I’m adding a dayhatch to a Pygmy Arctic Tern. It’s long overdue, as my typical trip length dictates a volume of “quick access” gear that exceeds the capacity of my PDF and underdeck bag.
Curious to hear from others on a recommended capacity for the dayhatch compartment that I’ll create.
The dayhatch kit has a bag option, whereby a mesh bag is affixed to the hatch rim. This is intuitively a horrible idea, since its design opens the rear hold to flooding should something go awry. Hence, I’m boxing out the dayhatch compartment, and have shaped a bulkhead that is half the width of the hold.
From here, I have two options: use this as a blank to create a full-width bulkhead, or box out half the width of the hold (preserving a bit more storage in the main space). The half-width version will be ~ 9.5" wide x 10" tall x 11" long.
I think the half-width option works, given the following dayhatch items if / when not on my person:
What exactly do you need access to While sitting in the kayak? There is space in front of the seat between your knees. For a regular bulkheaded compartment behind the cockpit most items are inaccessible anyway.
IMHO 8" hatches behind the cockpit are a solution looking for a problem.
Read the post I explained what / how / why I’d use this space (which I’m adding to a boat I’ve paddled for 10 years, so I’m very well aware of what does and does not go into the cockpit on a long trip).
bag option The bag option isn’t intended (or shouldn’t be intended) as a replacement for the day hatch bulkhead, it’s just an easier way to access those items that are stored in that hatch. It’s not all that easy while in the boat to turn around to fish around in a tiny hatch to start with.
Day hatch I love my day hatches. Don’t listen to the anti day hatchers. Yes a bulkhead is what you want. It doesn’t sound like you need to big a hatch. I would think it would be easier to just put a bulkhead across the width of the boat just make it not very deep length wise. I have no problem reaching all the way into my Valley Avocets day hatch.
As far as putting stuff loose in front of your seat, that’s a bad idea. Yard sale when you come out. Plus its sitting in water (always some water in cockpit) were its nice and dry in a day hatch. I could just imagine stuff in front of seat bouncing all around after a few rolls.
I've used a lap bag with great success on many multi-week expeditions. Just as easy to pop your skirt and open a bag in your lap, especially for multiple small items, as it is to reach backwards into a day hatch. Kept all the stuff you have listed in there (other than the water) and more, often would keep my thermos in the cockpit as well. Get a high quality waterproof bag like a Watershed, and you're really good to go, quick and easy to open\close. Best part is you have all your important gear right with you, easy to transition from boat to beach to camp, without having to fish around in a hatch trying to find stuff. Makes a great pillow as well.
Otherwise I'd go the full width option on the day hatch, so if you wanted to put something heavy behind the seat it wouldn't upset the balance of your boat.