Like any deck of any vessel the deck is an important aspect of craft construction. Also like most water craft operators they like to keep the deck as clean or clear as possible. I guess we all have our reasons. I like my fore deck (in front of me) functional. I like my rear deck clear and free because that is where most of my roll terminations are. Therefore having anything impeding my roll to the back deck is a hinderance for me. Now I don’t have to do a roll that ends on my rear deck , that is what I prefer. For some following reasons.
I know there are those staunch purists that like a crisp and clear fore deck. Not me. Gerard here likes his fore deck clear but I think he would put the right deckbag there if he was so inclined. We had a discussion about that on our last paddle. Some like it simple for navigation items like compass, map case, GPS etc. Some like to have ease of access for a spear paddle unhindered by objects such as deck bags or other paraphernalia. Some will argue that it is simply aesthetically pleasing to the eye and curves of the kayak. Some just think there is not the right conforming deckbag out there suitable for or to its function. Some just want a water bottle on deck, all they need.
I can only report from my personal experience. I love my deck bag where I put it on the deck before every outing. It has become to me as routine as putting on my PFD. I like the low profile of the one made by Northwater. It is the smaller peaked and wedge shaped one and I have been using for 5 years now. It straps on with four individual lashings. Two at the front and two at the back. Easily put on and taken off in all conditions. It has two side mesh external pockets that run length wise to the bag itself. In there I keep my GPS tethered to the deckbag of course. I also keep my homemade hatch cover remover (made out of a paint can lid remover) in the side pouch as well as a floating pair of hard plastic pliers, lip balm, nose plugs????? (I think I put them there when surfing one time), and I plastic sealable bag for camera or whatever.
On the top of the deckbag are crisscrossing bungees where I tether things like my GPS, my Greenland paddle wrench (because if I don’t I forget it), and sometimes my waterproof camera all of which will fit nicely in the side pouches. The bungees also serve to secure my OP hat, my noeprene gloves or mitts and on occasion my shades (i’d be very careful about putting those there though because a wave of most any size capable of washing your deck will also wash away your shades). I know.
This particular deckbag opens in the front via a horizontal zipper and the bag is NOT waterproof and is made out of a strong Cordura fabric that so far as proven it’s worth in gold. Inside in plastic baggies are two handheld flares, a lighter and matches, two cliff bars always, my flare gun and cartridge, and my camera from time to time as well as a dry cloth in a bag for wiping sunglasses and camera (very important to me) as long as I can remember to bring a dry one each time : ). Gerard had a micro fleece cloth that was the cats meow and very absorbant so I’ll be getting one of those for next outing I think.
Also most important to me is the usefulness of an elevated attachment point for my compass. The Nordkapp has ones you can get installed but are so far forward that I cannot see or read the damn thing in bad light or bad weather and it means having a clear viewing area in between so you can see the thing. Not always practical for me because I like having my spare paddle on the fore deck for easy access and because I like my back deck clear for rolling. I know , I know have a few rolls besides the back deck roll because you shouldn’t rely on just one. But if you only have one keep the area clear where you will most likely be forced to go I guess.
Having a clear back deck also makes rescuing operations and re-entering in assisted rescues easier. Maybe having two clear decks is what you like, and good for you on that.
Having access to my gadgets, a place for my camera, my snacks and other odds and ends has just proved so utilitarian with this deckbag that it has become one of my favourite purchases to date. Also of note when used during surfing or rolling it has never filled with water. But keeping things in water proof bags will eliminate any problems with that.
Overall this bag is very aesthetic and streamlined for a Nordkapp deck because of its peak and wedge shape. Provides easy access to essentials at least what I consider essentials and certainly was reasonably priced.
If I’m worried about maps or map bags when on a trip, the deckbag provides excellent attachment points for a map case that allows the map case to sit and fit nicely on the front portion of my sprayskirt for easy viewing. Easy to see compass and easy to see maps, what more do you need?………The Deck Bag!