Kayaking is an active, healthy hobby you can enjoy with your family and friends. After an enjoyable summer paddling on the river, you might be wondering how in the world you are going to store your kayak during the off-season, though.
Kayaks are large and cumbersome, which can present many challenges when it comes to storage. Also, to help them perform well on the water, kayaks are made from material that has been stretched extremely thin. When improperly stored, this material can warp and bend, ruining your kayak.
To preserve the integrity of the material as well as ensuring no other damage is incurred, it’s imperative that you store your kayak properly when it is not being used. We’ll break down how to store a kayak and look at the benefits and drawbacks of various storage options, so you can choose what works best for you.
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Should I Store My Kayak Indoors Or Outdoors?
There are two broad options for storing your kayak: storing it indoors or storing it outside.
If you have sufficient room to do so, storing a kayak indoors is the best bet. Indoor storage gives you more control over light, moisture, and other elements your kayak will be exposed to during the off-season. Inside can mean in your garage, basement, spare room or shed. Anywhere that’s enclosed and protected from the outside elements is worth considering.
However, if you happen to live in an apartment or a small home with no extra storage, your only realistic choice might be to store your kayak outside. There are still several ways to make sure your kayak is protected from the elements, even if it is outdoors. You should do all you can to keep it covered and safe from exposure to excessive light or moisture.
How Not To Store a Kayak
There are many things you should not do when storing your kayak. Many simple things can cause irreversible damage to your craft, rendering is useless. Not only will you be ruining the most important piece of gear for your fun paddling adventures, you’ll be throwing out good money, too.
Avoid these mistakes at all costs.
Do not store your kayak directly on the ground or flat on a hard surface. If you do, the plastic shell of the kayak will begin to cave under its own pressure. This will result in a bottom that is flattened out and no longer able to perform properly on the water. Beyond this, storing it on the ground can expose the kayak to excess moisture and dirt, which can damage the shell of the kayak. To preserve the craft’s lifespan, don’t ever store it like this.
When strapping your kayak in for storage, do not put a lot of pressure on it by strapping it too tightly. The pressure points from the straps will become weakened and brittle and could even break. The plastic shell might also be bent out of shape from the pressure of the straps.
The UV rays from the sun will not only fade the color of your kayak, they will also quickly cause the plastic to deteriorate. As the plastic shell is exposed to the sun, it becomes weak and brittle, increasing its change of breaking when bumped. Do not store your kayak in a place where is will be exposed to the sunlight.
It might seem like a good idea to hang your kayak from its handles, but this is another thing you shouldn’t do. Hanging it like this can create downward pressure in the middle of the bottom, bending it out of shape. Unless you want to go paddling in a banana-shaped kayak, don’t hang it by its handles.
If you live in an area with lots of wildlife, you need to make sure your kayak is stored in a way that doesn’t allow any access to the cockpit. You don’t want to climb in only to find a skunk has made your boat his temporary home!
Don’t hang your kayak vertically from the ceiling. As we mentioned, this type of suspension puts undue pressure on certain spots on the its plastic frame and can cause it to bend out of shape and become weak and brittle at its pressure points.
When leaving your kayak outside, be sure to secure it. Invest in a good lock to protect it and keep a thief from selling your goods for some quick cash.
Now that you know how not to store your kayak, let’s look at how to store it in a better way.
How to Store It Indoors
Storing your kayak indoors is always the safest bet. It will be protected from the family of skunks, the February blizzard, and the harsh sun. If you have any extra space in your basement or your garage, these are both great areas for storage.
Storing a Kayak in a Garage:
- Storing a kayak in a garage is simple, but you need to make note of a few things.
- Make sure there are no windows nearby. Remember that you want to avoid too much exposure to the sun, so try to stash your kayak away from windows if you have them.
- Check the temperature of the storage area. If it’s too hot or too cold, this can damage the kayak’s shell. You’ll want it to be above 32°F/0°C and below 100°F/37°C.
- Remember not to store your kayak on the floor in case moisture damages the plastic or pressure damages the frame.
- You can hang your kayak on the wall using a bracket system. Find an empty area of the wall, attach the brackets, and then gently place your kayak on them for storage.
- You can also suspend your kayak from the ceiling. There are many suspension systems made just for this purpose.
How to Store a Kayak Outside
Sometimes your only option is to store your kayak outside. If this is the option you are faced with, you have a bit more work on your hands. It will be worth the effort to extend the life of your kayak, though
Find a spot that will provide a little bit of shelter to your kayak – perhaps under a deck or an overhang from the roof. Anywhere that can give a little protection from the elements will work. If you’ve got a shaded area, that’s even better.
Remember, you want to keep your kayak out of the sunlight. Even if you don’t have shade, you have options. Consider using a waterproof UV protective cover made especially for kayak storage. Covering your craft can protect it from moisture, dirt, and animals.
A lot of kayakers opt for using a kayak storage rack outside. Many people build their own, but if you are not so practically inclined, you might want to purchase one instead. You can buy one that will store a single kayak or find one that will store multiple boats at once.
Before storing your kayak, make sure it’s clean. Rinse it with mild soap and fresh water to remove any sand, dirt or debris. Clean all the parts, including the footbraces and rudder. Make sure the weight of the kayak is evenly balanced during storage so as not to warp or bend the plastic frame.
Though it can be big and bulky and tough to find space for, there are many storage options for your kayak if you think it through. If you properly care for your kayak, it should give you many years of faithful service. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be happily paddling for a long time to come!