I paddle and teach paddling in the Pacific Northwest where the saltwater ranges between 45F and 60F throughout the year.  Preferring rough water and paddling solo due to my schedule, I bring along a few items in a small dry bag just in case the boat needs a simple repair, myself or students need a snack, first aid and/or need clothing for keeping warm or keeping the sun off in in summer.

Basic Contents in the Dry Bag:

  • A small repair kit
  • Basic First Aid supplies
  • Extra paddle clothing for hot or cold weather
  • Communication – If in big water I will keep my VHF radio tethered in my PFD. For local waters, the phone goes in the PFD but tethered in a waterproof case.

Where to Place the Dry Bag:

  • I keep the small dry bag in my forward day hatch. I added a tether to the hatch cover so it doesn’t end up in the drink.
  • If you don’t have a hatch, it could fit in front of your foot pedals if there’s room
  • Or on your back deck under bungees.

If on your back deck or in front of your foot pedals, make sure to secure it down with a tether or clip of some sort.  But make it easy to remove if in a hurry.

No Bungees? How to Secure to your Ski:

  • NSI spectra loop with plate – These stick to your ski and are great for setting up a bungee or rope tie-down system. If in Hood River NSI is based there.
  • Get a dry bag with daisy chain loops or similar for easier securing to your craft.  Kayak deck bags can work too.

What’s in the Bag?

Repair Kit:

All items go in a ziplock or similarly waterproofed small bag

  • Foil tape or a quick drying hull repair product. Foil tape stick on everything.
  • Superglue for repairs. Squeeze in a dash of it in gelcoat or fiberglass crack or chip
  • Bungee and small hook for Emergency Steering. Or get the Mocke Emergency Steering product – See how it works here (pictured)
  • Extra rudder parts. Extra rudder for long trips and long distance racing.
  • For safety in case of a stranding, a lighter or other fire starter.
  • Electrical tape for misc repairs. Bungee can also be used for life jacket repairs.

First Aid Kit:

All items go in a ziplock or similarly waterproofed small bag.  Keep in mind your region for what goes in the bag. For tropical locations where a reef or jelly fish sting cut could lead to an infection, bring the right medications.  Students’ epi-pens in my state can only be purchased by the user.

  • Energy bars and/or gel
  • Electrolytes
  • Tylenol, Advil and Baby Aspirin (for heat issues)
  • Extra sun block and UV lip balm
  • In cold water – chemical hand warmers
  • In cold regions – a mylar space blanket or bivy
  • First Aid items like band-aids, gauze, triangular bandages, Neosporin
  • Silicia gel to keep these items drier

Optional extras in my Dry Bag:

  • Surf wax for the paddle shaft
  • Sunglasses on a retention strap
  • Phone or VHF radio both in waterproof cases/bags
  • Extra clothing – neoprene hood and gloves for cold weather.  Wide brimmed sun hat or a long sleeve UV shirt for hot weather.


Check out my pre-recorded online instruction video:  VHF Radio Basics with Robert Nissenbaum 


About Rob Casey – Named a pioneer in the SUP industry by Stand Up Journal, Rob is the author of “Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers” and “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips.” Rob owns SUP, Surf Ski and Kayak school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle.


Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips