One of the main benefits of having an inflatable kayak is the fact you can pack it away in your car or store it at home without having to worry too much about space. And while it’s simple enough to pack away your boat, it’s important to know how to store it properly.
Today, I’m going to share my tips for storing inflatable kayaks the right way. If you take the little bit of time and extra care to safely stow your kayak, you’ll likely prolong the life of your boat – and save yourself some cash in the long run.
Disassemble Your Kayak Before You Deflate It
When you get out of the water, allow your boat some time to air dry. Keep it inflated and upside down to help water drain out.
Start by taking out any removable gear from your kayak. Typically, gear like a tackle box, swimming gear, and large removable storage components are not going to be stored with your kayak. Remove them from your kayak before you start the deflation process.
Draining, Cleaning, and Drying Your Inflatable Kayak
Draining, cleaning, and drying out your kayak are the most important steps when you are in the process of putting it away.
You can do a very quick draining, cleaning, and drying process when you get out of the water. Then when you get home, you can do a more thorough cleaning.
Drain Your Kayak
Depending on the type of inflatable boat you have, your kayak may or may not have taken on water.
Most inflatable kayaks will collect some amount of water on the inside (especially if your paddles do not have some sort of drip protection). Also, if you’re kayak fishing, hitting rapids, or swimming in and out your kayak, you’re going to deal with excess water in your kayak.
If you have self bailing holes in your kayak, you can drain your inflatable boat that way. If you don’t, simply flip it over and try to take out as much water as possible. Remove the floor of the kayak after you’ve taken out all the water.
With some inflatable kayaks, it’s easier to take out the floor first. Then, run a towel on the inside to help collect any extra water.
Why Cleaning Your Kayak Is Important
The next step is to clean your kayak. It’s important to properly clean your kayak after you use it so that you can extend its lifespan. When you go out in saltwater, you should rinse your kayak using freshwater.
Cleaning your kayak will also help get rid of loose dirt, debris and even chemicals that you may have collected while out on the water. You can clean your kayak using a mild soapy solution, a soft bristle brush, and a spray down with fresh water.
If you use your kayak often, you may want to do an in-depth cleaning once a week. Otherwise, clean it thoroughly if you’re going to be storing it away for an extended period of time.
You can do a really quick clean up by wiping your kayak down as soon as you pull it out of the water. Then, when you get home, you can do a more thorough cleaning with the soapy water and your bristle brush.
To help air things out, keep your kayak’s storage pack unzipped to allow trapped moisture to escape and dry out a little as you travel back home.
How to Dry Out Your Kayak Quickly
There are several ways to dry your kayak out, but the easiest is letting it dry on a hot sunny day. You can also take a towel and run it through the inside of your kayak to speed up the process.
If you have an area in your garage or backyard where you can hang the kayak up, this can be helpful too. Air drying is just as effective as letting your kayak dry out in the sun.
If you’re in a time crunch, try your best to dry your kayak out on the shore. Then when you get home, do a more thorough job drying out your kayak.
Deflating and Folding Your Inflatable Kayak
Twist or pull open all the valves, take out the rigid floor if you haven’t already, and allow your kayak to deflate. While you can use your pump on its deflation setting, I’ve found that it’s easier to just let the weight of the kayak do the work to deflate it. Once your kayak has mostly deflated, turn it on its side to adjust the weight and allow it to further deflate.
As your kayak is deflating, take this time to remove any additional accessories like seats and footrests. Open those up and allow them to deflate if necessary. Once gravity has done its job, take out any other gear and then begin folding.
With your kayak in the position it would be while out on the water, it’s time to fold, which can be done in four simple steps:
- Start at one end of the kayak and fold the boat into thirds.
- Push down on the hull of the boat and allow air to escape.
- Now move onto the other side and fold it into thirds.
- Push down again, and allow the kayak to fully deflate.
You can save some energy by using the length of your arm to gently push down on the kayak to remove the air inside.
Packing Your Inflatable Kayak into Its Transport Bag
To pack up your kayak, place your folded up kayak into its storage pack. Then, add in your folded removable floor, inflatable seat, foot rest, and other soft gear. Don’t store additional accessories that are sharp or pointy in your storage pack in order to prevent damage to your inflatable kayak.
Some storage bags allow you to store the paddles inside, while others will require storage on the outside.
Also, If you plan on doing a deep clean of your kayak once at home, don’t worry too much about extra water or packing up the right way. Just make sure you don’t skip the deep cleaning when you return home!
Storing Your Inflatable Kayak
Storing your kayak properly is perhaps the important part of maintaining and caring for your boat.
When you store your kayak, put it in a cool, dry place, that is away from things that can puncture it. One great thing about inflatables is that they don’t take up much room and can easily fit almost anywhere in your home.
Before you store away your kayak, you need to make sure you do a thorough job of cleaning it. Get rid of any mud stains, do a fresh water rinse, and dry the kayak out properly. If you store away your kayak while it’s wet, this can seriously shorten the lifespan of your boat.
A wet kayak will collect mold and mildew and will degrade over time. Not to mention it will probably start to smell a little, too!
Store Your Inflatable Kayak Inflated
The best way to store your inflatable kayak is to leave it inflated. Plus if you use your inflatable kayak on a weekly or even daily basis, it makes more sense for you to leave your boat inflated, rather than having to pump it up each time you want to take it out on the water.
Leaving your kayak inflated is considered to be the best way to store it for a number of reasons, including:
- The seams of your kayak will hold up better.
- Rodents won’t be able to damage it because the rubberized coating is inflated and rubber is harder to chew on when deflated.
- Inflatable kayaks are more resistant to punctures when inflated.
To store your inflatable kayak while it’s still inflated, you still want to follow basic cleaning rules like wiping away any loose dirt and rinsing it off with fresh water (sat water is the enemy).
When you store an inflated boat, don’t lean it against a wall or store it on its side. This can cause the kayak to warp. Opt for a cool place like a basement or garage. You can also store it suspended in the air with clips or a shelf that will allow it to stay upright.
Also, you should be mindful of where you store your inflatable kayak. If your basement has rodents that can nibble at any loose fabric, this can cause damage too. Protect against this by covering your boat with a tarp.
You should keep your inflated boat away from any dogs or cats that can scratch and pierce the surface as well. And ,of course, never store additional objects on top of your kayak either.
Try your best to avoid storing your kayak outdoors too. Prolonged time in the elements and in direct sunlight can damage your boat. Inflatable kayaks have a UV protection coating which can break down if left in the sun too long.
If Outside, Cover Your Kayak Well
If you have to store your inflatable kayak outdoors, try to protect it as best you can. Place it on a tarp and never leave it exposed.
Use a large, light colored tarp to cover your kayak as well. If you can, try and find a shaded area where you can store your kayak.
Store Your Inflatable Kayak Deflated
The easiest way to store an inflatable kayak is by deflating it first (although leaving it inflated does have its advantages, too – as I’ve already mentioned)
After you have cleaned, dried, and packed your inflatable boat away in its dry storage bag, it’s time to store it. Your goal is to find a dark, dry, and cool area to house your inflatable. For many, this could be a basement or garage.
Wherever you put your folded up kayak, remember to keep it zipped up. This will keep curious critters or even rodents from crawling into it.
Hide Away Storage Spaces
There are a few things to keep in mind when putting your inflatable kayak away. If you are done using your kayak for the season, select a place that is out of reach and away from the floor.
If you are going to be using your kayak within the next couple of days or weeks, then put it in a space that is easy to reach. A bedroom closet, a shelf in your garage, or even a storage unit could be an ideal place. If the weather in your area is mild, you can even store your kayak bag in the trunk of your car.
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Storing inflatable kayaks properly has a direct impact on their lifespan. Even if you have a top of the line inflatable, if you don’t put it away properly, your boat can get punctured, grow mold and mildew, or even warp.
I hope my guide on how to properly pack and store away your inflatable boat has been helpful to you. Be sure to hit up the comments and share some of your favorite tips and tricks for storing your own boat.