Categories: Kayak Reviews

Best Kayak Gear Storage Bags (Bag it Up: Part 2)

The Best Kayak Gear Storage Bags Why do you need a storage bag? Contain Your Gear You’ve conquered raging rapids, bagged that record river monster, slogged through muddy put-ins and portages, and somehow made it back to your humble abode relatively unscathed and in one piece. Your gear, on the other hand, is a hot mess. Rather, it’s a cold, soggy mess and now you have to conquer your laundry. Whether you tackle the mound of rapidly mildewing gear promptly or leave it in a heap in the garage to be dealt with later is your business. Consequently, you need a storage solution for stinky, damp, and otherwise unlaunderable items. Here we review the best kayak gear storage bags. Keep it Dry While most kayaking gear is designed to keep you warm despite being damp and/or designed to be constantly waterlogged, these materials are NOT necessarily designed to combat odor.  If you’ve ever forgotten some polypropylene in a dark corner you know what we’re talking about. So, before stashing your gear in one of the great options reviewed below we recommend promptly washing, cleaning, and thoroughly drying your kayak gear every time you return from the water.  Use It, Don't Lose It Building on the last article about kayaking bags, we’ve expanded on our review to include more long-term and bulky-item storage solutions. Below you’ll find bags that will keep your kayaking gear contained and dry and hopefully smelling fresh. As a result, when your gear is organized and easily…

The Best Kayak Gear Storage Bags

Why do you need a storage bag?

Contain Your Gear

You’ve conquered raging rapids, bagged that record river monster, slogged through muddy put-ins and portages, and somehow made it back to your humble abode relatively unscathed and in one piece. Your gear, on the other hand, is a hot mess. Rather, it’s a cold, soggy mess and now you have to conquer your laundry. Whether you tackle the mound of rapidly mildewing gear promptly or leave it in a heap in the garage to be dealt with later is your business. Consequently, you need a storage solution for stinky, damp, and otherwise unlaunderable items. Here we review the best kayak gear storage bags.

Keep it Dry

While most kayaking gear is designed to keep you warm despite being damp and/or designed to be constantly waterlogged, these materials are NOT necessarily designed to combat odor.  If you’ve ever forgotten some polypropylene in a dark corner you know what we’re talking about. So, before stashing your gear in one of the great options reviewed below we recommend promptly washing, cleaning, and thoroughly drying your kayak gear every time you return from the water.

Use It, Don’t Lose It

Building on the last article about kayaking bags, we’ve expanded on our review to include more long-term and bulky-item storage solutions. Below you’ll find bags that will keep your kayaking gear contained and dry and hopefully smelling fresh. As a result, when your gear is organized and easily accessible, the more likely you are to actually use it. Which is probably what you had in mind when you bought that new drysuit.

Before we launch into some of the new kayak gear storage bags reviewed, let’s review two great bags from the last installment. Each is a good combination of gear-hauling capability and breathability.

Nine Top Reviewed Storage Bags

Best Versatile Bags for Storage or Travel

2.1 Advanced Elements Funk Bag

A great bag to segue from travel and expedition emphasis of the last installment into this article’s air-it-out and storage bag emphasis.  Advanced Elements Funk Bag is exactly what it sounds like. A bag in which even the funkiest of gear can find a home (at least temporarily, let’s hope).

PROS

  • Great breathability for storage or transport of funky gear and clothing
  • Small water-resistant side zipper pocket holds small items like keys/wallet/phone
  • Multiple carry options
  • Bottom fabric panels keep dirt, grime, and more moisture from getting at inside contents

CONS

  • No option for organizing clean/dry gear separately from the main mesh compartment
  • Only one size (45L) limits the amount of gear – may not be practical for storing all of your paddle gear or accomodate your expedition packing list

2.2 NRS Purest Mesh Duffel Bag

A simple gym-bag style duffel, with a large main compartment. Wear resistant nylon fabric construction and large mesh vent along top of bag.  Very similar to the Advanced Elements Funk Bag, but there is an extra cool story here: each NRS Purest Remix Duffel is constructed from leftover scraps of nylon from the NRS factory floor.  Reduce your environmental footprint and your “funkprint” at the same time!

PROS

  • Environmentally friendlier: main bag body made from recycled nylon fabric, leftover from the other softgood products at the NRS factories
  • Small water-resistant side zipper pocket holds small items like keys/wallet/phone
  • Multiple carry options
  • Bottom and side fabric panels keep dirt, grime from getting inside

CONS

  • Only one size (44L) limits your carry/storage options to just the essentials
  • Not a ton of ventilation with one mesh strip along top of bag

2.3 WildWasser Mini Monster Gear Bag

Similar in design to the NRS or Advanced Elements bags, this duffle from WildWasser boasts beefed up components in every detail. Heavy-duty nylon straps make the grab loops, carry straps, and horizontal nylon acts like a rand to keep this large bag together, which is anything but “mini.” Ventilation strikes a happy medium between the Advanced Elements Funk Bag and the NRS Purest Duffle. The bottom fabric is a rubberized tarp fabric that is creates an extremely rugged protection layer between your gear and any gnarly terrain underneath, dry or wet. Heavy duty two-way zipper and mesh top off this “monster.”

PROS

  • Super durable materials
  • Great grab handles and straps
  • Full wrap waterproof “tarp” rubberized material

CONS

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  • Expensive
  • May be too large for some people to haul

Best Mesh Bags: Catch-alls for Clothing and More

2.4 NRS Mesh Drag Bag

A laundry bag on steroids. Boasting sewing and materials that are intended for expedition use, the NRS Mesh Drag Bag can just as easily function as a breathable catch-all for your soiled river gear. Reinforced nylon webbing secures a D-ring that allows this bag to be strapped to raft or, as the name implies, dragged behind a raft to keep beverages cold while on the river.

PROS

  • Keeps your beer cold (when not storing stinky neoprene)
  • Since it’s designed for on-river use, all materials and components are super-durable

CONS

  • You have to take your beer out to put in your wet gear and laundry

2.5 NRS Mesh Gear Bag

Because most NRS equipment is designed to be at home on an expedition, even their basic laundry bag is pretty bomber. Likewise its functionality extends to your garage, pickup truck or gear closet just as well. A great generalist mesh bag for whatever needs airing, except for maybe your grievances.

PROS

  • Entire body is mesh allowing for maximum breathability
  • Stowable in its own integrated storage sack
  • Simple and affordable

CONS

  • Must be emptied to access anything at the bottom. Best for post-trip laundry hauling or long-term storage for bulky items.
  • Despite NRS durability, mesh is still susceptible to fraying on bottom and near drawstring

2.6 Sea to Summit Travelling Light Laundry Bag

Another simple bag from Sea to Summit. This basic laundry bag gains durability and structure with the addition of lightweight Cordura silnylon fabric reinforcement around the sides and bottom. A two-sided drawstring closure allows for easy, smooth opening and cinching.

PROS

  • Cordura water resistant silnylon sides and bottoms adds strength while keeping grime and moisture
  • Can be easily washed or rinsed
  • Stands upright when filled
  • Very breathable

CONS

  • Silnylon does not allow breathability on the sides where present
  • Lightweight silnylon fabric can discolor and does wear somewhat easily if inconstant contact with ground and/or dirty surfaces

Best Structured Storage Bags for Organizing Gear Spaces

2.7 NRS PFD Bag

Give your lifejackets a better life. Your PFDs work hard, why not give them a nice home. Like most NRS equipment, this gear bag is durable enough for an expedition, with reinforced bottom/sides and lash points on the side. Its square shape and simple top opening design extends its functionality to your garage, pickup truck or gear closet.

PROS

  • Easy top access for large, bulky items
  • Excellent breathability
  • Durable bottom fabric and netting material
  • Super simple design

CONS

  • Large mesh openings not suitable for small gear items
  • Oversized shape and lack of carry handles make difficult to haul heavy items, best for PFDs (as the name implies) or as a catch all in your garage or vehicle

2.8 IKEA Shopping Bag

You’re probably already familiar. If not you’re missing out.  Either way, this storage tote requires very little explanation. A woven, giant shopping bag with reinforced nylon carry straps. When filled, it holds it’s upright shape, but when empty it can be easily stowed just about anywhere. Fabric can be washed and/or hosed down and hung to dry. A no-frills solution for your damp gear, which also doubles as a reusable shopping bag when you’re out running errands. It is what it is, but that’s pretty awesome for a shopping bag that costs $5.

PROS

  • Very affordable
  • Open top design makes for easy access
  • Versatile bag that can easily be stowed in vehicle
  • Collapsable

CONS

  • Limited by the fact that it’s really just a super-durable shopping bag

2.9 IKEA Storage Bag

Can a big blue IKEA bag get any better? Yes, apparently it can. How? One word: zipper.

PROS

  • Very affordable
  • Easily conforms to odd and oversized gear shapes
  • Washable

CONS

  • Lightweight Zipper is not super durable
  • May make you want to head to IKEA for Swedish meatballs and furniture instead of going kayaking

CONCLUSIONS

The Best Kayak Gear Storage Bag to Choose is the Bag You’ll Use

Whatever bag you choose, it’s likely going to be an improvement from the corner of your garage or pile in the bed of your pickup truck. Above all, think about what storage solutions are  most likely going to make you excited about grabbing your gear and getting out on the river.

James Hancock

James is a an outdoor educator, leadership consultant, and writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has over 15 years of professional guiding experience in disciplines including alpine backpacking, backcountry snowboarding, and of course, expedition paddling. He writes for various national outdoor publications and creates content for commercial projects.

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James Hancock

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