gear on deck?

I am going on a long weekend kayak/camping trip and have a lv boat w/ a skeg. not a lot of room here folks. of course this may be not be anything new to a lot of you, but i’m trying to figure out where i am going to stuff it all and have it balanced as well. so here is my question. i have a net that i have used on my mountain bike…it’s pretty heavy duty bungee material. would any of you experienced kayak/campers trust a dry bag lashed down w/ this netting? I would secure it with a decent carabiner system of course.I will be going off the coast of Maine for one of my trips so i need to count on this working if i did use this method.


do it
I routinely strap gear to the deck. Just make sure the load is fairly balanced top to bottom so your boat is not top heavy. There is a reason kayaks have deck rigging.

i just don’t want to look like a dork out there or compromise anything in any way.i have on seen a picture of someone that did this once…so just was wondering.

Heavier ger inside
Put the fluffy stuff on top.

last trip
I used a round deck bag that had all the bread that I didn’t want to squish. It is shaped like a round pillow and has clips on either side. I put this directly behind me on the rear deck and clipped to the deck lines.


Stack if you must, reduce if you can
Not sure what an “lv boat” is, but I assume you are talking about a sea kayak. Does this boat have hatches and storage compartments? If so, you should be able to fit what you need.

Get a compression sack for your sleeping bag. Forget the cooler and beer (liquor in a plastic bottle will do). One dry outfit should do. Pack like you are back packing and have to carry it up a mountain.

That said, and to answer your question, I would trust a dry bag strapped to the deck. I might not trust my ability to control the boat if it gets real windy with said bag on deck. And think through self rescue. Can you right the boat with the bag on it? Can you get back in the boat if there’s gear on the decks? I’m with the other guys saying go for it, but if you can lighten the load you make it easier on yourself. The Maine Coast is notorious for changing conditions so you should think through your ability to paddle with gear on your decks. Guess that goes without saying, sorry to be redundant.


Rescues and Rolls
I guess technically, a roll is a self rescue…

Even with our high-volume boats, at times we need to put gear on the deck. If you have room forward of your feet, use that up before you start cluttering the deck.

I have used a SealLine deck bag before and I’m pretty happy with it. It stays on even in really rough conditions.

However, be sure you practice your rolls and rescues with a full loaded boat and the deck-bags on. It’s a different animal when you have all this crap all over the place.

Like the others said, keep the light stuff (sleeping bag, sleeping pad) in the deck bag and the dense stuff along the keel.


i will be doing a dry run w/gear
this weekend to see how it will all fit…i’m sure it will all go in, but the gear on the deck was a what if sort of question. i have thought about rescues and the wind, the sends up a red flag for me . so i would only use this method if it absolutely called for it in good conditions.i can do w/out the booze , so that will give me more room.:slight_smile: but in mild weather i think i would feel comfortable w/ this. thanks

I have an Eddyline Nighthawk 16
. . . with bungie chartpark on foredeck. I used some zip ties to attach a cargo net thingy usually used by motorcycle guys. This one has 2"x2" squares. Best thing I ever did. Put all the crap you need to be able to get to, binos, radio, camera, porno, etc.

it’s amazing…
…how much you can do without while still travelling comfortably.

I just finished a six day solo 310 km (about 200 mi) river trip using a 12’ rec kayak.

I was able to get most gear (tent, stove, fuel, pots, bag, books, food, axe, 10 beers, etc.) inside the single rear hatch.

I managed to fit an additional 5 small drybags (first aid/repair, personal effects,lunch food, clothes), spare paddle, and a water bottle in the cockpit and I still felt it was roomy.

Topside, I carried a small mesh deck bag with spray skirt, rain jacket and paddling gloves immediately behind the cockpit. I need quick access to these items in case of inclement weather.

Behind that, and atop the rear hatch I carried my large camp thermarest - my chief concession to luxury and much too large to fit the hatch. All pretty lightweight stuff, anyway.

In front of the cockpit, I carried only my chart case and GPS, both secured to bungies.

All my gear was always secured, since in the unlikely event of capsizing I would have no companions to retrieve my lost gear and I anticipated that I would have a hard enough getting myself, loaded boat and paddle to shore.

If I was in water (e.g. open ocean) where self-rescue or rolling were required, I would be much more hesitant about keeping bulky gear on deck.

And it does look dorky.

There’s a hilarious Youtube video somewhere of a novice paddling with a full 5 gal. water cube on his rear deck. He avoids upset only through pure luck while his boat lurches wildly from side to side. So keeping heavy gear off the deck is a good idea.

When I go camping
I have a pulaski and a folding chair bungeed to the back deck of my Explorer. Usually about 2 1/2 gal of H2o in a baldder beneath my legs.

I am impressed

– Last Updated: Sep-04-09 6:12 PM EST –

By how much water you can hold in your bladder.

Of course, that is probably why it is beneath your legs.


yes it is impressive
it is made by Stearns and has a nylon cover :slight_smile:

Deck? Bungees?You Clampett
campers need a canoe.How about towing a Swifty with the comfort gear?

Minimize deck junk
I paddle a Valley Aquanaut LV and find it plenty roomy for week-long trips but I used to paddle a very tight Greenland-style boat and am a backpacker who can keep a week of gear and food below 30 lbs. on my back.

Yes, you will look like a dork with half your gear piled up on your deck.

As others have said, keep deck clutter to a minimum–think about how you’re going to perform a roll or rescue with all that stuff on there? Are you creating a greater danger of getting tangled up in the straps and lines you’ve used to lash that stuff down? Yes, kayaks have bungees on the deck but they’re not there for stowing your tent.

Here’s what I have on my deck for a typical trip:


-GPS receiver

-point-and-shoot camera in small Pelican box

-bilge pump (cause it doesn’t fit anywhere else and needs to be accessible)

-small 1L fanny-pack style Camelbak

-spare paddle (back deck)

Depending on the type of trip and daily conditions, I sometimes will mount a Gorilla tripod and my video camera for capturing the moment.

Learn to pack your boat and keep your deck clean, simple, and safe.

well, you tell you the truth

– Last Updated: Sep-06-09 10:51 PM EST –

i wasn't going to pile a bunch of crap on the top of my kayak. it was a what if question for good weather paddling short distances. it would be low profile if i did do it and i have the standard safety equipment on my deck at all times also. i've come to the realization that i have to invest some MORE MONEY in smaller high tech gear.(breaking the bank here) because even w/ a compression sack the normal size sleeping bag almost wouldn't fit in my largerst hatch. it will be a big laugh when everyone watches me do the monkey dance on my sleeping bag to squish it as small as possible. lets just hope i can find a teeny sleeping pad...cause the one i have now won't fit. love an lv boat/hate an lv boat.

The trip leader would probably appreciate if you didn’t have a bunch of stuff on your deck, speaking as someone who towed someone a fair distance into a strong wind about a month ago. She had more stuff on her deck than I had in my boat and couldn’t keep it into the wind because of it.

For a weekend, you should be able to fit all you need and more inside any sea kayak I can think of. You might not have the smallest sleeping bag, etc but a compression dry bag or two might help a lot, without spending a lot of money right now.

Material more than size
I get it about having to squeeze stuff into small spaces, but for much of this it’s more the material than the size. For example, you can get synthetic fill sleeping bags from Campmor, or good down if you want something for more like freezing and below, that’ll squish into a pair of compression caps and fit thru just about any size hatch. Tents - separate the poles from the tent itself and it should be OK.

Helmets have to go on deck if you want ready access, and cook sets have to be carefully measured, but the soft gear really shouldn’t represent a huge cost unless you are doing winter camping.

SealLine Baja Stern Deck Bag
This works well if reducing the amount of stuff doesn’t.

Put lightweight gear into it to avoid being top heavy. I used this recently with two nylon buckle straps from Gander Mountain (about 3$). Placed behind the cockpit, it doubles as a backrest. For a weekend - you shouldn’t need it.

i broke down and bought a
different sleeping bag and self inflating sleep pad and i can not believe what a huge difference this i feel like i could stay for a week. :slight_smile: all smiles for now 'till the bill comes in! i discovered that i really dislike the heavy clear dry bags they are just to bulky and won’t squish to fit the nooks and crannies. i saw a demo of a dry bag on utube that is pointed at one end so when you pack it, it fills the end of the bow or stearn perfectly. something to seriously consider as i am purchasing for the 1st time. and besides i don’t want to be a clampit!