Everything You Wanted To Know About Shipping A Kayak

shipping a kayak

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Shipping a kayak isn’t as simple as you may think. Whether you are shipping it to an exotic destination where you will be vacationing, to your new home, or if you are heading to a competition, you need to know how to prepare your kayak for shipping properly. The last thing you want is to tear off the packaging only to find that it is damaged. If you want to be sure that your best kayak will get to its destination safely, simply follow the steps listed below.

Gather the Necessary Items

Before shipping your kayak, you should gather the times you will need. You don’t want to be halfway through the project only to realize that you don’t have everything that you need. The items you will need include:

  • Bubble wrap *
  • Cardboard
  • Packing tape
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Measuring tape
  • Scale (Optional)

* You can use packing foam rather than bubble wrap; however, packaging tape doesn’t stick to bubble wrap as well as it does to bubble wrap. If you choose to use packing foam, you are going to need a bit of bubble wrap to hold the tape on. Since bubble wrap is less expensive than packing foam, you are better off using bubble wrap.

Step 1: Wrapping the Kayak in Cardboard

The first step in shipping your kayak is to wrap it in cardboard. If you have a sawhorse, it will make packing your kayak easier. If not, you can do it on the floor or a low standing table. If you are going to use the floor or a table, you will need to flip your kayak over several times while wrapping it. When wrapping the kayak in cardboard, make sure that every area of the kayak is wrapped. You will need to use packaging tape to be sure that the cardboard stays wrapped around it tightly.

**Alternative: If you don’t have enough cardboard to wrap your entire kayak, there is an alternative. Rather than wrapping the whole thing, you can just wrap the bow and the stern. If you are going to use this method, make sure you compensate for the cardboard with extra bubble wrap.

Step 2: Wrapping With Bubble Wrap

The cardboard that you use to wrap your kayak isn’t going to be enough to protect it adequately. You are also going to need it in several layers of bubble wrap. The more bubble wrap you use, the more protection your kayak will have. If the kayak is knocked around or dropped during transport, the bubble wrap will absorb the shock. Once the kayak is wrapped in bubble wrap, you will need another layer of packing tape to hold it on.

Step 3: Create Your Label

When creating your mailing label, you will need to do more than include the address where your kayak is going. You also need to create “fragile” labels and stick them in several places on the kayak. You want to be sure that it will be handled with care during transport. You should also include a couple of labels that read, “kayak.” Be sure that the writing on your labels is clear and large enough to read. It is best to use a Sharpie marker when creating your labels. This will ensure that your writing is dark enough and that it doesn’t smudge or wear off if the labels get wet during transport.

Step 4: Get the Dimensions

You may already know the dimensions of your kayak, but you also may not. Even if you know the dimensions, you are going to need to measure it. When you account for the cardboard, the bubble wrap, and the packing tape, it is going to be larger than what it normally is. Using a measuring tape, you should measure the length, width, and depth. The shipping company is going to need this information when you drop it off for transport. Also check with them first to see if they have a maximum length, as 2 person kayaks are longer than single seaters.

Step 5: Weigh Your Kayak

You are going to need to weigh your kayak before bringing it to the shipping company. You are going to need to know the weight of your kayak, so you know how much it will cost to ship it. The cardboard, bubble wrap and tape will add to the weight of the kayak, so be sure to get an accurate weight when it wrapped and ready to ship. If you don’t have a scale, the shipping company can weigh it for you when you get there. They are going to need the exact weight so that they charge you the appropriate shipping cost. Weighing you wrapped kayak at home will just give you a cost estimation.

Step 6: Choosing Your Shipping Company

Now that your kayak is finally packed and ready to ship, you need to choose a shipping company. If you are hoping to get your kayak shipped as quickly as possible, you should work with a company that offers priority service. This is the fastest way to get your kayak to your destination. If you are more worried about the shipping cost than the shipping speed, you can go with economy shipping. FedEx and UPS are both great companies with excellent reputations. Also if you happen to have your own way to transport the kayak such as a trailer or roof rack, you could take the kayak to the shipping company to save on costs.  They are also priced competitively. Both companies also offer international shipping and offshore services. Whether you are shipping your kayak just a few states over or to a remote area across the ocean, FedEx and UPS provide these services. If you are thinking about using the United States Postal Service to ship your kayak, you should consider the cost. Any package that is over 5-pounds will be cheaper if you ship it with FedEx or UPS rather than the USPS.

If you are like most people, you spend a lot of money on your kayak. If you are planning to ship it, you need to do it correctly. Without the proper padding, your kayak can easily be damaged. When your kayak arrives at its destination, and it is time to unwrap it, do it carefully. When you remove the packing material layer by layer, it will be easier, and you won’t cause any damage to your kayak.

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