Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or an absolute beginner, your kayak is an investment that’ll serve you for years, so it’s important to store, protect, and maintain it properly. If we had it our way, kayaks would make it through each trip without a scratch, but we all know this isn’t the case. Even though modern-day kayaks are designed to take a beating, it’s still essential that we know the basics to keep them in good shape.
This guide will talk you through some of the most common issues your kayak is likely to encounter as well as the best practices to combat them and keep your kayak in tip-top condition. Off-season maintenance requires little effort on your part but must be carried out on a regular basis, so let’s get to learning about what you can do!
1. Protect Your Kayak from the Sunlight and Moisture
Although kayaks are made to be use in the water and preferably in good weather conditions, when it comes the time to put it away, sunlight and moisture are your boat’s two worst enemies. Whatever material your kayak is made of, direct exposure to sunlight can lead to warping and dry rot, and leaving it wet can be similarly destructive. Wherever you choose to store your kayak (indoors is best), keep it out of direct sunlight, and keep it dry!
How can you best protect your kayak from sunlight and moisture?
- Consider applying a sun-protective coating to the surface of the craft.
- If stored indoors, keep your kayak away from sunlit windows.
- If stored outside, place a protective covering above your kayak, but make sure that the item is waterproof and UV-resistant.
- Angle the cover so that rain and snow will not collect and pool on it, or fall on the kayak.
- Ensure that the cover is big enough to keep the craft in the shade all day.
- Avoid leaving the covering in direct contact with the watercraft, as this could potentially be a way for mold or mildew to grow.
- Remove any soft components such as seats from the kayak and keep them inside, away from rodents and other animals that would love to chew through them and build nests.
- After using your kayak for fishing, wash it with soapy water, then rinse it clean.
- After using your kayak in a salty body of water, it must be rinsed off with fresh water.
- Dry your kayak off with a towel, and make sure its interior is fully drained out.
- Avoid exposing your boat to extreme temperatures, especially repeated freezing and thawing.
2. Defend Your Kayak Against Gravity
As a watercraft, your kayak’s natural habitat, so to speak, is where buoyant forces and water pressure support its hull. When stored on the ground or hanging in the air, your boat will be a bit out of its element.
If not properly stored, it can be warped or otherwise rendered useless simply through gravity’s constant pull on its own weight. If you keep your hard-material kayak in the right position, this risk can be mitigated. This does not apply as much to inflatable kayaks, which should be fine as long as they are deflated and disassembled while in storage.
How can you best protect your kayak from warping or denting?
- Never store your kayak upside down, especially with uneven pressure on the hull because that is the fastest way to cause warping.
- Don’t store a kayak on hard, flat surfaces.
- Don’t store a kayak on its end as this puts a lot of pressure on a single point.
- Never use the boat’s grab loops or carrying handles to support its weight.
- Rest your kayak on its side, which is the strongest part of the hull. This is, without question, the best way to store a kayak.
- Keep your kayak off the ground by supporting it with straps, netting, or rocks.
- Make sure that, whichever method you choose to support your boat, it distributes the craft’s weight evenly, and not too close to the ends or the center of the hull.
3. Defend Your Kayak Against Things That Might Happen at Night!
Several important considerations exist here. If you store your kayak outdoors, you need to protect it against would-be thieves. If you keep your kayak indoors, you’ll want to make sure that it won’t be in the way of your feet or your head, and either way that you won’t hurt yourself putting it away for the winter and taking it out again in the springtime.
How can you best protect your kayak from theft and from causing injuries?
- Try to find an outdoor storage space that isn’t visible to the public.
- For outdoor storage, run a strong steel cable through the grab handles or something similar, and secure it to an object like a building or a fence post that can’t be moved.
- For indoor storage, use wall-mounted brackets to support the kayak. If you don’t have space along a wall, suspend the craft from ceiling-mounted straps above another vehicle.
- Make sure that, whatever storage method you choose, it’s easy to access without straining your back by lifting it too far.
If you know how to store a kayak in a cool, dark, and dry place, out of everybody’s way, and on its side, then you should have no problem keeping it in top condition. You’ll be able to use it without problems for many years, whether you run rivers or fish in the ocean or just want to cross a pond.
Storing your kayak indoors can make your life significantly easier when it comes to maintenance and security but this isn’t always an option, and some of us have no choice but to store our kayak outside. Storing a kayak outside does present us with a new variety of problems, but as long as you keep it covered and securely fastened, you won’t have too many issues.
As long as we regularly maintain our kayaks, we’ll be able to enjoy it for years to come with little to no issues. If you are ever unsure of the best maintenance practices, you can typically refer to its manual or visit your local store since the team at these places are likely to provide some great tips and hacks to speed up your maintenance.