Securing equipment below

All - how do you keep equipment in place below in your yaks? I have a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 that I use for ocean fishing - and sometimes in rough conditions equipment I up with stuff I put in the front or center hatch sliding all the way to the back (where it’s basically unaccessible on the water). Any tips on securing equipment? I sure would hate to need my spare paddle or bilge pump only to find it was in that tiny space all the way in the back of yak!

Thanks in advance for any tips!


A couple small thoughts…
First, I would see no reason to carry a spare paddle inside. If you lose or break your primary paddle, you would want your spare to be in easy reach, and without having to open a hatch to get to it. Find a way to secure the spare on deck.

As for the bilge pump, I’m guessing that since you’re paddling a SOT, the only time you’d really need the pump would be if you opened a hatch in lively conditions and water rushed in to fill up the storage area (a rare occurrence, I should think), or if you needed it to help a companion pump out their boat.

If you could secure some kind of a D-ring to the inside of the hull where you could easily reach it through the hatch opening, you could then tie a length of line (bungie, perhaps) to each bit of equipment you would put inside, then secure the other end to the D-ring. If your stowed items move around a bit, you could just find the end tied to the D-ring, and reel it in, as it were.

After a few “yard sale” spills in the surf during my early paddling days, I devised a D-ring system like this for the cockpits of my sea kayaks. Important note: always be careful about how you set it up, so that in use, you don’t get yourself or other gear all fouled up in the bungies and other lines involved in this tethering system. You also don’t want to have your stowed gear tangled up inside.


Float bags?
I admit to being unfamiliar with SOT’s, but if it is an enclosed hatch the same thing should work for the Tarpon as for SINKs. Get a float bag - just something that you inflate with air after you have loaded your gear - to hold everything in place.

I suspect that you can use the smaller sizes like for WW boats, rather than the huge (and more expensive ones) for sea kayaks. Any place that has a WW clientele should have them.

If you want to spend more money, you can get float bags that double as float bag as well as having a dry storage compartment for stuff. But they are pricier.

for a SINK

– Last Updated: Mar-11-10 2:14 AM EST –

For a sit inside kayak, I keep the pump and paddle on the deck (not in the hatch) and use the bungees to hold in place. Throw a loop of bungee around the pump handle and it locks it in place.

To keep stuff from moving inside a hatch, I use closed pool noodles, which are just tubes of closed cell foam. I stick them up towards the bow/stern, which helps keeps other items closer to the middle of the boat.

Always on open water
If you pop a hatch with a SINK out on the ocean, a compartment fills. Do it with an SOT and the entire boat does and you’re in dire straits. In addition to a couple small bags, pool noodles usually fit inside, along the gunwales. They’re cheap insurance.

pool noodle sideways
Cut a pool noodle in half length-wise or find a long and tall piece of foam. Glue it along the bottom from one side to the other behind the front scuppers. That’ll keep everything up front.