Do not store large amounts of gear on the deck, even if the items are secured properly. Items mounted on the deck raise the boat’s center of gravity.
Leave plenty of room so that your legs can enter the cockpit easily.
Fill empty interior spaces with inflatable air bags. These help keep your gear from shifting and provide extra buoyancy if the kayak is swamped. Don’t overinflate bags on a cool morning—the bags expand as the temperature increases.