Paddling GearReviews

North Water Under Deck Bag Review

Northwater Under Deck Bag

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.

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Get It: North Water Under Deck Bag | $59.99

18 comments

  • Thanks Bryan,

    This is just what I’ve been looking for.

  • You’ll love it! The new version includes a much needed mesh drain.

  • That’s where I keep my hand pump too – just sewed a loop of 1/2″ sewing elastic to the upper surface of the bag to hook it in. When the vinyl adhesive failed (for some obscure reason) I ended up using a 2-paer epoxy on the vinyl patches – has held up just fine.

  • Thanks for the note Susan.
    I had wondered about vinyl glue being able to withstand being constantly wet with salt water. I had considered using a guaranteed marine glue as I have had issues and heard many stories about most glues not being able to handle sustained marine exposure.

    I have some boat repairs this weekend and will use some of the marine epoxy for attaching mine as well.

  • I had a vinyl patch fail on one boat. It was wooden and I didn’t clean off the blush from the fiberglass before I applied it. I also didn’t do the procedure I mentioned above about letting it dry, heat gun it, etc… Since I did it that way, I’ve had no problems. On the other hand, I’ve used Vynabond and vinyl to hold a foot pump hose, but it hasn’t held up that well.

  • […] like all their gear, but some I’ve found that I just can’t live without, such as the Under Deck Bag. North Water likes to give paddlers lots of options, and, boy, do they give a sea kayaker options in […]

  • […] lasted the remainder of the trip. In addition to the SKUK skeg box repair, two patches holding my North Water Under Deck Bag to my kayak came loose. The epoxy held the patches for the trip and are still holding the […]

  • I’ve been wondering why nobody was using the under deck space. I didn’t know about North Water’s under deck bag. Since I am not going to drill holes in my Delta I’m hoping epoxy will work on thermoplastic. I would love to get one of these bags. Thanks Bryan.

    • I’m not sure if it would. It’s worth a call to Delta or a test. I love my Under Deck Bag. It’s one of my favorite pieces of gear.

  • I have found that Shoe Goo, also called Marine Goop, Automotive Goop, Aquaseal, ….

    Works quite well at holding the vinyl patches in place.
    Epoxy failed. It held very good to the composite kayak, but didn’t stick to the vinyl. This is after a thorough scrubbing with alcohol.

    • I think it’s a little hit and miss on the adhesives. I’ve used Vynabond adhesive, which is what North Water recommends, and I had it pull off. I repaired it with epoxy and it’s holding now. I’ve used Aquaseal on other stuff and had it hold very well.

  • North Water said Vynabond will work on Delta’s acrylic thermoplastic but it’s good to have this input about other adhesives too. Just waiting impatiently for the under-deck bag to get here now!

  • Installing my North Water under-deck bag now. Sanded, used mineral spirits, got the vynabond down and waiting the 15 min to bring out the hair dryer and stick the vinyl patches on. The hard part will be waiting until tomorrow to attach the bag and see how cool it is.

  • Glueing: A suggestion if you live in an area where it’s 92 degrees and 8% humidity. Don’t bother with the hair drying method. I couldn’t get any tackiness at all. I had to put on a second coat of Vynabond and not thin either since it was drying before I could finish putting it on the boat and a patch, then stick them together.

    • Thanks good to know, Marsha. After you try out the bag, let us know how you like it. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

  • Just got back from paddling with my new under-deck bag. Love it! Like you Bryan, I store my bilge pump between the bag and the deck. It’s a perfect spot. It’s secured with a velcro strip to one of the buckle loops so it won’t slide forward toward my feet. I obviously have to release my spray skirt to get to snacks and my little cheapo camera but I still like it better than a deck bag. The under deck bag allows me to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ on my deck. I’m hoping the Vynabond holds. There is a small area on one of the vinyl patches that isn’t adhered to the underside of the deck, I may have not sanded it. It’s pretty hard to tell whether you’ve sanded the underside of the coaming. I would definitely recommend the North Water under deck bag. After seeing mine, my paddling partner is going to get one.

  • […] a stressful situation. Keep it handy so you can access it on the water. I like to keep mine in my North Water Under Deck Bag or in my kayak’s day […]

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