Best Kayak Deck Bags — Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
When you go out kayaking, it is inevitable that you will be bringing accessories with you.
Sure you can use a regular old fishing backpack to store your gear in, but then you run the risk of losing your pack if your kayak tips.
That is when kayak deck bags come to rescue.
You do not have to worry about leaving things behind because of the limitations of space that backpacks provide when you get a deck bag.
You can pack different items that you do not want to miss inside a deck bag, tie it on the kayak and rejoice your moment in the water.
We’ve researched, tested and reviewed the ten best kayak deck bags to make your selection easy.
Best Kayak Deck Bags (Top Picks)
Why are deck bags essential for kayaks?
A deck bag is like a backpack, designed not for the bag but specifically for your kayak.
The bag straps around the deck of the kayak and is secured to the kayak through straps or clips. Deck bags allow for you to store more of your gear that you will want close at hand.
When it comes to narrow kayaks, space is very limited and you’d always want to have something for added storage.
With a deck bag securely strapped to the top of your kayak, you can store your items and still get to them easier than if they were stored in the hull where your feet are placed.
Having a deck bag comes with the fact that balance is essential when you are paddling. A kayak that is off balance will tip easier than one that has been set up properly and weight counter balanced.
You don’t want to load one end of your kayak with too much gear and waste tons of energy plowing through the water because you have back weight.
When you add a deck bag to the front of your kayak, weight is distributed evenly so you don’t have to work as hard to cut through the water.
Similarly, a deck bag comes in handy because they are usually waterproof.
Deck bags that are specifically made for kayaks make it easier than ever to get the gear you need when you need it.
Many deck bags offer a sort of “glove box” pouch in the front of the bag. Simply unzip the front pouch and reach into the smaller pocket to grab your bait or snack.
Things to consider when buying a kayak deck bag
There are few things you should consider when you are picking out a bag for your deck.
Ask yourself questions like:
- How many times will you be getting into your bag?
- Is it possible that you will roll your kayak?
- How much stuff do you want to pack into the deck bag?
- Are you looking for a waterproof bag or a water resistant bag?
Depending on several factors like usage, space, waterproofness and quality, among others, here are a few important things you should consider:
No two bags are made equally. There are some bags that seem like they will hold a lot of stuff.
But when you get it strapped to your deck and are out on the water, you soon realize that it the zipper placement is difficult and you can’t get to your stuff easily.
If you are like many other paddlers who get into their bags every 20 minutes or so, you should look for a bag that won’t become a problem for you out on the water.
Test the bag in the store. Sit down like you are in the kayak and actually pretend that the bag is in place.
Rest, bend and maneuver the way you would out on the water to see if the bags zippers or port hole is complicated to get into. You should remember that you are also holding a paddle in one hand or a rod and need a bag that allows you to use only one hand.
Ease of access
Another thing you need to consider is whether or not you want a bag that offers easy access in the form of zippers or if you prefer roll top.
Roll-top bags don’t have zippers that can get stuck or split when you are tugging on them to open.
However, they do require two hands as you have to roll the extra fabric up and then clip the bag shut.
While roll tops are considered more water resistant than zippers, the choice is entire up to you and how often you get into the bag.
While most anglers don’t expect to roll their kayaks, it is a possibility and shouldn’t overlook this conundrum.
It happens when you least expect it, and that is why professionals will tell you to pack like you are going to roll.
When it comes to deck bags, securing your bag to the deck is important and you don’t want to have to find that the bag is hanging on by a cord because of poor straps and secure riggings.
When you look for a deck bag, consider how the bag is secured to your kayak. Does it have D-rings? Or, is it straps that go completely around the kayak?
Perhaps you have bought one that offers suction or that is adhesive to your deck.
While rolling may not be an issue, at least you can rest assure that your gear will remain stable as you try to get stuff out with one hand.
You don’t want a loose deck bag that shifts around while you are unzipping the bag or tossed about in currents. You want something that seems like it is glued to the deck and won’t move.
However, when going with a deck bag that is glued to your kayak, you will have to face the fact that it will be hard to remove should you sell your kayak.
Most deck bags are small which is fine for a day trip. A 5L deck bag is more than enough space for you to load up essentials.
There are deck bags that offer up to 20L of space for those longer trips. It is always wise to have more room in your bag than what you think you need.
Depending on what you want to use during your trips will determine how big of a bag you should get.
One thing to note however the bigger is the bag the more expensive the bag will be.
You should also pay close attention to the zipper material for your deck bag.
That is particularly because, some materials are not as water resistant as they seem and can cause the zippers to separate or become rusted.
Waterproof vs. Water resistant
There are a lot of deck bags that claim that water won’t get in and soak your stuff. That’s fine and dandy but is the bags waterproof or resistant?
Waterproof material is typically vinyl or PVC tarpaulin alternative. Deck bags made with these materials are guaranteed to keep water out of your stuff and actually bead water on the surface of the bag and wipe away easily.
Waterproof bags can be dunked, splashed and some will even float without a single drop of water getting in the bag and ruining your things. Plus deck bags made with vinyl or PVC tarpaulin alternative material are durable and strong.
They can be battered and bruised and you won’t have to worry about puncturing from rocks or other sharp objects. Water resistant bags are usually made with nylon and offer little resistance to water.
Sure, they can get splashes on them and you won’t have an issue. But, the water will soak into the fibers of the bag and become wet thus may cause your electronics you are storing to also get wet.
While nylon will be much cheaper than vinyl or PVC material, you run the risk of damaging the bag. Nylon isn’t a strong material when it comes to the elements.
But if you aren’t planning a rigorous trip and just want something light and easy to store your things is nylon does the job.
Reviews of The Best Kayak Deck Bags
We tested, used and analyzed different deck bags for kayaks suitable for both light and heavy excursion.
Each bag we’ve listed here are sorted from several included in our research and they offer the quality you need for a perfect kayaking experience.
1. NRS Taj M’Haul Deck Bag
The Taj M’Haul is quite a nifty deck bag for your fishing kayak.
It is made with denier nylon outer shell and Infinity polyurethane inner bag with a Hydro Lock zip-seal closure that will keep your stuff dry even if the bag gets wet.
Should your bag get tossed about, you can rest assure as this bag floats!
The Taj M’Haul has a large outer pocket with adjustable clip-in buckles and also comes with a mesh sleeve to hold some of your fishing gear like pliers or a knife for super easy access.
With the Taj M’Haul deck bag strapped to your kayak you can rest easy knowing that when one hand is occupied with something like the paddle or a fish, you can easily access your items with one hand.
The hook and loop straps lash to the deck of your kayak keeping the bag locked in place. Unlike other bags, you can tamper the bag from 13″ to 11″ in width to fit the shape of your kayak.
The plastic insert for keeping the bag open can become disfigured sometimes, but that is not a problem at all if you’ve strapped it right.
There is no way you can’t get noticed on the water with the Taj M’Haul reflective tape that lets others know where you are in the water.
The bag sits about five inches from the deck and doesn’t take up too much space. It is also extremely easy to attach to your kayak for a day or extended trips.
On top of that it also offers a top handle so transporting the bag to the kayak isn’t burdensome.
Features I like
- Floats on water.
- Hydro-Lock zip seal closure to keep things dry.
- Outdoor pocket to store important accessories.
- Strong hook and loop straps.
- Reflective tape to get yourself noticed.
- Top handle for easy transportation.
2. Seattle Sports Mesh Deck Bag
If you are looking for a simple deck bag that won’t break the bank, then the Seattle Sports Mesh Deck bag is the one for you.
The Seattle Sports Mesh is constructed of durable mesh and nylon webbing that comes with 4 plastic swivel clips that only weighs 10.8oz.
The interior storage space is 600 cubic inches which may not offer you a lot of space but is enough for essentials kayak gear.
It is not waterproof or resistant but why should you worry when you are out there to get wet? It dried well and does the job while being affordable.
This bag works really great for a place to throw your drinks in and dunk in the water to keep them cool.
It comes with a heavy duty zipper that can easily be accessed with one hand. On top of that, the Daisy chain lashing points offer additional storage.
Inexpensive, extremely good to store edibles and food and keep them cool, the Seattle Sports is particularly for anglers who love getting into water occasionally.
Features I like
- Durable mesh and nylon webbing.
- Lightweight and enough storage.
- Not waterproof but dries out quickly.
- Heavy duty zipper.
- Great to store edibles and keep them cool.
3. Chinook AquaTidal Deck Bag
The Aquatidal Deck bag for kayaks by Chinook comes with non-corrosive zippers and a durable TPU-coated rip-stop nylon material.
The Aquatidal weighs 1.45 pounds and comes with two side storage mesh pockets for storing water bottles or other gear in.
This deck bag is water resistant but not waterproof and should be used for calm waters.
Like all Chinook bags, this one also has a collapsible top even though it comes with a bar-tacked stress that is supposed to help keep the bag open when it is unzipped.
However, the storage space of the bag is what really makes this one worth getting. There are three pockets that allow you to store different accessories as per your needs.
The zippers are easy to use and won’t separate or get warped from water or heat. The bag is easily secured to the deck by bungees and remains in place during your trips.
The Aquatidal comes with multiple lashing options for you to store other gear or items to the bag, thus keeping them secure to your boat.
Another plus for the Aquatidal is that it comes with a shoulder strap that allows for easy transportation to and from your car or camping excursions.
Features I like
- Non-corrosive zipper.
- Made with nylon material that is durable.
- Lightweight and easy to carry.
- Water-resistant, fit for calm waters.
- Good storage space and multiple lashing options.
- Shoulder straps for easy transportation.
4. Attwood Kayak Deck Bag
The Attwood deck bag is one of the better deck bags you can get for your kayak.
It is made with nylon as well as PVC to keep your stuff dry.
This deck bag comes with ample amount of space for all your stuff including a large 8L main compartment.
The Attwood features a quick snap hook so that you can easily attach it to the hull of your deck and start your journey.
It also comes with additional D-ring attachments so that everything can get locked down to your kayak.
The bag is water resistant and comes with 6-inch cords on each corner of the bag for strapping the bag to your kayak.
They work similar to bungee cords but aren’t as strong and durable as bungee cords. Please keep this in mind when you are pulling the cords to fit the kayak as you may inadvertently snap the cords.
The real plus side is for those who are in an area prone to fog. The Attwood comes with reflective strips that are sewn in for low light conditions and makes you more visible to those around you.
Another plus is the interior storage compartment that keeps your stuff dry. While the outer shell is made of nylon and can get damp, you can rest assure your items within the interior will remain dry.
Just don’t dunk the bag for longer period of time and you should be good.
Features I like
- Nylon and PVC material construction.
- Water-resistant to keep stuff dry.
- Quick snap hook for easy setup.
- Strong cords that last longer.
- Reflective strips to add more visibility.
5. Advanced Elements Quickdraw Deck Bag
The Advanced Elements offers a deck bag that is made of PVC tarpaulin which makes it waterproof and durable.
What makes the Advanced Element bag stand out is the removable interior liner to add extra space in the bag.
Besides the material used for the construction, the Elements is semi-rigid and contoured to the shape of the kayak.
It comes with adjustable straps and D-rings to secure the bag to your kayak along with a water resistant zipper.
When comparing Elements deck bag to Overboard, one major difference is the fact that this bag only comes with four secure riggings instead of Overboard’s six.
While some may say that having six is overkill, four may prove not enough in extreme water conditions.
Another downside is the water-resistant zipper that can allow water to get into the bag when you unzip it to get your stuff out.
But, as long as you pack the bag correctly with gadgets and electronics in the back of the bag, you shouldn’t have an issue with a few droplets of water.
Features I like
- PVC tarpaulin material that makes it durable.
- Semi-rigid construction and waterproof.
- Adjustable straps for easy fastening.
- Water resistant zippers.
- Four riggings, better for medium water conditions.
6. Chinook Aquasurf 20 DayPack
Like all Chinook deck bags, the Aquasurf is the one that also offers TPU-coated rip-stop nylon bar-tacked stress.
This helps to keep the deck bag upright and non-corrosive zippers.
It also offers plenty of space for those who are looking for a day bag.
The Aquasurf comes with two side compartments for extra storage space and multiple lashing options.
The bag offers several places to store knives and pliers that are easy to access without getting into the bag.
The bag size is remarkable as it can hold up to 1220 cubic inches or 20L.
Chinook deck bags are water resistant, not waterproof which makes it best for calm water kayak fishing or at medium flowing water conditions.
The bag looks like it can be stored either vertically or horizontally and can be deceiving when securing it to your kayak. But, there is no need to worry.
The fastening straps make the DayPack secured while the construction is durable and worth spending money for.
Features I like
- Nylong bar-tacked stress.
- Water-resistant with non-corrosive zippers.
- Several compartments to store essential gear.
- Durable construction and inexpensive.
9. Seattle Sports Deluxe Deck Bag
The Seattle Sports Delux Deck bag looks like a mini tent that is strapped to your kayak.
This bag has multiple tie-down points to keep the bag secure and in position during your trip.
You won’t have to worry about the bag shifting in rough waters. The bag comes with side straps for added storage space so you don’t have to keep reaching into the main compartment for your things.
The Delux bag is made of Vinyl making it waterproof and the seams are welded so you know there is no way for water to get in.
There is a clear window so that you can see inside the bag to locate your gear quickly and Daisy chain lashing as well as an external bungee to secure your gear to the bag and the boat.
The really cool thing about this bag is the storm flap and coated zipper that won’t rust or corrode.
The bag also offers a reflective front patch with lashing for a strobe mount in case you find yourself in need of help or low lightening.
Even though the seams are welded and shouldn’t crack or come undone, if it does happen, it is very difficult for it to be fixed.
The only thing that may turn you off from this bag is the space. The bag holds 960 cubic inches which can add up fast with bulky items.
However, for quick trips, this bag is perfect and will suit all your needs.
Features I like
- Multiple tie-down points for secure adjustment.
- Waterproof and very well welded.
- Clear window to locate stored items.
- Strong flap and coated zippers that last long.
- Reflective front patch for easy visibility.
10. Chinook Aquawave 20 Kayak Deck Bag
The Chinook Aquawave deck bag is made of TPU-coated rip-stop nylon that comes with non-corrosive zippers and an internal stiffening board so that the bag retains its shape.
The Aquawave is water-resistant, not waterproof and shouldn’t be dunked.
The bag comes with outer mesh compartments for you to store gear or a water bottle.
This deck bag offers you plenty of storage space thanks to the internal stiffening board that also allow you to find your things easily and quickly.
It can hold up to 1220 cubic inches of gear, snacks, and other things and can be easily converted into a carrying bag by attaching the shoulder strap.
The zippers are the main feature of this bag because they are non-corrosive and have large toggles so you are fumbling around looking to see where the zipper begins.
You won’t have to worry about the zipper snagging either.
The bag is not waterproof it is water resistant which means it can get splashed on, but not dunked.
There is not a second liner for the bag that will offer you extra resistance to water, so when the bag gets wet, so will your things over time.
We do not recommend this deck bag for white water unless you don’t have any issues with your phone, camera or clothes getting damp. (Though this does not happen in general.)
Features I like
- Good material and design.
- Mesh compartments and large storage.
- Non-corrosive zippers.
- Water-resistant with second liner.
A deck bag is a way to go if you have a lot of gear and accessories to take along during your kayaking experience.
Deck bags secure on your deck freeing up space in the hull so you are not cramped while paddling. And, unlike other waterproof or dry bags that you strap to the deck of your kayak, a deck bag is made specifically for kayaks and includes all the straps you need.
Besides the basics, the sky is the limit as to what you can bring with you on your trip. The important thing is to have fun and be safe.
Pick a deck bag that offers you the storage space you need and one that won’t ruin your gear while you are out on the water.
Last update on 2021-01-15 at 14:49 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API