Deck clutter

I have a Prijon Kodiak that doesn’t have a day hatch. Do I really need to get a deck bag either fore of aft of the cockpit?

What would be the most common things to go in a day hatch when on a long trip?

I see the pump on the deck in alot of pictures, can it be stowed in the cockpit?

If a deck bag is necessary, what features are most important?

Think of what you want to carry, where and when you want it available. Then figure out how to store it that way.

It’s tempting to try to outfit yourself to the max, buying all the gear, before you know what you really want all this stuff to do. Don’t fall for it. Think it through from the utility end first.

Also, before you buy deck bags, read the reviews, take a look at some of them live, and consider the size and shape and how they attach.

Do you need it to be truly waterproof? Do you need to compartmentalize things? Do you need it with to extend the external capacity to hold things beyond what your deck bungees do? That kind of thinking will save you wasting a lot of money.

good questions
Keep whistle/light/VHF and other safety gear on or in PFD. Water and snacks need to be handy. I keep my water bladder on rear deck with tube velcroed to PFD strap for hands-free drinking. I can still climb over bladder for exit or re-entry over rear deck. My pump is in cockpit, under fore deck. I have seen rigid and fabric/mesh shelves under some fore decks. Most like to keep deck in front clear of stuff be it for wind resistance or center of gravity. A paddle partner can access your front or rear hatch if you are in cockpit. If not, see if you can climb onto front or rear deck and get into it. Is also good balance practice. You can always land somewhere too to get into hatches. Try some methods out and see what works best for you, conditions and length of trip/leg.

Day hatch
let’s see: wallet, keys, phone, snacks, water. Best to put these items in dry bag inside of hatch. Never heard of a truly watertight hatch.

RE: dry bag; Not be be smart but it must keep your stuff dry. I have one from canoeing that is older than dirt and still works great. Don’t know brand but it is heavy rubberized material. You press out the air and it folds over on itself at the top and is secured via clips.

If you check out the gear guide on this site they have several to read up on.

safety equip
forgot the flares, signal mirror etc. RE: pump I suppose if you have room in cockpit sure but don’t let it get away if you do wet exit. A bit of velcro.??

What needs to be accessible

– Last Updated: Jun-18-12 9:02 AM EST –

This is how we do it -

Front deck -

Spare paddle - on the front deck best so that you can pull the halves quickly. Assuming you have perimeter line, look for a product called "Paddling Britches" to help keep them from getting loose, or consider arrangement with PVC tubing run thru bungies.

Waterproof chart (forget the darned case unless it is one of the ones that roll up), just stick the chart under bungies folded up and beat the heck out of it

On vest, deck or day hatch as available -

VHF radio or similar signaling mechanism - waterproof - best on the PFD if secure but easily gettable second best.

Stuff that should fit into a good PFD with pockets -

Snack or Gu - something to give you a boost - Gu and its kin don't taste the best but they come in little concentrated packs you can slide into a PFD pocket.

Signaling device - mirror, whistle

Compass - old fashioned hand type

Knife - to cut lines if you find yourself entangled. The WW folks have a really nice circular cutter that is hard to get hurt with and lays on the vest, or look for dive knives that come with sheaths.

Consider a tether line from a tab in the vest pocket to the stuff you most need on your person in a pinch. I won't go more than to say consider because this is an area where there are mixed opinions.

Water -
We have hydrator packs on our PFD's, and/or you can run a line for a liter bottle in the cockpit out under the edge of the skirt. Anything like that will help you drink water better than having to go for a bottle. If you do the hydrator pack for the PFD, make sure it anchors at four points. I started out trying to use my bike camelback, but the first time I capsized with the thing it turned out to be a fairly bad idea. It wasn't fatal, but it sure didn't help.

These are the basics - there are many things that people add after this including roofing materials to handle a hole in a boat hull on the water, small first aid packs, sunblock, tow ropes/contact tows etc. Cameras can go in vest pocket, on deck, may need to be in a case depending on size and how waterproof. WE haven't fond any reason to get to our cell phone more easily than the day hatch on the water and rarely that, but this may be an item on your list that is high up for accessibility.

Pumps and paddle float are often placed there, but the reality is you are unlikely to need either unless you or someone else is out of the boat. I put the paddle float behind my backband, stays there nicely out of the way and it is easy to get when I am swimming. People with larger cockpits than mine often put the pump in there with them. I tend to keep it in the bungies just behind my seat, just make sure that you test your ability to pull out anything behind you without seeing it. It matters which end of the pump is facing towards me for me to just pull it out from there.

Prefer pfd stowage
I think most day hatch items can go in pfd. Things like knife, whistle, cliff bar, camera, radio etc. Can fit well in pfd.

What’s a long trip?
What would be the most common things to go in a day hatch when on a long trip?

What do you consider a long trip? All day? Weekend camping? Weeklong wilderness trip?

The longer the trip, the more needs to be stuffed in the hatches and the more can come out on deck.

I see the pump on the deck in alot of pictures, can it be stowed in the cockpit?

My kayak’s seat has bungie loops designed to hold the pump. That’s where I keep it.

If a deck bag is necessary, what features are most important?

For the day trips that I do, I like a map case. Also a place to store snacks, drinks, & sunscreen. A place to hold a GPS (in the map case, or secured to the outside). Anything I want quick access to without having to dig into a hatch.

I enjoy the convenience the deck bag. The one I have is only about four to six inches high, so I’m not putting an extra sleeping bag in there, just handy trinkets.

But I don’t even own a spray skirt. My longest trips are day long paddles of about 12 miles. If I ever get into multi-day excursions, my needs may change.

  • Jasen.

Short answer is that the pump can be stored inside, but some small things to consider:

When inside the boat, the pump can be difficult to access. I’ve put it behind the seat before and found that pulling it out took some doing when I actually wanted to use it. In a capsize, if it is not sufficiently stored, it may float away. Finally, because there are times you may wish to pass the pump to another boater, or use it to pump out another boat, it is much better to not open up your cockpit to get it.


Long trip
for me is going to be 562 miles on a river.

“Small things
to consider” often make the difference between a great experience and a not so great experience. Thanks for the insights.

depends on the winds

– Last Updated: Jun-19-12 1:48 PM EST –

if it is not to windy you can keep more on deck. The only issue I can think of is paddle strike with a deck item. So if you buy something that goes up front be sure you can return it.

The day hatch is useful for anything you may need while paddling but not anything you need for a rescue or to call for help while you are in the water.

I dont know about seems to me you cant trust anything that got wet but you may not be able to get to your boat (where they can be kept in a bag dry) to retrieve them.

Since even the better non-safety-agency pfds are challenged to hold one or two lights, a strobe, a marine vhf, a knife to cut a skirt caught on fractured combing or a tangling line, optional signaling devices, lots of this stuff ends up in the day hatch.

Then it gets dumped when you go over and hatch was not secure.

Imho people should learn to sew on additional attachment points on their pfds. I added 3 for a strobe, white light on my back, and white light on my front. The fourth (the only original attachment) is for my knife or marine vhf.

my opinion is
>>Do I really need to get a deck bag either fore of aft of the cockpit?


You only NEED a kayak, a paddle and a PFD. everything else is just extra.

BUT, I have a deck bag beofer and after my cockpit for many reasons. one bag catches the wind and twists the boat, 2 bags equalize wind resistance.

My stern bag contains a strainer-saw, water filter, tow rope, a few things I like having buit don’t really need.

The front bag contains gloves, granola bars, rain poncho, a few things i will need.

What would be the most common things to go in a day hatch when on a long trip?

no dry hatch?

first aid kit


sun screen




I see the pump on the deck in alot of pictures, can it be stowed in the cockpit?

they are stoweed on the deck so you can get to them easily. Inside the cockpit means that they may get lost when you need it. I used to clip my pump behind the seat.

If a deck bag is necessary, what features are most important?


low height

straps and d-rings to hang junk from

I very much appreciate all the responses and recommendations.

an option

I too, have no day hatch…
and I like my deck bag, although I’m really uncool and use a fanny pack from Target.

I have no room in my low volume boat for an under deck bag, and I switch out boats when I want.

The stuff I need is easily transfered to whatever boat.

What I like to be able to reach while on the water that’s not on the PFD, multitool, water bottles, gloves, rope, sun and bug stuff, poncho, energy bar, small first aid kit, compass, and a trashbag. I may have left something out.

I get the occasional negative comment about it, but it’s what I like, and it works for me.


Deck bags, bungees or . . .
underdeck storage.

I heard John Brown speak in favor of under deck storage specifically for your pump.

He referenced T-rescues and I was convinced.

Then I heard Wayne Horodowhich point out (as someone mentioned above) that you can’t readily lend it to anyone in rough conditions if it’s tucked under your deck and under your skirt.

I decided to keep two things on my foredeck under the bungies:

Paddlefloat and pump.

They haven’t interfered with my T-rescues in practice.

only you can answer that
As Bartc says, what do you need or want to carry?

How much of that really needs to be accessible?

How much do you desire a clean deck?

I’m a minimalist when it comes to deck clutter and I hate deck bags. If nothing else I’d put the deck bag aft of the cockpit.

I’m also
more of a minimalist and if I could have it my way, there would be nothing on the deck. Problem right now, for me, is that I don’t know enough about this to know what goes where and why it goes there.