Kayak Care 101: How To Store A Kayak?

How To Store A Kayak

Your kayak may be tough and strong in the water, but once it is out on land, it needs more attention than you think.

Both seasoned experts and beginners will benefit from the knowledge of how to store a kayak. Besides, you should keep it safe if you want the kayak to serve you well next year.

As a result, when the kayaking season comes to an end, you might be wondering how to store the ride.

After all, warping, hull damage, mold, and rodent infestations are waiting to attack your precious kayak. Therefore, whenever possible, indoor storage is the best resting haven for your kayak.

This article will go over some of the essentials of how to store a kayak. Let’s get started!

Why Should You Store Your Kayak?

You might have spent your savings on buying that precious kayak of yours. So, it makes sense to have a storage and upkeep plan to help the kayak stay in top shape.

Before we start with the storage options and tips, let’s answer your doubts about why you should store the kayak. You can find the four top reasons below:

1.     Protection From The Environment

Your kayak might be of composite materials, carbon fiber plastic, or wood. But, regardless of the construction of your kayak, natural elements will still attack the hull.

UV rays, snow, exposure to the sun, and frost can unleash havoc on the kayak’s hull. If you don’t store the kayak correctly, these elements will take a toll on your kayak’s lifespan.

Besides, these environmental factors can cause damage, fading, and warping of the vessel.

2.     Preventing Deformity & Damage

Weather exposure can be dangerous for the hull. But more often, the way you store it is the primary culprit behind the damage.

Most kayak owners aren’t aware of the correct methods to store the ride. Contrary to popular opinion, it isn’t ideal to have the kayak on its hull. In fact, the best way to prevent deformity is by laying the ride on its side.

Without evenly distributing the hull’s weight while in storage, the kayak is prone to damage. This is because your kayak might lose its original shape with unbalanced and uneven pressure.

Deformation, distortion, and dents might not affect the kayak immediately. However, you’ll certainly notice the damage when you go out into the water again the following season.

3.   Preventing Theft

Kayaks make quite a worthy investment. But, unfortunately, their price and demand make them all the more exposed to thefts. To prevent it from getting stolen, you can store your kayak in locked areas. Typically, we advise you to keep it in your garage or inside the house.

If indoor storage is out of the question, you have to ensure that your kayak is “impossible to loot.”

For this purpose, you can tie the kayak to a permanent and robust structure. You can also use a padlock, chain, or cable to secure it well.

4.   Personal Safety

Being aware of how to store a kayak also adds to personal safety.

Many kayak owners lean the ride against the wall. However, the average weight of a kayak can be anywhere between 80 to 100 pounds.

Can you imagine the risk if the kayak was to fall due to unsuitable storage? Fortunately, you can use a suspension method to avoid such situations.

Outdoor & Indoor Storage Options

Speaking of how to store a kayak, you have two options – outdoor and indoor storage. However, you’re in luck if you have an inflatable kayak. You can simply deflate them before putting them away in the storage bag till the following season.

But let’s face it, storing the hard shell, bulky, and enormous kayak can be challenging. So let’s walk you through both these options.

1.   Indoor Storage: Keeping Your Kayak In The Garage

If you have enough space for it, indoor storage is the most suitable option. Storing your kayak indoors prevents exposure to sunlight and extreme temperatures. A basement, garage, or any room with a roof would do the trick.

But, even with indoor storage, you have to prep the kayak for hibernation. It’s not like you can dump the kayak anywhere indoors and forget it.

Therefore, here are the golden rules of indoor storage for a kayak:

  • You’ll be shocked how rapidly rotomolded plastics and ABS can warp when it’s placed flat on hard surfaces. Without any ifs and buts, you should avoid laying the kayak on the ground flat on its hull.
  • The best way is to store the kayak upright and vertically. You can stand the kayak on its stern and strap the hull facing the wall. Don’t forget to add some padding under the stern to prevent dents and wear.
  • As much as possible, keep the kayak off the surface. For this purpose, you’ll come across various mounting options for small boats. For example, you can try an overhead pulley system, web slings, and storage racks to mount the kayak.
  • Keeping it near furnaces or heaters can cause deformity and warping. Additionally, you should choose a space with consistent humidity and temperature levels.
  • Finally, avoid the pressure points while storing the hull. If you opt for the suspension system, position the hull upside down. Moreover, use padded cradles and nylon ties to match the curves. Also, don’t hang the kayak from its grab loops since it puts more stress on the kayak.

2.   Outdoor Storage

If you are looking for a long-term solution to storing a kayak, outdoor storage isn’t the best option. However, it is the only option you have if there isn’t enough indoor space for the kayak.

You should also know that the storage tips for indoor and outdoor storage are relatively the same. Therefore, you have to follow the same weight distribution principles and lay it in a vertical position.

So, how is outdoor storage different from indoors?

The essential difference is having to put in more effort to prevent thefts and environmental elements.

Even with outdoor storage, you should find a spot with limited sun and weather exposure. A helpful rule of thumb while storing a kayak outdoors is to cover and lock it well.

Here are some ideas for spots you can use for outdoor storage of your kayak:

  • A freestanding boat rack
  • In a waterproof, UV-resistant tarp and strung up tents
  • Mounted on a fence or the sidewalls
  • On a covered porch
  • Under the deck
  • Under the roof eaves

3.   Storing Your Kayak In The Winter

Knowing how to store a kayak in every season can be a great addition to your kayak care regime. For example, when winter is around the corner and the weather is no longer suitable for kayaking, you have to store the ride to keep it safe for the next season.

You should know that winter is bad news for your kayak. Moisture and cold temperatures can creep in your kayak and damage it for good.

On how to store a kayak in winter, finding a weather-resistant shelter should be your priority. During this season, your kayak has the most suitable storage indoors.

You can go for outdoor storage only if there’s no other option. However, you’ll need to use a suspension system and follow the guidelines well. Typically, the ground rules of how to store a kayak in any season remain the same.

Prepping The Kayak For Storage

Now that you have the perfect spot for your kayak, let’s help you prep it for storage. Storing it without the proper measures will incur damages beyond repair.

After all, your kayak is not going to fight the bugs and weather elements all by itself. So before you say a temporary goodbye to your kayak, follow these pre-storage care tips:

1.   Detaching Accessories And Gears

You have to start the pre-storage process by emptying the kayak. For example, your kayak might have a spray skirt, storage bags, seats, bilge pump, life jackets, paddles, and a bunch of other stuff. Since you are going to store the kayak upright, it has to be empty.

It might not seem necessary, but your kayak accessories deserve the same storage treatment. After all, if it wasn’t for the accessories, your kayak might not have been as helpful.

First of all, give the kayak and the gears a thorough rinse. Next, let the kayak and its accessories dry to prevent any moisture buildup. Additionally, look for suitable storage options for the accessories.

You should also try to eliminate anything that can be a magnet for bugs, rodents, and mold.

2.   Cleaning And Drying

Dirt, debris, mud, salt, sand, and a range of other things might be residing on your kayak’s hull. Well, all these contaminants are a part of taking your kayak out in the water.

However, you should avoid moving the kayak to storage without removing them.

Cleaning it well is a part of your kayak’s upkeep. With a proper cleaning strategy, you can extend the life of your kayak. The cleaning process doesn’t have to be rigorous (unless you want to make it look new again!).

If you are looking towards short-term storage, a quick spray with the garden hose should be enough. On the contrary, if you are done with kayaking for the rest of the year, you’ll need more than just a quick spray.

Here’s how to clean and dry your kayak for long-term storage:

  • First, take a sponge and mild soap to wipe clean the cockpit and hull. Ensure that you don’t skip any crevices or crannies and clean all the dirt and debris hiding in plain sight. However, don’t rub too hard, or you’ll be damaging the surface of the kayak.
  • Rinse the cockpit and hull thoroughly with plain water. Make sure there is no soap left after spraying down the kayak.
  • Leave the kayak to dry naturally before storing it. This step will prevent any mildew or mold from growing. You can also drain the compartment and hatches. If you’re in a hurry, you can use a soft microfiber cloth to speed up this step.
  • If you want to take kayak care up a notch, you can also use a sun-protective spray. For this, simply apply a layer of 303 UV or kayak’s wax to the vessel. This will secure your ride from potential sun damage or fading.

3.   Using A Protective Kayak Cover

Using a high-quality protective cover can go a long way in safely storing your kayak. It helps to protect your kayak against moisture, critters, and dust. Whether you choose indoor or outdoor storage, using a kayak cover is an inevitable step.

You should shut the watertight areas and hatchers before carefully wrapping the structure with a quality kayak cover. A cockpit cover also does well for sit-inside kayaks.

Many kayak owners use a waterproof tarp for their kayak. Alternatively, you can create a tent-like structure for this purpose.

4.   Tighten The Screws And Oil Metal Parts

The final step in pre-storage kayak care is tightening the screws and oiling the metal parts. When you take your kayak out in the water, the pieces can go missing, and the screws can run loose. So a step of your kayak storage process should be checking if everything’s in order.

If any screws or parts need replacement, you can get it done before the next kayaking season approaches. As a result, pre-storage care is a great repair time for your kayak.

Also, the metal parts in your kayak can rust and corrode over time. A little oiling will help the kayak stay in good condition. Alternatively, you can grease any bolts and screws in the kayak or its accessories.

Common Kayak Storing Mistakes To Avoid

It’ll be a job half done if you know only the tips and storage solutions for your kayak. So, how can you steer clear of typical kayak storing blunders?

In this section, we’ve explained some of the most common kayak storing mistakes. Give it a good read so that you can avoid the same for your kayak:

1.   Storing The Kayak On A Flat And Hard Surface

The prospect of repairing the hull of the kayak is off-putting for all kayak owners. However, if you want to avoid hull damage, make sure to avoid storing it on a hard surface. Besides, keeping it flat on the hull can cause the structure to deform.

Unequal weight distribution can also put pressure on the kayak’s hull. As a result, the contact points can do irreparable damage to the hull.

Moreover, plastic kayak owners should take more precautions on how they are storing their kayaks. This is because plastic kayaks are more prone than any other material to develop dents and flat spots.

2.   Hanging The Kayak From The Handles

Hanging your kayak might seem like an easy way out, but it’s an invitation for long-term damage. The handles on a kayak are for making it portable instead of storage. Besides, suspending the kayak by its handles can put immense pressure on them.

The extended pressure will weaken the strength and attachment of the handles. In most cases, these handles will come off when you need them the most. Also, hanging from the handles can cause the hull to sag.

3.   Leaving The Kayak Uncovered

Ants, bugs, bands of raccoons, lizards, snakes, and spiders seemingly find kayaks to be a perfect home. These pests and rodents likely consider your kayak to be free real estate.

If there’s anything worse than having rodents living on your kayak, it’s probably them chewing on the tiny parts. Of course, you can get rid of these unwanted kayak dwellers, but not all solutions are permanent.

Indoors or outdoors, having a quality kayak cover will go a long way. Once you make the cover a part of kayak storage care, you’ll be glad you bought one.

4.   Keeping It Unlocked

Leaving your precious kayak unlocked and unattended is nothing less than a magnet for thieves. Not so surprisingly, kayak thefts are on the rise. Crooks make a pretty good amount by reselling the kayaks.

Consequently, an unlocked kayak is an easy target for thieves. So if you don’t want to make another pocket-emptying investment on your kayak, lock it up when it’s not in use.

5.   Strapping It Too Tight

When you transport your kayak from one place to another, it is crucial to keep the tie-downs tight. You don’t want the kayak to stray loose or fly off the roof.

However, this isn’t something you should be doing when storing the kayak. Strapping your kayak tightly and keeping it that way can cause inevitable damage to the hull. This is because the tight straps can pressure the hull beyond its limits.

The Bottom Line

Rodents, moisture, cold, heat, sunlight, and burglars are waiting for you to commit a storage mistake. Fortunately, you can use these tips to make sure your kayak is here to stay.

Coming up with a suitable strategy to protect and store your kayak will need some time and effort on your part. However, we hope that everyone wondering how to store a kayak found practical solutions through this guide.

Whether you settle for indoor storage or outdoor, you have to do it the right way.

Therefore, store your kayak using one of the methods we’ve given above so that your kayak wakes up as brand new the next season!

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