5 Simple Steps To Properly Store Your Inflatable Kayak

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Kayak

Due to their portability and ease of storage, inflatable kayaks are quickly becoming a game-changer in the paddling community. The durability and utility of the inflatables have also been addressed in order to ensure that the boat serves you for a longer period of time. However, the way you store your kayak can make a big difference in how long it lasts. You must adhere to specific care and maintenance procedures, which may differ from those for traditional yaks.

But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I’ve outlined 5 simple steps for properly storing your inflatable kayak so you can keep it in good shape.

Inflatable kayak storage in 5 simple steps

Step 1: Clean your kayak

Cleaning your kayak is an important part of its storage. When you stow your boat when it’s dirty, it’s vulnerable to damage, especially if you’re paddling in saltwater. Even small grits can de-braid the inflatables, causing leaks and tampering with UV protection.

It may be impossible to clean your kayak completely on the beach in many cases. You may have taken your kayak out in a muddy, dirty, sandy, or grimy area where you couldn’t get clean water to rinse it off. In this case, wipe your kayak down with a towel before loading it into a car.

When you get home, do a thorough cleaning by following the steps below:

  • Disassemble and remove all side-mounted, inside-attached, and detachable gear from your kayak’s base.
  • All the attachments you’ve removed, such as seats, paddles, rudders and/or skegs, directional stabilizers, detachable thwarts, and any other gear, should be cleaned, rinsed, and dried before being set aside.
  • Cleaning your kayak is possible whether it is inflated or deflated, but it is much easier when it is inflated.
  • Use a towel to wipe off any dirt or debris that has accumulated on the kayak. If your boat is filthy, thoroughly clean it with mild soap and water. Use only water if you’re from a clean, freshwater body of water.
  • Clean the inside and outside of your inflatable kayak, as well as the air chambers between them. When cleaning your kayak, make sure all of the valves are closed.
  • Wash the underside of your kayak by flipping it over. Remove and clean the detachable floor if your boat has one. This also makes it possible to clean the inside of your kayak’s bottom.
  • Rinse your kayak thoroughly with fresh water to remove any soapy or grimy residue from all of its nooks and crannies.
  • Proceed to the next step after you’ve completed the previous one.

Step 2: Dry your kayak

Before deflating and packing away your kayak after cleaning it, make sure it is completely dry. To prevent mold and mildew from growing during the off-season, keep the inflatable kayak completely dry. Mold and mildew deteriorate your kayak’s surface, thin it out, and make it more susceptible to punctures.

Dry the inside, outside, and bottom of the kayak with a towel. Before moving on to the next step, please allow it to air-dry for a while.

Step 3: Deflate and fold your kayak

Always deflate your inflatable kayak before storing it to avoid punctures and expansion due to temperature changes. The expansion causes leaks by damaging the valves and seams. To speed up the process, open all the valves and slowly deflate your boat while gently applying pressure to the floor, sides, and other parts.

  • Fold your kayak once it has completely deflated. Follow the steps below to get started:
  • To avoid weak points forming over time, roll or fold your kayak a little differently each time.
  • Begin by folding the sides of the kayak towards the middle and aligning the spray kits over the center.
  • Continue rolling/folding your kayak loosely at the opposite end of the valves to push any remaining air out.
  • Sharp bends and corners should be avoided at all costs, as they can easily damage your kayak.
  • Check that the finished shape will fit easily into the storage bag.
  • Within the fold, keep a stabilizing base, such as a skeg base, flat.
  • Close the valves once the kayak is folded neatly to prevent debris from entering.
  • Protect any rudders, skegs, or directional stabilizers on the inflatable kayak with protectors.

Step 4: Pack your kayak in the storage bag

Once your inflatable kayak is clean, dry, deflated, and folded, place it in the storage bag. Consider purchasing a bag if your boat did not come with one. The following are some of the advantages of storing the kayak in the transport bag:

  • Protect the kayak from the sun’s rays.
  • While in storage, keep any dirt or debris off the kayak.
  • Has breathable mesh to keep the boat dry and prevent mold and mildew from growing.
  • The bag can also be used to transport the kayak whenever and wherever it is needed.

Step 5: Store your kayak in a suitable place

After you’ve neatly packed your inflatable kayak in its storage bag, find a suitable location to store it until your next adventure. It’s best to store the kayak indoors, away from rodents, in a cool, dry location. It can be stored in a closet, garage, or basement.

If you don’t have room inside, store it outside, but cover it with a tarp to protect it from UV rays and rodents, as well as any debris that might fall on it. To avoid damage from rodents, keep your kayak inside a sealable container if your preferred location is likely to be infested. In a nutshell, you should be fine as long as you know how to store a kayak outside.   

Can you store your kayak while inflated?

While it is not recommended to store your kayak while it is inflated, there are some situations where it is ideal. If you’re camping near a lake, for example, you can keep the kayak inflated for the duration of your trip. You’ll save time deflating and inflating the kayak, and it’ll be easier to get to when you’re ready to hit the water.

However, even when inflated, you must store the kayak properly to avoid any damage to it. To keep your inflated kayak safe, follow the following guidelines:

  • When you’re out of the water, keep your inflated kayak out of the sun. When a blown-up kayak is exposed to the sun, the air inside warms up and expands. As a result, the kayak’s psi will rise, putting a lot of pressure on the seam and potentially causing it to burst.
  • It should be cleaned after each use. Even if you plan to use the boat again the next day, wash it after each use, especially if you kayak in salty or dirty water. To avoid corrosion from salt and scratches from sand and mud, give your vessel a quick rinse.
  • Allow a small amount of air to escape. The inflatables’ recommended inflation psi maintains the kayak’s optimal stiffness while avoiding overinflation. However, you should not store the kayak at maximum psi to allow for any expansion of the air inside. When you’re ready to use it again, release at least 3-5 psi and pump it back up. Don’t forget to use a pump for inflatable kayaks.
  • To allow it to dry, keep it off the ground. Even if the kayak is inflated, it is important to keep the sides dry. After rinsing the boat, place it on wooden planks or buckets to dry and clean the sides.
  • It should be kept in a secure location. If you’re going kayak camping, make sure you keep your boat out of the wind. Because inflatables are light and buoyant, they are easily blown away by the wind. Use ropes and stakes to secure it in the wooden planks if the area is windy.

Summary

Proper storage extends the life of your inflatable kayak and ensures that it continues to serve you well for many years. To avoid any regrets when using inflatable kayaks, always follow the steps I’ve highlighted above. Regardless of whether you have a budget-friendly inflatable kayak or an inflatable fishing kayak, the above-mentioned tips will apply.

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