As a rule, we don’t do lists. If we did a list of kayak in-hull drybags, it would only have one bag on it anyway, and it’s this one: the Salmon Stowfloat from Watershed. So for those of you who really, really like lists… here you are! Now we’re all happy.
Watershed makes seriously tough drybags for hard use: river guides, pro river runners, people who wear a lot of camo, you get the picture. They have duffels, packs, and all that, and they have dedicated kayak bags like the Salmon, a shorter and wider version of the Futa, which might be a better choice depending on the geometry of your hull (note: the Salmon was actually designed for the Liquid Logic XP10, but it fits a lot more hulls than that!).
We might prefer the Salmon in most cases though; the Salmon’s extra width lets it open up a little more to hold bigger items, and the shorter depth makes it easier to reach stuff at the bottom. Maybe you have one of those ubiquitous Pelican Mission kayaks you bought at Costco? So do we – hey, it was too inexpensive to pass up – and we can easily shove the Stowfloat forward of the footrests, and retrieve it just as easily.
At 22 inches long the Stowfloat is not made to hold a lot of gear. It’s perfect for those items you know you won’t need until you haul out: change of clothes, electronics, last-ditch survival gear, you know the stuff. But here is the cherry on top: the Salmon is a float bag, so it does double duty for rescuing yourself or others in a pinch. It even has an inflate/deflate tube so you can dial in the inflation perfectly to fit your hull. If you secure it inside your boat it will do the job of a traditional float bag, limiting the amount of water incursion if you capsize while providing flotation for the boat itself.
Like all Watershed bags the Stowfloat has a Ziploc-style closure, welded seams, all the good technology. The closure also has a compression strap, and if you loosen it up just right you can wear it like a daypack for short hauls like portaging.
Bottom line, we really like the design. Having some items closer to the waterline instead of on the deck is nice for roll control. Any way you rig it, the Salmon Stowfloat is a great addition both for longer trips where you need a little extra storage, shorter trips where you want to keep the deck clear, or any trip where you want the security of a float bag that just happens to do double duty as a drybag. A great piece of kit, and now it has its own list of one.