8 Tips for Kayak Maintenance

8 Tips For Kayak Maintenance

Kayaking is a wonderful outdoor activity for a relaxed, balanced life.

It offers a great number of benefits such as weight loss, stress reduction, maximum muscle strength, a clear and happy mind – to name a few.

It is undoubtedly a fun adventure that is beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing.

Like it is with all sports, you need proper gear for kayaking. The number one product crucial for kayaking is obviously a kayak (no surprises there).

Without a well-functioning kayak, kayaking becomes a nightmare (if not downright impossible).

If you’re a kayaking enthusiast or a professional, you must have noticed how easily a frequently-used kayak takes a beating than the one used occasionally.

But don’t worry – because with every problem comes a solution.

In this case, you can solve this issue by making sure that you regularly maintain your kayak. Not sure how to keep your kayak looking at its best at all times?

Continue reading this post to discover some amazing tips on how to care for your kayak.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the kayak maintenance, we got you covered:

Kayak Maintenance

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How to Take Care of Your Kayak?

Let’s admit it – it’s not often that you find a kayak that ticks all the right boxes; these top-quality kayaks can be quite a hefty investment.

Even though they are strong, resilient, and often come with a lifetime guarantee, if not well taken care of, they can shatter your expectations of a durable kayak.

Maintaining your kayak is important if you want it to live beyond expectations.

A well-maintained kayak also keeps you from spending your hard-earned money on recurrent fixes and repairs.

Different kayaks have different maintenance methods. In this section, we will discuss how you can look after solid and inflatable kayaks.

Inflatable Kayaks

How to Clean It?

1. Remove Dirt and Debris First

Once you are done kayaking, it is always best to clean your kayak of dirt and debris.

Using a dry towel, get rid of sand, algae, dirt, or sunscreen that may have landed on your kayak as a result of being in the water. This will also help dry your wet kayak.

Some users may find it easy to clean the kayak after deflating it. Once deflated, it becomes easier to tip over the kayak and clean its bottom area.

2. Rinse with Water

The next step includes rinsing your kayak with water. Rinsing helps rid your kayak of stubborn stains that may not go away otherwise.

However, before you rinse off your kayak, make sure that you have closed all the valves to prevent water from seeping into your kayak.

If you don’t do this, it can lead to the growth of the mold and mildew and shorten your kayak’s life as a result.

To clean your inflatable kayak, you will need a bucket full of water, a high-quality cleaning solution, and a sponge.

If you don’t have access to the cleaning solution, you can also consider a mild washing soap. Mix in a few drops of cleaning solution into the water bucket.

Dip the sponge generously into the water and clean the surface of your kayak. Make sure to gently pat the sponge against deep dirt spots or all those marks left behind by unusual rubbish.

Be careful and take your time while cleaning the inflatable kayak.

Afterward, rinse the kayak with water using a water hose. Wash until you get rid of all the dirt, debris, and cleaning solution.

Cleaning your kayak is crucial as it prevents the watercraft from absorbing chemicals that it may be exposed to in the water. If you have been river kayaking, then rinsing becomes twice as important.

River bodies usually contain loads of chemicals (from agriculture, industries, factories, etc.) that can ruin your kayak if not scrubbed properly.

3. Make Sure to Dry the Kayak

After rinsing and cleaning your kayak, you will need to dry it out and then store it away safely. One common mistake that people make is storing a wet kayak in their store or garage.

Doing so prompts the growth of mold and mildew and degradation of the kayak over time. The kayak eventually becomes weak and highly prone to punctures and other damages.

Solid Kayaks

How to Clean It?

1. Use a Soft Brush or Dry Towel for Cleaning

Even though solid kayaks are rigid and strong, they are susceptible to damage nonetheless.

Therefore, you have to be just as careful while cleaning wooden or ceramic kayaks as you are when scrubbing a plastic or polyethylene kayaks.

When cleaning a tough kayak, make sure you use a soft brush to remove sand, dirt, and debris from the watercraft.

Avoid using a hard-toothed or bristled brush as it can leave strange marks on your kayak’s surface. The safest option is to use a dry, clean towel.

2. Clean it with a Soap

When it comes to choosing soap for cleaning your solid kayak, you don’t need to be picky. Any mild cleaning solution will do.

You can also consider a high-quality boat wash solution or car wash solution, but make sure it is both UV-resistant and coat-safe.

Dip the liquid soap in a bucket with water. Always use the non-abrasive side of the sponge to protect the coating of your kayak.

Once you have scrubbed the kayak (from inside and out), rinse it with a garden hose. Allow your kayak to air dry before going to the next step.

3. Apply a Premium Stain Remover

Depending on your kayak’s material, you will have to choose a stain remover. For instance, if your kayak is made from fiberglass, you will need to consider a fiberglass stain remover.

The purpose of stain removers is to remove deep, stubborn stains that may be caused due to seaweed, river, and sea scum, etc.

Consider applying the stain remover only when your kayak has completely dried down.

Wear safety gloves and shake the product well before applying it on your kayak’s exterior. Use a terry cloth, a soft brush, or a clean sponge to gently apply the remover.

Once you have applied the product uniformly, let it air dry for 15 to 20 minutes. Next, wash down your kayak with a garden hose. When you do this, most of the coating will be washed off.

Therefore, it is recommended to scrub your kayak’s surface with a soapy sponge once again.

Please note that even though these solutions are non-abrasive, they can be quite strong and powerful.

Therefore, it is wise to use them only once a season on gel-coated surfaces.

Before you store your composite kayak in your store or garage, make sure it is fully dry. Check the inside and the outside of the kayak before storing it away.

Can You Repair Holes in an Inflatable Kayak?

Yes, of course, you can. Repairing small holes in inflatable kayaks is quite simple and easy. Here’s a step-by-step guide to fixing holes in an inflatable kayak like a pro.

  1. First and foremost, deflate your kayak.
  2. Clean the damaged part with a clean towel and dry it out.
  3. Determine whether the hole is small or large.
  4. In the case of a small hole, you can fix the hole with a duct tape or repair tape. However, this is a temporary fix and should only be considered when you are short on time.
  5. For a permanent solution, consider applying a drop or two of glue over the small hole. Let it dry for 10 to 15 minutes before taking the kayak into the water.
  6. However, if the hole is quite large, you may have to consider repairing it with a large patch.
  7. Before you partake in this DIY fix, make sure you have all the necessary supplies –gloves, heat gun, and a pair of pliers.
  8. Start by wearing gloves and then sanding the edges of the patch and the hole.
  9. Using the heat gun, melt the patch to the point that it easily sticks on the hole. Be careful – you don’t want to end up burning a hole into the patch.
  10. Also, make sure that you are holding the patch with the pliers, or you may risk burning your gloves.
  11. Place the heat gun near the hole to warm it up. This will help stick the patch easily.
  12. While both the patch and the hole are hot, quickly place the patch on the hole. Press it gently and wait for 10 to 20 minutes to air dry.
  13. You can also turn to the pros that will help repair the kayak in no time.
  14. You can also invest in an emergency repair kit. It comes with all the necessary tools that will help you fix the holes in an efficient manner.

Other Tips for Kayak Maintenance

Maintaining a kayak is not as hard as you may think. Here are a few ways that you can follow to keep your kayak in tip-top condition.

1. Keep Your Kayak Clean Before and After Paddling


We cannot stress enough on the importance of kayak cleaning. Most of the damages in a kayak stem from its lack of cleaning.

Just because kayaks are immersed in water doesn’t mean they are clean.

Don’t forget that water bodies you paddle in can be full of gunk, scum, dirt, debris, and other nasty things that you don’t want sticking to the side or the bottom of your kayak.

When kayaks remain in the water for a long time, they get affected by these harmful contents.

And don’t forget all those chemicals that float in seas, rivers, and ponds. They can also damage your kayak if not washed off ASAP.

Therefore, you need to make sure that you scrub off your kayak after paddling by using the methods we discussed earlier on.

2. Protect Your Kayak from Harmful UV Rays

Kayaking in the sun makes sense; after all, it is a fun daytime activity that lets you enjoy sunny weekends.

However, leaving your watercraft out in the sun for an extensive time period is not okay.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can result in the discoloration and deformation of the boat, even if it is UV-proof.

That’s because sun-resistant kayaks can inhibit powerful UV rays to a certain extent only. If the kayak stays out in the sun more than it ought to, you can expect sun damage.

This is usually the case when people leave their kayaks on top of their car with tight straps on during camping or hiking.

What can you do to protect your kayak from the side-effects of the full sun?

The most effective and easiest way is by applying a high-quality sun protectant spray to your watercraft.

The sun protectant is nothing but sunscreen for the kayak (whether it is a plastic, rubber, or a fiberglass one).

Always apply a thin coat and rub it gently with a dry paper towel. After the application, your kayak will have a glossy surface – a sign that the kayak is UV-proof.

Once the finishing is dried out, apply another coat of the UV-protectant spray on the surface of your kayak. This is the procedure that you will have to follow with all types of kayaks.

3. Watch Out for the Hull Damages

If there is any part of the kayak that is very much susceptible to damages, it has to be the hull. Long-term storage can affect the hull in many ways.

For instance, the hull’s shape may depress or degrade, and this can adversely affect the overall performance of the kayak. 

Before you take your watercraft in the water, you will need to bring its hull back in shape.

Leaving your kayak out in the sun for some time can help get the boat get back to its original shape.

In case of a hole in the hull, fix it by simply gluing a patch on it. Make sure that you have a reliable repair kit that can assist you in fixing the hole successfully.

4. Always Use a Kayak Cart

Dragging your kayak on bare ground or rough surface can weaken its material from the bottom.

If your kayak is made from a thin or less durable material, do yourself a favor and avoid dragging your kayak at all costs.

What you can do instead is use a kayak cart for ease of transportation.

Standard kayak carts are designed to lift any size of the kayak. It comes with secured ties that you can attach around your kayak’s hull and stern in seconds.

Kayak carts come in many models, so depending on your personal choice and budget, you can buy the ideal one.

5. Cover the Cockpit When Not In Use

8 Tips for Kayak Maintenance 1

Whether you store your kayak outdoors or indoors, it is a must to cover its cockpit. Most kayaks come with a cover that is attached to the side of the cockpit.

Cockpits help protect the seat from falling leaves, bird poop, and all sorts of weather damages. When you are done paddling, make sure you cover your kayak’s cockpit.

In case your kayak doesn’t have a cockpit already, you can always purchase it from a notable marine accessory store.

6. Check Your Kayak’s Parts for Replacement

An important step in the daily maintenance of your kayak is to check its components daily.

Make sure they are in their working order; if not, get them replaced with the new ones as early as you can.

Some of the kayak parts that need frequent replacements are kayak seats, paddles, loop handles, inflatable air valves, underwater motor, battery, skeg, drain plugs, etc.

Replacements of broken or damaged parts are crucial to increasing your kayak’s longevity.

7. Take Care of Rigging Supplies

Always make sure that the rigging components of your kayak are in their best shape, as they play a crucial role in the overall performance of a kayak.

Before going kayaking, inspect the bungees, perimeter lines, deployment lines, cables, pedals, etc.

Get them fixed in case these hardware components are loose, damaged, degraded, or whatnot.

8. Always Store the Kayak in a Safe Place

Never store your kayak in an open area where it may be exposed to falling leaves, rain, snowfall, etc.

When not using or during off-seasons, always store it in a spacious garage or any large area where it stays safe from potential debris.

Also, never hang the kayak from its carrying handles as this wears them out, especially if they are made from plastic.


Now that you know everything about kayak maintenance, you are good to go.

By keeping your kayak well-maintained – cleaning it, protecting it from the sun, repairing its components, and storing it properly – you will extend your kayak’s life for years and enjoy lots of paddling opportunities!

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