The trees misted in morning dew and you make your way down river, you know you have plenty of time to reach the spot you have marked for a lunch break, a bird chirps and in the distance you can spot a deer drinking from the lake and you realize that this is the exact reason you have a kayak and love this activity so much. Kayaking is one of the fastest growing activities and for good reason, it is relaxing, good exercise, and at times the surroundings can be surreal. But what to do when the season is over and the kayak must be stored, where do you store it? How do you store it? Lucky for you we have experience storing kayaks and have done the research to ensure your kayak stays in new condition to offer you the best experience possible every time you take a paddle stroke.
The Importance of Storing Properly
In many activities the storage of equipment can be crucial to the life and performance of the product and kayaking is no different. Improper storage can lead to warping of the hull which can impair the paddling of the kayak thus making it track poorly and more un-stable. Improper storage can also lead to critters getting in and making their home for the winter inside your cockpit and storage’s. These critters could range from raccoons to wasps, both of which can damage your kayak and make for a mess when the new season begins.
To help your kayak remain in the best condition possible after storing it for the season there are a few things to do before hand that will help. Spraying down and cleaning with a 303 Protectant which protects against dulling of the plastic and will also keep your storage’s soft and supple ensuring they work great and seal for your next year of paddling. It is also recommended that all hardware be tightened, not overtightened, use your discretion. It is imperative that you use a cockpit cover to keep critters out and keep the elements out also. Cockpit covers are relatively inexpensive and can help immensely. Storage’s should be left open to let air circulate, and don’t forget to treat the seals with 303 Protectant or a rubber care product. Abiding by these guidelines will ensure a longer life and better overall paddling experience of your kayak.
There are many different ways to store a kayak inside of a garage making it one of the best and safest places to store kayaks in the off season. If you are lucky enough to have ample storage space in a garage we will inform you on the best ways to utilize your space and store your investments.
► Sea Horse: Whether home made or purchased from an aftermarket company sea horse storage is popular and very easy to use. Talic, an aftermarket rack outfitter, makes some great aluminum fold up storages that can hold a kayak safely and save space when not in use
► Pulley System: A pulley system, there are many out there, can safely hold a kayak suspended out of the way which can save much space for other use. Pulley system range in price by model but you must ensure that the system purchased will support the total weight of the kayak you are storing. When using a pulley system the placement of the support straps is crucial. You should support kayaks at points slightly less than 1/2 the length of the kayak, for example, a 14 foot kayak should have the straps roughly 5 feet apart to ensure safe holding.
► Wooden Racks: For storage of multiple kayaks, many companies make wooden “J” style racks that hold multiple kayaks. It may be an investment but will be well worth it when storage is safe and easy having your kayaks easily accessible and safe on their sides for long storage. There are blueprints out there for making these racks yourself, simply search the Internet if you prefer to make your own racks.
► Car Racks: The racks you use all season to transport your kayak can also be used to store them for the off season. If you use a j-style carrier you can either mount these to the wall of your garage or set them flat on the ground. Something as simple as foam blocks can also be placed on the ground for storage as an inexpensive quick fix for storage.
► Web Slings: Nylon web slings are popular for space saving storage and are inexpensive also. The proper way to store with a nylon web sling would be to have the kayak on its side and have the spacing less than 1/2 the entire length of the kayak. You can make these yourself also, just ensure they are safe and secure to hold the weight of the kayaks you are storing.
Not everyone has a garage to store their kayaks in so an outdoor storage may be the only option for some but no worries, there are many ways to store kayaks safely outdoors. It is highly recommended that a lock be used to secure your investment when stored outside. Cable lock systems are popular and can often be secured around the boat or you can have your kayak cleated with a metal cleat to give yourself something to put the cable through. Treat your kayak with a 303 protectant or similar to protect against sun damage and oxidation, if you paddle in salt water rinse off your kayak before storage because salt water can degrade hull materials and corrode metal parts. Lets look at the different types of storage for those kayaks spending their off season outside.
► Wooden Closures: Wooden doghouse style closures are popular and easy to make with many plans and information on the Internet to reference. You will still need to support your kayak somehow to get it off the ground, a sea horse, foam blocks, etc. The wooden house will protect your kayak from the elements and also help keep animals out. If made completely sealed you can lock the closure with a pad lock or similar. If you do completely enclose you kayak in a system make sure you put some holes in the closure for breath-ability.
► Sea Horse Storage: You can use sea horse storage much like you would in a garage, outdoors you will need to protect the kayak from the elements. You can either tarp the kayak or in the event you have no tarp you can put the kayak upside down on the sea horse either under an overhang or some protective topper. If using a tarp it is best to suspend the tarp over the kayak, not directly sitting on the kayak which could cause osmosis putting little bubbles and blisters in the top coat of your kayak. Storing the kayak upside down will ensure any excess water runs off the hull and onto the ground, if stored right side up this excess water can leave stains on your kayak that can be near impossible to remove.
Things to avoid when storing kayaks
► Do not hang kayaks from their carrying straps. This will compromise the structure of the kayaks hull and could warp and disfigure the kayaks shape. these are intended to be used as carrying straps and not as storage straps.
► Do not store flat on ground as this can cause warping and disfigure the natural shape. Outside this can also make it easier for critters and creepy crawlies to access your kayak.
► If storing outside with a tarp, ensure that snow and excess water do not build up and push on the hull of the kayak. This can cause warping and disfigurement to the kayak.
► Do not store near a heater or furnace as the excess heat could cause issues with the structure of the kayak.
► Avoid storing your kayak flat or on its side for an extended period of time, this could also damage the structure of the kayak. If you must store this way, flip and change the position of the kayak often to deter damage from being on one side for too long.
A kayak is an investment which more and more people make each year yet many do not do the proper research to ensure that their investment stays in new condition for as long as possible. There is no bigger disappointment than getting your kayak out for the first paddle of the season to find out it has been damaged due to poor storage. If you have spent a decent amount of money on your kayak it is imperative that you do some research to make sure your storage methods are suitable. Take our advice and you are sure to have a successful storage season resulting in a great paddling season when you get your kayak out again. Until next time, see ya on the water!