Deck Pod Description

Everything you need, nothing you don’t.

Gearlab Deck Pod carries paddling essentials organized on deck and close to hand for your kayak trips. It holds hydration, snacks, gadgets, and most
importantly, designated snag-free slots for bilge pump and paddle float. This
Pod provides direct access to safety equipment when needed.

Deck Pod Specs and Features

  • Material Description: 450D DWR Hydrolysis Resistant Fabric

Additional Attributes

  • fits a hydration bladder up to 3L
  • large tube opening and see through mesh pocket
  • drink water easily and paddle farther
  • external holders on both sides of the Gearlab Deck Pod hold bilge pump and paddle float
  • Low profile design reduces wind resistance and stays away from paddling strokes
  • Mounting and removing the Gearlab Deck Pod is quick and easy with quick release buckles
  • carry handle is placed beneath the pod, not visible when the Gearlab Deck Pod is secured on the deck
  • discreet design eliminates the confusion with spray skirt handle in emergency situations
  • long mesh pocket inside the pod holds and organizes small items

Where to Buy the Deck Pod

Learn More

Gearlab Outdoors
Deck Pod Reviews

Read reviews for the Deck Pod by Gearlab Outdoors as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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Nice small bag. Good…

Submitted by: DusXyz on 1/4/2022

Nice small bag. Good quality.
I use it as my hydration pack on nearly every trip and it works well for that. I have had to workout a system to clip my hydration nozzle to the bag, and if I am paddling in 'unclean' water it can be a little unsettling to drink from the nozzle since it will be exposed to the same water. I carry a small anchor, float and rope in the bag as well.. which allows to jump out and go snorkeling without pulling to shore :)
Something to know, the bag is NOT water proof, and it doesn't try to be. It has thick mesh built into the underside back as a drain panel. I imagine this could be helpful if you roll as this will allow fast drainage. Anything that needs to be protected from water needs to be in a dry bag. I use a few small drybags for things like my electronic car key, which I clip to the inside of the bag.


Works great, and I…

Submitted by: DusXyz on 12/14/2021

Works great, and I especially appreciate that it fits my hydration bladder.


This is an awesome bag.…

Submitted by: paddler1706087 on 9/8/2021

This is an awesome bag. Looks cool and it is perfect for what it's for. Each side can hold a paddle float or a bilge pump with adjustable straps to hold them in place. The bag is designed to hold a hydration pack with a hole for the tube to come out and a mesh pouch to put the tubing in. So so much quicker and easier to keep hydrated on the go. The bag is not waterproof although the exterior fabric seems splash proof. One part of the bag is mesh so I put items in ziplock bags just incsse I was to capsize. the bag is big enough for a fully filled hydration bladder, purse, keys, snacks and a tupperwear lunch box with still a little room to spare.

Points to mention.

I found it difficult to attach the straps to the deck line. It's still not perfect. I wonder if they cound be designed in a different way rather than just a closed loop at the end. Is there a guide available on how to attach it? (I have an Oru!)

I'm not sure why one part (of the bottom underside)of the bag is mesh. Just on the unlikely (but possible) scenario of a capsize, it would definately fill with water. ... But I guess it would also drain fast too! Is that why?

The back of the pod is flat and fairly rigid. I thought it would mould more to the shape of the kayak although it's not such a big deal. Just a point to mention.

When not out in a kayak, as a handheld bag, it's great (the handle also seems very durable) but when I have my hands full carrying a kayak and a paddle, it's just one more heavy item to hold. I bought some rucksack straps and attached them to the deck pod so I could carry it on my back.

I really recommend gearlab considers attaching shoulder straps in the future to make this awesome little bag even MORE awesome.


Great product!

Submitted by: Bassmundo on 7/21/2021

Great product!


I really like the minimalist…

Submitted by: paddler1591534 on 7/8/2021

I really like the minimalist design it appears to be very well thought out and constructed. If it’s all of the essentials without being too big and bulky.


This is my first deck bag.…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/30/2021

This is my first deck bag. It works well, organizing my paddle float & bilge pump easily, w/interior pouch for small emergency items, lunch, keys, water, and a small exterior pocket for sunscreen, bug wipes, and lip salve. It is not waterproof so baggies are helpful to keep things dry. Much neater than storing things in the cockpit, strapped to the deck, or in the holds. Need to figure out how to carry spare paddles now. I like the clips for removing the bag. Wish the interior was waterproof but otherwise, a great bag.


Brilliant design. A quick…

Submitted by: Rolands on 6/3/2021

Brilliant design. A quick grab and go bag.


Did alot of research before…

Submitted by: paddler1454098 on 5/18/2021

Did alot of research before coming to this decision to purchase the GearLab Deck Pod. Exceeded my expectation, the low profile made a difference from the other deck bags i used to use. do not that the bag is not waterproof, so you will have to use a dry back to keep essential gears dry.

Easy access for a water bladder is SUCH A SMART THING!!!! so easy to reach out to the other items for quick access!

Will recommend to friends for purchasing


Perfect size and great…

Submitted by: JonDet on 5/6/2021

Perfect size and great durability. It contains what I need for a day trip - and more. I store food, water, snacks and also personal items such as keys, mobile and so on. It easily contains GPS and map also if needed.


I'd been looking for a deck…

Submitted by: paddler504865 on 4/28/2021

I'd been looking for a deck bag for awhile, found the "Gear Lab deck pod", and knew that was the one. All my paddling needs for carrying safety equipment and personal needs quick at hand, it is perfect.


Simply the Best. When we…

Submitted by: FTCricket on 3/24/2021
Simply the Best. When we started doing off-shore paddling and kayak touring which require spray skirts we needed a good deck bag to hold all of our safety gear near at hand. The low profile GearLab Deck Pod fills the requirement admirably without adding to the windage common with most deck bags. On every trip it holds my bilge pump, paddle float, maps inside a rolled map case, flares, headlamp, garbage bag, small first aid kit, spare gloves, spare batteries for GPS and camera, toilet kit, cell phone, and snacks. When it's time to get off the water I stuff in my GPS, camera, and VHF radio and with 4 quick clips it separates from the boat (you leave the straps attached to your boat) and grab the HD strap to carry it away with me. I do NOT recommend using it to carry a full 3-liter water bladder as that's a tremendous amount of weight and strain on the stitching although a bladder will fit inside it. You can also buy extra straps (about $8 per set) to attach to each of your boats so you're just moving the bag itself from boat to boat. A much better solution than any other deck bag mounting system on the market. You can definitely tell this bag was designed by paddlers for paddlers. It's not water-proof, just highly water-resistant, so anything delicate that you stuff inside the Deck Pod should be inside a waterproof case or at least a zipper lock bag.

I've really enjoyed my Deck…

Submitted by: paddler1299140 on 3/10/2021
I've really enjoyed my Deck Pod for short day trips. Holds everything I need conveniently right in front of me with easy access. It also is a quick grab and go bag that buckles right up to the kayak for a impromptu outing. I liked it so much I gifted a second one to my wife.

Organise all my stuff in the…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/28/2021
Organise all my stuff in the better way possible. The fabric is very sturdy and the conception is good! I enjoy having all my stuff near me and no need to carry bottle of water that you search all the time in the bottom of the kayak.. with this hydratation bag.. i can stay hydrated all day long! Thanks! Gearlab! This is an awsome and usefull deckpod to have.. i recommended it!

Just in, and not tested yet -…

Submitted by: PeterLC on 1/15/2021
Just in, and not tested yet - but it fits quite snugly on the deck of my Stellar S14. I have removed the elastic cords on the S14's front-deck in order to make the Pod hug the kayak nicely. When it arrived, I measured the inside of the Pod and went for a Platypus Big Zip Evo 2L,that fits very well; and shouldn't be flopping about in the Pod. Fit and finish of the Pod are very good, as one would expect of a relatively expensive product like this. All the hardware looks and feels well-made. I chose the Slate/Glacier colour; looks-wise I would have chosen the dark grey one, but I did realize that in hot weather, the Platypus inside would heat up more than with a lighter coloured Pod. I deduct one star because of the premium price I have to pay in Europe. I do look forward to using it in Spring!

The workmanship looks good.…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/28/2020
The workmanship looks good. It has a high level of functionality. I can't wait to get this out on the water.

Yes, its expensive, but it…

Submitted by: Simatic on 12/15/2020
Yes, its expensive, but it really is great. I prefer this to a bulky waterproof deck bag. It gives me much easier access to my gear, especially my safety items, and my electronics are just in small drybag within the deck pod without all the unnecessary bulk.

I love how this deck bag is…

Submitted by: Avigdor on 12/15/2020
I love how this deck bag is engineered. They really thought this one through! First off, it rides more securely on my deck than any other deck bag I have tried. My safety gear (paddle float, pump) are held fast but readily accessible with quick release buckles. The interior is just the right amount of space. Plenty of room for a 2L water bladder (with a hose slot), snacks, sunscreen, and more, without being excessively cavernous. And the quality of the manufacturing is excellent. One of my better equipment purchases in a long time.

It’s a good little unit for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/30/2020
It’s a good little unit for carrying my gear within reach!

This deck pod fit nicely,…

Submitted by: Davey on 11/25/2020
This deck pod fit nicely, just forweard of the cockpit without getting in the way. Nice pouch access to store phone and GoPro. I had a 3 Ltr hydration pouch and still had room for a couple of coldies. My bilge pump and paddle float make everything easily accessible and compact. I am highly impressed and would recommend this product to anyone.

This fit nicely on the…

Submitted by: Davey on 11/25/2020
This fit nicely on the forward deck of my Rebel Ilaga, without getting in the way of paddling. I bought a 3 Ltr pouch for water and still had room for a couple of coldies for those days you just want to kick back and hang in the mangroves. I also had nice access to my phhone and GoPro camera.

Excellent product, fits to…

Submitted by: paddler897257 on 11/16/2020
Excellent product, fits to deck well low profile, convenient for water bladder

Very well designed product,…

Submitted by: paddler897259 on 11/16/2020
Very well designed product, great to store water bladder and snacks.

A very well made product.…

Submitted by: paddler894638 on 11/3/2020
A very well made product. It’s the perfect size and so easy to access all the items that you need to have right at your fingertips! I love it!

Love the low profile of this…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/19/2020
Love the low profile of this pod. It can hold my water bladder and all that I need right in front of me. Easy to remove and reattach too.

Just got my deckpod from…

Submitted by: Bugster71 on 10/19/2020
Just got my deckpod from Gearlab as a replacement for another deck bag. Much better storage & it doesn't impede on paddling or rolling. Great storage for float & pump making them very accessible if needed & not tying up deck lines. Great work Gearlab. Cheers.

Low profile and very well…

Submitted by: paddler888659 on 10/15/2020
Low profile and very well made. Love it.

Brilliant design

Submitted by: paddler879683 on 9/23/2020
Brilliant design

Traveling and using other…

Submitted by: kayakfishPN on 9/22/2020
Traveling and using other boats made really easy you know your personal equipment can be secured and accessable. I got one for my wife then immediately out in an order for myself . Strong no issues using them several times already.

I have been looking for a…

Submitted by: wm1904 on 8/23/2020

I have been looking for a deck bag to fit my wants and this one does it flawlessly! I just got to use it today for the first time and was very impressed! i no longer have my pump and paddle float hiding behind my seat and feel a little more at ease having it just in front of me just in case. Build quality so far looks sturdy. I really was not expecting the storage area to be as large as it is while keeping a low profile. All in all this thing is perfect for me and i am very satisfied with the product!


Can't wait to try it on…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/11/2020
Can't wait to try it on water. Just perfect size!

Received my Pod a few weeks…

Submitted by: MoLLeKe on 8/7/2020
Received my Pod a few weeks ago, used it on my Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak. Mounting was a bit difficult at first, but when I found a good spot and mounting holes, installation is a breeze with the quick disconnects included. Excellent product!

Got mine today. Great piece…

Submitted by: paddler842562 on 8/3/2020
Got mine today. Great piece of kit

During my sea kayaking in the…

Submitted by: mysticeyes on 7/22/2020
During my sea kayaking in the past 30 plus years, I had never tried a deck bag that I've liked, and as a result I have had only a pump and a paddle float on deck, while most of the few other things that I keep nearby are stowed in the cockpit. I have recently purchased the first deck bag that I've liked, the Gearlab Deck Pod, to enable me to keep a few other things at hand without having them scattered all over my deck. At first sight, I liked its compactness and rather minimalist design. This avoids the problem of most deck bags having too many features and/or too much volume and ending up looking like ugly camel humps atop the boat and presenting more "sail area" for the winds to play with; they encourage people to carry too much stuff on deck and even interfere with the path of the paddle. I also have no problem with the Gearlab not incorporating a dry bag within it. I assume that anything I carry on deck will get wet (surprisingly enough, I expect kayaking to be a wet sport), but if I have something that has to stay dry, it will be in a dry bag inside the Gearlab. As to the quality of the workmanship and materials, it is quite high. The fabric, the mesh, zipper, buckles, etc. should be good for many years. Nowadays I have the following items inside or strapped to this bag: paddle float, pump, 32 ounce bottle, a sandwich or snack, a length of dacron line, LED headlamp, small multi-tool thing and boat repair kit, a Pelican case for car keys and wallet. Other survival gear such as a whistle, hand compass, etc., are stuffed in my PFD pockets. I rather like the way that the Gearlab bag is strapped to the deck lines with four YKK buckles. I've found that it takes only a minute to remove them when I want to switch the bag to another boat, and I dislike leaving the little straps on the boat when I leave the bag at home, or just going for a short creek paddle in the vicinity. All in all, I am very happy with the way that this bag works for me, and can recommend it highly.

Excellent quality deck bag…

Submitted by: Kelisea on 7/16/2020
Excellent quality deck bag with well thought out design. Fits my pump, float, camera mount and snacks and drink with room to spare. Has a stylish, low profile design that does not interfere with my paddle action. Easy to attach to my perimeter lines and carry handle is a bonus. I now have a tidy deck and no longer need to fiddle with my bungee straps to secure my items.

Meets expectations, and…

Submitted by: paddler819803 on 7/10/2020
Meets expectations, and expectations were high. This is a smart piece of gear. It has exactly what I need: a place to hold my pump and paddle float, and a zippered pocket to hold my hard case in which I keep wallet and car keys. I keep one side of the clips attached to my deck lines, so with four clicks it snaps securely on my deck. It's cut my setting-up-to-launch time down nicely. The handle is made to flop under the pod so it doesn't stick out and risk you accidentally grabbing it instead of your skirt loop in case of wet exit. In practice, it sometimes does poke out, but it's bright orange, so if that's a concern, you'll notice it and can tuck it back under. Construction seems really solid. I really wanted this for xmas and no one got it for me. Glad I got it myself; it's a genuine asset.

I just received my Deck Pod a…

Submitted by: SLively on 6/30/2020
I just received my Deck Pod a few days ago and used it for the first time yesterday. An excellent product! It's very well made, installs on my foredeck easily and stays put. I have a handheld gps mounted 6-8 inches in front of my cockpit and place the Deck Pod just forward of that. It holds my bilge pump and paddle float securely and the zipper for the central pocket is easily reached. I haven't had it out in heavy weather or high waves, but it seems solid enough to handle them. I highly recommend it.

We have another type deck pod…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/29/2020
We have another type deck pod on another kayak, but this gearpod is way better!!! Plenty of room for stuff, food, water, etc. Outside straps for water/drink bottles. Simply amazing!

Functionally Elegant DesignI…

Submitted by: wmbeverleyblanco on 6/22/2020
Functionally Elegant Design I use it as a readily accessible emergency kit. Please design more products for easy access inboard and cockpit and for overnight trips

I've been researching…

Submitted by: Manx on 6/19/2020
I've been researching different deck pods for my sea kayak and I decided on the Gearlab for several reasons: First, I had previously purchased a Gearlab Akiak paddle and their new paddle case and I was impressed with the quality of both items. Secondly, I liked the design of the Gearlab in that it has external straps to secure a bilge pump and paddle float (or in my case, a water bottle). The internal zippered compartment is roomy enough to store my GoPro accessories and waterproof case that contain my cell phone and wallet and some snack bars. It's easier to access items in the deck pod than in the day hatch making it great for the often used items. The case secures tightly to the deck using the included straps which attach to the deck rigging. The orange carry handle is sewn to the case in a manner that it naturally folds under the case when mounted to the deck so it will not be confused with the skirt loop if you need to make an emergency evacuation when upside-down in the water. The case will hold a hydration bladder, but I prefer to attach and insulated water bottle to the outside of the case because I paddle in hot temperatures and I like an ice-cold beverage to drink. The small opening intended for the hydration bladder tube, is also useful for stuffing energy bar wrappers back into the bag without needing to undo the zipper. Lastly, I like the low profile and design of the case. Time will tell how well it holds up under Florida sun and salt water exposure, but so far, I really like this deck bag.

This is a nicely-made, well…

Submitted by: porkrind on 6/17/2020
This is a nicely-made, well thought out item that solves several problems for me. I like that I can store my pump and paddle float securely without wedging them under the deck bungees, yet still access both easily. I've found it to be more difficult than I'd like getting the pump back under the bungees in a pinch while still paddling for stability. This solves that problem. I also like having my hydration bladder, snacks and other small items at the ready without jamming my PFD pockets so full of stuff that I look like a lumpy version of the Michelin man.

Great design, neat on deck…

Submitted by: dswatters on 6/1/2020
Great design, neat on deck storage of rescue gear with room for extras

Excellent product, slim size…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/28/2020
Excellent product, slim size yet versatile functionality.

Got my deck pod for mothers…

Submitted by: paddler783918 on 5/27/2020
Got my deck pod for mothers day and due to Covid 19 couldn't use it til last week. It was extremely useful holding my paddle float, pump, water bottle, snacks and camera, basically everything that wasn't on my body and it was super easy to access and kept everything neat and in a low profile format. Love it.

Ordered 2 of these, one for…

Submitted by: paddler777356 on 5/17/2020
Ordered 2 of these, one for my wife & one for myself. Just installed them on our Wilderness 165's. Puts it all together in one neat package that is compact and rides low on the deck. Paddle float, pump & camelbak bladder. Plus room for some small incidentals.

Nice looking deck bag. I…

Submitted by: SantiagoFTPaddle on 5/12/2020
Nice looking deck bag. I still need to get a water bladder for it.

This is a quick follow-up…

Submitted by: North-Aus on 5/9/2020
This is a quick follow-up review now that I have had the Deck Pod for over a year. During this time I have used the Deck Pod extensively from hour-long rolling sessions in the fresh (it is useful for holding some googles and a bottle of water) to week-long ocean expeditions. Gearlab make a number of useful products, but to me the Kalleq Paddle and Deck Pod stand out as class leading in quality and functionality. The Deck Pod has not showed any sign of wear, deterioration or failure to date. I live in a tropical climate and high levels of sunlight, sand and dried up salt can be hard on gear. I find zippers are often the first area to suffer with salt build up (despite rinsing in fresh water). Zippers on the Deck Pod to date have not had any issues - even at the end of a week long sea kayak camping expedition where they were never rinsed. The functionality of the Deck Pod remains as originally described and I find myself now carrying more safety gear as it is easier to stow and have readily accessible. And never have I had the Deck Pod impede my kayaking - I can place it on my kayak in a position where I can easily reach it but even with a Storm Roll the bag never gets in the way of the paddle. Overall my original impressions of the Deck Bag stand with some added comfort in that the bag is holding up well to longer term use.

I expected it to be a bit…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/5/2020
I expected it to be a bit more universal. However upon installing it i learned thats its a bit looser fit. I have the Dagger Axis 12 and it sits ontop of my net and mesh cover. Once on it was eventually able to be secured down. Waiting on a couple mote itema to arrive to see how it really holds up.

very good product, very…

Submitted by: fran6mori7 on 4/28/2020
very good product, very practical to save time. I recommand it

Great and practical bag.…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/9/2020
Great and practical bag. Plenty of storage space and easy access. It would have been the perfect bag if it was waterproof.

Just ordered mine, got it in…

Submitted by: BONES on 2/24/2020

Just ordered mine, got it in 3 days. Room for my 2 Liter water bladder. The mesh pocket for water tube is pure genius. Plenty of room for small gear and snacks. Everything is accessible from the front of my kayak. At only 4 inches in height its streamlined and doesn't get in the way. Buy yours soon, they will be a popular accessory item for the season. I use a NRS pump and float, they fit great and are easy to remove. Keep an eye on Gearlab. Great products for kayak enthusiasts.


Great deck bag. Holds water…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 2/24/2020

Great deck bag. Holds water sack as described. Also has a clip for car keys and a pocket for extras. Only grip, it is not waterproof. You will need waterproof bags to keep items dry


I Just got the Gearlab deck…

Submitted by: paddler580085 on 1/28/2020

I Just got the Gearlab deck pod I truly am impressed by the quality of the stitching. The design is innovative they have considered drainage requirements of paddlers with large strong webbing I was hopeful that the design would be a low enough profile to allow for a strong storm roll I feel it still will allow me to!


Haven't used it on the water…

Submitted by: Nighthawk59 on 12/30/2019

Haven't used it on the water yet, but it secures well to the forward perimeter lines. Should put almost everything I need within easy reach. I like the connection straps and how easy they can be moved.


This is what I want in a…

Submitted by: paddler573862 on 12/30/2019

This is what I want in a deck bag. I was initially worried that I would not have enough room for the things I normally carried. It was a needless concern. I had been carrying extra water bottles but the hydration pack feature and the fact that I have an option of using either a 3 liter a 2 liter bladder (I own both) eliminates bringing any water beyond the bladder. I have a dry box for wallet and keys and that fits in with the bladder. a rope, sunscreen, and sunglasses fit into the mesh compartment. I love this bag. The only thing I would like added would be a strap with 2 female connectors to hold the tie downs when the bag is off the deck and to keep the straps from flopping around when transporting my kayak. This would eliminate removing the straps after each excursion.


High Quality design and…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/28/2019

High Quality design and construction. Keeps important items at arms reach in a compact, sleek holder.


Nice design, simple to use…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/21/2019

Nice design, simple to use and quality workmanship


It's the most organized bag…

Submitted by: paddler562019 on 10/15/2019

It's the most organized bag that I've used. The materials are really good quality, and the space in the bag, more than enough for tour gadgets, food and a water camel bag. Perfect.


So I've done a few short…

Submitted by: Canadian_kayaker_adv on 9/30/2019

So I've done a few short expeditions and day excursions with the Deck Pod on my kayak and I really like it, it's super convenient. The new Pod is made with durable materials that will last for years. It was designed to secure the pump and paddle float and have an hydration pack at arms reach and to store some other accessories (snacks, spare compass ect. ) in the middle compartment ( approx. 3 litres.) It's not a dry deck bag, it has a mesh back section for water to evacuate. The Deck Pod is attached to the deck lines with easy loop through straps/buckle clip nice and tight and is easily accessible from the cockpit. I've done some rolls and paddled in windy and rough sea state conditions, and being narrow and low profile, it did not affect my paddling at all, i'm super happy with it. I give it a thumbs up Gearlab.


Finally I got a very useful…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/25/2019

Finally I got a very useful thing to be fixed over the deck of the kayak to transport various accessories. Such as a kayak pump and paddle float, or for a water bag up to 3 liters. All always at hand while you are paddling which makes it unnecessary to use the watertight deck hatches or the cockpit to store them. The materials are of good quality and the chosen design gives the deck pod an attractive elegance.


A 5 stars accessory: Deck…

Submitted by: Belen on 9/4/2019

A 5 stars accessory: Deck Pod, the new Gearlab product for paddlers.

I think is just what we need to organise our kayaking essentials in an easy and fast way to get it while paddling, without stopping to open any storage compartment (forget twisting to get something from it).

I use to carry hydration bladder (no more bottles exposed outside or turning inside the kayak), pump (so easy to free it from de Deck pod), paddle float, river knife, lip stick sun protection, sun cream, nose clip, some food (like dry fruit snacks or energy sticks), even the camera or other gadgets.

I highly recommend it. Another advantage is that avoid water if necessary, so you don’t have to worry about.

I’m in love with the design that fits my kayak, Gearlab takes care of every detail and the finish is fantastic, the materials they use are high quality and that makes the item an essential for kayaking comfortably. I like the easy way you can fix it in and release it from the Kayak’s deck with buckles.

For me, I just see advantages on it.

It’s not the only Gearlab product I use, I’m so happy with all of them, but it seems that they improve in every new accessory they design. Recently it’s been awarded with best paddling transport/storage/launching from Paddling Magazine Industry Awards, which is another recognition to the accessory.

It’s a very good investment for kayakers, I truly recommend Deck Pod from Gearlab.


It appears that Gearlab’s…

Submitted by: North-Aus on 9/4/2019

It appears that Gearlab’s Deck Pod is a deck bag designed with considerable thought to the needs of sea kayakers.

Gearlab sent me the Deck Pod at no charge which I have agreed to on the proviso that any opinions (positive or negative) are mine to express. The below is an initial impression, with longer term outcomes to follow in time.

I don’t see that many deck bags of any brand about on the decks of sea kayaks around this part of the world. Most people stuff a number of items under the front bungee cords for easy access, and keep other items in their PFD, below deck in the cockpit or in the day hatch (if the boat has one). My approach has to date been the same (no deck bag).

So I feel it is important to first reflect on why a sea kayak would bother using a deck bag: • Neaten up the existing items one may store in the front bungees, PFD and cockpit. • Provide additional storage volume for longer trips. • Provide quick and easy access to essential items. This is especially the case on rough seas, where getting to items in a day hatch and especially below deck can be difficult to dangerous. The location of a deck bag means it is the easiest and most stable location to access out on the ocean. This is not only a convenience factor, it can be a safety factor.

Whilst I haven’t used a deck bag for specifically for gear previously I often fish from my sea kayak and so I have had a procession of insulated deck bags for storing my catch. This has given me some insight into a few issues with the designs. Some of the common issues I have seen with deck bags (and my insulated fish deck bags): • Poor attachments to the deck lines – leaving the bag too loose and subject to move about. • Components that fail too quickly. The deck bag needs to survive constant UV and salt exposure. They need to be tough. • Bags that impede efficient paddling or rolling. • Bags that catch the wind. • Bags that are fiddly or difficult to access on the water, negating one of the points of moving the gear on to the deck in the first place.

After spending some time picking over Gearlab’s Deck Pod it is apparent how they have considered and tried to address all of the above (and probably a few other things that I haven’t thought of). Let me try to explain the bag in a series of dot points: • The bag is not large – maybe totalling close to 10 litres if the internal and external storage was all tallied up. It is also shaped like a limpet (or more accurately a slug) with a broad, concave underside and then all sides tapering up and in from the deck. This means it is relatively low profile on the front deck and does not impede any paddle strokes or rolls. • There are two adjustable ports on either side of the bag. The two most common items sea kayakers want easy access to when things get hairy out on the water are a bilge pump and paddle float. The two ports are designed to fit these items (or similar sized roughly cylindrical gear). On closer examination the attention Gearlab have put into designing these ports is impressive. The back port is padded, with both hook and loop fastener to adjust to the approximate size for your pump and also a webbing and buckle cinch to tighten a little further to hold the item tight. The front port is simply a loop of webbing and clip buckle so that the clip can be quickly released on the water to take out the item. However there is more to its design. Gearlab has used polyacetal buckles made by YKK of Japan for the various buckles and zip on the bag. However for the front gear ports they use buckles from another Japanese manufacturer – Nifco – also in polyacetal. This buckle has a little ‘lip’ under the clip where the webbing doubles back to tighten. Hard to describe without pictures, but the result is that the webbing loop cannot be tightened, or more importantly loosened, unless the buckle is unclipped. Meaning that even in the craziest surf wipe-out, your paddle float secured to your deck bag is not going to come loose. No doubt it would have been easier for Gearlab to specify another YKK buckle for this clip and pretty much no-one would have noticed. But I guess they wanted to be sure that webbing wouldn’t come loose under hard use. I am impressed, it is this sort of commitment to detail that separates the good brands from the pretenders. • The Deck Pod is in no way waterproof, indeed it has mesh drainage ports so water can get out of (but also into) the bag quickly. This is a good thing. Waterproof zips don’t stay waterproof for long, especially under constant sun and salt, and seize up too easily with sand and salt. Roll top dry bags work great, but have you ever tried to roll one up nice and tight – one, two, three – on the front deck in a big sea? Easy enough on a flat lake, but a rough ocean is when deck bags get wet. If you have a few items that need to be waterproofed, much better to store them in a small dry bag and put that into the Deck Pod. Most of the stuff you will want in there (water, safety gear, some snacks) can, and will, get wet. • The Deck Pod attaches via four webbing straps that can be tensioned through buckle clips. The webbing has loops sewn at each end with a half twist (to make it easier to thread). You choke the webbing on to your deck lines, clip the bag on and tension the webbing. As the buckles sit flat on the deck they don’t loosen. I have used a few other types of attachments for deck bags. The worst are those plastic clips or carabiners. They never sit flush, are hard to tension right and seem to break too easily. Better is two sided Velcro tape. A bit more fiddly and not as tight but durable and secure. The Gearlab solution is better again and the easiest and tightest attachment method I have tried. For a very narrow deck kayak they may not be able to be tightened enough with the above approach. But if you choke the webbing to each other instead of the deck lines and run a continuous loop under the deck lines it could be made tight enough. • Gearlab have added a carry handle to make the bag just that bit more ergonomic to lug around. Cleverly, the carry handle is stitched so that it always tucks up under the bag on the deck, and won’t get snagged on the water or confused with the grab loop on your spray skirt. • The bag opens via one non-waterproof zipper running lengthways across one side of the top of the bag. Internally, there is basically one big cavity, with a mesh pocket to one side and an opening towards the front where you can route a hydration tube or even wedge a GPS or other device from the outside. I could see myself slipping a wrapper into through this hole after a snack, instead of undoing the zipper. Internally there is a plastic hook clip for securing a lanyard to any items that are critical to not getting dropped over the side (e.g. mobile phone case). The plastic hook clip looks well made, though I have had plenty break in backpacks after a few years and only time will tell. Pretty easy to replace it with a small carabiner if it does eventually break as the fabric tape loop is exposed within the bag. • There is a long mesh pocket on top of the bag. This would a good spot for stuffing in a map or a couple of snack bars if conditions weren’t really rough. In really rough conditions I could imagine items could be lost from this area. • The bag is lightly padded (feels like maybe 3mm closed cell foam is used throughout the bags construction). I guess that is to reduce the impact from any hard objects rattling around in the bag from damaging the deck of your kayak. It also means that the bag floats, at least when empty. • Gearlab calls the fabric ‘450D DWR Hydrolysis Resistant Fabric’. I am assuming that means that the fabric is not nylon (which is subject to hydrolysis) and probably polyester. Polyester would be preferable also in being relatively resistant to UV breakdown.

Of course, the above counts for nothing unless the gear performs out on the water. An initial test has revealed nothing or concern or different to that noted above. The deck bags low profile means it doesn’t cause any issues either paddling or rolling. I added a couple of 500ml water bottles to the bag to see how they rattled about during rolling but didn’t even notice them. Pricing for the Deck Pod is pretty competitive with other deck bags on the market. Most, but not all of Gearlab’s products (for example I love the design of their dry bag, but it is too expensive compared to the alternatives) are competitively priced.

The Sea-to-Summit one is another reasonable deck bag, but the Gearlab bag is better designed for its purpose. For example the bungee cord webbing on the Sea-to-Summit is not going to hold items well enough in a combat roll situation. I’ve had a good look over the internet at other sea kayak deck bags as well – not the ideal research method – but I can pretty quickly see flaws in most of the other designs if they are to be used for serious sea kayaking.

I do like to get a lot more use on gear before I conclude an opinion and will post a second follow up review when that is complete. Some issues only become apparent over time. However at this stage, I do feel that Gearlab have produced a deck bag that is better designed than most for ocean sea kayaking.


As an instructor/guide, the…

Submitted by: Alex-Martin on 9/3/2019

As an instructor/guide, the Deck Pod allows me to easily keep my basic instructor kit in hand as I switch seamlessly between my different boats. I'm able to fit my paddle float, bilge pump, VHF radio, sunscreen, first aid kit, repair kit, spare whistle, and sponge in my Deck Pod. Durability is important to me, as it has proven to be for Gearlab as well. I haven't used it for a long period of time, but the design seems as though it will hold up to the rigor of daily paddling. I've used quite a few different designs of deck bags over the years, and the Deck Pod's layout suites me best. I can easily replace a paddle float with a water bottle and still be assured it stays in while paddling. I've put the Deck Pod through two days of surf kayaking without any worry of losing any piece of gear. Two things of note: the top mesh compartment doesn't fit my VHF (Standard Horizon HX870) so I choose to keep this on my person when I anticipate using it, thus assuring quick and ready access to it rather than zipped up in the Pod. I also look forward to seeing additional/extra tie-down clips for sale on the website; I'd like to put them on the perimeter lines of all my boats, allowing a more rapid switch between kayaks. All in all, the new Gearlab Deck Pod is a sturdy, well-designed deck bag, ideal for gear storage for recreational and professional use alike. I will definitely be picking up more Deck Pods for my instructors and look forward to putting more use on it!