Newbie with a really Newbie Question

Hi, everyone! Great site! I just recently purchased a recreational kayak (Pelican Trailblazer) and I have taken it out a couple of times for about two-and-a-half hours each time. I’m a total novice to kayaking. I do have canoeing experience, but this is a bit different. I am taking it out on a very still lake that prohibits gas motor boats and so far I’m loving it. With that said, once the temperatures get below the mid-90s I’d like to take it out for a day trip. For that I’d like to stick a small towel and maybe some snacks in the storage hatch behind the cockpit.

The problem? I cannot figure out how to confidently reach behind me to access the storage area. Does anyone have any tips for keeping the kayak somewhat stable while reaching behind to get to the storage compartment? I have tried searching Google and YouTube and can’t seem to find the information I’m looking for. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.

just practice it
You need to be able to reach around by twisting at your waist some so your torso stays centered. Just spend time moving around on and in the boat near shore until you get used to it. Unless you are way oversized for that boat, you should be able to twist all over the place without cspsizing.

Getting in tht rear hatch …

– Last Updated: Jul-27-15 4:49 PM EST –

I think from the design of your boat, you can probably only easily get into the rear hatch by rafting up with another kayak. Usually this is done with the kayaks rafting up head to tail, and then your friend opens the hatch while you hold the boats together.. If you don't use a seat you can try lying on chest or maybe using a paddle float, but the rear hatch isn't really designed for solo on water access. It might be easier to keep the stuff you want in a small dry bag in the front or on deck tethered to the boat. The more time you spend on the water, the less stuff you will want to take with you. Some kayaks let you use seats where you can store items behind the seat in a zippered pouch. If you work on your balance you can try twisting backwards and opening it, if you are good and flexible it might work, practice in shallow water, as most begginers when they fill the boat tip, grab the sides and over you go. You could try using a foam paddle support for stability. Personally I would just keep the stuff in the cockpit.

more suggestions
Celia is right, practice. With a boat 28" wide it should be pretty stable as long as you move slowly and deliberately – don’t jerk around, just rotate as much as you can while sitting still and don’t reach back until you are twisted as far as possible. Abrupt movements can put the boat off balance but if you move slowly you will subconsciously balance the boat as your position alters – also move slowly on your way turning back around.

But for the small amount of stuff you are carrying and such a large cockpit (over 50" long) it would be more convenient and less hassle to keep stuff you want to access while on the water in a dry bag or pelican box between your legs. You can also get a half skirt, which is a nylon sort of “dashboard” that protects your legs from paddle splash and sun and offers pockets for small items (Harmony makes one, costs around $30).

Most kayakers don’t try to store stuff they are going to use on the water in rear or front hatches unless their boat has a “day hatch” which is handy to the front of the cockpit. The big hatches are for carrying stuff you would use on shore at a rest stop or camping, unless you are paddling with others in which case you can access each others’ hatches by paddling alongside. On a day trip all I carry in them is gear like rainwear or a foam pad to sit on when having lunch on shore, or sneakers if I plan to land somewhere I might hike a bit. It’s too hard to get the rubber hatch covers back on while sitting in the boat.

You can also stash a small soft side cooler or pelican box under the bungee cords on the deck. Pelican boxes are a rubber gasketed waterproof box that comes in several sizes – most sporting good stores sell them and they are invaluable for protecting things like phones and cameras – tip: your hatch is NOT waterproof, most kayak hatches let in some water so don’t presume things you stash in there will remain dry. I’ve seen some sorry paddlers finding their cameras floating in hatch bilge.

Anything you stash on the deck or between your feet should have a cord tether on it and be fastened to something in the boat so it won’t sink if you capsize. I use old nylon shoe laces or paracord, with the little mini carabiners tied on the end to quickly attach to the bungee lines.

second getting a dry bag…

– Last Updated: Jul-27-15 6:48 PM EST –

I second the suggestion for a dry bag and keeping it in front of you.

Nothing wrong with learning to twist around and move about what you can in a sit inside kayak. It can actually be fun to do, and good to learn about the balance points for the kayak.

But opening a main hatch on the water has some serious risks. The manufacturers market the hatches as dry storage (they actually aren't that dry - expect some seepage), but the main benefit that hatches provide are floatation. By have a sealed hatch and bulkhead (which I think your boat has), the area will contain air. So if you flip over, that will help the kayak float more. If you read through threads on on people taking kayaks out onto large lakes/oceans, they will always say you need hatches both front and back. It is for the floatation.

To maintain the floatation, it is best t never open a main hatch on the water. if while you are twisting around (unbalanced) and opening the hatch to reach your gear you flip over, then you have lost your flotation. Best to leave that hatch for things you will access when you are at shore.

With just a hatch in the back, you likely don't have enough flotation to get back into a flipped boat on the water, but that hatch will keep the boat a lot more out of the water than it would be without.

deck bag

– Last Updated: Jul-27-15 6:45 PM EST –

bolt 4 nylon Nylon Strap Loops

Attached with SS bolts. Strap Loops are common marine hardware providing attachment points for several types of hooking hardware.

Available in white or black.

65¢ each Maybe West Marine but not at .65

Bolt with SS bolts/washers/nylock nuts/rubber washer

then tie with strap or shock cord to a clear vinyl dry bag (not too large) to the bag strap loops made with loops straps of 42 oz. Vinyl Coated Polyester doubled up with a d ring on end, glued together and glued onto the bag with HH-66 Vinyl Cement. read the directions

Parts available from Seattle Fabrics and REI/Campmor/NRS

I have difficulty reaching behind the seat. For a hatch hire an octopus. My standard monkey refuses kayak work.


D ring patches

or glue these beauties to the bag

Mount hull loops, stuff bag with stuff - I empty out a clothing bag , 3 hoodies ect - masking tape bag to hull then glue strap loops or patches in the correct directions and real time curved bag surface.

you would not believe how much $$$ we all have in D ring patches. YAK !

Not supposed to reach it
That’s for pulling ashore somewhere and getting it or rafting up with someone, you reach in there’s and they reach in yours.

Day hatches mentioned above, are located behind you about half as far back and would be offset to one side. Pelican hatches are too far back, even if you could turn around and kneel in your seat facing backward,. which is not something I would do on a lake with no bulkheads in your boat.

Drop another 100 on a deck bag or put it in a dry bag in your lap.

Front deck rigging and a dry bag
I’ve got a Pelican Trailblazer too and I use a large dry bag tucked under the front deck bungees and a smaller dry bag in the cockpit with me if I need to bring extra stuff. So far it works fine. I have never bothered to try to access the rear storage compartment while on the water- I just use it to keep a sponge and rag for drying out the boat when on land. That way they are handy when I’m cleaning up the yak.

Because I don’t trust the dry bags 100%, I do keep my cell phone and car keys in a ziplock baggie in the dry bag, just in case.

Thanks so much!
for all the advice and suggestions. It helps to know that hatch isn’t really meant to be accessed whilst on the water. I’ll invest in a dry bag or box and rig it to where it’s easily accessible.

You Can But Cheap Dry Bags
At Walmart. Keep your snacks and water in front of you.

Deck bag
I bought this…

It’s the Attwood Kayak Deck Bag you can search for on Amazon if the link doesn’t work. It’s listed now at $40. I think I paid $30.

I can fit quite a bit. If I’m going out directly after work or want to be out on the water eating lunch I’ll stop at GetGo (local gas station/convenience store/sandwich shop) and grab a nice turkey sub, something for dessert and stuff it in there along with 2 extra water bottles (I drink a lot of water) and usually put my old large body superzoom camera in there.