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How to Store a Kayak [The Do’s & Don’ts You Need To Know]

Most people that buy a plastic kayak don't put much thought in how to store it properly. That's one of those details that can play a crucial role in the longevity of your kayak. Keeping it outside, continuously exposed on the sun and other elements is one of the worst things that can happen to your kayak.

Here we will explain how to store a kayak properly so that it can be well-preserved for the next season. This guide is made as a series of frequently asked questions that touch every aspect of kayak storing. Here’s basically everything that a kayak owner should ever know about kayak storing.

Things to Do Before Storing the Kayak

Proper storing is essential, but cleaning it before storing is evenly important. Leaving sand dirt, salt, and other residues not only leave stains on it, but it will also disintegrate into your kayak.

The best way to clean is using a bug remover. Just spray all over the kayak before you clean it with your hose. This method is simple, doesn't take too much time, and no scrubbing needed. Before you store the kayak away, make sure that it is all dried up, and there is no water left in its haul.

The Ideal Way to Store a Kayak

How to store a kayak

When it comes to kayak storing, one important thing to look out for is its weight. It has to be evenly distributed. Unevenly distributed weight can distort the kayak. Although this won't happen overnight, it will degrade over a specified period. Plastic kayaks are more prone to distortion. Even wood-hulled and composite kayaks can be deformed over time. 

Because of this, it is best to avoid storing the kayak on its hull, standing on one end, hanging on its grab handles while providing support only for its stern and bow. At the same time, it's essential not to lay it on a flat, hard surface.

The best option is to support it on several spots along its length. You can achieve this with padded cradles and angled surfaces. Or you can opt for wide nylon webbing that will match the curve of the hull. In case you own an inflatable kayak, just deflate it and take it apart.

Is It Ok to Store a Kayak Upside Down?

Yes, it’s okay to store a kayak upside down. However, there are some basic principles to be taken into consideration. First of all, the kayak needs to be appropriately supported, on several points along its length. That way its weight is evenly distributed.

At the same time, the support needs to be reliable and attached to something firm that will hold kayak's weight. That way you can be sure that the kayak won't fall and potentially hurt someone or make some other damage.

Is It Ok to Leave Kayak Outside in Winter?

In case you have no space in your garage, on your ceiling, or elsewhere in your house, you can leave the kayak outside in winter. But then again, you need to make sure that it’s well protected, and that’s not just from the elements. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Find a shady spot that will protect it from rain, sun, snow, and other elements. Then place a water-resistant tarp over it. Make sure that the tarp completely covers the kayak, but at the same time make sure that it doesn't touch it. The thing is that if the tarp comes in touch with the hull, it can cause mold or fungal growth. Also, make sure that the tarp doesn’t collect snow or rain. That can cause pressure on the kayak.
  • Much has been said about properly supporting the kayak and all that applies when the kayak is kept outside. Again, the key thing is the proper weight distribution. How you will achieve this, what you will use, that’s entirely left up to you.
  • Close the cockpit of your kayak. An open kayak is like an open invitation for chipmunks, squirrels, ants, lizards, spiders, bugs, rodents, even snakes. Any of the little buggers can cause significant damage to the rubber and foam attached to the kayak. Not to mention the fact that you may notice the unwanted passenger with you when you are on the water, and it's too late to do anything about it. Other dangers of kayaking can be found here.
  • Locking the kayak is always a good idea. Especially, if it is outside. Don’t make it easy for someone to grab it. Winter or not, it's best to keep it hidden from prying eyes.

If you are thinking about kayaking in the winter, do check out this article first.

How Do You Store a Sit on Top Kayak?

Pretty much everything that was already said about storing kayaks applies for storing sit on top kayaks. The weight needs to be distributed evenly, and it needs to be protected from the weather elements and cleaned well before storing it away for the next season.

Can I Store a Kayak Outside?

Above, we’ve elaborated in details whether it is OK to leave a kayak outside in winter. How you store the kayak during the winter is almost identical to how you store it outside for other seasons as well.

The biggest difference is that during summer months, you might want to spray some sun-protective spray over it. That's in case it is exposed to the sun. The UV rays can cause significant damages to the kayak. A sun protective coating doesn't cost too much and takes minimal time to apply. It can also help during the transportation of your kayak from point A to point B using a kayak roof rack.

Even when you are out kayaking, always keep a sun protective spray close with you. By regularly refreshing the sun protective coating, you will be adding years to your kayak. 

The Don’ts of Kayak Storing

There are things you should do, and there are things that if you do will cost you a lot. If you don't want to learn from your mistakes, you can learn from someone else’s. Here is a list of dumb things you shouldn’t do when storing a kayak:

  • Don’t let it hang from the ceiling. Gravity is no friend to kayaks. It will create pressure on some areas causing distortion to your kayak.
  • Don't leave it on a flat and hard surface. The plastic of the kayak will start caving under pressure.
  • Don't hang it from its handles. That's putting pressure on specific points and not evenly distributing the weight of the kayak. This can make the kayak's bottom sag.
  • Don’t underestimate the sun and its UV rays. Always use UV spray to protect it from the sun rays. Constant exposure to the sun can make the plastic brittle.
  • Keep it locked and secure. Exposure to weather elements and rodents are bad, but nothing compares when exposed to humans. People can be tempted to steal if the opportunity occurs. Keep it strapped to a fence so that it cannot be easily removed.
  • Moisture is something that can also affect the kayak's condition. Moisture can have the same degrading effect on the kayak similar to UV rays and other weather elements.
  • Keep your accessories in a different location. Don’t store your kayak accessories like bilge pump, float bags, and paddles in the boat itself. They too need to be cleaned, dried and stored properly. Don’t put additional pressure on the kayak by putting them in it.
  • When out in the wild on some lake or kayaking in the river, we often have to leave our kayak behind temporarily so that we can enjoy the surrounding environment. And it is at this time that many inexperienced kayakers make dumb mistakes like keeping the kayak near the campfire or even sitting on it. Both actions can cause serious damage to the kayak.
  • Don’t leave your kayak strapped on the car for too long. Many people just let their kayak be strapped on the car until their next trip. That might be next week, two weeks later, or a month later. The more it sits there, the greater the chances it gets distorted. Don’t let your car or a van be a place of storage.

Final Thoughts

Storing a kayak is no rocket science, nor was it ever intended to be. It is a set of logical steps that if followed, can make your kayak last for many years. Each one of the rules and principles has been explained in detail above.

Sticking to what you learn is the only secret on how to store a kayak. Learn and apply; there is nothing more!

Douglas Keister

I am an adventure fanatic that loves nature and adventure sports like kayaking, camping and water sports. I have been doing this for almost 10 years now and have learned quite a few tricks. With my experience, I hope to provide you with the most reliable and accurate information for your next adventure.

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