Similar to car maintenance, learning how to maintain your kayak can significantly increase the longevity of your kayak. It’s like changing your oil or checking your car fluids.
These small tasks may be the last thing you want to do after a long day of kayaking but it in the long run will keep your kayak in good shape and ultimately save you money.
If you properly maintain your kayak then you’ll be able to keep your kayak in good shape for a longer period of time and hopefully log plenty of miles in it!
Check for leaks
While you are kayaking and after you are done you should make sure that your kayak does not have any holes or cracks. Obviously, it’s better to find the holes while you are not out at sea finding yourself sitting in a leaking kayak.
To help find holes you can place a flashlight or lamp inside of the kayak while covering the cockpit at night or in a dark room. If you see any areas of light then that means that you have a crack in your kayak.
This is the best way for you to determine if there is a crack in your kayak instead of inspecting the paint. Cracks in the paint will make your boat look worse than it is but they won’t do any real structural damage to your kayak.
Lastly, its good practice to never drag your kayak – especially if there is a lot of weight in the kayak or the ground is covered in rocks. In addition, when launching your kayak try to find a grassy or sandy area.
Also, consider purchasing a kayak cart to help transport your kayak. It’s a small investment that will go a long way in the long run. It also makes carrying your kayak by yourself much easier. This will help you prevent any cracks or holes in your kayak and ultimately help maintain your kayak.
Wash your Kayak
Washing your kayak with fresh water after each use is also another crucial aspect of maintaining your kayak. This will help keep it clean and will also make sure that you can see if there is anything on the kayak that could cause problems later (i.e. rusting, warped parts, etc.).
This is especially important if you are kayaking in salt water since the salt can corrode parts of your kayak.
You should also make sure that you rinse the inside of your kayak as well if any salt water got inside. If you are planning on storing your kayak for a long period of time make sure to drain the kayak of any water as well.
Store your Kayak Indoors
Finally, you should try and store your kayak indoors if possible. Using our car analogy, storing a car in a garage is far better than storing outside simply due to weather and the elements.
Exposing your kayak to ultraviolet (UV) light and the heat from the sun can warp your kayak. In addition, if you live in an area with harsh weather than constant rain or snow could damage your kayak.
I stored one of my kayaks out in my backyard one winter and come spring a nice snake surprised me when I went to pack my kayak! Needless to say it was a lesson I have not forgotten.
If you do store your kayak outside make sure to cover it with a tarp of some sort. This will help shelter it from the elements and maybe keep a few critters out.
Learning how to maintain your kayak is essential if you are considering buying a kayak. Otherwise, you may find that your kayak doesn’t last nearly as long as you would like it to. Considering how much kayaks tend to cost this should definitely be a priority for you.
Cleaning your kayak and checking its parts is a necessity if you own a kayak so don’t skip it!
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