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How To Care For & Maintain Your Kayak

One of the questions we are often asked after a customer has made an investment in a shiny new kayak is, “Is there anything special I need to do to protect my new baby?” 

Depending on the material your kayak is made from, the answers are pretty simple:

  • Keep it clean.
  • Keep it out of the sun. 
  • Keep it properly supported.

That’s about it. But in more detail, keep these things in mind:

Salt water and sun is the enemy of everything.
Saltwater can be very damaging to kayaks and will eat deck cord, bungee rigging, seat material, handles, lifejackets, wetsuits you name it. Therefore rinse everything off with fresh water after every use. We can’t stress this enough. If you do nothing else, at least do this step. Once you’ve rinsed everything off, use a mild detergent for stubborn grime and if need be use a soft scrub brush. If your rigging is damaged or broken, come into the store and we’ll get you set up with replacement rigging.

When your kayak is clean and dry apply a commercially available product like 303 Protectant which will help your kayak resist the sun’s damaging UV rays giving it a longer life. Think of it as sunscreen for your kayak. 

Store your kayak out of the sun and give it a cover.
If you have to store your kayak outside, try to find a spot that gets the least amount of sun, and consider a kayak cover or tarp. Leave enough space under your cover to allow for air circulation so as not to cook your kayak. If you have a sit-inside-kayak invest in a cockpit seal. Not only will it make your seat last longer, it will also keep undesirable creatures from setting up a home in your kayak. Nothing like discovering a nesting rat or spider crawling up your leg when you’re paddling in the middle of the bay!

Give your kayak support when storing it.
We all need it and so does your kayak. If you have a polyethylene kayak this is especially important. Poly kayaks are soft and can bend and buckle under heat. If you choose to hang your kayak don’t hang it by the ends. This puts undue pressure on the middle of your kayak hull and will deform it over months of storage. Instead, invest in kayak wall hooks,kayak wall slings or a kayak hammock and be sure to position the support so that its just forward and aft of the seat. Or if you’re storing it on the ground, get some kayak rack padsor kayak stands that will also give the kayak hull the support it needs.

Check out our website, stop by the store or give us a call for more advice and solutions to protect and store your kayak so you can enjoy paddling it for a long time to come.

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