When you own and operate a kayak, it's important that you take good care of it, both in season and otherwise. Though kayak care sounds like work, a little attention can go a long way. There are only a few basic things to do and think about to keep your equipment in good shape and soon, it will become routine.
During Paddling Season
In season, you're using your kayak more than often, and the right care is important to maintaining it's life and usability. Some quick, simple tips are as follows:
No dragging: It's important to know first and foremost that dragging a kayak on the ground will thin and weaken the material or worse, create holes that will have to be repaired. This is a big no-no of kayak ownership and care.
UV Protection: Just like your skin, you need to protect your kayak from UV sunlight and oxidation. It's a good idea to apply a coat of spray-on UV protection at the beginning and end of the season after it is clean and dry. You can find it at most sporting goods shops.
Cover the Cockpit: This keeps rain and critters out. Dry out the inside before you cover it to keep mold, mosquitoes and scum from accumulating.
In Season Storage
If you store your kayak outdoors just for the paddling season, there are several ways to properly store it, but don't forget to dry it first.
- You can hang it upside down, raised off the ground and draped with a tarp that allows for air flow.
- If you have a plastic kayak, it's best to store it on its edge to protect the hull formation. The alternative would be to store upside down and supported on each side of the deck.
- You can purchase a commercial kayak cover. These are the best protection from UV rays, critters and moisture.
- You can easily build a simple stand with saw horses by fastening wide nylon straps of equal length across each end of the saw horses. Add padding where the hull will rest and set the kayak on its hull.
- Alternatively, you can purchase a manufactured version of this stand. These is a set of scissor-type stands that fold when not in use and are referred to as sea horses.
- If you are fortunate to have some garage space, you can purchase or build a kayak storage rack. These racks have either fixed curved arms or adjustable straps to secure your kayak against a wall.