Now that you’re the proud owner of a kayak, you may want to store and take good care of it so that it lasts longer. Even if you didn’t pay that much upfront (there are some great models for less than $600 https://truthreels.com/best-fishing-kayak-reviews/under-600/ and even less than $500 https://truthreels.com/best-fishing-kayak-reviews/under-500/ ), you still want to make sure that it’s going to take the use for a good amount of time.
How to choose the storage place to store your kayak?
If you got yourself an inflatable kayak, you shouldn’t stress much on the storage as you may simply roll it/fold it and store it in a dry and cool place. The things get a bit more complicated if you have a regular hard-shell kayak, in which case its size and heft are going to count when picking its storage space.
There are four things to remember when choosing the storage space for your kayak:
- Sunlight- the UV rays may damage almost any type of hull material, so make sure the storage space is protected against the UVs.
- Heat: extreme heat may ruin the shape of the hull materials so you have to store it away from heat sources and from direct sunlight.
- Cold- cold temperatures aren’t good for your kayak either. Repeated freezing and thawing may damage your boat for good. This is really serious in the case of a fiberglass kayak that has been exposed to moisture several times
- Moisture: persistent exposure to moisture (rain, snow) can make the hull materials lose their performance a lot sooner
What are the best places for storing a kayak?
You may store your kayak indoor or outdoor.
- Indoor storage- it’s great if you have enough indoor storage for your kayak as it’s the best way to protect it against the elements
- Outdoor storage- not everyone has the luxury of having an indoor space for their kayak. Most of us are going to have to store it outside. Under a deck, under a strung-up tarp, below the eaves of a roof- these are great choices for protecting your kayak outside.
There are some tips to remember when choosing the outdoor space for your kayak:
- Make sure that the risk for snow or rain to collect in/on your kayak are rather slim. You may protect it with a tarp above, but you should make sure that the tarp isn’t going to fill up and pressing down on the hull, which is only going to ruin the shape of your kayak.
- It’s best that you find a shaded place, away from the UV rays and heat. If you don’t have much access to shade, you may very well use a weather-resistant tarp for covering the whole hull, 24/7. It’s best that you hang the tarp and don’t wrap it around your kayak as direct contact with the hall may lead to mold or fungal growth when it’s wet.
What’s the best place for storing your kayak?
The rule of thumb is to never ever store your kayak directly on the ground/floor as you may deform the hull and expose it to dirt and moisture.
Many kayakers are using a rack/suspension system for supporting the kayak:
- Suspended: you may hang your boat from the ceiling. A suspension system designed especially for a kayak is a great choice, but you can also use some wide webbing straps. if you didn’t spend much on the kayak (take a look at a great selection of kayaks less than $700 https://truthreels.com/best-fishing-kayak-reviews/under-700/), it’s safer to go with a suspension system. hang your kayak so that the entire hull is facing up toward the ceiling. You should never use the grab loops for hanging your kayak, as you may bend the boat. It’s best that you get some wide straps and wrap them around the body of your kayak.
- On a rack: you can make your own or simply buy a rack as it’s going to protect the hull the best way. You may use one that supports the kayak on its side or a model that lets you place the boat hull-side up.
Does it need theft protection?
As you may know, a good quality kayak is a great investment so it’s not a bad idea to protect your investment. If you can’t store it in a garage or in your house, here are some things to pay attention to when storing your boat:
- Place your kayak so that it’s really difficult for one to simply grab it and run away
- Try to make it invisible when storing it
- You may also thread a long lasting security cable through its tough parts (a wire grab loop or the steering wheel lock), locking it to a building/fence/post
- It’s also a good idea to lock the vehicle steering wheel lock right across the cockpit of your kayak. This is going to make your boat impossible to use unless the lock is going to be removed.
How to take care of your kayak?
Truth be told, no kayak is going to stay with no scratch for a very long time. The heavy-duty kayaks are really made to take a beating! Kayaks are designed to take the intense use and maintaining them isn’t that tricky.
Here is some guidance for taking good care of your kayak:
Pre-season kayak maintenance
It’s time to get it out from the storage space and last thing you want is to see that you’ve store it with something broken or that something simply got damaged throughout the storage. Here’s what you need to check:
- Is there any hull damage? The risk for hull get damaged while stored it pretty high. If the hull is only depressed, some heat is going to help it get back to its original shape. Simply leaving it in the sun on a hot day is going to solve the problem.
- Take a look at the rigging! The bungees, the perimeter lines and the hardware have to be in order as UVs may damage the plastic pad eyes and ruin the bungees/lines. Take a look at the skeg/rudder and see how the stainless steel cables, pedals, deployment lines and pivot hardware are doing. Fix anything that needs fixing now and not when you’re on the water.
- Refill the emergency gear! Check the first aid kit, the emergency repair kit and the bailout bag to make sure that you don’t need anything.
- Replace the old accessories/parts with new ones! It’s a good time to get new seat or bulkhead. Take a look at all gear and try to remember what bothered you before storing the boat.
In season kayak maintenance
Scroll down to find out how to take care of your boat during the paddling season:
- Keep it clean- This doesn’t mean that your kayak should be pristine clean 24/7, but you should spray it down a bit after every outing. You want to remove the salt and grime that cause corrosion of the hull, reducing the risk for growing mold. Simply hosing your boat down the interior and exterior is going to be enough most of the time, but you should also scrub it with some mild soapy water any now and then too (use a kayak sponge for the cleaning).
- Use a kayak cart- all that dragging on the ground is going to weaken the material at the bottom of your boat which may cause some holes in it. Get a kayak cart for protecting your boat and for easier transportation as well.
- Cover the cockpit- when not in use, it’s best to protect your boat with a cockpit cover. you’re going to keep the critters and the rain out like this. Don’t forget to dry out the inside before covering it as you may welcome the mosquitos and mold when not doing it.
- Protect it from the sun- if your kayak is exposed to the sun for a long time, not only that the color is going to fade, but the plastic is also going to get weaker and prone to cracking. We’re not talking about a couple of days’ exposure, but a several months’ exposure. You may also spray your kayak with a protectant that keeps the UVs at bay. this spray is going to wash away with rain and water, so you need to re-apply it over and over again. Using a cover or storing the boat inside is going to be the best solution for that.
The off-season maintenance
Not everyone is going to have an off-season, but some are going to have to give up on kayaking for a while simply because the water turns solid. Here are the best ways to protect your kayak:
- Clean and dry your kayak- choose a dry day for unloading every single piece of gear, placing them aside (don’t miss the rigging accessories that are removable: the deck bag, the seat nor the rod holder). Turn your boat upside down on a pair of kayak stand, lathering it with some soapy water. Go beneath and spray the water throughout the whole cockpit interior and hatches. Make sure that all loosened crud, sand or dead bugs are going to drain out. Give it time to dry completely. Get a kayak sponge and give it a good grub if you’re not happy with the results. The cockpit rim is a great place for insects to nest so you may want to spend some time cleaning it.
- Take care of the rigging elements: take a look at the attached parts of the boat (toggle handles, deck cord, bulkheads) and seek the frayed cords/parts that may need replacing. You should also loosen any straps, buckles or bungees that may become un-done during storage as you want to preserve their elasticity. Remove dirt from the screws/bolts and use a sponge for thorough cleaning. You should also use a corrosion blocking product for maintaining the metal joints in good shape.