Gear bag

-- Last Updated: Jun-15-14 8:56 AM EST --

I need something to tote all of my gear from house to car and keep it together in the car. It's not heavy, but it's large and bulky---pfd, cockpit bag, paddle float, pump, cockpit or deck bag, seat cushion, clothing, sprayskirt, mukluks . . . .

Does not need to be waterproof. Cheap is good. Any ideas?

Ikea bag!
Under a dollar, for what you’re looking for, you will not find a better performing bag for any amount.


Mesh Duffle Bag
I use mesh duffle bag - I’ve seen soccer team use similar bags as ball bags. A mesh bag will let your gear dry even if you throw it in the bag wet, and let you enjoy the wonderful odors of wet gear on the ride home.


– Last Updated: Jun-16-14 7:28 AM EST –

A mesh bag works great. I bought a bunch of simple mesh bags with drawstring closures and a spring loaded barrel lock made by Stahsac many years ago and I am still using them:

Mesh duffle bags with sewn on handles are easier to carry especially for gear of any weight or for any distance, but I prefer the simple, flat mesh bags for the type of use you describe. A flat mesh bag can be wadded up and stuck in a dry bag, carried on the boat, weighs very little and takes up very little space. The only drawback to mesh bags is that they tend to snag on pointy objects.

Suggest one mesh plus one solid
I use a medium sized mesh bag for my stuff that can be/gets wet. Pump, gloves, boots, PFD, skirt, usually a cag. It tends to correspond to the stuff that lives on the deck or in the day hatch as well. If I pack right that and the paddles are all I move between the car and the boat on the beach.

I have a couple of heavier, larger duffles for things like clothing and stuff that might benefit from a little more protection, like drywear, GPS, safety and first aid stuff. Some of this is because the stuff takes up more space, some is because it varies how much of that comes out of the bag for a given paddle.

NRS has a bunch of options, like this and there are more.

Bomber Gear had one of the best I have ever seen - separate wet and dry compartments etc - but they don’t have it right now. If you find an old one it is worth it.

Ikea Bag
At less than a buck, big, tough(made of tarp material), and waterproof, its the steal for a gear bag to get all your wet muddy stuff safely home. You can just hose the mud out of the bag and hang it to dry. They are so cheap I keep several in the car and truck to tote all sorts of stuff, from tools to fire wood. I don’t have an Ikea store near me, but my paddling partner Gearwoman gave me the first one and I keep stocked up when I go to visit her in Philadelphia.


REI Mesh Duffle
I have had two of the XL size for 8 or 10 years now. They are my tote and beach bags. With the shoulder strap unhooked at one end I stuff one of them all the way up into the bow using a Sven Saw. I can retrieve it using the strap. The other folds into it’s own pocket forming a neat disc that is just the size of the front hatch rim. It’s the last thing I pack and the first thing I unpack. The two will hold everything I need for a three week trip.


Get a wife or girlfriend
they are not waterproof, and a wife is cheaper than a girlfriend

Jack L

Third Ikea Bag
Also, great for camping to shuttle gear from kayak to camp and back. Take 2, they stuff down to nothing. Can get them on Amazon in bundles of five…

Several people I know use a plastic tote
A zillion sizes at many places.

Good for You
I’m happy for you & your results Jack, but that has not been my experience.

fourth for Ikea
the iconic Ikea bag is the most trusted and cheapest piece of equipment for so many paddlers around the globe.

I have seen them pictured in use in use in so many countries and often on expeditions.

Stupid cheap, very light, a bit waterproof when new-ish and even comes in zippered version.

Despite looking flimsy I have not managed to blow out a single strap after years of use.

If only all gear would be that good!

Those are too small
Check my gear list above. Looking for something that can hold everything.

plastic tote and ikea bags
I use plastic totes (not sure of size - about 12" x 12" x 24") for wet gear and Ikea bags for the loose stuff that isn’t usually wet.

The plastic tote could be stood in to change shoes without getting feet dirty, and can be filled with water to do a rinse of gear.

Ikea bags are also great to carry with you in a hatch and transport all the little stuff between boat and car/campsite/wherever.

See ekilson’s post above
Those huge mesh duffle or drawstring bags found in sporting goods stores are just the ticket if the Ikea bags are too small. I have one for my gear and hubby has one for his. Just load and go.

tall plastic totes
I had trouble finding a photo of what I use but you can find them in virtually every store (Kmart, Wally World, Big Lots, building supply stores) for a few bucks.


They are tall perforated plastic totes, with open tops and handles. The nice thing is that they don’t hold moisture, air can circulate and stuff doesn’t get moldy and stinky in them. Also they stand up in the back of the car and to load and fit neatly on my gear storage shelves in the basement. You can carry two piece paddles in them easily. I have 5 kayaks and gear for each so I when we do a group trip I have a set of everything for each boat in a dedicated bag – paddle, PFD, bilge pump, sprayskirt, drybag, and there is still room for personal items and clothing. Easy to see everything in them to find items without unpacking and easy to carry. Also easy to hose off when they get mud and river slime on them. Look for ones with solid bottoms to keep the car cleaner.

large mesh bag
A large, flat 24" x 36" mesh bag will hold a PFD, helmet, water shoes, spray skirt, water bottle, bilge pump, dry bag, throw rope, spray jacket and spray pants.

I dare say you could jam another few items in but those are things that I have carried in a single bag many times.

That might work, thanks
I like the handle in the middle as it’s easier to carry than a plastic bin with handles on the sides. Plus it has more structure than a mesh bag so it would be easier to load.

Another one for the IKEA bag
I use an IKEA shopping bag for the exact same things you are looking to use something for.

tall tote sources
If there are Big Lots stores in your area they usually have those tall totes – also have gotten them at Target. Some don’t have a protective wrap piece on the handles so the plastic edge cuts into your hand when the load is heavy – I just wrap some cushiony bike handlebar tape or Gorilla tape around the handle loop to fix that.

We’ve used them for water trail cleanup projects too, lashing them to the kayak deck riggings to hold trash bags. The workers on the collection barge would drop a rope with a carabiner on the end and we could clip our tote to it to lift up and dump as we filled them.