Waterproof bags needed in Kayak?

Except for a few items that probably should be bagged for obvious reasons (electronics, stove fuel due to smell getting into things, and what not) how important is waterproof bagging for your gear when using a touring kayak? Is it really needed if the bulkheads have proved to be completely waterproof? Thanks!

Might as well say a bit about me since this is my first post. Obviously I’m very new to the sport and have been enjoying this site immensely since discovering it last weekend. So far my only experience lies with two weekend long canoe trips into the back country here in Central/Northern Saskatchewan (Canada), and one short kayak test several years ago when I was in Edmonton, Alberta (a Solstice GT which was a fantastic experience expect for the cockpit being a tad small). That was enough to be bitten by the bug. Ever since then kayaking has been a dream of mine and now I may actually have enough cash to buy one. While I don’t have much back country paddling experience, I am an able swimmer and am no stranger to being around water having grown up yahting every summer on Lake Diefenbaker since I was 5. Anyways, going to be testing a plastic Current Designs Storm this weekend and possibly a few others depending on what is being demoed. Especially looking forward to my wife trying one out since she has never been in one before. Quite a difference from a canoe, lol. :slight_smile:

dry bags?
for a day trip on a warm day, there’s probably no need for dry bags if your hatches are dry. on a trip however, why take a chance. you may need dry clothes and all of a sudden you may find your hatches are no longer dry.

Depending on the temperature differential between when the air as it warms through the day and the temp. of the water I’ve found dampness beading on the insides of bulheaded compartments before. Probably not enough to make your clothing unbearable but anything moisture sensitive will take offense. Also it’s much easier to slide things to the end, and retreive them again if they’re in a convenient carry bag. Get a couple of Wildwasser Overnighters, you’ll see.

See you on the water,



Good points.
Thanks both of you for making some good points. I hadn’t even thought about condensation for example. And I guess it’s one of those things that if it can go wrong, will at the most inappropriate time. I’d definitely hate to be without a dry set of clothing after a rainy days paddle or dunk in the lake.

Most plastic kayaks eventually develope small leaks around the bulk heads allowing water to trickle into the ends of the boat. Also water in some boats sneaks in where the rudder cables enter the boat. Be on the safe side. If you don’t want it to get wet “bag it”

Also I have more than once been forced to load a boat in the rain meaning that in the time iot takes to get everything in the last items have spent a good amount of time in the rain.

depends on conditions too
conditions are a major factor in the decision too.

When I’m paddling where there are waves, I expect that I might end up upside down (even if that rarely happens). In that event, even the best hatches might let a little water in…it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to clothing and sleeping bag.

I don’t usually dry bag my tent, rain fly, camp saw or stuff like that. If I’m bringing hiking boots, I’ve found them just too plain hard to dry bag, but I put them in a trash bag to provide at least some protection from water. Other than that, I dry bag just about everything.

Welcome to the sport…it’s a lot of fun :slight_smile:

Completely waterproof?
Probably not! Many boats have a DELIBERATE pinhole in the bulkhead to avoid over-pressurizing in sun or altitude. This keeps your hatches and bulkheads from “blowing out” (I’ve heard of this causing dents in decks, too). Some aren’t sealed perfectly, and sometimes, holes develop. Not all hatchcovers are created equal and some (like mine) are a bit finicky - leak a little sometimes, are perfect others. In surf, water can get into the best hatchcovers, from what I’ve seen.

Anyway, I use dry bags on clothes, most food, sleeping bag (compression bag here), and the tent body (and a few other things) for the following 3 reasons:

  1. Better safe than sorry.
  2. Bags make it easier to pack the boat, haul the gear from the beach and organize camp
  3. Better safe than sorry.

Easy way to improve dry bags
It’s always a good idea to use dry bags for essential gear, especially to keep your spare clothing dry, even in supposedly dry hatches.

One easy way to improvise dry bags is with two stuff sacks and a plastic garbage bag. Put everything you want to keep dry into the first stuff sack, put it into the garbage bag and twist the top closed, then put everything into the second stuff sack.

Came here to learn…
…and learning I am! Thanks for all the comments and tips everyone! I have so much to learn it’s not even funny. But so far I’m managing to “soak” it all up, hehe. :slight_smile:

I keep a little one behind my seat
I do day padding myself. I find it convenient to have some dry storage strapped to the back of my seat. I don’t use it much, but it’s cheap, so why not. It’s a little clear plastic dry bag.


We have ben kayak camping…

– Last Updated: Jun-04-04 7:42 AM EST –

..on extended trips for years, and the only thing that we don't put in dry bags are the things that we don't mind getting wet.
Our compartments have never leaked, but there is always that first time.
Read my post about our new QCC's, and these yaks cost twice what our "old faithfuls" cost, and you will see why you shoud drybag everything.