The North Water Under Deck Bag acts like a glove compartment for your kayak. Once glued into place under the front deck, it hangs down between your knees. It’s perfect for the little items, such as sunscreen and snacks, that you need quick access to during the day. I’ve mounted one in almost every kayak I’ve owned and have used them for over seven years. (Plus, I’m quoted in the Spring 2011 issue of Adventure Kayak Magazine singing praise about them. Thanks, David!) It only makes sense that I review it.
The Under Deck Bag is exactly what it says it is. It’s a bag that attaches under the deck of the kayak via four vinyl mounting patches. It’s 15 inches long by 7 inches wide and 3 inches deep. On the front of the bag, a zipper, placed towards the top of the bag, runs across the width and a little ways down the length. When you open the zipper, the bottom of the bag drops down, but it’s shaped like a scoop, so nothing falls out, and it’s easy to toss stuff in. It’s a simple, but clever design. Someone should create a sea kayaking accessory design award and award it to North Water for this bag.
To attach the bag to a composite kayak, you center the bag in the boat and mark the vinyl patches’ locations, sand the kayak’s surface, sand the vinyl patches, clean everything up and then get out the Vynabond adhesive. Apply the adhesive to both the vinyl patches and the kayak. Wait 15 minutes. Warm up the adhesive with a heat gun or hair dryer, and then press the vinyl patches into the kayak and work out any air bubbles. After eight to ten hours, it’s ready for use. On plastic kayaks, you need to drill holes.
The reason that I really like North Water’s Under Deck Bag is two-fold. First, it utilizes space in the boat that doesn’t get used for anything else. I know some paddlers that install a fiberglass knee tube in the space and some of the newer boats have glove compartments built-in. But, I think the Under Deck Bag works better than both. It’s better than a knee tube, because you can zip it closed and nothing comes out. It’s better than a glove compartment, because you can store your bilge pump between the bag and the deck. I’ve added bungee cord running between the vinyl patches to hold my pump in place. If I ever change to a boat that features a glove compartment, I don’t know where I’ll stow my bilge pump–that’s a big quandary for me (and one of the reasons I didn’t buy a Maelstrom Kayaks Vaag last year).
The second reason I love North Water’s bag is because you can detach it. The bag connects to the vinyl patches with side-release buckles. You simply unclip the buckles and take the bag with you. This makes it easy to transfer from boat to boat. As long as you have a set of vinyl patches in each of your kayaks, you’re good to go. (Pssst… if Northwater’s extra patches are too expensive for your wallet, you can make your own. I had a bunch of vinyl and HH-66 left over from making dry bags and a vinyl Nikumi, so it was less expensive for me to make my own.) During a typical paddling trip, I usually carry a Sec Tec Rescue Stirrup, a set of flares in a dry bag, a snack, sunscreen and sometime a hood or gloves. When fishing I stash my WaayCool Handline in there, too.
Seriously, why don’t you own one of these? Because, you should.
Get It: North Water Under Deck Bag | $59.99