The kayaks built these days have very high build standards, and many of them will provide you years of enjoyment.
However, part of how long one will last depends on your knowledge of how to store a kayak. Storing kayaks properly will ensure that they last a long time.
How to Store Kayaks
There are a few essential tips that you should keep in mind once you have to put your kayak away. I am always diligent in following these simple rituals, and sure enough, my kayak has aged well thru the years. Many of these tips are common-sense practices. (Learn All About Kayaking)
Clean It First
I know that this seems like a no brainer, but I will say it anyway. Before you store your kayak, give it a good cleaning. Chances are that yours may have some amount of mud, sand, silt, algae, or other kinds of dirt from normal use.
After every outing, it is a good idea to clean it with water using a pressurized hose. This will avoid the build-up of stubborn grime. However, if you plan to keep your kayak for a longer duration, using more than water would be advisable.
Some detergent applied with a sponge on all the surfaces will help get rid of all the dirt. Make sure that you get into all the spaces, as kayaks have a few hard-to-reach spots. Before you set it aside, make certain that it is very thoroughly dry.
Another step you could add to the cleaning process is to check if all the hatches, compartments, and tiny spots are bug and insect-free. A critter or two that stubbornly made my kayak a temporary home have surprised me a few times.
After a clean-up with water, metal parts of your kayak might become prone to rust. To avoid this, a little application of oil will go a long way. Lubricate these metal parts with moderate amounts of multi-purpose oil. (Read How Many Calories Does Kayaking Burn)
The Best Way to Store a Kayak
The ideal way for you to store a kayak would be in an indoor space. This would protect the item from the elements, not to mention that it would also be safer from theft. There are times, however, when kayak owners might not have this luxury.
Indoor storage usually is in sheds, garages, or workshops. It is also good to have a cover or tarp that provides added protection, regardless of indoor or outdoor storage. Proper kayak position is also an important factor to avoid any warping.
The Peculiar Shape of Kayaks
The kayak’s streamlined shape allows it to achieve minimum drag in the water. Unfortunately, this delicate form is also prone to deforming when the kayak’s weight is not managed properly. The majority of kayak material, rotomolded or ABS plastic, is very durable but can easily damage when not cared for.
This is one of the safest ways to store a kayak.
Presuming you have the ceiling height, position your kayak upright on its stern and allow the hull flush to lean on a wall. Make sure to place a soft material like a blanket to protect the stern. Placing the kayak to rest part of its weight on the wall also helps relieve some stress on the stern.
Suspended On a Wall
Try looking-up the many kinds of kayak wall racks in the market. I have also improvised by hanging my boat from the wall with straps that mount on the ceiling. The nice thing about storage hanging is the kayak does not occupy floor space.
Just keep two things in mind: Make sure your straps are very secure, and when hanging a kayak on its side position, the straps should be on either side of the cockpit to minimize hull stress. Also, check that the straps or brackets are equidistant from each end of the kayak.
The position should be after the cockpit, but more or less towards the center. Again this ensures that the weight does not cause warping.
On The Ground by a Wall
The correct way to do this is to position your kayak on its sidewall on the floor and the hull leaning on the wall. This method places most of the weight on the cockpit, the firmest part of the kayak. This way, you avoid warping.
It is also advisable to use foam or a blanket underneath.
What You Should Not Do During Storage
Never use any of the handles or grabs as anchor points when you hang a kayak. This will lead to damaging these parts over time due to the weight. It is also a sure way to introduce the warpage.
Do not store the kayak in an upright or upside-down position. If you store it upright, this will place most of the weight on the hull, potentially damaging or deforming it. On the other hand, if upside down, all the weight will stress the stern and bow, introducing deformity.
Also, do not store your kayak in a sideways position. Over time, this will eventually deform the sides.
Stay away from hot areas. Outdoor or indoor storage should be in places that are not prone to heat. Excessive temperatures will cause your kayak to lose its shape.
The opposite of excessive heat is damp and moist places of storage. Avoid these conditions, too, as this will lead to mold and fungus growth, which are well worth avoiding.
Do not use a wheeled cart as a storage platform, as this will also result in warping. A wheeled cart should only be exclusively for transport. (Read 5 Kayak Fishing Tips)
Enjoy Your Kayak for Many Years
If a kayak is one of your recent purchases, congratulations! You are in for many hours of fun and enjoyment in the water. Protect your investment by observing these guidelines, many of which are common sense. Shape distortion of the kayak is your biggest enemy, but with prudence and care, you should be able to avoid it.