04 October 2010

Gear: the humble IKEA bag

Seen around the globe (or at least where Ikea is present) the humble blue Ikea bag is the ultimate gear schlepping tote.

While some use the blue bag as the ultimate fashion accessory , I have not found a better, simpler, sturdier, lighter and cheaper soft container to carry my kayaking stuff from the landing spot to the campsite.
On overnighters my kayak is usually light enough that two persons can easily just grab the kayak by the bow and stern and move it above the high tide mark and close to camp.
On longer trips the kayak tends to be loaded heavier.
Often it is necessary to unload at least some of the gear before moving the boat to the overnighting location.

The blue Ikea bag (named Frakta, in the Ikea catalogue) is just the ticket.
It is the last item I pack in my kayak before securing the hatch cover and the first one to come out and be filled with gear.
It certainly is sturdy enough to carry just about any load that one person is comfortable to lift.
The fabric is the universal "blue tarp" that is water resistant enough to be laid down on moist ground. 

ex Cap_27

The handles/straps are solidly sewn onto the fabric to prevent a premature blow-out (unlike the handles of the stripy "refugee" bags).
I have noticed those blue bags in many pictures from kayakers all over the world, from innocent overnighters to famous expeditions to remote parts of the globe.

Image supplied by Douglas Wilcox, SeakayakPhoto
And last but not least, this great piece of equipment is by far the cheapest item of my kit: a whole $ 1.99


  1. Damiano, excellent post! In the UK they are only 0.40GBP ~ 0.65AUD so they are even more of a bargain. I think another the reason they are so successful is that you can usually get a whole front or rear compartment into one bag. When we go camping I sort/pack the things for front, day and rear compartments into three bags before we go. This speeds up the packing process. On the way home I sort the stuff differently. Anything needing washed in the washing machine goes in one bag, anything just needing rinsed/dried goes in another and anything needing kept dry and packed away goes in the last. :o)

  2. Use a couple of them every trip. Excellent bit of gear that lasts longer than stuff much more expensive.

  3. I love Ikea bags. I first used them in Norway on a kayaking trip, and once I got home, I bought a bunch. During the summer, two or three organize my gear in my car's trunk. In the U.S., they're $0.59.

    Seems like kayak bloggers are talking about them too: You & http://www.paddlinglight.com/articles/equipment/ikea-tote-bags-for-kayakers/ & http://kajakbloggen.blogspot.com/2009/02/hyldest-til-ikea-posen.html

  4. Great idea. I love cheap items that work well. Strong plastic bags put in old stuff sacks work well as waterproof storage bags. Also cheap!

  5. I use it as a sea anchor too.

    - VivKen, Singapore


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