Nothing is worse than getting out on the water and finding out that some item you’re wearing is ripped or broken. Also, canoe and kayak gear isn’t cheap. It is for these reasons that proper storage of your canoe and kayak gear is crucial. We should take every step we can to make sure that we can get as much life out of our gloves, booties, paddling jackets, pfds, and whatever we paddle with as we can. Here is a list of 5 things you can do while packing up your stuff to help extend the life of your gear.
Make Sure it is DryThis is common sense but every paddler knows that it doesn’t always happen. The story goes like this. You spend a day paddling with your buddies, then throw your gear in a tub and start the long drive home. You may even stop for a bite to eat and some reminiscing. By the time you get home its dark out and you’re too tired to unpack your canoe or kayak gear. Then the work week starts and it gets forgotten and the proper storage of your canoe and kayak gear is left to the wayside. Do yourself a favor and take the first 10 minutes when you get home and hang up your gear so that it dries for storage. Then, while it is all out and organized inspect each item so you know what you're dealing with before storing it away.
Repair and Preserve Your GearHaving a paddling gear repair kit is a big help with this step. Once your gear is dry, keep out the items that need some preservation or repair. This step is most often overlooked. Rubber items such as the gaskets on a dry top or the o-rings on dry boxes should be treated with 303 Protectant. Zippers of jackets and bags should be lubricated, especially if they were used in salt water. Repair any neoprene damage with Aqua Seal. And of course use our beloved duct tape on everything else!
Keep Everything TogetherIt is true, this is common sense also. But we all know someone who has gotten to the water and realized that they were missing a glove, a bootie, or something more important like a pfd. Once your gear is dry, store everything you need in ONE Rubbermaid or large duffel bag. If you’re like most paddlers you’ll have more gear than can fit into just one of anything. That’s ok because you probably only use the same main stuff and the rest is extra gear. Keep your main gear in one container and the rest in another.
Store in a Dry PlaceYes it is true, there is no point to making sure everything is dry if you are only going to leave your stuff outside, under your deck, or in a damp place in your basement. Paddling Jackets especially don’t hold up well to being kept in a damp place due to all the loose fabric bunching up and being a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Neoprene will develop an odor that you just can’t seem to get rid of under these conditions. Find a storage area that will keep your canoe and kayak gear dry and well protected.
Store Your BoatCanoe and kayak storage is definitly overlooked. They are usually just thrown in the most convenient place a the time. Whenever possible, canoes and kayaks should be hung by straps from the ceiling. This is because plastic kayaks can get deformed from the prolonged pressure of being on the ground or up against something hard. If you can’t hang up your boat(s) then lean them on their side so the boat doesn’t develop a flat spot on the bottom of the hull. If you don’t paddle for a while, be sure to flip the canoe or kayak over to the other side every so often.
- Learn More About Caring For Your Paddling Gear