Car key storage while paddling

In the past, I kept a car key in my kayak rear compartment and one on my wrist while paddling. This insures I won’t be locked out of my car after a paddling session. I have just traded my Jetta for a new Passat. The Passet has no key as we have known them in the past. The whole doggone remote is pushed into the ignition slot to start the engine. (VW supplies two of these remotes with the car). This means that I can’t simply go and have a bunch of duplicate keys made for redundancy of back-up. The option I have chosen to satisfy my needs is to have another remote. This will cost me about $250-260 bucks. Isn’t technology grand?

yes it is
I think I woudl go “old school” on it. put the “key” in the glovebox. lock the doors, and break out the passenger window. My '89 Chevy truck has lasted me quite well with two broken door handles and subsequently a missing window. been windowless for over a year…it is great. I want to take the doors off, but I don’t want to clean it!


Won’t see me buying one of those
Is that an option or do you have to have the keyless remote systems? No way do I want to fiddle around with more junk like that.

Pockets in my life jacket
I have a Stolquist “Motion” life jacket, and it has several pockets on the front. One pocket is very secure, and has a zipper.

I put my keys in a zip-lock bag, and put them in my life jacket.

I figure as long as I have the life jacket on me, I am on the water and alive. With out the life jacket, I am either drowned, or on shore and can get the key out of the pocket.

Works for me :slight_smile:

I put mine in a small pelican dry
box along with my wallet and a cell phone(turned off) and tie it behind my seat in the kayak.

I take the easy route

Pop the key up under my rear bumper before setting off. (Making sure no-one is watching.)

There’s not even a door-lock key?
Is there no way to enter your car when it’s locked without using an electronic device, or do you have a mechanical key available for that? If you have a door key, I’d take that along and leave the electronic gadget hidden inside the car. If there’s no mechanically-controlled lock on the car, … well, that’s a nightmare just waiting to happen, isn’t it.

Stupidity is cumulative
I shoulda known we were biting off too much river when we stayed on the same straight road forever. Many miles of straight road is gonna be many more miles of winding river.

Asked some bankside fishermen “how far to the take out?” as the sun was setting. The answer was not reassuring: “hope you brought a flashlight.”

It was hours after dark, hours of slamming into and lifting over unseen ledges on the moonless night, by the time we reached the take out. Hot, tired, and hungry, I peeled off my PFD and dropped it into the boat.

Then we got in my friend’s car and went back to the put in to get my car. I didn’t realize the keys were in my PFD until we’d driven the half-hour shuttle.

That was a long day, of which the last six hours spoiled an otherwise lovely day of paddling Since then, the keys go in my pocket if I have on shorts, or in the zipped, mesh pocket of my paddling pants if its cold. AND, there’s a magnetic hide-a-key tucked underneath the car on the frame.

Have managed to never be keyless for the couple hundred paddling trip since that day.

Hopefully, all of us who have been in the no-key scrape have evolved an approach that works for us. I don’t claim to have a magic bullet…just sharing.

~~Chip Walsh

With some things, I hate “high tech”…
…especially when it comes to battery powered remote door locks and electric car windows. I’m still driving an old '87 car, with real keys and real manual window handles. Can you imagine being either stuck outside your car if your remote decides to stop working, or being stuck in your car because the electric system doesn’t work? At the very least, I’d prefer to have these manual options as backups; for safety even more than for convenience.


hide a key
magnetic hide-a-key tucked underneath the car on the frame.

only way to go!

Yeah but
you have to be able to put your “electronic” key in it, most magnetic boxes I’ve seen are to small. I have a Ford Exploder that needs one of those $150 anti theft keys, so I put it in a small pelican box and always carry it with me. In my shorts pocket in warm water and inside my drysuit in cold water.

Nalgene bottle
I’ve tried the small dry bags and zip lock bags and they usually wear out from the sharp edges on the keys.

I now drop the keys in a wide mouth Nalgene bottle and drop it in the day hatch of my boat. Works well.

A lot of cars have their keys

– Last Updated: Jan-11-06 8:05 PM EST –

as part of the remote. I traded a Lexus in on my VW Jetta a few year back. Both of these cars have the key as part of the remote, (the kids love them, you push a button and the key flicks out like a switchblade.) The differance with the new Passat is that you dont flick the key out, rather you just put the remote in the slot.

I carry a water proof fanny pack on my fordeck and the keys are kept in there. Just about finished with an emergency compartment which will become the keys new home.

Happy Paddling,


Key issues
My 02 Odyssey had a security chip in the key. If water got under the plactic on the key and damaged the chip, the car wouldn’t start, even with the correct key in it. I had to carry a waterproof plastic box in my life jacket to protect the chip in the key. Many new cars have such a chip as an anti theft measure.

The Scion Xb that I now drive came with a clicker attached to the key ring but no chip in the key. I took off the clicker and am now “old school”, driving and locking with just the key.

While the Scion doesn’t have a anti theft chip, I have learned that it does have a black box installed as do many new cars.

Solution for either a remote or a key
Put them in a Pelican box. They make a clear-topped series that range in size from about that of a cigarette pack and larger, so you can find the right one to fit your remote.

I put my keys and DEI remote (it’s tiny) in a 1010 box which costs less than $15. The box has a strap loop that can be affixed to your backband straps or other places. Or put the box inside a hatch.

If for some bizarre reason I don’t want to arm the antitheft system, I just lock the truck without alarming it. I can do so by pressing an electronic door button, flipping a mechanical door latch, OR using the factory remote that does not set the alarm (decisions, decisions). I take the key with me and put it (lashed) inside a PFD pocket. But my key is a regular old-fashioned key that can get wet, not the kind that has electronic circuitry in it. This means that I can still get in the truck even if the remote croaks.

I wouldn’t even buy a vehicle that does not allow such mechanical backup. Your VW must be intended only for city use!

Hey Guideboatguy
There is a plastic keylike probe which is slipped into a slot in the remote. This is referred to as the “valet” key. One takes it and locks the glove box, trunk and fold down rear seat. Then the remote w/out this plastic probe may be used to start the engine and park the car. The probe can also be used to regain entry into the car in case of battery failure of the remote.

What happens if the battery dies?
At least with a regular keyed lock, you can sit inside while waiting for a jump.

Some things really should go “backwards” in technology!

Leave the Pass At unlocked.

Use several methods

– Last Updated: Jan-11-06 8:58 PM EST –

I attach a car key -- permanently -- to a split ring attached to a strap inside a pocket on my pfd.

AND, I put one in my day bag, along with my watch, cell phone, wallet and whatever else is in the pocket of my street clothes. All that goes into a little Coghlan's dry pouch, one of my best-ever buys, inside the day bag --

AND, I should also put one somewhere under the car, but I've never trusted those little magnetic boxes to hang on, especially on some of the rougher roads down to rocky Massachsuetts and Maine launches.

IOW -- don't depend on just one system for a single point of failure.

DJLewis works for the…
Department of Redundancy Department.