This past summer, Advanced Elements of Benicia, California, introduced their new WaterTech™ Gear line of deck and cargo bags designed to fully complement Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks and paddle boards, as well as any kayak or watercraft.
The new WaterTech Gear accessory line consists of seven models ranging in size from 3 to 60 liters, with retail prices of $24.95 to $79.99. The product line covers a wide range of applications from small roll-tops and waterproof backpacks to deck bags and duffels.
We decided to take a look at the product line, beginning with the new 20-liter and 40-liter StashPak rolltop drybags.
The StashPaks are basically large duffels constructed from a heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin for water-resistance and durability; each is capable of handling quite a bit of gear. The bags are easy to use – after filling, simply roll down the top 3-5 times, then clip it shut. The more it’s rolled, the more water-resistant it becomes. (AirKayaks note: These are water- resistant, not water-proof. If you are concerned about your belongings, put them first in a waterproof ziplock inside the bag.)
Each bag comes with a nifty, removable, clip-on pack with zipper – perfect for small gear that needs to be easily accessed like phones, GPS, keys and wallet. When detached, the packs can also serve as carrying pouches; each has a handle and measures roughly 14 inches tall and 8 inches wide. The four attachment straps are adjustable roughly 7 inches each side, and each attachment point has an additional d-ring for lashing gear. As an added bonus, the StashPak body can be rolled up and stored inside the detachable pouch.
Each StashPak comes with two detachable carrying straps with clips; these attach to four d-rings located on the back side. The carrying straps turn the bag into a quasi-backpack; each can be adjusted from 24 to 42 inches in length. There are an additional two d-rings adjacent to the rolltop clips.
While not mentioned in the product specifications, each of the StashPaks come with a “compression valve” – basically a small valve that is screwed open or shut to add or remove air. To use, make sure you have a good seal of 3 to 5 rolls and then clip shut. Screw open the valve and start pushing out the air to create a vacuum, then screw the vent shut – this makes a smaller package if carrying a lot of gear. Conversely, one can open the valve and blow air in, making it more “floatable.”
Outer bag measurements are as follows:
20L: 26 inches tall (unrolled) with a 10 inch diameter. Rolled 4 times, 20 inches tall (unfilled)
40L: 34 inches tall (unrolled) with a 12 inch diameter. Rolled 4 times, 28 inches tall (unfilled).
The 20-liter and 40-liter StashPaks weigh 1.5 and 1.9 lbs respectively.
StashPacks in Use
We hauled out an AdvancedFrame DS-XL, to check the StashPaks in-use.
We started filling the 20-liter version with sandwiches, cameras, windbreakers, GPS, keys, water bottle and a few other items, but only managed to fill it halfway; this a good-sized bag, perfect for an afternoon of gear.
While there are no attachment clips, the StashPak 20L easily fits on the upper deck. Dependent on how much it’s filled, one can somewhat secure it via two methods.
- Under the bungee deck lacing. Slide the StashPak under the deck lacing, unclip the detachable pack and reclip over the bungees.
- Over the bungee deck lacing. Use the detachable shoulder straps to criss-cross over the bag and under the pack, connecting diagonally to the kayak d-rings.
While the StashPak can also fit over the rear top deck, one needs to come up with a clip system to attach to the kayak’s d-rings – the second method above will work in a pinch, albeit somewhat loosely.
By using the compression valve, we managed to whittle it down to a pretty compact size, making it easier to fit behind the seat, and under the rear deck.
We rolled up the 20L bag for storage in the detachable pack, but it took a little effort. By folding once the length, then again the width, then rolling the length tightly, we were able to zip it in.
We put the 20-Liter StashPak and another deck bag inside the StashPak 40L and hardly made a dent – the 40L can hold a LOT of gear.
Despite its size, one can lash it over the bungee deck lacing but the larger footprint may be problematic in wind. It’s a bit too large to fit behind the seat under the rear deck.
Bottom line – the StashPaks are versatile, storage bag options. The 20L is a convenient size for a day on the water, working great above deck, below deck, and in seating compartments. The 40L is a great choice for longer camping trips, more gear and larger or more open watercraft.
The removable, zippering pocket is a plus, providing easy access to small items that would otherwise get lost in the duffel, and the option to take valuables with you, rather than leaving them behind.
With the included backstraps, the StashPaks turn into convenient bags for short hikes as well as camping trips.
Lastly, the StashPaks are perfect for paddle boards, easily attaching to most top decks using the same methods outlined above.
Retails prices are $49.95 and $59.95 for the 20L and 40L respectively.
You can also read the Guide to Choosing Your WaterTech Gear Bag from Advanced Elements.