Winter is here! Snowfall has hit most states where snowfall is expected to hit, and we’re actually wearing more than one layer here in Austin, Texas most days. Okay, some days. It’s been an exceptionally warm winter down here so far.

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Unless you’re like Nathaniel Lee Maloney (pictured above), it’s the time of year when most kayakers put their boats in hibernation until the springtime (but if you are down for extreme winter kayaking, make sure you’re prepared with the right apparel to stay dry and warm).

Storing your kayak requires a few necessary prep steps to ensure its preservation; you shouldn’t just leave it in a closet like you would a bike.

We’ll break it down for you with some simple do’s and don’ts:

DO: Suspend it using a storage rack inside
DON’T: Store it outside or on the ground

First off, shelter matters. If you’re in an area that gets extreme weather, it’s crucial that your kayak is stored indoors, whether it’s in a closet, garage, shed, or even just a corner of your room. Next, positioning matters. The big no-no with kayak storage is leaving your kayak to rest on its hull. The uneven weight distribution will leave your boat warped, and neglecting proper storage etiquette season after season will eventually render your boat useless (no one wants that). Investing in a storage rack is ideal to get your yak off the ground. If you’re working with a small space, wall mounts, like the Talic Kayak Tilt Storage Rack or the Suspenz EZ Kayak Rack, are the way to go so you won’t be taking up precious floor space!

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The Talic Kayak Tilt Storage Rack installs into the wall and accommodates boats of all widths.
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The Talic Double Bunk Kayak Storage doesn’t require wall installation – it keeps boat flat but still suspended from the sides for proper storage.

We’ve got a variety of different hanging mechanisms to choose from, including racks like the Talic Kayak Condo 3 Storage Rack that allow you to store multiple kayaks and maximize space! Whatever brand or model you choose from, the point of the suspension straps is that you’re ensuring that your kayak is being held at its strongest points (the sides), preventing any damage by keeping pressure off the bottom.

Notes:

If you absolutely must store it outside, protect the kayak from UV rays using a tarp (or a full boat cover) and keep the cockpit guarded from the curiosity of small animals with a cockpit cover.

If you absolutely must leave it lying on the ground, hopefully not for an extended period of time, set it with the cockpit facing down; the cockpit lining is way sturdier than the hull.

DO: Give your kayak a bath 
DON’T:
Forget to dry and spray protectant

Technically, it’s a good idea to rinse your kayak after each paddle. Wishful thinking, right? But if you’ve been skipping out here and there, get a fresh start for the spring by giving your boat the full treatment, inside and out, before you put it away for the winter. The bath doesn’t require anything fancy. Lukewarm water and soap will do the trick, but make sure you’re scrubbing well all over into corners and between crevices. After you’ve fully dried your boat, don’t forget to spray some 303 Aerospace Kayak Protectant on it. You can spray directly and wipe the boat dry with a towel. Make sure there’s no extra residue, and the end product will look brand-new! This protectant is nicknamed “kayak sunscreen” for paddling seasons, but giving your yak a coat of it for winter storage is a good idea to restore its shine and have it ready to go for spring. And the 303 Aerospace spray is versatile – it’ll give a like-new shine to other surfaces like tires and car dashboards – so it’s a handy product to have around.

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We’ve covered the basics of winter kayak storage! If you have more specific questions about any part of the process, or if you want to talk about canoes or SUPs, drop us a comment and we’ll help out.