Saturday, June 16, 2012

The WildWasser Kayak Deck Bag takes the plunge. Is it waterproof? Pass or Fail?

Here we go again. Getting stuff wet! We're kayakers. That's what we do! And with Canada's warmer June weather and water in a lake I can just barely stand without a wet suit, it's time to swim with some gear that I have only tested strapped on top of my sea kayak.

It's actually a lot of fun to test gear this way. Get in the water with it and see how it performs. Just don't put anything important inside while you're testing!
This year, I finally decided to take my WildWasser Kayak Deck Bag for a swim to test how waterproof it is and see how well it floats. I purchased this deck bag several years ago for about $80 and have used it numerous times on day paddles and kayak camping.

So here goes. Testing the WildWasser in a lake.

I punished it a bit by trying to force it underwater in numerous ways.

By hand. This was tough. With one hand, I had a lot of trouble forcing it completely underwater. It fought me to stay on top of the water.
I sat on it in the water. It took two hands to push it down and it kept me afloat.
Fully submerged underwater, it made bubbles. Uh, oh. That mean's it's taking on some water. It took on a few inches of lake water - then stopped bubbling, even though the watertight zipper in the front was fully and properly closed.
Even after it was fully submerged for about 15 minutes and took on some water, it still floated when I let it come back to the surface.  
Then I swam with it.
Damn! This is one tough bag. I love you WildWasser!

I've taken my big blue WildWasser Kayak Deck Bag kayak camping with me in the 1000 Islands near Gananoque, Ontario and attached it to the front deck of my Boreal Baffin. It gave me lots of extra storage space, and under moderate use, like kayaking with wind and waves, it did keep everything dry inside. Although, I only trust my cell phone, car keys, and wallet inside any dry bag if it is in something I know is completely watertight, like a trusty Pelican hard case. Why take a chance?

Lots of kayak deck bags on the market have a lower, flatter profile. It's true. My blue WildWasser Kayak Deck Bag is a bit round and has a fairly high profile, so you have to paddle a little higher to clear it if you carry it on the front deck of your kayak. But, it is very roomy inside and so well outfitted for attaching it to your kayak, carrying it on shore, and attaching things to it, that I can't complain.  

Paddlers are always asking for a fully waterproof deck bag. Some leak badly. Can you fully submerge yours without some water leakage?

WildWasser Kayak Deck Bag. Pass or Fail?
My deck bag fails for being totally waterproof when submerged but I'm giving it a Pass as a good kayak deck bag. Even though it took on some water when I forced it under, and gets a few drops inside if you swim with it, I'm giving the WildWasser Kayak Deck Bag a two thumbs up. I love it. It did better than I thought it would. I'm keeping this bag. And I'm really happy to learn, that when the zip is properly closed and the bag has no holes in it, that it will keep my stuff and me afloat in the short term. But don't count on it as a lifesaving device. It wasn't made for that.

Are you testing your gear? Are you happy you did?
Here's to finding gear you love and can count on.
The BaffinPaddler


  1. Hey Peggy (BaffinPaddler) - you are all wet! Hehe!Seriously, what's the water temperature where you tested the kayak deck bag? Looks like you are wearing a wetsuit?

  2. Hi Mike,

    I don't know what the water temperature is now. My little pocket thermometer isn't working any more. I plan to get another one soon. I'm not wearing a wetsuit, just a long sleeve rash guard and shorts. We can swim in some of the lakes now, but for distance swimming and a longer time in the water, you are still better off in a wetsuit or body glove. The water is still very cool.