Correctly storing your canoe is essential to keeping it in good shape and extending its lifetime. A well-cared-for canoe can last you well over a decade before needing to be repaired or replaced, but skipping over storage steps could lead to cracks and damage, even if it’s in the shed.
Here’s how to store a canoe:
- Keep your canoe out of sunlight.
- Support it with a hoist set or rack.
- Store the canoe inside and away from the elements.
- Properly prepare your canoe for storage.
The rest of this article will cover what you need to know about how to store your canoe both inside and outside.
1. Keep Your Canoe Out of Sunlight
Protecting your canoe from sunlight while in storage is crucial. UV rays weaken your canoe’s material, leading to cracks, dulled appearance, broken straps, and holes.
The best way to protect your canoe from the sun is to store it indoors. However, you can also use a tarp if keeping it inside is not an option.
Make sure not to secure the tarp too tightly around the canoe as that can promote mold or mildew growth by trapping moisture inside.
Instead, hang the tarp above the canoe using ropes, poles, or other supports and replace the tarp when it becomes too brittle. According to Hydro Pursuit, this will most likely be every few months.
Another great option is to use UV protectant spray to protect your canoe from the sun. The 303 UV Protectant Sprayfrom Amazon.com protects against UV rays and repels dust, dirt, and staining.
Gear Aid recommends coating your canoe with UV spray every 30-45 days, and covering it before long storage periods is also recommended.
2. Support It with a Hoist Set or Rack
Even if you take the time to dry it out and cover it with a tarp, if you store your canoe the right side up, chances are, some moisture will get inside. It could be heavy rains or just condensation, but it will happen, and that will lead to mold and mildew.
So, keep your canoe upside down and with its weight evenly distributed. Your canoe should not be laid directly on the ground as this can lead to damage to the gunwales, as well as damage from moisture, mud, and rodents.
Instead, here are the different ways to support your canoe while in storage:
- Use a hoist set. This allows you to store the canoe up off the ground and out of your way. Try this Rad Sportz Hoist Set from Amazon.com. It has rubber-coated hooks to protect your canoe from scratching and a convenient safety locking system.
- Use a saw-horse. A 2×4 sawhorse is an easy way to support your canoe with maximum simplicity and guaranteed support. It’s also a good idea to put foam blocks between the sawhorse and the gunwales of your canoe to provide some extra padding.
- Use a storage rack. This VivoHome Dual Storage Rack (also on Amazon.com) is height adjustable and has UV protectant sleeves.
- Use foam blocks. As a cheaper alternative to the above three options, foam blocks can also work fine to support your canoe. Use four foam blocks evenly placed under the gunwales of your canoe- two on each side.
3. Store the Canoe Inside and Away from the Elements
You should always store your canoe inside if possible. If stored outside, it’s pretty much guaranteed that it will get damaged from elements like:
- Cold or hot temperatures
If you keep your canoe at home, the hoist set would be the perfect option. You can store it in the garage or even in a storage unit without losing floor space.
If you keep your canoe at the lake, it’s worth paying a little extra to get a spot in the boathouse.
However, it’s not always possible. So what can you do to protect your canoe outside if you have no other options?
- Place it in the shade, use a tarp, and coat it with UV spray. Exposure to the sunlight is the number problem when it comes to keeping your canoe outside. Minimize this as much as possible.
- Store it upside down and off the ground. As I mentioned before, keeping your canoe on the ground is a bad decision, and this is magnified when storing your canoe outside. Make sure your canoe is off the ground and that it is upside down to prevent any rain or snow from collecting in the interior.
- Use a lock to protect from thieves. This tip is essential when storing your canoe outside, as the chances of thievery are so much higher. There are lots of different high-quality locks to choose from, such as this Master Lock 8417D Cable Lock on Amazon.com. It is made with braided steel and is rust and weather-resistant, so it’s ideal to use a security system.
It’s relevant to note that where you store your canoe matters too. For example, if you’re keeping it in a barn where there may be rodents, use mothballs or anti-rodent materials.
Similarly, if there are any holes in the shelter, patch them up as best you can so that no rain, moisture, or pests can get inside and damage your canoe.
4. Properly Prepare Your Canoe for Storage
Make sure your canoe is clean and dry before any storage period. Leftover moisture, mud, or dirt can stain the canoe and lead to damage.
Here’s how to prepare your canoe for storage:
- Remove any materials from the canoe. Make sure it’s empty.
- Rinse with water and dish soap and use a soft brush to remove stains. Use bleach-less soap with fiberglass canoes as, according to Outdoor Kits X, bleach can cause damage to the fiberglass.
- Dry thoroughly. Let it air dry completely before storage, which could be a few days depending on the weather.
- Coat with UV spray. Apply a generous coating to the entirety of your canoe, then wipe dry.
- Loosen the screws in your canoe before winter storage. The cold weather can make too-tight screws expand, which can lead to cracks in your canoe.
Knowing how to store your canoe properly is fundamental if you want to use it for years to come. Luckily, it’s a pretty straightforward process.
Just remember to protect it from sunlight, keep it supported, and make sure it’s dry before you put it away. In addition, make sure it’s safe and secure, inside if possible.