Composite Kayaks - What's in your crash bag?

Dry Bag vs Nalgene Bottle… and then, what’s in your crash bag incase of a hole/leak while out kayaking?

Waterproof tape for a quick fix, or this West Systems repair kit for more serious damage. It all comes in a compact, plastic container.

Clear Gorilla Tape, contractor trash bags, some bungee, and rope.


Nothing for boat repair. I very rarely use the rudder and have a Kevlar boat. It’s almost impossible to put a hole in a Kevlar boat such that it will take on water in the conditions that I paddle.

Just last summer one of our members had a bow tiedown come loose and get caught by a tire. It bent the bow down at a 45° angle and did a lot of gelcoat damage. When the tension was released the Kevlar boat essentially sprang back into shape. He was able to take part in a 7 mile paddle that he was going to when the disaster occured, putting off repair until later.

The most common rudder failure is a broken cable, and that can be temporarily repaired in the field with a simple bungee cord.

What are the trash bags for?

Trash bags can have several uses. If the area needing to be sealed is wide, pieces can be cut from them to supplement tape. If a hatch cover is lost, they (with some rope or bungee) can be used to fashion a cover. If someone is getting cold, or needs a raincoat, it is easy to modify one into a poncho. Basically any situation when you need some waterproof material, they can come in handy. The contractor bags are heavy duty material, so seem better in many situations. They are compact and easy to store, so I like having a couple around.


I have one or two in my auto emergency kit as well.

When camping a roll of wide gorilla tape. The stuff is impressive.

Same, in fact that is where I started carrying them, smile.

Flex tape is better than gorilla tape on a wet hull. Also carry 2 part epoxy putty, a few swatches of carbon fiber and some epoxy resin along with some lighter fluid and a waterproof lighter n matches. We do carry gorilla tape too.

Have you ever tried to get the Flex tape off? If so, what did you use? It’s in my emergency repair kit as well precisely because it will stick even if put on under water, but I’ve never had to use it.

After all the torment removing some KeelEZ I bet it’s just as stubborn since it’s designed to be permanent.

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Yes it removes easily with removal spray, Flex Seal or Goo Gone.

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Good to know!

During one of Cross Currents Sea Kayaking extended classes, we were told to put a patch of whatever we carried in our repair kits on our hull and leave it there for the rest of the class to see how it would stand up. No way was I putting a square of Flex Seal on my wood kayak for fear of it taking up permanent residency or leaving a patch of adhesive behind.

That’s what happened when I replaced the KeelEZ with a Kevlar strip. The outside of the KeelEZ came off and left behind the adhesive. Had to be careful with the solvent because of the varnish and epoxy underneath.

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Duct (Now Gorilla) tape for everyday paddling, which is about all I do anymore. Had to use it once after I put a skeg in one of my kayaks, and it sprung a leak offshore playing in a tide rip. I made it back to shore with my stern almost submerged, and taped the slot so I could get back to my car.

A friend of mine had to use it to replace a hatch cover lost on the way to a week-long trip. Worked wonderfully both times.

Most important part was 1) never trust a quick paddle on a lake to find leaks in a fiberglass modification, 2) Tether your hatch covers and anything else the wind on your car can remove, and 3) The tape can usually fix stupidity and bad luck long enough to get to where you’re headed.

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even (somewhat) longterm everyday paddling →
Years ago, had a kayak that kept getting bit on by sharks (actually, just 2 incidents + 1 other that may not have been a shark - it jumped out of water and bounced (and cracked) the forward deck, yes, it was BIG)
Anyway, the small holes and cracks were ‘patched’ with duct tape, and I continued paddling it (several months) until Joey (TPW) got his hands on it.