Having gear is an ever-present feature of kayaking as a hobby. You don't have to carry a huge amount of stuff around on your kayak, but having your sunscreen, water, and first aid kit stored in your deck bag within easy reach helps to make the already amazing experience of kayaking that much better.

Deck bags are very well-suited for certain types of kayaks. Does your long, narrow touring kayak lack storage space? Are you struggling to find waterproof storage areas for your valuables in your sit-on recreational kayak? Then a deck bag is exactly what you need to solve your storage problems!

Kayak balancing is another prime use for a deck bag. If you are packing a lot of gear into your kayak for camping or going on a long expedition, then you might find your kayak becomes very back- or front-heavy, making it harder to paddle. This is usually because the design of the kayak places the majority of the storage at one end of the boat. Using a deck bag helps even out the weight, improving the speed and tracking of your kayak.

Best Kayak Deck Bags For 2018

Taj M'Haul Deck Bag - Editors Choice

Chinook Aquatidal 25 Deck Bag

Seattle Sports Mesh Deck Bag

Attwood Deck Storage Bag

Sea to Summit Solution Access Deck Bag

Advanced Elements Quickdraw Deck Bag

Kayak Deck Bag Buying Guide

There are a fair number of kayaking deck bags available on the market and picking the right one for you requires a little forethought. Before heading out to buy one, here are a few factors you might want to take into consideration:

Access

Being able to easily access your bag without compromising your balance is vital. When you are choosing a deck bag, make sure its zippers are in the right places to ensure you have easy access. Before you head out on the water, try attaching your bag to your kayak and then make sure you can get to all the zippers, pockets, and pouches without needing to maneuver in unusual ways.

Zippers and Roll Tops

There are several different designs of deck bag fasteners and it’s best to have an idea of which one you would prefer before you start looking to buy. Bags with waterproof zippers are easier to access in a hurry and a lot less fiddly. The downside is that waterproof zippers damage over time and are expensive to replace.

Roll top bags do exactly what they say: the waterproof material on the bag extends enough that you can close it at the top, usually with clips or magnetic bands, and then roll it down to provide a waterproof seal. The problem with roll top bags are is that they take a little more effort to open and close, which can get irritating if you are the kind of kayaker that needs access to their gear more often than not.

Waterproofing

There is a distinct difference between the terms “waterproof” and “water-resistant”. Bags that are “water-resistant” are fine for items that you would prefer to be kept dry, but it’s not the end of the world if they do get wet. For items that must be kept absolutely dry, such as cameras, mobile phone, and radios, you’ll probably want to invest in a bag that identifies itself as entirely “waterproof” or use a smaller separate waterproof bags inside a larger water-resistant bag to keep them safe.

Attachments

If you go kayaking, it’s almost guaranteed you will roll your kayak at some point. It’s also not a big deal as getting back into your kayak is actually quite easy when you know how. The one thing you don’t want is your deck bag coming free during the roll and floating off with all your gear, or even worse, sinking with it.

When you are looking to buy a deck bag, consider how it will attach to your kayak and how sturdy those attachments are. If the bag has D-rings then it might be worth checking if your kayak has attachment points for them. If the straps are made to go all the way around the kayak, it’s always best to measure beforehand to make sure they will fit.

Space

Before you pick out a deck bag you like, think about how many items you will be fitting in it. If it's just for carrying everyday gear then you might not need much more than a 5-liter bag. If you’re heading off camping or going on a long kayaking expedition, you may need something with a little more space, maybe up to a 20-liter bag. If you are planning on buying a larger bag, make sure it fits on the hull of your kayak securely before heading out on the water. A poorly-fitted deck bag can destabilize your kayak and make it hard to access your gear.

Kayak Deck Bag Reviews

Our Pick

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

Best Kayak Deck Bag Overall
Taj M'Haul Deck Bag

Dimensions: 17 x 13 inches (tapering to 17 x 11 inches)

Material: 400-denier nylon

Waterproof: Yes

With a hefty 400-denier nylon shell over a fully waterproof Infinity polyurethane inner bag liner and topped off by a Hydro Lock zip-seal, the Taj M'Haul deck bag is the best way to keep your valuables safe and dry.

In addition to its spacious inner picket, the Taj M'Haul has an additional large outer pocket and mesh sleeves for easy access to waterproof items. Buckles on the outside of bag can be cinched up when the pockets are empty to keep the bag nice and streamlined.

Hard wearing nylon hook and loop attachments should keep your fears of your bag going AWOL to a minimum, but if it does end up in the water, don’t panic. The Taj M'Haul is fully buoyant and has reflective tape to make it as visible as possible, even at night.

Once you are back on dry land, the Taj M'Haul has a convenient carry strap, making it easy to get your gear to and from the boat. The only slight downside to this bag is that the plastic insert used for keeping the bag open is not quite rigid enough and can deform.

PROS

  • plus
    Fully waterproof
  • plus
    Hydro-Lock zip seal
  • plus
    Hard wearing 400-denier nylon shell
  • plus
    Floats if overboard

CONS

  • minus
    The easy open insert could be more rigid

Summary
Despite the comedic name, the Taj M'Haul is an excellent deck bag. It’s tough, fully waterproof, easy-to-use, and has a ton of useful features. The easy open insert could be a little more rigid, but that’s a small complaint on an otherwise fantastic bag, which is why we’ve made it our choice for best deck bag.

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

Chinook Aquatidal 25 Deck Bag

Dimensions: 21 x 15.4 inches

Material: TPU-coated ripstop nylon

Waterproof: Water-Resistant

Made of damage-resistant TPU-coated ripstop nylon and coming with corrosion resistant zippers as standard, the Aquatidal deck bag is ready to take the worst your kayaking trips can throw at it.

The large and spacious main pocket it water-resistant, though not fully waterproof, so your vulnerable valuables will need to be stored in their own fully waterproof containers. At 25 liters, the Aquatidal deck bag provides plenty of storage and has three separate pockets to help you organize your gear.

On the outside of the bag, there are two mesh pockets to store water resistant gear or water bottle, and it has both bungee and steel D-ring attachments to secure it to your boat. To help you access your stuff, the Aquatidal deck bag comes with an internal stiffener board to help it keep its shape and for when you are back on land, a shoulder strap to help you carry your gear around.

PROS

  • plus
    TPU-coated ripstop nylon 
  • plus
    Three separate storage pockets
  • plus
    Two mesh outer pockets
  • plus
    Shoulder strap for carrying

CONS

  • minus
    Not fully waterproof

Summary
A close contender to the Taj M'Haul, the Aquatidal deck bag loses out because it’s not fully waterproof. Other than that, it is a fantastic bag. The TPU-coated ripstop nylon makes it hugely durable and its multiple pockets, both internal and external, make accessing your gear that much easier.

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

Seattle Sports Mesh Deck Bag

Dimensions: 15.5 x 11.5 inches

Material:
Vinyl coated nylon

Waterproof:
No

If you’re on a budget and want a deck bag that is lightweight, durable, and you aren’t concerned about what’s inside getting wet, then the Seattle Sports Mesh deck bag is a good pick. We should say upfront that this bag is in no way waterproof or water resistant. It’s made of mesh, so if you need something to store your valuables in then you are better off looking at the Taj M'Haul bag.

However, if you just want a compact deck bag to store durable gear in, then the Seattle Sports Mesh deck bag is a good choice! It weighs just 10.8 oz. and has a single easy-to-open heavy-duty zipper for better access. One of the benefits of it being a mesh bag is that it doubles as a drink cooler: pop your bottles in the bag and lower it over the side to keep it cool in the water. Just make sure you have secured to the hull first!

PROS

  • plus
    Durable Vinyl coated nylon 
  • plus
    Single pocket access
  • plus
    Can double as a drink cooler

CONS

  • minus
    Not waterproof at all
  • minus
    No outer pockets

Summary
If you want what is a basic mesh bag that holds gear and attaches to your kayak, then the Seattle Sports Mesh deck bag is ideal. Plus, it can keep your drinks cool. If you want any other features at all, then you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

Attwood Deck Storage Bag

Dimensions: 21 x 12 inches

Material: PVC (Nylon Inner)

Waterproof: Water-Resistant

A medium-sized bag with a single large 8-liter compartment, the Attwood deck storage bag combines a durable PVC outer with a nylon inner for additional water resistance. You won’t want to put anything that is extremely vulnerable to water in this bag, and if it does get submerged then its contents will get wet.

The Attwood deck storage bag comes with both steel D-ring and snap-cord attachments to easily secure it to your kayak, making sure that it doesn’t move around and is stable when you need to access your gear.

Another benefit of the Attwood deck storage bag is its bright color and reflective striping. If you do a lot of kayak fishing at night or in foggy areas, then the Attwood helps to keep you visible.

PROS

  • plus
    Made of hard-wearing PVC 
  • plus
    Reflective striping
  • plus
    Easy to attach to your kayak

CONS

  • minus
    Is only water-resistant

Summary
The Attwood deck storage bag is essentially an upgrade on the Seattle Sports Mesh deck bag in terms of durability and water-resistance. Much like the Seattle Sports Mesh deck bag, it is well suited to those looking for a simple, easy-to-use bag. Those looking for more features would be better considering the Aquatidal deck bag or the Taj M'Haul.

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

Sea to Summit Solution Access Deck Bag

Dimensions: 16 x 14 inches

Material: 420-denier PU coated ripstop nylon

Waterproof: Water-Resistant

The Sea to Summit Solution Access deck bag is constructed of 420-denier polyurethane coated ripstop nylon, making its exterior extremely durable. The inner lining is a roll-top water-resistant bag to make sure everything stays nice and dry. The bag keeps its shape through a stiff plastic insert, making it easier to access your gear.

The Sea to Summit Solution Access deck bag attaches to your kayak through nylon straps and steel D-rings to keep it nice and secure. At 1.2 pounds, the bag is lightweight and portable. Although the single inner pocket doesn’t provide you with a huge amount of space, it should be noted that the Solution Access deck bag will fit on even the narrowest of touring kayaks.

PROS

  • plus
    Made of durable 420-denier PU coated ripstop nylon  
  • plus
    Waterproof inner lining
  • plus
    Suitable for narrow kayaks with less storage

CONS

  • minus
    Only one main compartment
  • minus
    No outer compartments

Summary
The Sea to Summit Solution Access deck bag is an excellent choice if you are expecting your deck bag to see a lot of wear, or if you have a particularly narrow kayak. It’s highly durable, its inner liner makes it fully waterproof, and although it doesn’t give you a huge amount of storage space, it is compact and lightweight.

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

Advanced Elements Quickdraw Deck Bag

Dimensions: 15 x 10 inches

Material: PVC tarpaulin

Waterproof: Water-Resistant

The Advanced Elements Quickdraw deck bag is constructed in two parts. The exterior is made of hard-wearing and water-resistant PVC covered tarpaulin. The interior is a removable roll-top drybag to help you organize your gear and keep the truly valuable things totally dry. Should you ever feel the need to remove in the inner drybag, you have the option to do so.

While the Advanced Elements Quickdraw deck bag isn’t the largest or most spacious of bags, it is longer and more compact than some of bigger bags on this list, making it ideal for smaller or slimmer kayaks. It does have a water-resistant zipper to help keep some of that water out.

Attachment to your kayak is taken care of by four steel D-rings and the bag itself has bungee cording on the outside for extra attachments, or to store items that you don't mind getting wet.

PROS

  • plus
    Made of durable 420-denier PU coated ripstop nylon  
  • plus
    Waterproof inner lining
  • plus
    Subtable for narrow kayaks with less storage

CONS

  • minus
    Only one main compartment
  • minus
    No outer compartments

Summary
The Sea to Summit Solution Access deck bag is an excellent choice if you are expecting your deck bag to see a lot of wear, or if you have a particularly narrow kayak. It’s highly durable, its inner liner makes it fully waterproof, and although it doesn’t give you a huge amount of storage space, it is compact and lightweight.

Our Pick - Taj M'Haul Deck Bag

We’ve chosen the Taj M'Haul as our best deck bag because it supplies you with everything you might need from a great bag. It's fully waterproof so you can sling your phone, wallet, and camera in there with impunity. The super-durable 400-denier nylon shell means you won’t have to worry about it taking a few scrapes and knocks. If it does end up in the water then there is no need to panic, as the whole bag floats! Its hi-viz striping will ensure that it is easy to recapture if it falls overboard, even in low light.

All these features, coupled with a spacious inner pocket and additional outer mesh pockets means you’ll be able to carry all the gear you need in both style and complete functionality!

About The Author

John is a professional copywriter, fencer, and paddlesports fanatic based in the UK. When he’s not out on the water, he can usually be found convincing new people to try kayaking, pretending to be Zorro or climbing what passes for mountains in England.