Kayak Lap Bag Essentials

By: Rebecca Grim


What is a kayak lap bag and why does every kayaker need one?

A lap bag is a waterproof bag that contains all the essential items you may need during a day of ocean kayaking. The items may change slightly depending on the length of trip, climate, group size and location in which are paddling. The purpose of the lap bag is to not only to save you from wasting time digging through hatches in search of a snack or sunscreen but to also keep you safe and prepared on the water. A lap bag when kayaking can help you be ready for anything, from being too cold to an on-water emergency. Typically this bag sits between your legs inside the cockpit of your kayak.

There are a few things to consider when creating your lap bag. Check out our tips below.

kayaking lap bag essentials

The Bag – what to look for

Expect everything you take kayaking to get wet, a waterproof dry bag is crucial, as you will most likely have water enter the cockpit. Any watertight dry bag with a roll down top and will do just fine. However, there are two popular options kayaks love:

deck pag for kayakers

1.Discovery Deck Dry Bag by SealLine

Very durable and can withstand abrasion from rocks once on shore. It features a purge valve, which quickly vents trapped air for easy closing and packing. The side strap allows for the bag slung over a shoulder or fastened on top of the boat if needed.

2. Ocoee Dry Bag by Watershed.

This bag opens on the horizontal side and its a wide mouth allows for easy access to the bag’s contents. Its size is perfect for kayak cockpits, and the grab handles let you tote it easily up to the campsite or into town. Compression straps reduce the volume and the size of contents.

 

Lap Bag Essentials Pack List

Lap bags are very personal, so this list will vary depending on your preferences. This list is based on a multiday trip. It is helpful to keep smaller items in a stuff sack, inside the lapbag to keep everything organized. Items such as a VHF radio, charts, handheld GPS, whistle, and a water bottle are not included in the list, as they are usually stored and fastened on top of the deck.

the kayakers lap bag

The Essential Lap Bag List:

  • Warm hat and extra-base layer
  • Snacks or lunch
  • Mini first aid kit
  •  Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses and case
  •  Sunhat
  • SPF ChapStick / Lip Balm
  • Toilet paper
  • Bag for used toilet paper
  • Camera and accessories
  • Knife
  • Handheld compass
  • Headlamp
  • Money/ID
  • Waterproof logbook and pencil
  • Cell phone
  • Battery bank
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Ginger chews
  • Small trowel
  • Hand sanitizer
  • GoGirl (where necessary)
  • Lighter

Items to consider while on expeditions and kayaking in remote areas

  •  Bear spray and bear bangers
  •  Air horn
  •  Flare kit
  •  Extra radio battery

As you continue to kayak and use the lap bag more, you will fine-tune this list. It is helpful to keep the items in the bag at all times, so it is easy to grab it and go for a paddle, saving you time and making sure you are prepared for the water. Happy Paddling!

kayaking lap bag packing list

Did we forget anything? Tell us what you keep in your lap bag.

2 Responses to “Kayak Lap Bag Essentials”

  1. Alex Zimmerman says:

    I also keep my car keys (in a ziplock bag) in my lap bag, which I have always thought of as a ditch bag/bailout bag. I figure that the time I will most need the bag is if I get separated from my boat. Assuming I make it ashore and/or get rescued, it would be a bummer to get back to your vehicle and not be able to open it.

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