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Knowing how to store inflatable kayaks properly can let you keep your pride and joy free of damage and ready for the next adventure.
One of the main advantages of inflatable kayaks is that they are easy to store. But there are some things that you ought to know before you begin.
We know you want to look after your kayak, so we have put together some tips on how and where to store it.
How To Store An Inflatable Kayak
Before You Store The Kayak
Before you store an inflatable kayak, it can be important to clean it first. This can help to prevent staining and damage on the materials caused by dirt, sand, salt, or oils.
You probably already know that it’s a good idea to rinse your kayak after each paddling session. But cleaning an inflatable kayak will require soap and water (and a little more effort).
Use a mild soap, such as a dish soap. Fill a bucket with clean, fresh water, and grab a sponge. Clean over the entire kayak. Don’t forget about the underside of the hull – it will need to be cleaned too.
After you’ve given all the chambers and floor a good clean, rinse the kayak with clean water. It can be easier to do this with a hose on a spray setting.
Grab some clean, dry towels and dry off the kayak. Then leave the kayak to dry completely. This could take several hours so be prepared to wait a while.
Leaving your kayak to fully dry is important before you store it. If your inflatable kayak has any moisture left on it when you store it, you could end up with mold and mildew damaging your boat.
Deflate And Fold Your Kayak
Once your inflatable kayak is completely dry, it’s time to deflate it. Make sure you have removed the seat and any other accessories before you do this. You may have already removed these items when you cleaned the kayak.
Open the valves of your kayak and deflate the boat. You can use a pump if it has a deflation mode.
You can then start to fold your kayak. If the valves are at the back, start at the back, otherwise you could block the air from getting out.
Video: How To Fold An Inflatable Kayak
It can be helpful to fold the sides lengthwise toward the center first. Then you can start at the back of the kayak and roll or fold the material so that you are forcing all the air out of the valves as you go.
Use A Storage Bag
Most inflatable kayaks come with a storage bag included. This can either be a carrying case or a backpack-style bag.
With your kayak rolled or folded and ready to pack, it’s time to pack it away inside the storage bag. This can be tricky if your packed kayak is not small enough to fit inside. If it won’t go in, you may need to reroll it or refold it so that it fits.
If it’s a tight fit, you may find it easier to store the seat and accessories in a different storage bag to give the kayak more room.
Choose A Cool, Dry Storage Location
Along with your kayak being completely dry before storage, this is another important step in safely storing your inflatable kayak.
Your inflatable kayak should be stored in a cool, dry place. It should be kept away from direct heat sources and out of direct sunlight. A closet inside your home can be an ideal place. Or you can store it under your bed, if there’s room.
You can also store the inflatable kayak in your garage. However, where you live could determine how suitable your garage is. If you live in a warm, humid climate, like Florida, your garage may not be the best option.
On the other hand, if your garage is climate-controlled then it won’t matter what’s going on with the weather outside, so your garage could be an ideal location to keep your kayak.
If you store your kayak in a humid place, you could end up with the same problems caused by storing your kayak while it’s still damp. Mold and mildew can build up on the fabric. This can weaken the materials, causing damage to the structural integrity and could make punctures and tears more likely.
If you plan to store the kayak in a garage or shed, it can be a good idea to keep it slightly off the ground so that it’s out of reach of potential critters.
If You Plan To Store Your Kayak Inflated
If you don’t plan to store your inflatable kayak for a long period of time, you might find it easier to keep it inflated. For example, if you plan to use the kayak again in the next couple of days, it can be quicker to launch if the kayak is already partially inflated.
While it’s generally not recommended to store a kayak while it’s still inflated, there’s one thing that you should always do if you choose to store it this way. You should always let out some of the air from the chambers before you leave the kayak for any length of time.
By letting out some of the air, you can allow for air pressure fluctuations. This can be particularly important in hot climates or if you plan to leave the kayak outside in the sun (we don’t recommend leaving it in the sun).
Air pressure will increase inside the air chambers as it heats up, which can cause the materials to stretch if the kayak becomes overinflated. If the pressure builds up too much, the kayak could burst. So it’s important to deflate the kayak a little to allow for heat pressure changes.
Another thing to remember is to keep the kayak off the ground, such as on a kayak rack or shelf.
Similar to how you would store a deflated kayak, you should opt for a storage location that is out of direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. A garage can be ideal for this.
If you plan to store the inflatable kayak outside, you should keep it in a shaded spot. Covering it with a tarpaulin or kayak cover can be a good idea to help protect it from the elements and prevent dirt or critters from getting in.
Conclusion: The Main Takeaway
Storing an inflatable kayak correctly can help to protect the kayak from damage and degradation. This means you can prolong the life of your inflatable kayak and have more fun in it.
Inflatable kayaks are generally more convenient to store than hardshell kayaks but that doesn’t mean they don’t require a little bit of work beforehand. Remember to clean and completely dry your kayak before you store it. This is important to prevent mold and mildew.
You should also remember to store the kayak in a clean, cool, dry space out of direct sunlight.
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