Storing a typical boat doesn’t require multiple precautions as you can just leave it on the shore, and you’re sure that nothing more will happen to it apart from theft. But for Kayak storage, more preparation is necessary.
A Kayak has a thin plastic surface for optimal surfing on the waters, which is prone to warping if wrongly handled during storage. So the million-dollar question is, how do you store a kayak without compromising its hull structure ?
As a general rule the following steps should be followed:
- Clean the Kayak thoroughly
- Choose a storage location which protects it from the weather
- Keep it secure to prevent theft
- Do not place it on a hard surface to prevent hull damage. Using a rack or suspending it from the ceiling is recommended.
For more solutions, read on. We’ll explicitly cover how to store your kayak and the considerations you need to make during this seemingly mundane yet necessary and delicate exercise.
Why Store My Kayak Carefully ?
Keeping your kayak in top shape for as long as possible ought to be the primary motivation for good kayak storage practices. Also, irrespective of whether you intend to store it in the long-term or short-term, proper preparation and storage is vital because of the following reasons:
1. Protecting the Kayak from Elements of Nature.
As a general rule, a kayak should be protected from weather elements such as frost, rain, sunlight, and snow, irrespective of whether it’s made of wood, plastic, composite materials, etc.
Besides, even during indoor storage, proper preparation is cardinal as extreme temperature, and other weather variations can destroy/ distort its hull.
2. Ensure the Kayak’s Shape and Form are maintained.
Weather aside, incorrect kayak storage poses a danger to its shape and form. A poorly stored kayak will have a shape and size distortion. Essentially, poor storage causes uneven weight distribution. Thus, the hull parts, under intense pressure, will crumble from the excess force.
Therefore, rather than store the Kayak on its hull, stowing it sideways limits the chances of damage and distortion.
3. Preventing theft
Leaving your kayak exposed while you are away make it prone to theft. Most quality kayaks cost quite a sum; therefore, leaving a kayak unsecured/ exposed means you risk losing your hard-earned money.
The best way to avoid theft is to lock the kayak in a safe enclosure. Also, while storing it outdoors, you should tie it to a permanent post from the kayak’s sturdy parts. The aim should be to make it as challenging as possible for anyone to steal your kayak.
4. Improving Personal Safety
Proper kayak storage can go a long way in boosting its performance and mitigating the occurrence of accidents. Consequently, this would mean improving the security of the kayak users.
On average, a kayak weighs approximately 80 pounds. Hence, if the kayak tumbles from a distance during storage, its parts can break, especially considering that it’s made from lightweight materials. Also, poor storage means it can fall on someone and cause accidents.
Therefore, you should avoid leaning the kayak on a wall surface as a form of storage. The technique not only predisposes you to accidents but also puts it at risk of hull damage.
How to Store Your Kayak
The general rule is never to store your kayak on a hard floor surface. Therefore, whether you opt to store it indoors or outdoors, the two viable storage options include suspending the kayak or placing it on a rack.
Storing the Kayak on a Rack
Place the kayak on a homemade/ commercial rack. Primarily, it is essential to protect the kayak’s hull is important during this storage procedure. Hence, ensure your rack is strong enough to support the kayak on its side. Also, you may store the kayak on the rack with its bottom side facing up.
Suspending the Kayak
Where space is limited, consider suspending the kayak from the ceiling. This will free up space on the ground to store other items. Again, you can invest in a commercial suspension system or create one from scratch.
Also, as is the case with storing on a rack, ensure you suspend the kayak with its base facing the roof to ensure uniform weight distribution. But avoid hanging the kayak from its grab loops to prevent bending the boat. Rather, suspend it via wide straps that wrap around the kayak.
Where Should I Store My Kayak ?
Depending on the size of the Kayak, its size, season of the year, and frequency of use, you can decide to store your Kayak inside or outside. If you have an inflatable kayak, storing it is straightforward as all you need is to fold it and store it in a dry room.
Nonetheless, for a large and bulky Kayak, you need to get the dimensions of your storage area first. This will be a crucial determinant of where to store the Kayak.
Storing a Kayak Indoors (In a Garage)
Store your kayak indoors if you have enough space, when you want to stash it away or if you intend to keep it away for an extensive period.
Storing a Kayak in a garage ensures it is safe from theft, direct sunlight, pests, and elements of nature that can destroy it. Besides a garage, you can store it in a basement, shed, spare room, or any structure with a roof above.
Still, you have to take some precautions to prevent hull damage and deformation of the kayak during indoor storage.
Also, during indoor kayak storage, ensure you meet the following conditions:
- Don’t store the kayak with its hull on the ground. Remember, a Kayak is made of rotomolded plastic hulls and ABS plastic. Both materials are prone to warping when placed on a hard surface. Hence, this precaution is specifically essential when storing the Kayak for an extensive period.
- Place the kayak vertically on its stern with its hull leaning against the wall. This way, there will be minimal pressure on the hull. Also, it would be best to place a padding layer on the Kayak’s finish to protect it from damage.
- Avoid storing the kayak on the ground (especially on a hard surface) at any time. Rather, invest in kayak-mounting solutions such as web slings, an overhead pulley system, or a storage rack. Keeping the kayak off the ground by opting for these solutions will go a long way in maintaining its structural integrity during storage.
- Don’t store the Kayak near heat sources. Heaters/ furnaces near the kayak storage area will induce a build-up of heat which will in turn damage the kayak. In the same breath, the ideal kayak storage room should be cool consistently and remain dry.
- The Ideal kayak storage room’s temperature should be above 0 degrees celsius and below 37 degrees celsius.
Storing a Kayak Outdoors
As a general rule, you cannot store the kayak outdoors for an extensive period. Nonetheless, if you have limited space and want to store the kayak in the short term, having it outdoors is a viable option.
Also, the above regulations for storing your Kayak indoors(regarding positioning, alignment, and precautions) still hold when you are storing it outdoors. Nonetheless, you need to put in extra measures as the weather outside is worse than inside. Besides, outdoor storage predisposes your kayak to theft.
Therefore, choose an area with limited exposure to moisture, high temperatures, and UV rays for outdoor storage.
Some of such ideal locations for storing kayaks outdoors include:
- On the underside of a deck
- Beneath a roof’s eaves
- On a sidewall mount or fence
- Below a tent structure that is waterproof and UV resistant
- Inside a covered porch
- On a free-standing rack that is protected from the weather.
Preparations for Long-term storage of a Kayak during Winter
Long-term kayak storage is more delicate than keeping it in the short term. Thus, you must adequately prepare for the exercise. You’ll need to choose an ideal storage location, remove the seat and accessories, clean the kayak and dry it, and use a storage cover.
1. Locate a place to store the kayak
In principle, you should store your kayak indoors where it’s safe from pests, thieves, and rough weather. Moreover, storing your kayak indoors or outdoors relies on the available storage space and the duration of storage.
Thus, consider the previous section’s precautions when deciding where to store your kayak.
Now that you have chosen where to store it, let’s explore the other essential storage preparation practices.
2. Remove the Kayak Seat & Other Gear
Remove all the kayak gear such as the spray skirt, paddle, life jacket, storage bag, and bilge pump. Also, it’s essential to clean the kayaking accessories before storage, rinse, and allow them to dry.
During this step, it’s also imperative to ensure that the kayak is clear from anything that can bring rodents or attract mold. Next, store the kayaking gear in a clean, dry place, preferably indoors.
It would also help if you took this moment to check which kayaking equipment requires repair and replacement.
3. Clean the Kayak Thoroughly
You must remove matter such as mud, sand, silt, debris, and dirt attached to the Kayak’s hull. Thorough cleaning is particularly significant in keeping the hull in good shape.
The general rule for short-term storage is that you should spray the kayak with a jet of water. A garden hose would be handy for this process. This will dislodge the attached materials from the kayak’s hull. Also, make sure it is well dried before storage.
Nonetheless, you must do more than a simple wash for long-term storage. Here is the cleaning procedure that you should follow.
- Wipe the hull and the cockpit using a mild soap and a soft sponge. Besides, pay keener attention to the nooks and crannies as these areas accumulate dirt.
- Next, using a garden hose, spray a water jet on the entire kayak’s surface to rinse it until no traces of the soap are left.
- Allow the kayak to dry for some time to prevent mold and mildew attacks. Also, it would be best to thoroughly drain the hatches and compartments via a soft towel for faster drying.
- Lastly, apply a sun protective spray like the kayak wax or 303 UV protectant to protect the boat’s surface.
4. Use A Storage Cover
After cleaning and drying, you must cover the Kayak irrespective of where you’re going to store it. A cover ensures that the boat has added protection from dust, clitters, and moisture, among other components.
Remember that covering your kayak further ensures that it remains clean until the subsequent use.
How NOT To Store A Kayak
You should avoid several kayak storage mistakes at all costs as they’ll predispose the boat to certain issues. They include the following:
Never store the Kayak on a hard platform.
As earlier mentioned, keeping the kayak on such a surface, especially during long-term storage, will deform its hull. Primarily, this applies to storing plastic kayaks as they cannot handle uneven weight distribution without crumbling under the load.
Never hang the Kayak via its handles/ Grab Loops during storage.
While this might seem the most apparent convenient way to store your kayak, it will destroy the handles in the long run.
Ideally, handles are designated for carrying the kayak. Hence, the excess pressure exerted while hanging it via them will induce breaking. Furthermore, hanging the kayak on its handles for an extended period will distort its shape.
Don’t store your kayak while exposed to direct sunlight.
The sun’s UV rays will hasten the deterioration of your kayak, especially if it stays in the sun for long during storage. Also, direct exposure to the sun will cause the kayak’s color to fade and weaken the parts.
Exposure to direct sunlight will not only damage the plastic hull, but it’ll also affect parts such as rubbers and other foam accessories. Lastly, if you use an outdoors rack to store your kayak, it shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight as it’s prone to deterioration too.
Never leave the kayak’s cockpit uncovered.
Close your kayak during storage to prevent snakes, spiders, and ants, among other animals, from entering. Besides, it’ll save you the cost of doing repairs induced by rodent damage which can be quite high.
Do not strap your kayak too tightly.
Also, this boil down to the weakness of the kayak’s hull, which is plastic made and thus prone to shape distortion. Therefore, during storage and transportation, do not strap it too tightly.
When unavailable, never leave the kayak unlocked.
You’ve definitely invested quite a sum on the kayak, and you wouldn’t want it stolen just too easily. Kayak theft often occurs in some places, and while this measure isn’t foolproof, it’ll significantly reduce the chances of loss through theft.
This article emphasizes that proper kayak storage is critical to its performance and lifetime. Also, you may opt to store your kayak outdoors or, in some cases, indoors. In both scenarios, clean the kayak and its parts thoroughly, rinse, allow to dry, and cover it.
Next, you can opt to store the kayak on a rack or suspend it from the ceiling. Nonetheless, in both options, make sure its hull faces up for uniform weight distribution to avoid warping. We are glad you took the time to read this article and hope it’ll come in handy as you prepare to stash your kayak away during winter.