Taking Care of Your Kayak: How to Prolong Your Kayak’s Life

Taking Care of Your Kayak: How to Prolong Your Kayak’s Life

Taking care of your kayak will increase its lifespan, keep it in tiptop condition, and sustain its performance qualities on the water. 

There are a few simple steps that you can implement into your routine to increase the lifespan of your kayak and ensure that it is performing at its best. In this article we’ll be covering these steps and informing you on how you can take care of your kayak to protect your outdoor investment.

Although you don’t need to strictly follow these guidelines, implementing them as much as possible will keep your kayak in good health. Kayaks are rugged vessels that can take a hell of a beating. However, just because they can put up with some abuse doesn’t mean you should disregard the proper maintenance, use, and storage of them. 

Without further ado, let’s begin by looking at how you can look after your kayak during transportation and use on the water.

  • Taking Due Care on Land and Water
    The first step in looking after your kayak and ensuring it lasts as long as you do starts at the water’s edge. How you transport and use your kayak will ultimately affect its longevity. Making sure you take care of your kayak when you use it will save you time, tears, and money when it’s time to store it.

    When you transport your kayak it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t get damaged during loading, unloading, and the transportation process. There are several ways to make sure your kayak doesn’t get damaged during the transportation process. Although we won’t outline these here, we do have a great article about loading your kayak onto your car. In that read, you’ll find out what equipment you need to transport your kayak effectively as well as a detailed guide on how to load your kayak on your car.

    When your boat is unloaded by the water, you also need to take due care. Often times, the car park isn’t located next to the water. You will usually have to transport the kayak by hand to get paddling. Dragging your kayak across the ground to the water is obviously not an option. This will cause damage to the underside of the boat, and after a handful of times doing this, you’ll likely see some substantial damage.

    When transporting your kayak to the water, you should either lift it and carry it to the bank or use a kayak trolly. Kayak trollies are designed to allow the kayak to roll freely while you pull it by hand to the bankside. Either carrying the vessel or wheeling it to the bank will help prolong its life by reducing potential damage from scrapes and knocks.

    Once you’re on the water, taking due care will prevent damage caused by hitting sunken debris, bottoming out, or hitting sharp objects. It’s important to watch the water ahead to avoid potential hazards. Of course, this isn’t always possible, and accidents do happen. However, wearing a pair of polarizing glasses and staying alert will help.

  • Inspecting Your Kayak for Damage
    When it’s time to get out of the water and pack up to go home, a quick inspection of your kayak will allow you to spot any potential damage. Getting into a routine of doing this every time you head out on the water will help you spot problems early.

    Problems can quickly escalate if you don’t take action quickly. Small holes, deep scratches, and dents can quickly become bigger issues if not fixed while their small. Looking over your kayak and fixing any problems as they occur will prolong the life of your kayak greatly while ensuring you don’t get into trouble from an escalating problem on the water.

    It’s also important to check the rigging, cockpit, and tie-downs on your vessel during inspection as these areas are more prone to wear and tear. This is especially true for tie-down points, bungees, and straps. If you often head out kayak camping and strap gear to your boat, make sure you check your rigging. A frayed cord, severed strap, or loose tie-down anchor can cause you heaps of issues if one gives in on the water — sending your kit 6-feet under!
  • Keeping Your Kayak Clean
    Keeping your kayak clean is another step to take in prolonging your kayak’s life. Keeping the boat free of dirt and moisture before storage prevents mould growth and the decay of parts. A simple spray down and dry off is usually enough but sometimes you’ll need to get out a scrubbing brush and some detergent.

    Doing this also gives you time to practice the step above. While you’re cleaning your kayak, you’ll notice things that may have slipped past your radar during routine bankside inspections. This is also a great opportunity to treat your kayak with UV protective sprays and anti-corrosion oils for any metallic parts onboard.

  • Replacing Old or Damaged Parts
    Wear and tear is a part of life unfortunately. No matter how well you take care of your kayak and how often you clean and maintain it, parts will fail. Although the body of your kayak is unlikely to split in half or develop gaping holes, some smaller parts may fail over time. Sometimes, these parts can be repaired but sometimes they’ll need replacing.

    Soft seats in the cockpit, bungee cords, tie-downs, bulkhead lids, and rod holders are just a few of the small parts that can deteriorate over time on a kayak. Don’t worry if one of these items break, replacements and compatible parts can easily be purchased and installed. Replacing old parts as they wear out will keep your kayak looking and feeling as fresh as it did when you brought it. 

  • Storing Your Kayak Correctly
  • Storing your kayak correctly is our final step in ensuring your kayak lives a long and happy life. Although we’ve placed this last on our list, this is arguably the most important step to take when looking after your kayak.

    Improper storage of your kayak can lead to damage. Storing your kayak the wrong way can cause dents, warping, and deterioration of the kayak’s body and smaller parts. It’s important to store your kayak cockpit-side down, off the ground, out of direct sunlight, and protected against moisture and temperature fluctuations.

    There’s a lot to say about storing your kayak and there simply isn’t enough room in this read to fill you in. However, luckily for you, we have a blog post dedicated to the proper storage of your kayak so you can take steps toward ensuring the longevity of your vessel. Check it out here.
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