The Best Ways to Store and Protect a Kayak
Now that you finally own the kayak that you’ve always wanted, what are you going to do with it when you’re done paddling through rapids and waves for a season? You’re going to need to know how to store a kayak properly if you want to be able to enjoy it for many years. Here are the best practices we know for taking care of your kayak when it’s not in use.
1. Protect Your Kayak from the Sunlight and Moisture
Although kayaks are made for use in the water and preferably in good weather, when it comes time to put it away, sunlight and moisture are your boat’s two worst enemies. Whatever material your craft 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.
● Make sure that the covering 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 temperature extremes, especially repeated freezing and thawing.
2. Defend Your Kayak Against Gravity
As a watercraft, your kayak’s natural habitat, so to speak, is where its hull is supported by buoyant forces and water pressure. 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 not with uneven pressure on the hull. 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. 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 racks.
● Make sure that, whichever method you choose to support your boat, it distributes the craft’s weight evenly, not too close to the ends or to the center of the hull.
3. Defend Your Kayak Against Things That go Bump in the 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. A little damage prevention goes a long way toward keeping your kayak like new!