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How to Store a Kayak: 5 Things You Should Know

In the water, your kayak is an incredibly tough, purpose-built vessel that can take you anywhere you have the strength to paddle. But out of the water, it needs some extra care and attention to deliver peak performance year after year. Storing and maintaining your kayak is relatively simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind to know how to store a kayak the right way.

5 Useful Tips For Storing Your Kayak

1. Keep it Dry and Clean

It's normal for sand, mud, algae, salt and other grit and debris to accumulate on the inside and outside of your kayak. This grime can have a negative effect on the finish of your kayak, so it's good to get in the habit of cleaning your kayak after every use. For short term storage, you can simply use your garden hose to spray away any crud, then let your kayak air dry.

For long-term storage, it's a good idea to give your kayak a more thorough cleaning with mild soap and water, getting inside the hatches and all the other nooks and crannies. After a good clean, it's important to allow your kayak to dry fully before putting it away, especially inside the hatches and other water-tight compartments. Water inside the hatches can promote the growth of mold and fungus which could deteriorate the plastic.

2. Keep Critters Out

After you've cleaned and dried your kayak inside and out, close up your hatches and other watertight compartments. If you leave them open, small animals and insects such as mice, geckos and wasps could move in and give you trouble. If you have a sit inside kayak, consider buying and using a cockpit cover to keep pests out.

3. Oil Metal Parts, Tighten Screws and Check for Missing Parts

During the fishing season when you go out every weekend, screws can get loose and parts can go missing without you realizing it. Cleaning and preparing your kayak for long term storage is a great time to go through and make sure everything's in order, that way you can buy any replacement parts or screws in the off-season to have your kayak ready for action in the spring.

The metal parts on your kayak, while they are designed for use in the water, can corrode or rust over time, especially if you kayak in saltwater. A light touch of oil will ensure that the metal parts stay conditioned and in good working order. You may also want to grease the threads of any screws and bolts on your kayak or accessories.

4. Finding the Perfect Place to Store Your Kayak

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If possible, you want to store your kayak indoors.

Garages, sheds, and workshops are all great places to store your kayak.

However,  if you don't have space indoors for a kayak, your kayak can be safely stored outdoors as long as you take a few precautions.

For outdoor storage:

  • Find a place out of the sun. UV rays can damage and degrade your kayak no matter what material it's made from. If available, store your kayak under cover in a spot that is shaded at all times. If no cover is available use a heavy duty tarp to cover your kayak. UV protective sprays can also be used if you feel there is any risk of your kayak being exposed to the sun while in storage.

  • If using a tarp to cover your kayak, suspend or hang the tarp so that it's not in contact with the kayak. Any points of contact between the tarp and the kayak can trap moisture, leading to mold and fungus growth.

  • Protect your kayak against theft. If you need to store your kayak in your backyard, try to find a place that's out of view and hidden. Try to position the kayak so that it's difficult to remove from its storage location. You may also gain more peace of mind by using a cable lock through a sturdy part of the kayak (like through a scupper hole) and locking it to a fence or deck post.

5. How to Store a Kayak in The Right Position

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Your kayak is designed with a very specific shape for optimal performance in the water. ABS and rotomolded plastic are very durable but are prone to warping if the weight of the kayak is not distributed evenly.

If the weight of the kayak is not supported properly, the weaker parts of the hull will warp, which will affect the kayak's handling and performance in the water.

Whether storing your kayak indoors or outdoors, here are the best positions to use to keep your hull from warping:

  • Vertically on the stern. Standing your kayak upright on its stern and leaning the hull flush against a wall is perhaps the best way to minimize stress on the hull. Most homes, however, don't have the vertical storage space to accommodate a 12+ foot kayak. But if you do, storing your kayak vertically is one of the most convenient and safe ways to store a kayak.

  • On the sidewall on the ground. You can simply lay your kayak on its sidewall on the ground with its hull against the wall. On its side, most of the weight is concentrated in the cockpit, which is the strongest part of the kayak and unlikely to warp. In a pinch, you can rest the sidewall directly on the ground, but if storing for any amount of time, it's best to use foam supports on the ground placed under either side of the cockpit.

  • Hanging from straps or in a wall rack. Using a kayak wall rack is one of the most space-efficient ways to store your kayak. You can purchase one of the many models of kayak wall racks available, or you can hang your kayak from the wall using straps attached to secure mounting points higher up. The most important thing to remember when hanging a kayak on its side is the position of the straps; they should be on either side of the cockpit to reduce stress on the hull.

What Not to do When Storing a Kayak

  • Don't store your kayak upright or upside down. Upright (as if you were floating in it) will place the full weight of the kayak to rest on the hull causing it to warp. Upside down will place the weight on the bow and stern, or on other parts of the kayak that stick out.

  • Don't hang your kayak by its grab loops. The weight of the kayak will make the hull sag down, causing it to warp.

  • Don't store your kayak near a heat source. Excessive heat will cause the kayak's plastic to warp and deform even faster, so try to avoid storing next to water heaters or furnaces.

Final Thoughts

Without knowing how to store a kayak properly, any number of warps and deformations can occur. It is possible to repair a warped hull, but it can be difficult, results are never guaranteed and your kayak just won't be the same. The good news is that with a little preparation and careful storage, your kayak will continue to perform for you for years to come.

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