Sucking and popping hatch covers

In case anyone is interested I bought myself an Impex Mystic and the used Current Design Pacheena for my husband. Now we just have to get to the Baja!!

I have a question: I have noticed the hatches sucking in with altitude and the cold weather as we are traveling over the mountain passes on our way south. I am wondering if they will expand with altitude and hot weather in the Baja – lots of mountain passes to go through and lots of sun. If so could I loose a hatch cover, they are attached with a cord but if they pop off the wind could tear them off? Would it be appropriate to drill a very tiny air hole somewhere? Where? In the hatch cover? In the deck?

If you do want to drill a tiny pressure equalizing hole,make it in the bulkhead. you don’t want holes in your deck. probably not a bad idea in your case.

tiniest of hole drilled into the bulkheads, just under the deck (as opposed to near the hull bottom). There have been some stories of bulkheads blowing with major pressure changes going over mountain passes.


don’t travel with your hatches on
And drill a small hole in the middle of all bulkheads. If you do an archive search with the words “venting bulkheads” you’ll get the whole story.

Make sure to include bulkheads in your search. If you take the shortcut and just put in venting, you’ll be amazed at how much there is to read. :?


As above
Jim put small holes in all of our bulkheads as Sing described above. No water gets in but it does fix the popping and sucking hatch issue. Even in this northern climate, on a summer day we had to go out and let hot air out of the bulkheads twice a day when the boats would be on the top of a car to go to an end-of-the-day paddle.

But given the difficulty of retrieving a hatch from a valley below a mountain pass… I’d just take them off for your trip. It’ll be a bit noisier but that’s better than having to rent a mule to get your hatch cover back.

Congrats! If you can, please keep us updated on how you like the boat once you have a chance to get it on the water.

Hatches on.
Keep your hatches on if you’re travelling and encountering weather. Also, unless you want some less than savory characters leaving thier McD’s lunch sack or used empty beer bottles in the hatches, keep 'em on. Also keeps the road/bird litter out.

All good recommendations on the bulkhead modifications. Just an indicator that like all Impex Kayaks you’ve got good seals on those hatches. (Yeah, I’m of a biased opinion)

See you on the water,


I travel hatches off
Have not drilled holes is the bulkhead either. I have seen a couple boats that had blown out bulkheads. I have at least a 5000ft elevation change from my house to my usual paddling spots. Going hatches off minimizes UV exposure.

small hole, buckle down
my seakayak - North Shore Fuego - has the tiny holes predrilled.

Putting on the hatch covers is simple - line up and press down, listen for the whooooosh.

Each hatch can be further tightened down very snugly w. luggage type 1-1/4" cordura nylon straps. People w. more experience tell me this is a good thing.

Have to see how it goes on longer trips and will report in a later review of the kayak.

What if boat down?
Auntie is traveling over some pretty major elevations compared to the northeast, may have more of an effect than is easy to realize. But yeah, rain water sloshing around in the bulkhead is a very bad idea. I didn’t think of that.

What if the boats are traveled deck down (on foam to protect it and all), at least for the really hot-high elevation parts where it’d be a pain to constantly be climbing up and fussing with them? That’d lose the critter and rain problem but avoid the need to locate a good drill bit while still traveleing.

I put mine upside down
during snowstorms/rainstorms and they do fine.

Deck down
Why not?!?! Should work. Might be a bit noiser as the wind shear off the windshield is going to go straight into the front hatch. Also she might have to bop ice out of the compartments if it’s wet and then freezes in place.

Could also just drop a Dannuu Cover over the whole thing and all the junk off of the boat.

See you on the water,


Hatches down
Yes, we are travelling with hatches down. Leaving the covers off concerns me as I don’t want any possiblility of unwelcome critters climbing in - ie scorpions or tarantulas. But will do it if agree necessary.

Is there agreement that going up and down these high passes and thru hot dessert with a small hole drilled near the top of the bulkhead and hatches on would work?


What we’ve seen
Unfortunately I can’t comment on the effect of the pressure changes from elevation - haven’t had our boats in that kind of thing. But we immediately found after Jim drilled that small hole in each bulkhead (as Sing suggested, nearer the top than the bottom) that we could leave the boats on the car with hatches on all day in 90 plus degree heat, without having to mess with the hatches or their looking like they wanted to pop off at any moment.

That’s with neoprene cockpit covers on too, by the way.

One thing though - we do loosen the straps a bit when the boats are sitting in high heat.

came with a small vent drilled in the fore bulkhead and I drilled a small vent in the stern bulkhead. The stern hatch is much easier to install after and seems to stay fully inserted now. I always travel with the hatches and cockpit cover on and upright. I have never had any problems with hatches or cover getting loose. I do run the forward holddown strap through the cockpit cover grip loop.

Happy Paddling,


I drilled my Assateague bulkheads
My Impex Assateague had very air tight hatches. When hot, the hatch covers would bulge out, and suck in when cold.

Some people say to drill a tiny hole in the center of the bulkhead, but I drilled my holes near the top. I have never had any trouble with water being sucked thru the holes.

Air will travel thru the smallest of holes, so drill the tinyest hole you can. This will help keep water out.

I went to the hobby store, and bought a piece of 1/32" hard “music wire” as it is called. I then cut a piece off about 3" long. I cut the end at an angle, and it made a fine drill bit for this use. I have a full drill bit set, but wanted the smallest hole I could make.

You could spend the money for a tiny drill bit if you wanted to.

It works fine for me.

You got the altitude backwards

– Last Updated: Jan-17-07 9:57 PM EST –

Higher altitudes ------> bulge out
Lower altitudes -------> suck in

Your paddling locations at Baja will be low elevation. However, the hot temps there will counter the sucking in and you might end up with bulging covers despite the drop in elevation.

Same for bike water bottles.

I go through this literally every time I paddle, because my home is 2000' higher than all of the closest paddling locations. Dropping down on a hot summer day, the hatch covers draw in slightly (the elevation drop partly counters the higher temp lower down). They get sucked in BIGTIME if I put the kayak in cold water right away.

What's amusing is to watch what happens in reverse. Take the kayak out of cold water and put in direct sun. In literally moments, the hatch covers bulge up. I burp them just before leaving for home, though they still bulge by the time I get there.

I haven't bothered drilling holes. The hatch covers on my plastic 'yak are rubber so can take some variation in pressure. On my wood kayak, I tighten the hatch cover knobs just enough to keep them on the boat. The weatherstripping that seals the closure only is waterproof/airtight when they are cranked down.

One suggestion I read that sounds good: drill a small hole in each bulkhead and insert/glue in a small tube there. You can plug the tube for paddling and leave it open for cartopping.

Holes in!
Drilled the holes as suggested, just arrived in Bahia de Los Angeles - a beautiful spot to kayak, if only the wind would stop!! It is howling!

Thanks for all your advice!

Camp Gecko
Is a cool place to hole up

Hole in bulkhead, dryness
All of our boats have small holes drilled in the bulkheads, either by the manufacturer before shipping or us. Not one of them has ever caused leakage at that spot or indirectly anywhere else despite much wetness from failed rolls, rescue practice and boats being spun in breaking surf. The only water that gets in anywhere is in the stern of the Vela, from its very oversized stern hatch cover.

You shouldn’t have to worry about plugging those hoes to paddle if they were done with a minimal diameterm drill bit.

Great to hear that you hit California. Enjoy your boat, let us know how you like it when you have a chance to get it wet.