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Review: SealLine Baja Deck bag for expedition sea kayaking

A deck bag is crucial for long days on the water. It provides quick and easy access to things like phones, sunscreen, hats, snacks and Gatorade pouches.
I've used a few different deck bags over the years so my requirements evolved to be very specific.

What to look for in a good deck bag for sea kayaking:

  • Made from durable waterproof material
  • Rigid structure to make it easy for me to dig around in it single handed
  • Fast and easy to open- I don't want a deck bag with a roll top closure that takes forever to open and close
  • Fast to take on and off my boat
  • Low profile to reduce wind resistance
  • Small enough to safely put in my lap under my spray-skirt in high winds without hindering my ability to wet exit
  • Splash proof
  • Dlastic d-rings to attach a strap so I can easily carry the bag on my shoulder. When I get to Ocracoke I use my deck bag like a purse- which gets me lots of strange looks.

So far my all-time favorite deck bag is the Baja Deck Bag from SealLine.

What I Love 
Size & Storage
  • Perfect Size- It is big enough to hold what I need it to, but not so big that wind resistance is a problem. It is small enough to keep in my lap under my spray skirt in extremely high winds. It has a stiff plastic insert that keeps the upper side of the bag in a curve shape which keeps the bag from collapsing and makes it easy to find your stuff. 
  • Zippered Access- There is a zipper to get into the main part of the bag- which in the above photo is covered by a rubber flap to make the zipper more water resistant. There is an outer mesh pouch that I use to keep my chapstick and other random bits in. 

Attachment Points
  • Straps to Rigging- The bag itself attaches to the deck rigging with two tough strips of rubber lined with velcro with two plastic buckles at the end. Un-clip the buckles, pull apart the velcro, and slide the straps under your deck rigging then clip to secure. I find it easy and quick to put on and take off this deck bag. I have used other bags that attach in different ways and this method is my favorite. 
  • Bungee- I use the bungee on top to hold my map and hat sometimes. The clips on the bungee are made to be a fast and easy paddle holder. I've only used them to hold my paddle a couple of times- it worked but I didn't feel like it was that secure. 
  • Carry Strap- The removable strap is the perfect length to throw over my shoulder- making it easy to carry my bag to my tent or around Ocracoke as a handbag.

So far so good. It seems like the perfect bag- and it is. Except for one major flaw. 

     The zipper sliders are metal. Why is that a problem? This is a bag for sea kayaking- in the ocean. When exposed to salt water they corrode. And no longer open or close. So you either end up with a bag that is stuck open or a bag that's stuck closed. Neither is good. 
      These are also our deck bags of choice for our sea kayaking guides at Pamlico Sea Base. We have four of them that our guides use all summer. In order to keep them working, the zippers have to be sprayed with silicone lubricant at the end of every trip. This is obviously annoying. 
      After sitting idle from August to May during our off season, they are stored in a closet in our boat shed. The boat shed is three sided, so although the deck bags don't get rained on, they aren't protected from the humidity in the air. After 9 months sitting idle, none of the zippers work. They are stuck closed. 
So until they fix this massive error, I can't say that the Baja Deck Bag is the perfect deck bag, but it's the best I've used so far.