What to Do With Your Kayak in the Off-Season

What To Do With Your Kayak In The Off-Season

Kayaking is one of the best water sports that allow you to enjoy the great outdoors.

It is becoming an increasingly popular activity in the U.S as it offers the thrill of adventure while giving you the opportunity to relax and unwind at the same time.

Plus, it serves as an excellent workout for your upper body and can help you get into shape in no time.

If you are looking for tips on how to store your kayak during the off-season, it’s safe to say that you have already tried (and hopefully enjoyed) your hand at this recreational activity.

But what should you do with your kayak once the season for kayaking has passed and you can no longer hit the waves or paddle down a river?

Most novice users would say you should shove your kayak in the corner of your garage.

Or store it in any other available space around the house for later use. If you are thinking along the same lines, be warned!

Improper kayak storage can not only affect its performance in the water, but also permanently damage it.

The Importance of Storing Your Kayak Properly

The Importance Of Storing Your Kayak Properly

It’s true that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a great paddling experience.

Nowadays, you can easily get a good kayak for a few hundred dollars only. But we are pretty sure you don’t plan on buying a new one every season now, do you?

In addition to ensuring durability, proper kayak storage is essential to maintain stability during the activity. A small dent in your kayak can make it hard to balance yourself in the water.

Moreover, keeping your kayak just about anywhere for weeks at a stretch can weaken its structure. It might seem fit to use when the season has passed.

But frost and moisture might have damaged its internal frame – and you may not have the slightest idea until you are out there in rough waters, and your kayak suddenly fails you.

Basic Tips for Kayak Storage

If you have recently purchased a kayak, storing it properly can be the key to ensuring a lifetime of fun. Here are the basic dos and don’ts for caring for your kayak in the offseason:

Dos

  • Store your kayak indoors
  • Store it upside down or hang it using wide straps
  • Protect your kayak from dust and dirt
  • Keep it under a plastic cover to avoid damage from changing weather conditions
  • Fasten your kayak to a wall or sturdy pole to prevent it from tipping

Don’ts

  • Never store your kayak vertically as it can damage the stern
  • Do not store your kayak on crossbars with the cockpit side facing upwards
  • Avoid keeping your kayak on its side
  • Never use a wheel cart to store your kayak unless it is for transportation purposes

How to Store Your Kayak in the Offseason

Decide the Storage Space

If you have an ample amount of floor space, you can easily leave your kayak on crossbars in that place.

See if your kayak can fit in your garage, basement, or shed. If it doesn’t fit directly, you might have to hang it on the wall instead.

Since this paddling equipment takes up a lot of space, most users find it helpful to have their kayaks professionally stored.

Do a quick online search to see if there are any kayak schools or kayak rental companies offering storage space to users.

In various regions, paddling clubs, marinas, and even state beaches have the option of kayak parking for local residents. You can avail the facility by paying the required storage fee.

Keep It Out of the Way

When storing your kayak in your garage or basement, make sure that it won’t be damaged by the surrounding objects. You need a place where your kayak can sit undisturbed for the remainder of the season.

Kayaking pros recommend suspending it from the ceiling or hanging it on the walls because this way, it cannot come in contact with other items in the room.

For this, all you will need is a pair of J-brackets. These are commonly available at most home depot stores, although you can always order a set online as well.

Protect It From Deformation

Incorrect kayak storage is often the main reason why users complain of a distorted hull. This makes sense if you pay attention to the force the gravity.

Don’t worry; there is no rocket science involved here – just plain old physics.

If you don’t distribute the weight of the boat evenly, the gravitational pull can cause the hull to deform under its own weight.

You might be able to kayak nonetheless, but it can cause performance issues as the boat will no longer glide smoothly through the water.

Therefore, when installing wall brackets, take special care to ensure that they absorb the maximum amount of force when the kayak is attached. 

Avoid Standing the Kayak on Its End or on Its Sides

AVOID STANDING THE KAYAK ON ITS END OR ON ITS SIDES

Standing the kayak on the stern or balancing on its side will cause the same problem as discussed above.

You need to avoid uneven weight distribution at all costs; otherwise, your kayak will soon be good for nothing.

More importantly, placing your kayak vertically up is also not recommended from a safety point of view.

Despite the support from a wall or any similar surface, a standing kayak can easily tip over from a slight disturbance. This can hurt your kids or pet or damage other objects in the vicinity.

Don’t Hang It by the Grab Handles

The function of straps or grab handles on a kayak is to make it convenient to carry. Many users fail to recognize this and consequently end up damaging the boat.

Never, ever hang your kayak by these handles as they can break or become loose over time.

Watch the Temperature

Your kayak should never be subjected to extremely hot or extremely cold weather conditions.

Similarly, you must avoid storing it in a place where the temperature might fluctuate between the two extremes.

You must not leave it outdoors, especially if the temperature in your region tends to drop below the freezing point in the winter season. Failing to do so can cause structural damage to the main frame.

On the other hand, leaving you kayak under direct sunlight will also lead to similar results.

Even when keeping the equipment indoors, make sure that the temperature of the room doesn’t exceed beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 38 degrees Celsius).

The heat can soften the plastic body and tarnish the surface. Surely, you wouldn’t like kayaking in an odd-looking discolored boat, would you?

Clean Your Kayak

It is not unusual for sand, mud, and other grit and debris to accumulate on the inside of your kayak. If not cleaned regularly, it can even lead to the growth of algae.

If you frequently go surf kayaking, the salt deposits from dried seawater can permanently dull the hull and result in corrosion.

For short term storage, washing your kayak with a garden hose is usually sufficient to get the job done.

However, for long term storage, you need to follow a more elaborate cleaning regime.

First, remove any visible dust and dirt from the inner and outer surfaces of the boat.

Then, use a mild detergent or liquid soap to meticulously clean the kayak from the inside and out.

Let it air dry before stowing it away for the season. It’s best to wipe all nook and crannies once with a clean, dry cloth.

This will help you remove remnants of moisture that can otherwise promote fungal growth and deteriorate the plastic.

What About Inflatable Kayaks?

What About Inflatable Kayaks?

Most of the tips for kayak storage discussed above apply to inflatable kayaks as well.

In other words, you need to store them indoors, away from direct heat and sunlight. Clean them thoroughly before storing, making sure to get all grime from every corner.

Check the kayak for any leaks after cleaning the valves and gaskets thoroughly.

One of the most important things to note is that you must not use strong detergents for cleaning an inflatable kayak.

This includes silicone-based soaps and other cleaning products containing mineral spirit or trichloroethylene acid.

Should You Deflate Them?

When it comes to long term storage, ideally, you should deflate an inflatable kayak.

However, it is up to you to decide whether to flatten it completely and roll it up, or keep it lightly inflated during the offseason.

If there’s a lack of space, rolling it up would be the preferred choice.

Keep in mind that rodents love to chew on the fabric of inflatable kayaks. So, wrap it tightly with the tarp if rats and mice are a common nuisance in your house.

If you follow these kayak storage tips, you can rest assured that your precious recreational gear continues to deliver an exceptional performance every time you hit the waves.

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