn’t hear that from me.

I carry …
… all the usual survival stuff: the Ten Essentials, plus water purifying tablets, signaling devices, repair supplies, etc… I guess the bulkiest items are the extra clothing pieces. Right now, it all fits in about half of a 10-liter drybag.

I like the idea of attaching it to my person, so will look at fitting it all in the extra pockets of my hydration pack. Might need a bigger one …


that would be awefull
i love my kayak hect i even bring it in my house everynight so no one steals it.but ya all gave me a good idea i should carry some gear on me.i dodnt even wear my pfd i strap it to back. its not comfertable at all to wear in kayak. but i am rethinking after reading this thread

Get a better PFD.
My Kokatat MisFit is so comfortable, I don’t mind wearing it.

If I get hot, I swim.

I’m glad you asked, I want to know too.
I’m working on a ditch kit too. A guy I know has a Kokotat “back pocket” (I think it’s called) attached to the back of his PFD. Small envelope. Lays flat. Doesn’t hold a whole lot, but useful. He also wears a small fanny pack strapped around his chest. The two bags pretty much hold all his ditch gear. I think I want one of those back pockets for my PFD. I already carry pocket knife, phone, seasick medicine,and a couple of spare nuts and bolts (for backband) in waterproof boxes in my PFD pockets.

Am open to suggestions for how to carry more, on my person: emergency shelter, fleece hat, fire starting stuff, hiker’s compass, water purification tablets.

G in NC

Separate into 2 bundles & vaccum-bag 'em
No reason why the ditch bag has to be one ditch bag: divide and conquer.

You could split the gear by likelihood of needing to use immediately. Then vacuum-bag them to keep waterproof and reduce size. Black & Decker makes a home vacuum-bagger that cost $60 a few years ago. Cut a partial slit at the edge of each bag so that you can open them without a knife.

You might be able to put the stuff into 2 PFD pockets this way, or 1 PFD pocket and one clothing pocket. Maybe tethered inside your tow bag.

An idea I might try
Make sort of a neck band out of neoprene, with a low-profile pouch incorporated. Stitch Velcro tape into the band to allow a snug (non-snagging) fit.

Or make it an arm band instead. You get the general idea.

vacuum bagging
Never would have thought of that, but that might work fine for dryness and reducing volume. Thanks!

My ditchbag is…

– Last Updated: Sep-21-10 12:16 AM EST – a Kokatat backpack strapped over my Tributary. Here's a shot of it in use.

I figure that I want it when all else fails so it doesn't have to accomodate more than 24 hours worth of stuff and I only wear it when I might need extraction. I always wear a waterproof VHF in salt water and usually in urban freshwater. The combination of me, PFD, full hydration pack and ditchbag has been tested in the water and I float just fine and can perform self and assisted rescues without issue.

Here's a photo.....

It contains:
ACR EBIRB that is regularly tested and stored in a tethered waterproof bag. I can access it when separated from my kayak and floating in the water. This is my ace in the hole when no other options exist.
"A man's gotta have a code" (Omar from "the WIRE").
When things get bad the EPIRB is my code.

A signal mirror and floating whistle. The whistle came with the mirror and is redundent. I carry one on my PFD that I can easily acess.

Adventure Medical Utralight .3 First Aid Kit.
Not good for too much but shouldn't have to be. Totally 1st responder stuff. If I can't fulfill my needs in the frst 24 hours I'm toast as I should be. Cost of doing business.

Aluminized Mylar blanket. A similar bivibag is in my dayhatch if I am so lucky to still have my boat.

High calorie energybar / meal suppliment. I prefer a 400 calorie ProBar but am tapped at the moment. That's right, I will get hungry. Nothing new. Paddling I consume about 400 calories per hour.

Waterproof box with:
Laser signal device (battery powered)
Duct Tape (fix skin, gear whatever)
Striker and fire starter.

I also carry a container of Hammer Gel that holds many 100 calorie (hourly) doses in my PFD plus a 400+ calorie ProBar for brunch and two 300 - 400 calorie bars slanted towards fat or protein.

It's a good trade.

bail out kit
If you get seperated from the kayak, repair supplies will be wasted weight, they should be in a hatch. On you: pencil flares, vhf, SPOT, etc. Lots of ideas. Nalgene bottle with ten or twelve wraps of duct tape, various fittings, screws, little stuff, lighter, matches, space blanket. Several books on different ideas, rambo cool knife optional. John

ragz is paddling lakes in the south

ditch kit
I agree that it needs to be on your person, and I also agree that it can be easier to do that if you divide it up. In addition to PFD pockets and hydration/storage packs, another option for those of you with the right Seals spray skirts is Seals’ Gear Pocket: