Day Hatches, Yes, No, Maybe?

Do you think they make for an improved design in a boat?

If not, how do you handle all the items that can make a deck look like a yard sale?

Day Hatch
I love them.

I have my pump attached inside the cockpit under the front deck. Paddle float wedged and clipped to seat back.

Everything else I need while paddling is in the day hatch.

The only thing I ever put on the deck is my water bottle and only if I’m in rough water. It is a little difficult to constantly be getting something like water in and out of the the day hatch unless it’s really calm.

Because the day hatch is small, it also keeps small items from rolling around in a large rear hatch. Your trim is constantly changing when that happens and there is really no way to get at that stuff while in a large hatch.

day hatche
I love em. and yes you cna get to it in a bit of bumpy water wiht an over the shoulder one handed scull. Takes practice. but works.

Odd man out…
I have a day hatch in one boat and decided against adding the feature to my stripper.

I keep my decks clear except for spare paddle, GPS, and maps. My skirt, Wildwasser, has a mesh pouch that holds a Pelican 1050 with my camera inside.

My vest (MsTour), has numerous pockets and I wear a Lotus EFT that holds additional storm/emergency gear as well as a 50 oz bladder.

My pump, float, and sponge are inside the big hole behind the cheekplates. Pump and float come to the deck if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

I also carry a 100 oz bladder behind my seat with a dring tube attached to the inside of my combing via velcro patch. When the waters are calm (read boring), I drink from the big bladder after popping the skirt front. The backpack bladder is reserved for use when I’m not comfortable popping the skirt.

While a day hatch does indeed keep gear where it belongs, I find it just as easy to use a float bag to acheve the same results when lightly loaded for a day paddle. The extra seaworthiness is a nice insurance policy if the water hits the fan. I also use a float bag in the bow.

One advantage I’ve noted to a day hatch is for those who keep their spare paddle aft of the cockpit. The day hatch allows easy access to gear without having to fiddle with the extra stick.

I thought the day hatch on my T-165 was going to be pure nirvana but after a couple of years I just don’t use it much as a true day hatch. Hence, my Night Heron is getting no third hole in the deck.

Now, if I could just convince WS to build a T-165 without the day hatch, without the skeg, and a lower rear deck, I’d be tickled pink!


Yard sale prevention
Day hatch is OK. I wouldn’t consider it primary factor in boat choice. Not really for/against DH at all - just talking options.

I don’t have one and have nothing strapped on deck but a spare paddle. Little stuff goes in my under deck bag. Pump stows above it. Float behind seat post. Hydration pack behind seat.

I think the day hatch becomes more useful/practical than an underdeck bag on kayaks with ocean cockpits.

My ultimate preferred option? In a composite boat ocean cockpit it might be a molded knee tube with access from outside through a small recessed (day hatch sized) hatch cover centered just forward of the coaming (my ideal OC boat would also have a rear deck low enough that a day hatch would be awash in textured water to the point of being impractical). A Greenland style boat with the flat space between the deck stringers would provide an ideal location, and I may try something similar on a SOF. In a boat with keyhole and thigh braces coming off the coaming I think I’d just stick with the under deck bag. Very handy. As would be a day hatch (but again, an “ideal” boat would have that LOW rear deck…).

Not Crucial For Me…
I have two boats with day hatches. Really added nothing for me on the water. I carry water on my back, snacks in my PFD pocket, and dress for the water. My SOF obviously has no day hatch and that’s the long boat I paddle most in the past couple of years.

My decks are clear except for a compass and a spare paddle.


Love My Day Hatch
I would probably own a QCC600 today if it had one.

Day Hatches
I have never considered one since I use a easily detachable deck bag. My map, water, snacks, GPS, compass, etc are right in front of me.

OOPS - almost lied. I did install one on the rear deck of my OT Otter but didn’t put the insert in. That was only because it made it easier to get the trash out from the back of the seat. (Otter is used for river clean ups.)

Stay safe on the water,


Depends on the hatch cover
As far as usability solo while on the water, I think that much depends on the hatch cover and the ease of getting it off and on while sitting in the cockpit. I find that a VCP hatch cover on my Silhouette is easy to get on and off. Unfortunately I find that I cannot get a Wilderness Systems day hatch cover back on while sitting in my Tempest 165. The little bungie around the hatch cover doesn’t make it any easier either. argh.


Wouldn’t go back
The day hatch is up there along with bulkhead blocks rather than foot pedals - I wouldn’t be without one now. I didn’t think I’d care much one way or the other when I got my first boat with one, which was chosen for other charactierstics and just happened to come with a day hatch.

One of the things that people forget to factor in is the initial volume of their boat. At 5’4" and at a healthy weight, I am paddling rather low volume boats. My paddling trips are often 4 or so hours on a weekend, with a likely need for a place to stash food and a spare overtop, emergency gear for the big lakes or if we make it to the ocean, etc. There is no way I could get a useful sized knee tube into my cockpit of my longer boat and not compromise my re-entry - at my present allowance a wet re-entry takes an extra several seconds to execute. My shorter boat has a taller front deck so is a bit easier, but it’s still not a thoughtless act.

I admit that I compromise space by also using bulkhead blocks, but my feet thank me.

As stated above, most day hatches also offer a great place to put objects like spare water baottle, radio, extra lights etc and make sure they won’t bang around. My extra large Tropos top, stashed into the day hatch, keeps all of that stuff from moving around and is in use many days in spring and fall.

Just water bottle on foredeck
The only thing on your foredeck deck is a water bottle? Why not get a hydration pack? It was the very first thing I bought after the initial stuff. (Little did I forsee…:wink:


a place for stuff
if you need it while paddling can you get to it in rough water? Basically anything on the deck can dissapear in rescues/rough water if it’s not secured well. Anything in a day hatch is inaccessible in rough water. If it’s too rough to pop the sprayskirt and get something it’s too rough to open a day hatch.

If you like how a hull paddles you can secure small items in the compartments and cockpit by attaching tie down points and bungies. If you expect to HAVE to get to something while on the water Just because kayaks are sold only with deck hardware does that mean it’s where stuff should go.

Get some 3/16" bungie and 5/32" plastic clips to tether some items.

Day hatch bulkheads do stiffen aft decks.

wouldn’t have a boat without one
all my boats have a day hatch. i use the day hatch consistently. in one of my boats i also have a knee tube. for me, a boat without a day hatch must belong to somebody else.

Added weight
Typically a day hatch adds about 3-4 lbs. to a kayak when the additional bulkhead, adhesives (composite) hardware(poly) hatch, and hatch coaming are installed. I can take or leave them. On multi day / week trips I’ve used day hatches to isolate all my food, which also keeps the weight near the center of the hull. That’s worked really well, however in twenty some years and many miles of paddling, I’ve never accessed a day hatch on the water! Not once. My preference would be two valley ovals, or kayak sport hatches per boat with no day hatch.

I had a customer buy a boat simply on account of the day hatch. He lined the compartment with 1" minicell, added ice and beer, and paddled out into the sunset. Hhhmmmn? Not that I’d recommend drinking and paddling…but he sure seems happy when I see him on the H2o! Me, I love 'um.

“Day” hatch YES, but not used on the H2O

– Last Updated: Oct-05-05 12:21 PM EST –

I like the day hatch but never actually access it while on the water.

It's good for separating quick-access ("day") items such as emergency kit, water filter, spray jacket, and snacks from no-rush ("night") items. It serves as an organizational aid, which I appreciate because my kayak must be packed very carefully due to space limitations.

I don't think the presence or absence of the 3rd hatch makes a difference in hull design, if that's what you are asking about.

Whether a kayak comes with one would not affect my decision to buy or not buy.

On long trips, my front deck carries paddle float, pump, spare paddle, and small camera in case. My rear deck carries Crazy Creek chair (collapsed flat), collapsible soft bucket, and a small drybag; these items are all on top of each other and securely bungied down over the day hatch, making it inacessible while on the water. These things would be on deck, whether there's a day hatch or not.

For day trips, I might have none of the above on deck anywhere. A few things (water bottles, sandals) go in my cockpit.

six of one,

– Last Updated: Oct-05-05 12:31 PM EST –

the day hatch puts the larger rear hatch near the skeg and reduces the size of bags that can fit aft of the cockpit. Without a day hatch and bulkhead the aft deck of a low deck plastic kayak would be a lot more flexible. In a hard composite kayak there's less of a reason if you configure interior tie downs and bungies to handle a kayak carrying one or two dry bags. BUT I did experience the aft deck of my Express cracking in a self-rescue practice and a 325lb friend made the aft deck of his Pinta buckle easily.
So the definitive answer is,,maybe it matters,,maybe it doesn't.

Only asked to learn

– Last Updated: Oct-05-05 1:33 PM EST –

how people use or don't use a day hatch and explanations/ideas as to why. Figured I and others might pick up some pointers and ideas on how to be more efficient, cleaner and safer with their boat with and without a day hatch. Wasn't planning on seeing a consensus, but hoping to see ideas that I never thought of.

I don’t think you’ll get consensus :wink:
Past threads about day hatches have gotten the full range from “NO!” to “MUST HAVE ONE!”

I knew I wouldn’t
but still interested in seeing how both sides organize and handle their gear in an effective and clean way. Then again lining the dayhatch with closed cell foam and filling it up with ice and the proper beverage sounds enticing on some days.